24Jul

Great Productivity Tips – How to Use the Infinite Number of Email Addresses Gmail Gives You

How to Use the Infinite Number of Email Addresses Gmail Gives You
// Lifehacker

How to Use the Infinite Number of Email Addresses Gmail Gives You

One trick you may or may not have picked up about Gmail is that you can add in periods anywhere in the front part of your address and it makes no difference whatsoever: john.smith@gmail.com works just the same as johnsmith@gmail.com. What’s more, you can add a plus sign and any word before the @ sign (e.g. johnsmith+hello@gmail.com) and messages will still reach you. If these tweaks make no difference, then why use them? One major reason: filters. Read more…

24Jul

People are more important than technology, according to new Altimeter Group study

People are more important than technology, according to new Altimeter Group study
// VentureBeat

People are more important than technology, according to new Altimeter Group study
Image Credit: Brian Solis

The Altimeter Group has just released The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, its second report on the topic this year. Principal analyst Brian Solis spent time researching and interviewing leading businesses from different industries to see how they interact with customers through technology. The challenges faced in the process were also examined.

The report defines “digital transformation” as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

The report indicates that customer journey mapping is listed as the “epicenter” to drive transformation.

However, although 88 percent of the executives and digital strategists interviewed said they were undergoing digital transformation, only 22 percent  claimed they had mapped out customer journeys. Thus, the Altimeter Group concluded that digital transformation is a concept many strategists are “now beginning to understand and pursue.”

Also, 42 percent of study participants claimed they have not officially researched the digital customer journey but have updated digital touch points with new social and mobile technologies and investments.

“Digital transformation is much more human than it is digital,” Brian Solis said. “Technology was meant to help businesses optimize processes and scale to become more efficient. Businesses got further and further away from their customers. Look at customer service, look at CRM, look at automated marketing. All of these things took the human out of the equation, and that’s not alright.”

The Altimeter Group’s report also ranks the most important digital transformation initiatives. Improving processes that expedite changes to digital properties like websites and social platforms is at the top with 80 percent  of interviewees agreeing that it’s “very important”. Updating websites and ecommerce programs for mobile came in second at 71 percent. Integrating all online service efforts into a frictionless customer experience is third at 70 percent.

According to the study, company culture is the number one challenge facing digital transformation today. Sixty-three percent of the interviewed participants put it at the top of the list, outranking cooperation failure and budgetary issues. Meanwhile, three percent of participants claimed that culture is not an issue.

“Executives of bigger businesses spend their days reporting to stakeholders and shareholders. Startup entrepreneurs report to investors. They get so hunkered down that they lose perspective,” Solis explained. “There’s no sense of urgency to [change culture] most of the time because you’re still having to make the numbers, you’re still reporting on a quarterly basis – you’re operating.”

Further research from Altimeter indicates that support from executive and C-suite leadership is needed to make culture change. 54 percent of companies were in consensus that CMOs were the top executives championing digital transformation efforts, while 42 percent claimed CEOs were.

Altimeter’s study states that “change agents” should also be present in a company order to drive transformation.

“Their whole mission is to get other people to see things their way, but it only works when they’re able to get people to see things at a bigger level, at a brand level, at a customer-centric level, not just because of technology, technology, technology,” Solis said. “That’s a mistake that a lot of people make is that they get too caught up in technology.

Brian Solis is a Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group. Brian works with businesses on new media strategies and frameworks to build bridges between companies and customers, employees, and other important stakeholders. Additionally, he s… read more »

23Jul

Most Companies Expect CMO to Lead Digital Transformation

Most Companies Expect CMO to Lead Digital Transformation
// Advertising Age – Digital

A world where marketing, sales, account management and finance all coordinate their interactions with the customer — sharing notes and data to provide a unified experience — is still far off for most businesses. But with the help of new digital tools, nearly every company is aiming to get there via a “digital transformation,” according to new research from the Altimeter Group.

Eighty eight percent of companies said they are going through a formal digital transformation effort this year, according to the report. The trend is one marketers should pay attention to, as 54% of companies surveyed by Altimeter said the mandate to lead the digital transformation is driven by the CMO. CEOs, the report found, champion digital transformation 42% of the time, with CIOs coming in at 29%. Respondents were asked to select all that apply.

“The role of marketing is bigger than just awareness and discovery, it’s about the relationship,” said Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the report.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

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