Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CRM Returns $5.60 for Every Dollar Invested

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications continue to deliver high return on investment (ROI), with an average benefit of $5.60 returned for every dollar spent, according to a Nucleus Research analysis.

Where other software areas show smaller incremental returns after reaping the greatest benefits in initial deployments, CRM was found to deliver significant ROI throughout its lifecycle, often enhanced by further investment. Organizations effectively deploying secondary applications, such mobile, social, marketing optimization and sales analytics can see triple-digit ROI while greatly increasing employee productivity. By deploying applications that run on top of existing CRM, companies have also seen an improvement in business forecasting and an increase in sales.

With reductions in the cost of deployment via the cloud, a focus on end user productivity, and a push towards social and mobile applications, there have been fundamental shifts in the goals of the CRM market that contribute to maintaining a high ROI. This has driven vendors to produce more rapid deployments that are developed through continued innovation in this space.

More information on CRM can be found at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Study Reveals Challenges Midmarket CMOs Face to Sustain Brand Loyalty with Today's Social Consumer

A new global IBM study of Midmarket Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) revealed that building and sustaining brand loyalty is the top concern for today's midmarket CMOs, yet 72 percent do not feel sufficiently prepared to effectively build this loyalty. Additionally, 70 percent of midmarket CMOs are concerned about data explosion, as they are tasked with making sense of highly complex information generated constantly from a variety of sources such as consumer blogs, tweets, mobile texts and videos.

Today's CMOs need to be prepared to deal with an empowered consumer who is impacting brands instantly on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels. 61 percent of midmarket CMOs are struggling with how to manage the impact of social media will have on their marketing function. Many CMOs today are focused primarily on understanding market segments versus understanding the individual consumer in order to shape marketing strategies. Fewer than 50 percent of midmarket CMOs are taking the time to understand and evaluate the impact of consumer generated reviews, blogs and third party rankings on their brands.

The proliferation of social media and mobile devices is creating a new breed of consumers who are digitally savvy and able to quickly compare and evaluate which products and services they want to buy. Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, yet 62 percent of midmarket CMOs report being underprepared to deal with the proliferation of channels and devices. This increase in the mobile shopping trend further increases marketing challenges, complicates data collection and analysis, and threatens both customer service and customer retention.

Like their peers in larger organizations, midmarket CMOs are also being held more financially accountable to their organizations to produce business outcomes at a faster pace. The study also revealed that while midmarket CMOs believe ROI on marketing dollars spent will be the most important measuring stick for determining success of their business by 2015, the study noted 72 percent of CMOs are underprepared to manage the plummeting level of brand loyalty.

Aside from current economic conditions, there's an even bigger factor impacting brand loyalty. Innovations in technology and the spread of social networking have provided buyers with new tools for discovering, comparing, evaluating, choosing and experiencing brands. With the growth of social networks and a need for transparency, trust and personal exchanges between the consumer and the marketplace are now forming the cornerstone of small and midsize marketing efforts.

More information on brand loyalty and the social customer can be found at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Consumerization Will Drive At Least Four Mobile Management Styles

Consumerization is now the primary driver of the mobile universe, and CIOs must be ready to embrace a range of more-flexible approaches to their mobile strategy, according to Gartner, Inc. At least four new mobile management styles will emerge as leaders because different groups of staff will demand different approaches.
Consumerization, app stores and mobile ecosystems are causing a proliferation of new applications and services in the enterprise. Employees increasingly seek to take full advantage of better browsers and innovative applications from app stores. Gartner estimates that 18 billion apps will be downloaded in 2011, up 114.5 percent from 2010 and will rise to 31 billion in 2012.

This array of mobile devices and applications leads to changes in society. Employees are behaving more like consumers, demanding a wider choice of devices, exploiting consumer devices and applications from app stores, and adopting new strategies such as ‘bring your own’ (BYO) IT, where employees use personally-owned tablets and smartphones for work. As a result, the distinctions between a person's role as an employee and as a consumer are more blurred than ever.

Gartner expects several new mobile management styles to include:

Control-oriented. The primary consideration is to guarantee quality of service, security, support and cost. To assure functionality, service levels, performance and security, the organization provides and strictly manages devices, contracts and applications. All aspects of the device and its applications are controlled and supported by corporate IT.

Choice-oriented. The primary goal is user satisfaction, typically in cases where users demand a greater choice of devices, but have relatively undemanding application and service needs. Undemanding needs are a necessary consequence of greater choice, because it's usually prohibitively expensive to support complex requirements on a wide range of platforms. User satisfaction cannot imply excessive risk, so the business won't abandon all management responsibility, but will exert lightweight control over devices and the service portfolio, often by limiting the range of services provided and choosing inherently safe architectures, such as a thin client. Such control tends to be more in the cloud than on the device, and support is typically much more limited than in the control-oriented regime.

Innovation-oriented. The goal is to empower users who want substantial autonomy and are often in roles over which IT has little or no control. Users want to experiment with applications and services, and develop new techniques and processes. They are in charge, and no reasonable device, application or service request can be refused. The IT organization won't abandon responsibility for critical issues such as data privacy and corporate risk; however, the controls will likely be more policy-oriented than technology-oriented. Typical users are independent, often technically sophisticated, and may not want support (even where it can be provided), but may accept advice and training.

Hands-off. The goal is to take the minimum level of responsibility for mobile devices and services, typically by not providing them. This regime is not about avoiding responsibility, but finding approaches that mean it's not necessary to take responsibility. It includes concepts such as employee-owned devices and BYO IT. Typically, IT has little or no support responsibility for devices, and may relinquish responsibility for many services (for example, by requiring users to provide their own mobile e-mail or by adopting hosted services). Any controls that are necessary will be applied in the cloud, in applications or by policies.

More information on CRM and mobile management can be found at

Monday, November 7, 2011

B2B Marketing Executives Missing Out on Social Media Potential Despite Seeing Big Benefits

Only eight percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies in the United States are extensively leveraging social media, even though 65 percent of marketing executives surveyed by Accenture identified social media as important to their companies’ business.
The survey found that only five percent of marketing executives said they formally integrate social media with their other customer and marketing initiatives, and a full quarter of the respondents (26 percent) said they were only slightly engaged or not engaged at all with the medium.

One apparent reason for the lack of social media integration and engagement is a concern about making the wrong social media investment. Only one-in-four (24 percent) of respondents in companies that had invested in social media felt very confident about their company’s social media investment, while 19 percent had no confidence in those investments at all. One-fifth (23 percent) said their companies’ social media initiatives were delayed because their CEO was not convinced that there would be long-term success in using the medium.

Accenture’s research suggests that managers must also become more confident in their social media strategies and investments to make social media part of the core, rather than an add-on, to their overall strategy.

Limited measurement of ROI

Although measurement of return on investment (ROI) is considered a key factor in a successful social media program, only 11 percent of the marketing executives surveyed said their companies currently have systems in place to measure and track their social media ROI. However, more than one-third (35 percent) of marketing executives surveyed did recognize improvements in measurement as a factor in helping them be more effective users of social media.

While measurement remains an issue among the companies represented in the survey, the results show that the reasons for investing in social media have been clearly defined. In descending order, the motivating factors for investing in social media are: to increase engagement and positive customer experiences (60 percent), influence brand reputation (59 percent), create new revenue opportunities (52 percent), respond to customer demand (40 percent), reduce costs (25 percent) and keep up with what competitors are doing (24 percent).

More information on CRM and Social Media can be found at