Content Engineering, Insights

Forrester Publishes Latest Wave for Digital Experience Platforms

digital experience kanban 2Just a couple weeks ago, Forrester released its much anticipated Wave for Digital Experience Platforms*.  The annual, detailed review of content and customer experience technologies draws both praise and criticism.  Those vendors that qualify to participate leave their fate in the hands of a scoring paradigm focused on both current offerings and strategy boiled down to two numbers plotted on an X and Y axis.

Critics claim that no important technology decision can be quantified without applying the lens of organizational context and maturity; and therefore the Wave is misleading.  Forrester agrees, to an extent, and suggests that the Wave be used by organizations to get a feel for the marketplace, that they utilize the detailed research data to customize rankings based on their unique needs and acknowledges that viable firms may exist that do not qualify for participation.

With this in mind, we took a moment to review any notable trends since the last Digital Experience Wave conducted in Q3, 2014**.  They are…

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Experience Optimization, Insights

Retailers Are Seeing Big Impact From Personalization & Targeting. Are you?

Kanban personalization

On a Q4 2015 earnings call held on September 22nd, CEO Don Grimes had some exciting news. The luxury retailer, currently preparing to go public, sold $1.3 billion online in fiscal 2015, an increase of 13% year-over-year. Web sales accounted for 25.5% of the company’s 2015 sales of $5.095 billion, up from 23.9% a year earlier.

On the same day, Daniel Neukomm, the CEO of La Jolla Group—parent company to surf apparel retailer O’Neill Clothing Company—had his own exciting results to share in an interview with Internet Retailer. In the last two years, smartphone revenue has increased 111.15% and smartphone conversions increased 15.28%. This improvement is good because, according to Neukomm, about 50% of O’Neill’s traffic stems from smartphones.

But these two CEOs share far more than some exciting sales numbers and a little press coverage. Each man credits the same foundational web experience strategy for his success: Personalization.

What They Did

At Neiman Marcus, the focus was on the on-site customer experience. From a personalized editorial homepage that provides customers with relevant content in the homepage main image to personalized site search based on buying or browsing behavior, Neiman Marcus hoped to capture high-end fashion buyers by serving the brands they love in a variety of ways. They also launched the ability to customize and personalize merchandise on the website and added a variety of advanced search filters so people can customize their experience even further.

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Content Engineering, Insights

The Technology Behind Content-rich Customer Experience


Kanban Web Content Management


Customer experience is getting plenty of attention. And rightfully so. According to a 2015 report issued by Watermark Consulting, organizations that focus on customer experience generate a total return that is 35 points higher than the S&P Index. So what’s the catch?

There is a high bar to clear in order to establish the level of trust and experience required for a customer to enter into a brand relationship. Audiences expect highly personalized offers and information; continuity of experience across channels; and ease of use. That’s not easy for most companies. Doing it right requires talented marketing and IT resources, effective communication across the organization, a healthy supply of discipline and of course, the right tools to create and manage high quality content.

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Insights, System Integration

Microservices Architecture: Friend or Foe?


Disclaimer: This is a lengthy post with perspectives for both developers and marketers. Click on one of the links below for a shorter read. Enjoy!

Why Developers Already Love Microservices

Why Marketers Will Love Microservices

In his now-ubiquitous explanation of microservices architecture, devops thought leader Martin Fowler seeks to explain the latest development trend to the layman. But he doesn’t do it as you might expect—by describing how microservices came to be or what it can do for your business. He starts by explaining the status quo: that large, enterprise brands have become too slow to dance on the bleeding edge of technology because they rely entirely on a small number of large, server-side applications—what he calls monoliths—to manage website features and functions.

Luckily, there is an alternative: Microservices architecture breaks these applications down into smaller, more manageable chunks, linking them together through APIs. This architectural structure helps make businesses more nimble and more prepared for the complex future of online customer experience. Continue reading

Insights, The Marketing Technology Office

What You Can Learn From Walmart’s Big Tech Bets






On July 23rd, Walmart announced that it has completed an acquisition of Chinese ecommerce giant Yihaodian. Walmart, who had previously acquired 51 percent of the company’s shares, plans to invest in both accelerating e-commerce and creating a seamless experience for customers across online, mobile and brick-and-mortar stores, according to a statement.

While a partial acquisition of a Chinese e-commerce brand may seem like no big deal for one of America’s largest global retailers, Walmart’s purchase is just the latest  in a list of activities that are telling of a coordinated strategy, with designs on speeding globalization, growing product supply and lowering prices, all without sacrificing customer experience. The strategy involves a series of engineering innovations, a unified marketing technology office and smart technology selection.

Through Walmart Labs–the company’s IT innovation center–ecommerce engineering leaders have been unveiling this strategy in pieces. While combing through their past innovations and reading them alongside interviews with marketing and business leaders from the organization, some lessons began to emerge. Continue reading