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Monitoring the Sales Metrics That Matter Most
July 30, 2015
I recently conducted a simple, one-question survey, using sales pros as my target audience. The question was idiotically simple: What is the most important metric for people in sales? In this era of big data, deep analysis and predictive analytics, you might have thought that some new, performance-based metric would have surfaced as the new secret weapon.
As Wireless Changes, So Must Marketing
July 30, 2015
We have just seen quarterly earnings reports from AT&T and Verizon, and they continue to grow at a healthy pace. Sprint and T-Mobile also have started to grow once again. However, the larger wireless marketplace is splitting into smaller segments. Understanding this is one of many keys to success for any wireless carrier going forward. The larger wireless marketplace is changing.
Apple Watch to Decorate Best Buy Shelves
July 27, 2015
After tightly controlling the sales experience for its smartwatch since its April debut, Apple appears ready to unleash it to the mass market. Best Buy on Monday said it would begin selling the Apple wearable in 100 of its stores on Aug. 7, as well as on BestBuy.com. As the holiday season rolls in, it expects to expand that number to 200. Sixteen models will be available at the Best Buy outlets.
Amazon Reaps What It Sowed
July 27, 2015
Amazon's market capitalization on Friday reached $270 billion, surging past Walmart, following a surprisingly strong second quarter earnings report. That amounted to a $46 billion boost in investor confidence, with shares hitting a record high of $580.57. Analysts had projected that Amazon would take a hit in its second quarter. Instead, it reported a profit of $92 million.
Can Jet Elevate the Shopping Club Experience?
July 23, 2015
Jet launched this week, and it could be part of a growing trend. Many people love the club retail shopping idea of Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club. Jet is a new e-commerce player offering a similar shopping experience. Will the online model be successful? The retail shopping club is one of America's success stories. Customers pay an annual fee to become members.
Bogies Spotted: Jet Ventures Into Amazon's Airspace
July 22, 2015
Amazon has been in its prime for quite some time, but there's a new show in town, and it claims that its prices are lower. Online merchant Jet opened its inventory of millions of products to consumers on Tuesday. While Amazon's Prime subscription service offers consumers extra perks for $99 a year, Jet requires payment of a $50 annual membership fee to make purchases.
PayPal Flies Solo on Nasdaq
July 21, 2015
PayPal on Monday returned to the Nasdaq as an independent company, no longer tethered to eBay. PayPal debuted at a market value 1.4 times its former parent -- $46.6 billion -- while eBay's capitalization shrunk to $34 billion. The companies agreed to split in September due to market pressures and some nudging by corporate raider turned shareholder value advocate Carl Icahn.
Leverage Big Data to Get Rid of Network Attackers
July 21, 2015
Up to 30 percent of their firms' security incidents this year should have been detected by perimeter security measures -- but weren't -- said 55 percent of respondents to a SANS Institute survey. The truth is that today's attackers have become skilled at bypassing conventional defenses, which no longer can be counted on to protect enterprise networks on their own.
Swipes, Taps and Cursor Movements Can Foil Cyberthieves
July 16, 2015
Swipes, taps, cursor movements and other ways of interacting with electronic devices can be used to protect online merchants from Net fraudsters. Many people are familiar with biometric authenticators like irises, fingerprints and voices, but it turns out that how we behave with our machines, including typing speed and the use of keyboard shortcuts, can authenticate our identities, too.
Google May Goose Mobile Device Impulse Buys
July 15, 2015
Google on Wednesday announced that it is giving tablet and smartphone users more purchase options in an effort to respond to shoppers' "micro moments." Mobile devices influenced about 28 percent of in-store sales in the U.S. last year, noted Jonathan Alferness, vice president of product management for Google Shopping. However, "it's way too hard to buy things on your phone," he added.
Wrangling Big Data: When in Doubt, Think Like a Customer
July 13, 2015
As businesses gain new insights about the power of data, they're discovering new sales and marketing tactics that go far beyond what previously was possible. It's not just big data and a technology-driven revolution -- it's also a shift in attitudes about data's place in sales, its role as a guide or reality check, and its ability to fuel new processes that drive greater sales performance.
Walmart to Crash Amazon's Prime Day Party
July 13, 2015
Walmart on Monday announced it will offer an online sale to rival Amazon's Prime Day this Wednesday. The Walmart.com sale will be open to all customers, emphasized CEO Fernando Madeira, unlike Amazon's Prime Day, which is open only to members of Amazon's Prime program, which currently costs $99 per year. Asking customers to pay money to take part in a sale doesn't add up, Madeira said.
Facebook Gives News Feed a Tune-Up
July 10, 2015
Facebook on Thursday slammed the hood, wiped its hands, and introduced the latest set of upgrades to its News Feed engine. The all-new 2015 Facebook News Feed gives users more control over the content they see when they cruise the world's largest social network. The new tools allow users to set their top friends, and content from those accounts will be given preference over others.
IBM-Led Team Pulls Off Major Chip Feat
July 9, 2015
IBM Research on Thursday announced that an alliance it leads has produced the first 7nm node test chips with functioning transistors. Big Blue's partners are GlobalFoundries, Samsung and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, or SUNY Poly CNSE. The alliance sought to develop industry-first innovations.
Amazon's Prime Day Could Turn Into Christmas in July
July 7, 2015
In celebration of its 20th birthday, Amazon plans to push wish list items into shopping carts and new customers into its Prime ecosystem this July 15, dubbed "Prime Day." The eve of Amazon's 20th anniversary, Prime Day will be packed with more deals than Black Friday, Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said Monday. The event kicks off at midnight on July 15.
Customer Experience Is Everyone's Department
July 6, 2015
Customer experience is more than the act of trading money for a product or a service. It's the experience leading up to that, and the experience customers have with what they've purchased, all the way until they stop using it. Why is it, then, that the concept of "customer experience" seems to exist primarily in the marketing department? Marketing is but a small part of what makes an experience.
The Art of E-Commerce Site Search
July 6, 2015
Providing an effortless shopping experience is a key driver to the success of any e-commerce business. E-commerce search is a big factor in this experience and when done right can provide a significant competitive advantage. An effective on-site search experience leads to higher sales and increased customer loyalty. A substandard search experience can lead to the permanent loss of a customer.
Microsoft Is Looking More Like the House Nadella Built
June 30, 2015
Some aspects of CEO Satya Nadella's vision for Microsoft are becoming more clear. For one thing, the company's interest in advertising is seriously on the wane. Microsoft reportedly has handed off most of its digital advertising sales business to AOL. Microsoft will retain control of its search advertising sales, however, and Bing will replace Google as the engine powering AOL's consumer searches.
Yelp Study Blasts Google for Screwing With Search
June 30, 2015
Google has been tampering with the responses its search engine gives to queries and, as a result, has been hurting social welfare, alleges a survey conducted by Michael Luca, a Harvard Business School economist, and Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School and former FTC advisor. Yelp sponsored the research. The team last week sent a paper reporting the results to the European Commission.
Cisco Erects 6 Pillars for the IoT
June 29, 2015
Cisco on Monday launched Cisco IoT System -- a new Internet of Things initiative comprised of 15 products geared toward improving device interoperability. As many as 50 billion devices and objects could be connected to the Internet by 2020, the company forecast, yet today more than 99 percent of things in the physical world currently are unconnected.
CRM's New Era
June 24, 2015
It recently occurred to me that CRM has come full circle in a fundamental way. I was never a fan of labels like "CRM 2.0" or "Social CRM" or whatever else came along, principally because those monikers didn't signify anything new in doing business. Certainly you could make a case that those names described some new attributes for the traditional set of apps but that just invites a "so what?"
Amazon Holds Coming-Out Party for Echo's Alexa
June 23, 2015
About seven months of invitation-only exclusivity for Prime customers came to a close on Tuesday as Amazon opened up sales of Echo, its digital assistant hardware, to anyone willing to spend $180 for it. Amazon will start fulfilling new Echo orders on July 14, but shoppers can prepurchase the cylindrical tower now. The device is animated by Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant software.
Data Requests Put Amazon Between Rock, Hard Place
June 23, 2015
Amazon's recently released first report on government requests for information revealed that from January to May, it received 813 subpoenas and 25 search warrants. The company fully responded and provided all the requested information sought for 542 of the subpoenas. It provided only some of the requested information for 126 of the cases, and it did not respond to 145 requests.
Skies May Soon Be Friendlier to Amazon Drones
June 19, 2015
Amazon on Wednesday appealed to members of Congress to approve use of its fleet of drones for package deliveries. Electrically powered drones could deliver packages to consumer homes and offices faster, more efficiently and with less environmental impact than automobiles, Paul Misener, vice president of global public policy at Amazon, suggested in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

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Do video cameras make the world safer?
Yes - People exercise more restraint because of them.
No - We just get to see more horrible things happen.
Maybe - They might deter some kinds of crime.