IBM Delivers Online Merchants New Cognitive Capabilities That Turn Commerce Insights into More Powerful Customer Experiences

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Watson Analytics Allows Brands to Use Everyday Language to Identify Hidden Data Connections and Drive Better Business Performance

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today (Dec 3rd) announced new commerce capabilities that help online merchants easily gain the insights needed to evaluate category and product performance and make quick and effective merchandising decisions. Leveraging cognitive capabilities from Watson Analytics, IBM Commerce Insights allows practitioners to gain a real-time view into customer behavior and market factors that are impacting their business, proactively identify opportunities and roadblocks and take informed actions to increase sales and business performance.

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This is the Top Publication Shared By CMOs

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Leadtail is a social strategy firm that has built a panel of over 1,000 B2B and B2C CMOs and marketing executives located in North America and active on Twitter that develops social insights reports on CMOs and other decision makers.

They recently released the results of analysis of over 60,000 Tweets during the month of October and determined Forbes to be the #1 publication shared by CMOs during that month. As a Forbes contributor myself, specifically to the CMO Network, I am not surprised to see it come in #1 for we have a great group of contributors for sure.

Here’s a quick legend regarding the colors and what they represent followed by the full list:

Blue = Did not rank in the Top 50 in the previous month

Green = Moved up in ranking over last month

Red = Moved down in ranking over last month

Black = No change over last month

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The CMO Technology Conundrum And How To Solve It

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The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” —Bill Gates

Given the vast array of technology, data points, channels, and tactics available, new technology and marketing automation has stepped in to help CMOs bring all their activities together and support the delivery of the ultimate customer experience. But has it really helped so far? Or has it simply created another overwhelming challenge for the CMO who now must become a technology expert to apply it efficiently?

The above is an excerpt from a recently-released guide the Oracle Marketing Cloud created along with The CMO Club entitled the CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms. The guide, which I co-authored, contains results of a survey of over 100 marketing leaders plus the five key solutions we identified to help CMOs and marketing leaders tackle the challenge of providing a seamless customer experience across all marketing channels via the use of technology – the right technology that is.

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Cause Marketing: Making the Most of your Marketing Dollars

Trillions of dollars are spent each year on all aspects of brand and product promotion, the vast majority of which generates little in positive social benefit.

Many would argue why should it, as the purpose of these expenditures is only to sell as many products to as many people as possible. However the emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility in all major business organizations is leading to a rethink and refocus of all expenditures and actions of the organization to maximize the firm’s positive social impact.

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Super Easy Fishing Lessons for Modern Marketers ~via @InsideCXM

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There are some great marketing lessons to be taken from fishing, and I’m not talking about the “ph-” variety. If you’ve ever been fishing with an expert, on that expert’s home turf, you know that it can be an almost artistic experience. Before your boat even hits the water, your expert companion tells you where the fish will be, when they’ll be there, the bait or equipment most likely to appeal to those fish, and the techniques you’ll need to land them. It can all seem a bit much to the uninitiated, until you reach the fishing spot and the expert is either proven correct, or ready to adjust on the fly to the day’s conditions. Either way, you’ll soon be catching fish.

What the heck does this have to do with marketing? People are much more sophisticated than fish, of course, but otherwise many of the same principles apply to marketing on social. The best way to catch fish is to give them what they want. The easiest way to find out what they want is to study them intently. In this way, people and fish are not so different.

Finding the Perfect Fishing Hole

It all starts with knowing what you’re looking for, and learning where to find it. Fortunately for us, social sites don’t guard that information like fishing experts do. You can find solid, if imperfect, demographic information about most social sites. Before you start dropping lines in the water, visit the most promising sites and listen to the discussions. It’s a bit like detective work. Follow the best leads, and eventually you’ll find the people you’re seeking.

Selecting the Right Bait

Once you find what you’re looking for, listen some more. Pay attention to what people post and how they interact with one another. Get involved in the conversation, and make note of what you learn as you go. Always remember to be courteous, listen intently, and respond in a personal, meaningful way. All of these techniques will help you find the perfect bait to reel in new customers. In order to land them, first you need to understand them.

As you continue to listen, you’ll also learn why people congregate in a given place. Learning where to find the fish might lead to a banner day. Learning why they congregate where they do will keep those banner days rolling well into the future.

Landing the Prize

You know where to find your audience, and you know what they want. Now all you need to do is go out there and make the catch. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll be in great position to succeed. You can’t expect things to go perfectly every time, though. A fishing expert is defined as much by their ability to adapt as their ability to plan.

If your plan falls to pieces, listen some more. Learn all that you can, as you go. Expect the unpredictable, and be prepared to move on to another plan when the time is right. You can’t learn everything about fishing overnight, and the same is true of social. The more you listen and learn, the more prepared you’ll be to adapt when an unexpected outside influence forces you to change course.

Sustaining Success

People are much more willing to be “caught” than fish, as long as you offer value for their attention and loyalty. Once more, it all comes back to listening. Build your buyers’ personas with the same zeal the fishing expert shows in profiling fish. The medium and methods may change over time, but as long as you know your audience, treat them with respect, and build relationships, you’ll be ready for anything.

Originally posted at InsideCXM AUGUST 18, 2014 BY 

What Doesn’t Work for a Social Media Strategy

Not Being Social

You know what doesn’t work for a social media strategy? Not being social. It might sound like common sense, but all too often, being social is overlooked in a social media strategy.  It’s not enough to just start accounts with all the most popular social media tools and community sites, even when you include professionally-designed graphics and a big bold display of your logo and a few text lines about your brilliant mission.  First and foremost, you absolutely must BE SOCIAL!

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The Keys to Attracting More Customers on Twitter ~ via @OPENForum

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“Seeking a real return on your social media relationships? Prove your business is customer obsessed by employing the Twitter strategies of companies that “get it.”

It’s one thing to say you’re customer obsessed on social media and quite another to show you mean it. Modern consumers are social media savvy, and they can spot the difference, so if you want a real “return on your relationships” (#RonR), you’ve got to be truly customer obsessed on all your social media platformsTo highlight that point, let’s take a closer look at two large companies, JetBlue and Duane Reade, that do an excellent job of putting the customer-obsessed concept into action on social channels. While you may not have their resources, you can certainly pick up a few tips so your small business truly connects with customers.

JetBlue Airways

Being customer obsessed requires paying attention to the little details, and it’s clear that JetBlue “gets it” from the moment you visit the airlines’ Twitter page. You can see the company is focused on customers even before you read a single tweet, thanks to its effective use of Twitter’s profile page functions.Let’s take a look at the details:

– JetBlue’s Twitter page has close to 2 million followers, which is strong but not out of line when compared to other major airlines. The “following” count is what really stands out, though, clocking in at more than 100,000. Check out the follower/following ratios of other popular accounts, and you’ll quickly see that JetBlue is way out in front on the number of other Twitter accounts it follows.

– Take a look at the company’s profile blurb. “Hi, nice to tweet you!” is pleasant and warm, a stark contrast to the all too common “The Official Twitter Page of …” opening. After that, you get a quick, relevant description of the company, followed by multiple contact options. It’s all framed under a welcoming cover photo that’s light on logos but heavy on diversity and smiles.

– JetBlue does a nice job tweeting a mix of customer-focused contests, clever hashtags and charity drives, but its replies to customers are what really stand out. There are no form messages or any other signs of automation. When a customer tweets @JetBlue, they know they can expect a personalized response, coming from a real human being. JetBlue also does a great job of sharing fun travel photos from its followers.

Duane Reade

There’s more than one right way to be customer obsessed on Twitter, and drugstore chain Duane Reade gets there in a slightly different fashion than JetBlue. Both of these companies’ profile pages are well done, and both companies follow more accounts than average.The difference comes in the content of the tweets, and the information each company chooses to share. See what I mean:

– Duane Reade is based in New York City, and the city is a constant theme in their tweets. It’s a great way of saying “We live here, and we care about this place, too!” Duane Reade’s Twitter feed is also full of tweets about area events but not in a self-serving way. Most of the events the company tweets about have little or no apparent connection to the company.

– You’ll also find plenty of photo and video content shared on Duane Reade’s Twitter stream. Cityscapes bump up against silly pet pictures and odes to things like National Hammock Day in a way that makes the account feel more personal than corporate, which is tough to pull off.

– Like JetBlue, Duane Reade does a great job of replying to customers in a personal, timely way and sharing customer tweets. The company also embraces the language and intent of social media, dropping in the occasional bit of Internet slang or emoticon, and linking its various social feeds together.

In the end, customers want to be treated like human beings, not data points, and both JetBlue and Duane Reade embrace that with every detail. It all starts, though, with simple things. Reply to people promptly, with personalized messages, and share relevant, interesting content.The effort you put into being customer obsessed will be more than reciprocated by the return on relationship you build as a result.

Photo: iStockphoto

Originally posted AUGUST 18, 2014 American Express Open Forum blog