Richard Adhikari

About the Author Richard Adhikari


Marketing

SEO, SEM Rule Retailers’ Marketing Budgets

Retailers have been focusing on technologies to measure and assess customer response, and have been using the data they produce to drive e-commerce decisions, suggests a study of 136 enterprise retailers. Enterprise retailers with at least $500 million in annual revenues participated in the study, which was a joint effort of Adam Software, an Aprimo company; WBR Digital; and ChannelAdvisor.

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Trends

3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction: Speed, Efficiency, Knowledge

Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday. Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the U.S., and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.

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Online Advertising

Facebook Launches ‘Discover Growth’ Global B2B Ad Campaign

Facebook on Wednesday launched “Discover Growth,” a global ad campaign targeting B2B marketers.
The 30-day U.S. ad campaign, which will target direct-response marketers as well as traditional brands, will run both on and off the Facebook platform. The on-platform campaign reportedly will consist of one ad per day on Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network.

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Emerging Tech

New AI Assistant Digs Up Specialized Info for Makers

Avnet last week unveiled a beta version of Ask Avnet, an automated virtual assistant that combines artificial intelligence with on-demand access to industry experts. Ask Avnet targets “engineers, designers, hobbyists, makers and purchasing specialists across the electronics supply chain — which includes the product manufacturing chain,” said Kevin Yapp, SVP for digital transformation at Avnet.

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Consumer Protection

Free AI Chatbot Goes to Bat for Beleaguered Consumers

DoNotPay, an AI-based chatbot app created to help fight parking tickets in the UK, now addresses roughly 1,000 consumer concerns and is available throughout the U.S. as well as across the pond. The app’s creator, Stanford student Joshua Browder, announced the expansion last week. Powered by IBM Watson, DoNotPay has about 1,000 bots capable of tackling a variety of legal and service issues.

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Trends

Consumers Are Ready to Embrace ‘Futuristic’ Payment Tech

As many as 80 percent of U.S. residents support frictionless payment methods and technologies, suggests a survey of 1,000 consumers Viewpost published this week. Among its other findings:
Nearly 51 percent of survey participants were paid electronically through direct deposit, and
83 percent of respondents believed paper checks would be eliminated completely within the next 20 years.

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Marketing

The 3 Crucial Stages of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

There are three key stages of implementing a content-based lead generation strategy — content development, targeting and prospect nurturing — that marketers should take into account. However, they often focus on one stage more than the others, missing out on opportunities for optimization. That is one of the findings of a new study from NetLine, a B2B content syndication lead generation network.

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Trends

Consumers Will Pay to Be Pleased: Survey

Eighty percent of participants in a recent Capgemini survey said they would pay more for a better customer experience, and 9 percent were willing to pay up to 50 percent more. Researchers polled 3,300 customers of 125 companies in the utilities, consumer products, retail, retail banking, and Internet-based services sectors. Among the respondents were 450 senior executives from 150 companies.

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Marketing

4 Marketing Strategies That Can Boost B2B Sales: Study

Four business marketing strategies can boost business-to-business sales conversion rates by up to 25 percentage points, based on results of a survey Altman Vilandrie released this week. However, only 15 percent of businesses fully take advantage of them. Even those that do use the strategies sometimes fail to maximize sales conversions because of a lack of coordination and integration.

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Virtual Reality

Google Makes It Easier to Create Virtual Reality Videos

Google has introduced a new video format, VR180, developed with input from its Daydream team. The VR180 format, which displays what’s in front of the user only, delivers good video quality both on desktop PCs and mobile devices. While VR180 videos appear in 2D on desktops and mobile devices, they appear in 3D VR when viewed with Cardboard, Google’s Daydream headset or a PlayStation VR headset.

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Products

SugarCRM Launches Hint, 1st in Relationship Intelligence Line

SugarCRM has launched Hint, the first in its new line of relationship intelligence products. Hint users can enter a few contact details about a person with whom they want to connect, and Hint automatically will search social sources on the Web for information. That data, along with other details from a company’s internal files, will be served up to the user in a side-panel view.

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Trends

Experts Identify 6 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Influencer marketing has become an area of strategic importance for marketing departments, according to Traackr. B2B technology companies are aware of the trend, according to the paper’s coauthor, business consultant Mark Schaefer, but they lag in implementing influencer marketing programs. Interviews with 10 marketing experts suggest that influencer marketing requires a fundamental shift.

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Deals

Digital River, Adobe Strengthen Cloud Commerce Alliance

Digital River has expanded its ties with Adobe Experience Manager to offer an end-to-end cloud commerce solution targeting the high-tech industry. The new solution, which is based on a 2015 agreement to integrate Digital River’s cloud-based Global Commerce Platform with Adobe Experience Manager, offers brands a fresh approach for bolstering their direct channel strategy and competitive position.

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Sales

Hootsuite Adds New Social Selling Tool

Hootsuite on Monday launched Amplify for Selling, a mobile-first solution that helps sales teams succeed on social by generating leads and fostering revenue-driving relationships. The new tool is an extension of Hootsuite’s Amplify employee advocacy product, which is focused on the business-to-business market. Amplify for Selling integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

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Deals

Verizon Makes New Oath

Verizon last week completed its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business assets, merging it with its existing AOL business to create Oath. The new subsidiary encompasses more than 50 media and technology brands — including HuffPost; Yahoo Sports, Finance and Mail; AOL.com; Makers; Tumblr; TechCrunch; Flickr; and Build Studios.

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Deals

Amazon Spends $14B on Whole Foods

Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Whole Foods Market for close to $14 billion in cash. The agreement includes assumption of Whole Foods’ net debt. Whole Foods will run as a wholly independent subsidiary of Amazon. It will continue to operate stores under its own brand and source products from vendors and partners. Cofounder John Mackey will continue in his role as Whole Foods’ CEO.

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E-Commerce

Visa Seeks to Build Online B2B Ecosystem

Visa this week announced the Visa Ready Program for Business Solutions, a strategic framework to help ensure that tech companies integrating with Visa’s B2B payment services and data solutions meet the company’s standards and are market ready. The program lets Visa’s tech partners quickly integrate and approve various Visa B2B payments solutions, including enhanced data, virtual card integration, payables automation, and payment controls.

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Deals

SoftBank to Take Fearsome Robots Off Alphabet’s Hands

SoftBank on Thursday announced that it will acquire robotics company Boston Dynamics from Alphabet, parent company of Google. SoftBank Robotics is the company’s subsidiary that focuses on the development, sales and maintenance of humanoid and service robots. “Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution,” said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.”

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Deals

Pegasystems Nestles in AWS, Azure Clouds

Pegasystems has deepened its 7-year-old relationship with Amazon AWS, and also has teamed up with Microsoft Azure, company officials told Pegaworld attendees on Tuesday. The deals are part of a series of planned partnerships aimed at giving Pega’s clients choice in their cloud environment and avoiding lock-in. Pega last month inked an agreement to deliver Pega software on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

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Enterprise Apps

Salesforce Offers Alternative to Old-School Partner Portals

Salesforce on Wednesday announced the Sales Cloud Lightning Partner Relationship Management app as a replacement for partner portals and electronic data interchanges that lack modern features such as built-in mobile, social analytics and AI capabilities. The PRM app has an interactive Guided Setup Wizard that lets channel managers configure, customize and deploy the app in days.

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Customer Experience

Verizon Aims to Help Firms Get Up Close and Personal With Customers

Verizon Enterprise Solutions has released Visual Interactive Calling, an SDK and platform designed to enable banks, retailers, airlines, travel and hospitality companies, and other firms to communicate visually with their customers. “The sweet spot for this solution is enterprises that have deep mobile app penetration into their customer base,” said Tom Smith, a CX manager at Verizon.

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Cybersecurity

Report: Cybersecurity Dangerously Lax at Mar-a-Lago

Internet security at Mar-a-Lago — the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the “Southern White House” — is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago’s dining room, with members and waiters present.

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