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4 Ways to Waste Great Marketing Opportunities
February 28, 2014
CRM has always purported to be about relationships, but it's often used primarily for sales. That's kind of a good news, bad news situation. The bad news first: CRM got a bad rap when it didn't become a sales panacea (mostly for adoption issues). The good news: It exposed a void in the mix that marketing automation rushed to fill. The key to successful relationships is communication.
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.
The Customer Experience Jury Is In
February 21, 2014
There are lots of purchases we make because we're forced to make them -- something we need breaks, or an outside entity requires us to buy something. We're not buying because we want to, or even because the purchase will make our business run better -- we have to buy. A lot of providers of these absolute must-have products and services don't emphasize the experience aspect of what they do.
PCI 3.0, Part 1: Breathe, Relax, Get Compliant
February 18, 2014
Aimed at improving the security of payment card data and reducing fraud, PCI DSS 3.0 standard, which took effect on Jan. 1, introduces changes that extend across all 12 requirements. It no doubt will mean some shakeups for many organizations. However, transitioning to meet the new requirements will help e-businesses build a stronger, safer, lower-risk environment.
Looking for Customer Love in All the Right Places
February 07, 2014
If you're a vendor, the idea of providing visibility is a winning notion. It's what's driven social CRM-related software tools and analytics to their current prominence within the market, and it's why the "Internet of Things" is so alluring. The problem that these technologies purportedly solve is a lack of visibility -- that is, the inability to understand what's going on with customers.
An SMB's Guide to PCI 3.0 Penetration Testing
February 04, 2014
By now, if you're an IT professional and you're in an organization that has PCI-DSS in your scope -- that is, you store, process or transmit credit card data -- you probably already know that an update to the standard, Version 3.0, was released late last year. With this update come a few changes to the technical measures that organizations handling credit card information must implement.
Give Customers a Buying Experience They Can't Resist
January 31, 2014
When people talk about the customer experience, the thinking gets lofty quickly. The word "delight" is dropped a lot, people cite things like the American Girl Store or Nordstrom -- and soon over-the-top seems like what the norm should be. The experiences provided by the very best at creating experiences are great because they fit their product, their customers, and the objectives of both groups.
4 Processes for Turning Customer Ire Into Loyalty
January 24, 2014
If you're in business, you're going to face a customer relationship issue that's your fault. It happens. We're human -- and though we may strive for perfection, the best we can do is get close to that goal. When your business errs, the first people who are likely to hear it are your customer service reps. Customer service reps end up apologizing a lot in these situations.
Cloud Powers the Internet of Things
January 18, 2014
The Internet of Things is a key driver of accelerated growth of cloud-based alternatives to traditional on-premises systems and software, and as the new year begins to unfold, it is gaining momentum. The idea of the IoT evolved from the more narrowly focused concept of machine-to-machine communications, which has been floating around for a while and is now getting more attention.
Winning the CRM Race
January 17, 2014
"Customers do not want a relationship with your business, they want the benefits a relationship can offer to them." Mitch Lieberman, managing partner at DRI and an all-around bright thinker, first said this around 2009. He wasn't trying to smash anyone's illusions about the value of CRM. He was trying to reset business' thinking back to reality about the nature of buyer-seller relationships.
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.
Accenture Tapped to Doctor HealthCare.gov
January 13, 2014
The raft of problems connected to the launch of HealthCare.gov appears to have sunk the fortunes of the private contractor paid for running the site. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, charged with overseeing the health insurance marketplace, has awarded Accenture Federal Services a one-year contract for $45 million to implement technical improvements to the site.
CRM's Collaboration Conundrum
January 07, 2014
CRM has gained significant attention and adoption among businesses eager to enhance their processes for building and maintaining customer relationships, thanks to industry visionaries such as Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft. However, there's a major element of effective sales strategy that CRM systems neglect to address: collaboration. True collaboration requires more than data.
TV Apps: New Markets, New Revenue Possibilities
December 28, 2013
The TV industry has been quick to move into the app market, and these offerings may foster a new era for television services. The term "app" was initially coined for small applications that run on mobile devices, but apps are now common to several platforms, notably on smart TVs and game consoles. A TV app either initiates or includes functions related to television programming or services.
5 Winning PCI 3.0 Ways
December 21, 2013
As most security and compliance pros already know, PCI 3.0 is now officially out. The specific changes it includes have already been covered in quite a bit of detail elsewhere in the industry press, so I won't cover them all again here. However, one area that is often less discussed is how to use these changes to carve out resources for things that also have benefits more generally.
KlearGear Admitted to Social CRM Hall of Shame
December 13, 2013
Technology and social media give businesses new ways to interact with customers, to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships, and to create two-way conversations that lead to better products and happier people at both ends of the conversation. They also allow dumb businesses to expose their incompetence faster and to a wider audience than ever before.
CRM's Frayed Ends
December 06, 2013
The buyer-seller relationship we most often think of is one in which all the responsibility is loaded on the seller. The seller convinces the customer to buy, then provides support and further marketing to keep the customer loyal. Not every selling relationship works this way, however. When both ends of the sale have a responsibility, things get a little cloudier and more complex.
5 Key Dashboards for Managing the Season With Confidence
November 30, 2013
For e-commerce companies, the time has finally arrived. After months of extensive preparations, the holidays are here and the top business priority is to drive conversions. Many of these companies have applied valuable lessons from 2012 and previous years by implementing basic Web performance-optimization techniques such as content compression, caching and using content delivery networks.
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.
Keep Holiday Shoppers Happy, in 3 Easy Steps
November 21, 2013
This holiday season, everything from Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blasters to Doc McStuffins dolls and even diamond jewelry will be purchased via mobile devices to a greater extent than ever before. In fact, mobile shopping will surpass the growth of all other channels during the upcoming holiday season, eMarketer has predicted, as more and more consumers change they way they purchase gifts.
9 Ways to Stay Up and Running on Cyber Monday
November 16, 2013
The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and that means e-commerce companies are now in the midst of the great run-up to the holidays -- an all-out sprint to get every possible new feature, bug fix and version tested and released in time for the big crush. This year, the stakes have been raised even higher with one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Securing the Internet of Things: 5 Easy Pieces
November 15, 2013
The Internet of Things has been receiving quite a bit of attention. Definitions vary, but at its core the concept is a simple one: Extend computing and data-processing capability to the physical world around us. The earliest manifestations of this are starting to be seen already in the growth of smart devices: televisions, automobiles, appliances, electric meters, etc.
Jargon to Jettison: 4 CRM Buzzwords that Should Be Retired
November 14, 2013
There's one thing in the post-industrial world that's never affected by economic slowdowns, changes in customer preferences, or technological advances. In fact, production of this commodity seems to pick up when there are disruptions, and each year an increasing quantity is produced. I'm talking about jargon. As technology has taken over our lives, it's brought a lot of this jargon with it.
3 Ways Corporate Culture can Crush CRM
November 08, 2013
CRM technology often gets blamed for the failure of customer initiatives -- and sometimes it's deserved. In many cases, though, the technology works exactly as advertised -- as far as technology can work. Still, CRM is a discipline, not a technology -- the technology merely helps business scale up the discipline. For that reason, the people and the processes around CRM are vital to its success.

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