Enterprise Solutions Tag

Organizations need agility to craft and distribute useful marketing messages that can convert in a highly segmented, fickle marketplace. With seemingly countless marketing solutions now available, the advent of the ad stack – both independent and platform-based – is in full swing. Of the many different options available, an innovative solution from one of the digital environment’s older and well-established names is leading the charge for comprehensive, flexible, vertically integrated marketing suites that is redefining the industry – Adobe.

Adobe’s Marketing Cloud at a Glance

Available on a subscription basis with several optional components that range in specialty from Adobe’s creative foundation to analytics platforms, campaign management tools, and social media integration, Marketing Cloud aims to be a one-stop shop for organizations needing a comprehensive solution without relying on different vendors.

Using the universal Adobe interface as the basis for most of the component UIs, Adobe takes full advantage of its popularity to create an immediate sense of familiarity between the user and the many different parts available within the platform. Perhaps more importantly, however, organizations can choose which of those components are necessary for their specific needs, not forced to subscribe to unneeded functions that would increase costs and complexity.

As a direct competitor to similar platforms from both digital titans like Google and Yahoo as well as ad stacks from specialized vendors, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud shines with its ability to seamlessly combine immersive, engaging, customized creative with the distribution channels most impactful in reaching a highly segmented audience with wide-ranging affinities. Its analytical tools allow organizations to track results in real time, measuring effectiveness through the ever-important metrics needed to inform and guide the campaign amongst a crowded and complicated marketplace.

Although a streamlined and efficient ad stack solution for any organization requiring a considerable degree of vertical integration, those that are unfamiliar with the classic Adobe UI face a steep learning curve that, while in no way too great of a barrier to prevent proper implementation and usage, can be somewhat overwhelming at first. With an abundance of training materials available as well as outstanding customer service, however, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud should always be on the short list of options for organizations in search of a potent ad stack that blends utility with convenience, power with flexibility.

Is Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Right for You?

As compelling a solution as Adobe’s Marketing Cloud can be for most organizations; it’s not the only solution available. In fact, when an organization is in need of a new ad stack platform, the decision should always begin with a choice between a comprehensive, unified platform and an independent ad stack built of several best-in-breed vendors that are market leaders in specific functions but don’t necessarily work well in conjunction with one another.

Simply put, organizations must choose between a high degree of convenience and efficiency versus maximum ability. For instance, if an organization needs a comprehensive analytical platform that specializes in isolating and analyzing nuanced metrics, they might be best served to build an independent ad stack built around a specialized analytics platform. In this case, while a vertically integrated solution like the Adobe Marketing Cloud is abundantly useful and more than adequate for the vast majority of organizations, it’s analytical abilities might fall short of this highly specialized need.

For organizations looking for a combination of power and convenience, the Adobe Marketing Cloud is writing a new ad stack narrative, one that effectively addresses nearly all of the marketing needs for the majority of companies within the marketplace. Organizations no longer have to choose between ability and efficiency.

Salesforce released its Einstein platform to the public in Spring 2017, giving the average user access to powerful CRM with promised AI predictive analytic powers. The release came with a tidal wave of hype, promising revolutionary changes to marketing departments. Companies have had time to implement Einstein for a period of months, so accurate reviews are in. Experts believe that Salesforce Einstein is an excellent tool with a number of useful analytic uses. While it isn’t entirely stand-alone, the basic platform does more than simply complete data-based applications. Einstein probably deserves about 80 percent of the original hype. As stats go, that’s not bad.

The Hype

Salesforce hailed its own product by announcing that “The world’s No. 1 CRM is now the world’s smartest CRM . . .” The company also emphasized Einstein didn’t need the major customization that other similar platforms required because it contained “state-of-the-art algorithms built directly into the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Platform . . .” You get the picture. What was already a premier product would now usher marketing into the promised land of predictive data, and ultimately, finalized sales, enchanted customers, and home-grown marketing gurus.

The Reality

Salesforce Einstein Analytics Platform costs $75 per month per user, approximately the same price as Adobe Creative Cloud, which features Adobe Sensei. For that reasonable price, you get many features, including advanced sales and service apps. You can use them to analyze data from any source up to 100 million data rows, according to Salesforce. You can also create your own custom apps and dashboards and have access to all the online training you need. The platform isn’t as advanced as others, but it provides an advantage to companies without their own data geniuses on staff. It takes time to set up and manage effectively, despite the rosy predictions on the Salesforce site.

AI Capacity

Some experts say that Einstein doesn’t include actual “cognitive computing” (AI) but instead uses machine learning (ML). However, the company’s partnerships with Watson and other industry leaders provide Einstein users with impressive analytic power. For marketing departments, the pertinent question isn’t “Is this ‘real’ AI?”, but “How does it help us do our jobs?”

The machine learning allows the program to study data and determine, for itself, how to predict the future. Einstein constantly analyzes new data and makes model adjustments, determining what tasks you need to address next in your marketing efforts. Einstein can tell you which sales prospect is “most likely to close” and also sort a mailing list according to who’s most likely to open your email.

Einstein goes way beyond simply organizing data. It can, on a daily basis, make your sales department more efficient and effective. Whether it’s defined as actual AI probably won’t affect you or your employees.

Other Features

Salesforce offers other advanced features. For instance, your company can also use the Product Identification feature to manage inventory and improve sales potential. In addition, the Brand Detection feature helps your marketing department learn more about customer preferences and offers tools to refine sales campaigns. The technology also offers features that increase customer satisfaction. Visual search employs visual filters that let consumers find products that meet their needs. They can also take product photos and find out where they’re available.

Nuts and Bolts

Salesforce touts Einstein as a way to democratize AI. You don’t have to have your own data scientist to join the marketing analytic revolution. It’s not as simple as subscribing to the service, however. While many features are packaged in easy-to-use Cloud applications, customizing it for your particular company takes a little work and some online training. Yes, it’s pretty easy to use, but like any platform, it requires study and practice, particularly on the part of admins to fully use it. You have to build a model for your business and also refine your data so you get the best results. In short: Excellence in, excellence out.

Company Success

Salesforce boasts a number of high-profile success stories, and these online testimonials pack a punch. Companies such as Adidas, AWS, US Bank and Farmer’s Insurance are on record praising Salesforce offerings.

Kone, a leader in escalators, elevators and moving walkways, used Salesforce Einstein in conjunction with IBM Watson to build a customer-centered company in lieu of a hardware-centered one, allowing them to thrive around the world. They attribute much of their recent success to the Salesforce platform.

The Bottom Line

Salesforce has been a wildly successful Cloud Computing, CRM-based company for some time, but their addition of Einstein to their customer offerings has enhanced their business and made AI (really machine learning) more available to the those who aren’t data experts.

Einstein is not the most advanced platform you can choose, and you may need to pair it with Watson or add other Salesforce products to reach the productivity level that you desire. Still, experts in the industry rank it pretty high as a tool that helps most marketing departments. Will it unleash marketing magic on its own? No. But it will give more power to your marketing efforts. For companies looking for predictive analytics, Einstein is worth a try.

Have you ever been working in a Workfront project and needed to find the point of contact or name of the person who originally submitted the request? If so, you’ve probably also experienced the annoyance of having to navigate back to the original request just to find that information. As you’ve probably already guessed if you read the title, there’s a much simpler way. With a little easy set-up on the front end you can save yourself some serious aggravation.

 

  • Add a calculated field to the request custom form
  • Give the field a name
  • Set the format type as needed (for all the list fields below the format will be “Text”)
  • Add the appropriate issue calculation in the calculation area (see listing below) and click Save
  • Add the same calculated field to the corresponding project custom form
  • In the calculation area enter the name of the calculated field and click Save

 

And that’s it! Pretty easy, huh? So what these calculations are going to do is create a field on the issue form that references a native issue object (project queue, original requestor, etc.) and—since a field can’t self-reference—the project calculation will point to the same field on the only possible related object: the request. Repeat the above process for any additional data points you want to capture.

 

Requestor name

Field name: Original Requestor

Issue calculation: Owner.Name

Project calculation: Original Requestor

 

Queue project

Field name: Queue Project

Issue calculation: Project.Name

Project calculation: Queue Project

 

Parent request type

Field name: Parent Request Type

Issue calculation: Queue Topic.Parent Topic Group.Name

Project calculation: Parent Request Type

 

Request type

Field name: Request Type

Issue calculation: Queue Topic.Name

Project calculation: Request Type

 

Requestor company

Field name: Requestor Company

Issue calculation: Owner.Company.Name

Project calculation: Requestor Company

 

Request reference number

Field name: Request Reference Number

Issue calculation: Reference Number

Project calculation: Request Reference Number

 

Primary contact

Field name: Request Primary Contact

Issue calculation: Primary Contact

Project calculation: Request Primary Contact

 

 

Blockchain is a pretty popular buzzword these days. The sudden boom of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin brought a lot of attention to the technology. Blockchain is much more than just a buzz, however, and it’s becoming very apparent it has the power to change the way business is done in nearly every industry — from banking to SEO.

What Is Blockchain?

It’s a complicated technology, but essentially a blockchain is an immutable, decentralized ledger. That means that instead of a sole third-party record keeper, every party to a blockchain would have a record much like a spreadsheet. As transactions occur, the spreadsheets are simultaneously updated. If someone falsifies data on their spreadsheet, the blockchain would notice the discrepancy from the majority of the records and nullify the bad data. Because it’s nearly impossible to alter the data on all the ledgers, a blockchain is a very secure way to verify and move or exchange assets. It also creates a permanent trail from start to finish. That trail can guarantee the legitimacy of key aspects of SEO — determining if web traffic is human or bot, detecting black hat methods much more easily and reducing the staggering amount of money lost to digital ad fraud.

Link Building

Link building has long been an important part of SEO. That doesn’t mean the same tactics that applied in the 90’s can work today. For example, it’s possible to see some ranking boost from blog comment linking, but those look more like spam every day and their weighting is significantly less than it used to be. Natural link building has long been the most effective strategy. Blockchain will make it way easier for the major search engines to detect and penalize any website they catch buying paid links. Though it’s discouraged today, enforcement is difficult and under-utilized.

Verified Data

User interaction data matters a lot. It’s helpful to your marketing team and necessary for web crawlers to rank your site. That data can be diluted by bot traffic and hurt your rankings. Implementing a blockchain solution can verify human traffic and separate it from the bots, giving you better insights and higher rankings. Paid digital advertising is full of fraud because it’s currently impossible to tell if an ad was clicked by a human or bot. Blockchain technology is a very viable solution to this multi-billion dollar a year problem by connecting advertisers directly with verified potential customers.

Keyword Research

It’s difficult to determine just how a keyword plays out in different settings. The results vary across devices, location, users etc. With a token incentive, keyword research could utilize background space on thousands of devices to create an in-depth aggregate of data-heavy results.

 

While the full impacts are still uncertain at this junction, it’s not likely to be long before technology leaders start to leverage blockchain as a means for securing and processing interactions as much as they do transactions. And that means that you, as a marketer, have a whole new ballgame to learn. Thankfully, it’s likely to be one that rewards good SEO habits and practices, stamps out bad, and works to create a more democratic playing field.

Three ways to know if agile marketing is right for your business

With the growing competition in the marketplace, brands from every sector are looking for new ways to be innovative and rise above the fray. Innovation means not only a willingness to implement change but also an openness to trying new approaches to doing business.

For marketers, this can be exceedingly challenging. Marketing professionals in top businesses across the globe are constantly keeping tabs on changes in their industry and working to identify new ways to get ahead of the competition. This includes studying marketing trends, analyzing the wealth of data that is currently available about consumers, and tapping all available resources to launch new marketing campaigns.

With the highly competitive nature of today’s global economy, it’s difficult to know what strategies can help your business beat the competition. That’s why marketing professionals are turning to agile marketing. This concept, which was born in the information technology industry, has implications for the business world. Agile marketing offers a new way of thinking about business, with concepts that can be applied across the organization to produce better outcomes.

If you want to know if agile marketing is a good fit for your business, take a look at your company and ask yourself these three questions.

How easily does your business respond to change?

While many marketers rely on techniques that are tried and true, this method calls for something entirely different. To take advantage of agile marketing, companies need to monitor the success of their business activities and be prepared to change. This method of marketing calls for validated learning over conventional thinking, prioritizing the kind of customer engagement that has the data to back it up. You’ll need to create marketing plans for both the short-term and the long-term, as well as the middle ground, and make adjustments as you go, using the insights gained from digital marketing analytics.

Agile marketing is best when teams can be flexible in their marketing work and quick to adapt. There is still a role for managers to play, but the business will need to be flexible in order to accommodate changing priorities. With this approach, small marketing experiments can take businesses further than large initiatives that can’t be adjusted down the road.

Can your team identify and adapt to customer desires?

At its heart, agile marketing is about putting the customer first and responding proactively to the changing habits and desires of consumers. This means you’ll need to view your relationship with customers as a collaborative one, where their input on your products, services and marketing efforts hold just as much weight as the expert opinions on your own team.

By implementing agile marketing, you’ll be able to discover a clean customer profile and learn a lot about what consumers want from your company. This will take a higher priority than business predictions, because the marketing method centers on meeting customer needs and adapting the marketing to better suit the customer. This could mean changing marketing and media platforms, using more direct campaigns, adding value to products and services, or adjusting your business plan to suit consumer needs. It may also mean new processes, evaluations and surveys, and reiterations of existing business marketing strategies. They key is to keep the changing desires of the customer at the center of the work you do.

What resources within your organization can support agile marketing?

Before you begin the journey into agile marketing, ask yourself if your business is ready for agile marketing. Take a look at the leaders and teams within your organization, and determine whether they adapt well to change and whether they have the tools they need in order to make major adjustments. Managers and marketing professionals at every level will need to feel empowered to respond to customer opinions, and your business will need to have a high degree of flexibility in order to make agile marketing work.

As a team, you will still need a strategic vision, but you should plan to revisit the vision at each major milestone, in order to determine whether the new strategy is working. You’ll also need to make sure you are properly staffed to handle frequent releases of updated products, services or materials. Your team should be prepared to work collaboratively and with a high degree of respect for one another, while also moving through several learning cycles in order to find out what tactics are most effective. You’ll also need to have team members on staff who can provide support, provide a thorough understanding of data analytics, and keep in frequent contact with the customer. The data will help reveal possible steps forward and the customer feedback will tell you if you’re new approach of agile marketing is working for them.

Agile marketing calls for flexible leadership, business and marketing innovation, and a commitment to the customer, all driven by data and evidence of changing trends. It will require constant change, reliable problem-solving, and agility from the entire team. The end result for teams who can successfully implement agile marketing is a competitive advantage that is unique to the company, which will lead to enhanced customer appreciation and loyalty.

One of the enemies of long-term commercial success is complacency. While last year’s bottom line might have made your stakeholders happy, this year represents a completely different challenge. For long-term success in the digital age, you need to be sure that all your digital channels are performing.

Whether it’s your social media channels or your websites, your online marketing tools need to be continually monitored. Not only do these tools need to reach your target audience, but they also need to deliver conversions. There are five digital marketing analytics that can show you which sites are successful or where they need improvement.

 

1. Traffic

Traffic is perhaps the most obvious marketing analytic large businesses need to be fully aware of. But this isn’t just a counting exercise. To effectively tailor your various marketing messages to the relevant audiences, you need to know exactly what is bringing traffic to your websites.

There are five channels that should be tracked on an ongoing basis: organic, direct, referral, social and paid. In the early days of the internet, organic traffic was the most important, as it refers to the users who arrive at your website after using a search engine for a particular keyword. But as the likes of Google makes manipulating search results more and more difficult, referral, social and paid channels have become increasingly significant.

 

2. Conversions

While high levels of traffic are always desirable, they can count for very little if people land on your website and quickly lose interest. Attracting traffic is only the beginning of the digital marketing journey. Once visitors have arrived, you need to convert them to customers or active engagers.

Increasing conversion rates involves a range of different measures, including the use of calls to action, effective contact forms, multimedia, visual storytelling and content with value. If your website isn’t turning visitors into customers, you have a real problem — which is why monitoring conversions is so important.

 

3. Engagement

You may have created a slick, professional and effective commercial for your social media channels, but it will count for nothing if people don’t see it. There are many reasons why people don’t see certain ads, including the time they are released and what is happening in the world when they are running. In some instances, consumers are either tuning out these messages or simply switching them off.

Measuring engagement usually refers to the likes, shares and comments your messages accrue on social media channels. When people actively engage, you can be reasonably sure that they’ve received your message. But then the message is missed, engagement statistics can often help you to understand why.

 

4. Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates usually pertain to pay-per-click ads (PPC). They are a measure of how many times your ads are clicked in relation to how many times they show up on consumers’ screens (impressions). Low click-through rates can indicate several deficiencies in your marketing strategy, including an irrelevant landing page, a weak offer or an inappropriate target audience.

 

5. Site Loading Speed

Internet users are now more impatient than ever before. According to Kissmetrics, people will simply hit the “back” button if a site they’ve landed on takes more than three seconds to load. The best tool for measuring site speed is Google PageSpeed Insights. Not only does this free service give you your website’s official loading time, it recommends how to resolve any issues.

Identifying the most important digital marketing analytics and monitoring them on an ongoing basis is crucial to the health of your bottom line. But when you identify potentially damaging issues, responding quickly with the help of marketing specialists is absolutely vital.

This year at Leap London, our very own Deven Ravel, former Marine Captain, gave a brilliant presentation on the lessons he’s taken away from his time in the Marines and how he’s applied them to real-world, corporate challenges. Deven told the story of his tour in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province where two members of his squad suffered life-changing injuries in a Taliban ambush and how those events proved to be the best change agents he’d ever encountered—forcing the Marines to adapt to their changed circumstances and breaking new ground in their lives.

He set out 10 key lessons from his experience:

1. Know yourself

It’s not just what you do. You have to think of yourself as the whole organization. Look at the people and the tools you have. What are the expectations of those people? And what about the people you are going to need but haven’t hired yet? Are you thinking two steps ahead?

2. Know your mission

Solutions need to be aligned up and down and organization. This means ensuring that strategic goals (business objectives) are aligned with operational goals (processes and procedures) and tactical goals (delivery).

3. Study history

Know the culture of your organization and understand where it came from. Understanding the history of an organization—knowing where its core values come from—can help tailor change programs to the character of the business.

4. Set expectations

Clear expectations prevent wriggle-room for mistakes. It means you can ask, ‘Do you not understand what was expected?’ or ‘Did I explain it wrong?’

5. Be brilliant in the basics

What are the core standards you expect everyone to have? What are the basic skills that are needed? It’s not about job performance; this is about bare minimum expectations. For his squad of Marines, that meant basic first aid, understanding communication signals, and weapons training.

6. Standardize communications

Define what different communication channels are used for. Make it clear when a team should use instant messenger tools like Slack, email, or Workfront to share information.

7. Build trust

This is hard to measure—it comes from the gut. The key step is to identify change agents within an organization who can help promote change. Those change agents have common attributes among their peers:

  • Influential
  • Respected
  • Impartial
  • Positive
  • Empathetic
  • Proactive

8. Decentralize and empower

If you have established clear expectations, clear communication and aligned objectives, smaller teams will be empowered to act and innovate.

9. Execute with a plan

We ask, ‘What works for the tools you have and the type of work you do?’ If the plan doesn’t fit the tools, the people, or the type of organization, it’s going to be tough to execute.

10. Reflect openly and often

You can only reflect openly and often once you’ve built a culture of trust in your organization. As managers, we need to ask, ‘How can I help you do this better?’

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If you haven’t heard of our new productLeapPoint Onewe encourage to check it out immediately. And if you haven’t seen our flashy new video promoting LeapPoint One, we definitely encourage you to watch that too. In fact, do that first. We’re pretty proud of it.

LeapPoint One is a revolutionary product for any shared service organization. It sits on top of your project intake system, taking the place of the standard request form interface. It allows you to provide both visual and verbal details about the products or services your organization offers with a level of depth and interactivity that simply aren’t possible with current systems on the market today. The application provides a familiar, e-commerce style experience that makes it easy for requesters to not only find what they’re looking for, but make multiple requests at once, saving them time and effort. One the back end, the application syncs with a myriad of enterprise systems allowing you the flexibility to bundle similar offerings together as one “product”. Is a particular offering split between marketing and IT? Not a problem. One can take a single request and initiate a project in Workfront and a separate one in JIRA. Need an account created or updated in Salesforce at the same time? Easy as pie. No additional requests required.

As a shared service, One allows you to offer the same level of professionalism and experience as a customer-facing organization.

If you’d like to learn more about One or see a demo, reach out to uswe love showing off our new toy. But seriously, watch that video first.