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Keeping Data Up to Date Is an All-Hands Evolution
June 27, 2013
Some things in life are fleeting -- the lifespan on the mayfly, the appearance of a rainbow, the pure white of the first snow of winter. Some things in your CRM system are fleeting too -- namely, the quality of your data. Did you know that every year, somewhere between 25 percent and 40 percent of your customer data ages out, goes out of date, or otherwise becomes obsolete?
Laying the Foundation for the Internet of Things
June 22, 2013
U.S. residential broadband Internet penetration has grown more than 400 percent since 2002, when just 16.5 million U.S. households had fast Internet service. The increased presence of these high-speed connections has implications for a variety of devices, which increasingly are arriving in the home with embedded connectivity capabilities. So far, the market is very fragmented.
Your Social Media Manager Needs to Know Your Business
June 20, 2013
We all know by now that social media is important for business success. It plays a role in sales, marketing and support. Then there's the idea of social CRM -- on a basic level, the inclusion of social media-generated data in the customer record -- which can help shift the way a business interacts with customers to a more intimate and effective level. That's common knowledge.
5 Places Customer Relationships Go to Die
June 14, 2013
Building a customer relationship -- the kind that lasts a long time -- is a not an easy thing. There are lots of occasions where things can go awry, touch points where signals can get crossed and communications that can unwittingly turn a customer off. In a lot of cases, the conclusion is triggered by something the business does that brings the relationship to a premature end.
Spreading Your E-Commerce Wings
June 10, 2013
Much has been said of the opportunities that lie in emerging retail markets, especially in countries or regions that have been less affected by recession. For many Western companies, however, a lack of confidence and basic local knowledge is stifling opportunity for international expansion. There are two key markets that I consider to be low-hanging fruit for U.S. merchants: Russia and China.
How's Your Mistake Process Management?
June 06, 2013
Perfection is elusive, if not impossible to achieve. Businesses are made up of people, and people are imperfect. They make mistakes -- mistakes involving internal operations and mistakes that affect customers. How many have planned for those inevitable instances when people prove fallible? Not many. We don't like to envision ourselves as vulnerable to making mistakes.
CRM Vendors Are the Worst CRM Practitioners
May 31, 2013
I've worked as a journalist covering CRM, and I've worked with vendors trying to explain and educate potential customers about CRM. In both roles, I've seen one troubling trend that very few vendors seem able to buck. That trend is this: Most CRM vendors suck at CRM. I know -- if anyone should get CRM right, it should be the CRM vendors. They should be modeling proper usage to their customers.
Collaborative Online Shopping: The Next Wave in E-Commerce
May 28, 2013
Shopping with friends has been a mainstay of the retail industry since stores were first introduced. Online shopping, on the other hand, has largely remained a solo experience. This is changing. That's because the Internet is becoming a social platform, as seen in the explosive growth and worldwide popularity of social networks like Facebook and Pinterest.
Integration Plus Intelligence Equals Multichannel Campaign Success
May 23, 2013
The personality inventory known as the "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator" is premised on the idea that different people process information in different ways. Some people are verbal processors. Others are visual processors. Some people respond more strongly to images -- others to text. The most effective way to learn is to map the different learning styles to each individual's characteristic strengths.
The 5-Step Plan for Picking the Right CRM Consultant
May 21, 2013
Pretty much all CRM deployments need some degree of customization, the exceptions being those rare situations where businesses have very simple needs. Customizations can be as simple as the modification of a field to accommodate a local convention for addresses, or as complex as the addition of workflows that introduce social media data or specific sales and marketing behaviors.
Criticism: A Security Chief's Most Valuable Resource
May 17, 2013
This past week, a lesson about enterprise information security found its way to me via a somewhat unorthodox channel: specifically, an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. In this particular episode, the upshot was that Ramsay wasn't able to help. Why not? The owners weren't able to take criticism. There's a lesson in this for those of us in the network and security space.
Connecting With Key Influencers in the Industry Analyst Community
May 16, 2013
If presenting to the technology industry analyst community is so important, why do most companies do such a poor job? I have participated in more analyst briefings over the last 25 years than I can remember. Companies all want the same positive result, but they all go about it very differently. Only a very few are well done and get good results. So what is the path to success?
Tap CRM to Give Your Customers a Pleasant Surprise
May 07, 2013
So you have your CRM application in place and humming, collecting information about customers and potential customers and organizing it -- but how are you using it? Most companies pour it back into sales, marketing and support to keep feeding those machines, which is good. It's the way you realize the value from your CRM investment.
Social Savvy Beats Cold Read for Warming Up to Customers
April 30, 2013
If you're a dedicated skeptic like I am, you probably know the way a psychic's cold read works. Start by asking a broad question that fits almost anyone -- like, "Have you lost someone you love?" Allow the mark to fill in the blanks, and then ask further leading questions based on information fed to you until the mark thinks you're actually communicating with a dead relative.
Android: A Second Career in Security?
April 23, 2013
Many of us have a wealth of decommissioned corporate-provisioned mobile devices: We've bought them, handed them out, and seen them used successfully for years. Now they're on their way to the great docking station in the sky. However, because these devices are already off the books adapting them for specific security functions can mean achieving certain goals practically for free.
Improving IT Ops Service Levels and Efficiency
April 22, 2013
New tools are available to help with service level management, but they require a new perspective on how IT infrastructure components should be managed. The key is to embrace a new ideal of managing every infrastructure component from the perspective of how it impacts end-user service levels. To do this, IT operations teams must understand the three laws of service-oriented IT operations management.
The 6 Secrets of Highly Successful M-Commerce
April 15, 2013
If we take a page out of our not-so-distant past, we can see that on the web, both commerce applications and functionality have contributed to the demise or success of mobile apps. The success of business models, return on investment and viability of mobile initiatives all depend on how well m-commerce is managed and handled.
The Say-Anything Salesperson Is a CRM Killer
April 11, 2013
I was talking to a friend of mine whose company had a rough first quarter. As is often the case, both sales and marketing came under scrutiny; several salespeople were let go, and marketing is now under a microscope. In trying to perform a post-mortem on the problems, we struck upon the issue of salespeople. The sales manager held up a former employee as an example of the kind of people he wanted; this guy was a go-getter.
5 Things That Kill CRM ROI Dead
April 05, 2013
Back in the old days -- like around 2003 -- the rate of what was termed "CRM failure" was unacceptably high. You often heard it bandied about that 70 percent of implementations were failures. That was an estimate -- companies were not coming forward to confess their CRM disasters, so building a scientific sample was impossible. Still, the number reflected the general dissatisfaction.
Grabbing the Mobile App Brass Ring
March 30, 2013
By the end of 2012, 60 percent of U.S. broadband households owned at least one app-enabled consumer electronic device. With connected device ownership at mainstream levels, there is a solid foundation for app development and rapid growth in app economies. Of the primary devices used to access apps, smartphones have the highest penetration rates.

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