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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.
Salesforce Fluffs Up Next-Gen Marketing Cloud
June 18, 2015
Salesforce introduced its next-generation marketing cloud at the Salesforce Connections digital marketing event held in New York this week. The new release has enhancements to Journey Builder that let companies work with the customer journey across sales, service, marketing, custom apps and more. Salesforce also announced the addition of LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Neustar and Viant to Active Audiences.
Will PayPal Become the Next BlackBerry?
June 18, 2015
Recently I had a problem with a purchase, which led me to ask an important question: Will PayPal become the next BlackBerry? PayPal must update, or it will lose to new competitors like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, CurrentC and Square, whose intention is to reinvent the e-commerce and mobile payment space. PayPal was a great service when the Internet was young and consumers had no other choice.
Correlation, Causation and CRM
June 17, 2015
If you read a lot, like me, you might notice almost daily there's a new study that contradicts some earlier research. Something causes cancer -- then it's good for you. You know the drill. What's going on here? Do we simply not know what our research is saying? Can nobody correctly interpret the data? None of this would mean much to CRM if not for the advance of big data and analytics.
Amazon May Try Out Delivery-Sharing
June 17, 2015
Amazon reportedly is developing a mobile app that will be the cornerstone of an Uber-type service for neighborhood package delivery. Under the scheme, the app would allow Amazon to compensate people to deliver packages in lieu of using a commercial carrier. People would pick up packages at Amazon's partnering brick-and-mortar stores, and make deliveries on their way to another destination.
Apple's Safari Declares Open Season on Mobile Ads
June 16, 2015
Apple is sending a shiver down the spine of anyone who depends on mobile advertising for a living with the inclusion of ad-blocking extensions for iOS 9 in the next version of its Safari browser. The news surfaced last week, after developers discovered the provision in documentation following iOS 9's introduction at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference.
Aligning IoT, the Cloud and Digital Transformation Initiatives
June 12, 2015
The 18th annual PwC CEO survey of 1,322 corporate leaders in 77 countries, conducted between September and December 2014, found an overwhelming proportion are embarking on digital transformation initiatives to respond to escalating customer demands and intensifying competitive pressures. However, many are taking different paths to achieve their corporate objectives.
Pega Healthcare CRM Promises 360-Degree View
June 9, 2015
Pega last week announced enhancements to Pegasystems Customer Service for Healthcare, an application that integrates customer service and care management to provide a 360-degree view of all customer interactions. The application provides call center agents with data across administrative, health and care management interactions with the goal of enabling them to provide better service.
Doppler Labs Kickstarts 'Bionic Ear'
June 3, 2015
Doppler Labs on Tuesday launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Here Active Listening system, which takes noise-canceling technology to a new level. Unlike typical noise-canceling headphones, Here's Bluetooth earbuds allow a listener to customize ambient sound, not just block it out. Paired with a smartphone app, Here can be used to control volume, mix sounds and even add effects.
A Stellar Progress Report for Mobile Retail
June 3, 2015
Any industry player sitting at the vortex of mobile marketing and retail has a great deal to be excited about at present. The marketplace is witnessing an incredible growth and innovation surge. At the end of last year, mobile technology clearly upped the ante -- creating fresh, breakthrough marketing opportunities for a merchant community looking to increase revenues while better controlling ROI.
Message for Marketers: Always Be Engaging
June 1, 2015
In sales, we know customer retention is critical for success in the subscription economy. For many tech companies in the SaaS space, it takes three years to break even. In insurance, which has toiled in the subscription economy for more than a century, the average break-even time is an incredible seven years. Because of that, sales compensation is starting to change.
Google's Cardboard May Help Build Strong VR Foundation
June 1, 2015
It's a whimsical approach to virtual reality, but Google's Cardboard VR platform breaks down the barriers of entry and allows consumers to bring their own devices to the movement. "I think [Cardboard] will help with the general popularity of VR," said Marxent CEO Beck Besecker, "but I think the folks that are really going to gravitate to VR are going to want a high-quality experience."
The Painful Persistence of Ad Injections
June 1, 2015
Some of those annoying ads that pop up when you visit a site on the Web or do a search may be served up by, for want of a better word, "hijackers." They use binaries, extensions, or network ISPs to modify a page's content to insert or replace ads with or without the user's consent. It's called "ad injection," and the problem is extensive. The problem begins with software infecting users' browsers.
Salesforce Makes Splash With Wave for Big Data
May 28, 2015
Salesforce on Thursday launched Wave for Big Data, a tool that will help marketers and salespeople leverage customer data in the Salesforce Analytics Cloud. Powered by the Wave platform, the Analytics Cloud will let business executives discover correlations and patterns across any combination of transactional data, as well as unstructured or semistructured big data sets.
Putting the EU's E-Commerce Puzzle Together
May 27, 2015
A substantial number of Europeans shop online, but few make purchases outside their own country. The European Commission aims to change that through a broad initiative to create a Digital Single Market for the European Union, announced earlier this month. One of the 16 steps the EC has taken toward achieving that goal is undertaking an antitrust investigation of the e-commerce sector.

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Targeted advertising...
Gives me the creeps -- I hate it.
Is really helpful -- I like the personalization.
Is effective -- it makes business sense.
Is irrelevant to me -- I use an ad blocker.