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Microsoft Beats the Customer-Centricity Drum at Convergence
March 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday kicked off its Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 conference with a keynote address by Executive Vice President Kirill Tatarinov, whose running theme was the need for the companies to be customer-centric to stay competitive. "Technology has changed the social fabric, transforming how we engage, connect and interact with one another," Tatarinov said.
Big Data and the Process Revolution
February 26, 2014
A wave of change is now making its way through the front office with uneven results. CRM is moving from a data capture and retrieval solution to something that supports end-to-end processes -- and as with ERP, data analysis is helping to improve what once were purely manual processes. The trick is in producing knowledge from data. Alone, data is useless.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Customers' Comings and Goings Not Always Linked to Satisfaction
February 14, 2014
Which comes first -- a sector in which consumers have a lot of choices and can easily switch providers, or companies that are rigorous in their customer service policies and attitudes? A recent survey on customer service attitudes raises that question but doesn't exactly answer it. However, it does suggest there is a strong link between customer choice and customer service policies.
Mobile CRM's Great Big Internet of Things Challenge
January 30, 2014
Shortly after Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest was announced, Nest CEO Tony Fadell felt obliged to clarify something for its users: Any changes to the company's privacy policy would be opt-in. Also, Nest would be transparent about those changes, he said. It's questionable whether Fadell can keep such a promise, though, unless it's written into the deal.
Marketing Automation Report Card
January 29, 2014
After two years of fairly hectic activity in the marketing automation space, it might be useful to ask where all the commotion has gotten us. Once a captive of finance, which was concerned with reeling in marketing's costs and rationalizing expenses with known -- or at least knowable -- benefits, marketing automation emerged in the last couple of years as a powerful tool.
Worried Retail Shoppers Bury Heads in Sand
January 28, 2014
Consumers are getting increasingly nervous over retailers' ability to protect their personal data -- yet they are not changing their shopping habits, according to findings from an AP-GfK poll. In the wake of the Target breach, nearly half of those surveyed expressed extreme concern about their personal data while shopping in stores, and 58 percent had deep worries about online spending.
T-Mobile Gives Customers No-fee Checking
January 23, 2014
T-Mobile USA on Wednesday launched Mobile Money, a money management application for smartphones that is meant to be used in conjunction with a reloadable T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card. There is no charge for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, or for replacing lost or stolen cards. There are also no minimum balance requirements.
Subscriptions in the Enterprise
January 22, 2014
Curiously, subscriptions and platforms have grown up together, even though neither is yet a necessary or sufficient requisite of the other. ZipCar and its ilk don't have formal platforms and the idea is not relevant to their models. Wireless vendors all have homegrown platforms -- primarily to run their Byzantine pricing and billing models -- and that's still off center.
Smart Marketing in a BYOD World
January 21, 2014
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is an established trend at many U.S. enterprises, and it's likely to continue to grow. Mobile marketing is an established channel through which many U.S. companies reach customers and prospective customers -- and it also is expected to grow. Is 2014 the year the twain will meet? Will marketers begin targeting consumers at work?
Huge Growth in Store for In-App Mobile Messaging
January 16, 2014
In-app mobile advertising is expected to jump significantly between now and 2018, according to new figures from Juniper Research. Ad spend in this category will reach $16.9 billion by 2018, up from $3.5 billion last year, the consulting group found. Smartphones currently account for approximately 70 percent of in-app ad spend, Juniper said, but that ratio is expected to change.
The Year of...
January 15, 2014
There are some good reasons to consider platform's primacy in our thinking. Platform makes sense from both vendor and customer perspectives. For vendors, platform rebuilds the walled gardens that were prevalent back when compilers and databases drove things. For customers, platforms and their ecosystem partners offer a reasonably robust environment for doing most of their business processing.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2013, Part 2: Rounding Out the List
January 14, 2014
It's no easy feat keeping a good CRM blog going, but I've been keeping track since 2007 of those that succeed. In Monday's column I presented the first 10 of this year's top 20 winners. Now, here are the other blogs you should be keeping tabs on. First up: Forrester, which has an array of bloggers -- I mean, analysts -- who cover aspects of CRM.
Salesforce1 Paves Way for Internet of Customers
January 10, 2014
Salesforce on Wednesday kicked off its Salesforce1 world tour in New York, touting the allure of the social, mobile and cloud customer platform to clients. Launched in November at Dreamforce 2013, Salesforce1 drove a 96 percent increase in mobile app active users and a 46 percent increase in active users of custom mobile apps, Salesforce maintained.
Omni-Channel Retailing Keeps Amazon in the Lead
January 09, 2014
A short while ago, few people had heard of omni-channel commerce, also known as omni-channel retailing. Today, however, if you were to ask most retail executives, you'd no doubt find that they are well-informed about the subject. In fact, our most ubiquitous brick-and-mortar retailer, Walmart, is currently quite immersed in this relatively new phenomenon.
9 CRM Companies to Watch in 2014
January 08, 2014
I'd like to say it's going to be a good year in CRM, and I firmly believe it, though I can't offer a single, all-encompassing reason for my optimism. There are plenty of small things that begin to add up, however -- in an earlier time, the metaphor might have been "straws in the wind." So what are they? First, the economy is looking better -- but that's faint praise.
Will 2014 Be the Year Mobile CRM Goes Omni-Channel?
January 06, 2014
There was no end to the enterprise interest in mobile CRM in 2013. From apps to innovative text marketing campaigns to self-service tablet applications for B2B industries, companies were gleefully trying out new pilots and experimenting with new technologies. Why? Simply this: Computing has reached an inflection point. Desktops are just one vehicle offering access to the Internet.
CFPB Suit Targets Predatory Online Lending Practices
December 19, 2013
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau this week put online finance companies on notice that it will not overlook them merely because they operate in cyberspace. Specifically, the bureau sued CashCall for collecting money consumers allegedly did not owe. In its suit, the bureau charged that CashCall and its affiliates engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices.
Community Will Steal the CRM Show in 2014
December 18, 2013
Once a year I write a post that tries to predict some of the big happenings of the year ahead. The success of these efforts relies on clear thinking and objectivity -- trying to figure out what will come to pass rather than what I want to see happen. It's hard, but thankfully no one ever checks up on me a year later. First, let's take a look at the general economic outlook.
Let's Hear It for Metadata
December 16, 2013
It is a quirk of the data-information-knowledge continuum that data perceived by one person might be seen as information by another. The same goes for information and knowledge -- the frame of reference is important. You might even say it's all relative, and I don't think you'd be wrong. This conundrum is all brought into sharper relief by yet another slice of the range, and I don't mean Big Data.
Banks Get a Little Less Hate in Latest Satisfaction Rankings
December 12, 2013
Consumers seem to be softening their hate-hate relationship with the banking industry, according to a new report released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. In fact, customer satisfaction with financial services in general reached a new high in the third quarter of 2013, the report found. The index is up 0.3 percent to 76.7 on a 0 to 100 scale.
It Was a Very Good Marketing, Partners and Platform Year
December 11, 2013
We are nearing year-end, and that means it's time for my annual year in review -- my assessment of things that will matter in the long run. From my spot, it looks like marketing took a big step toward greater relevance in 2013, the importance of being a partner in an ecosystem increased -- as did the significance of software platforms -- and reports of CRM's demise were greatly exaggerated.
Dreamforce Debriefing
November 26, 2013
OK, we survived Dreamforce and that has enabled us to limp home exhausted by all the information we accumulated and the parties we attended just in time for the holidays. I have a lot of thoughts about the show. If I try to share most of them, the result will be a stream-of-conscious rant that will make little sense, so some discipline is in order.
Dreamforce 2013 Notebook
November 22, 2013
There's always a lot to digest after Salesforce.com's annual bacchanalia, Dreamforce, which drew 135,000 registrants this year. Some of it is about Salesforce's announcements, but a lot more of it is about the implications of those announcements, the people who attend, and what goes on around the show. Despite its peculiar name, Salesforce1 is an important step for Salesforce.

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