Industry news for the week of September 10th


--Most Large Organizations Leveraging Big Data
A NewVantage Partners survey among Fortune 1000 organizations found that the vast majority already have Big Data initiatives planned or in progress. The Big Data Executive Survey looks at how organizations like American Express, Bank of America, CitiGroup, General Electric (GE), and the U.S. Department of Defense, are managing and funding Big Data initiatives as well as finding the right talent and organizational structure to support new data and analytics innovation. Some findings include:

  • 80 percent of respondents believe that Big Data initiatives reach across more than one line-of-business or function. However, many are challenged with building organizational alignment for their plans.
  • Almost half of respondents say they don't have the right internal talent or resources to drive many data and analytics initiatives. Seventy percent state that they plan to hire data scientists but are finding that there is no reliable source of new talent in this category.
  • Most organizations will be managing a wide variety of data, not just increased data volumes, over the next three years. Respondents say the most important goal is the ability to analyze diverse data sources and new data types rather than managing very large data sets.
  • Gleaning customer insights and improving customer experience have been identified as the biggest opportunities for Big Data.

--Content Creation Is Time-Consuming for B2B Marketers
Optify released the findings of its first annual B2B Marketing Athlete Report. The survey, which polled more than 250 B2B marketers, explores the time, effort, and expertise companies across industries are putting into planning, executing, and reporting on marketing campaigns. Overall, 47 percent of respondents ranked as "Star Performers" who consistently met their lead generation goals, invested more time per week on planning, and exhibited the highest scores for attitude and focus.Other key findings from the report include:

  • Content creation and management ranks as the most time-consuming activity, with 30 percent of respondents spending more than 15 hours per week on such tasks, and 40 percent spending between five to 15 hours on such tasks.
  • Of those polled, only 16 percent reported spending no time using social media, making it the most popular tactic. In fact, more than two-thirds of marketers use more than one tool to manage social media activities.
  • Ninety-one percent of respondents believe they are social media experts, while 82 percent claim to be expert in SEO.

--Small Businesses Missing Opportunities to Reach Customers
A study by Pitney Bowes has concluded that small businesses are depending mostly on traditional communications channels for their marketing efforts. The Small Business Marketing Survey among more than 750 small businesses found that the majority aren't tracking results and missing opportunities to incorporate multichannel communications to increase response rates and get customers. The following are some of the findings:

  • More than 70 percent of businesses say they fail to measure email marketing metrics while 80 percent don't measure metrics from their direct or traditional mail.
  • Almost half of respondents use email as the primary channel for business communications, followed by phone (22 percent) and direct mail (11 percent.)
  • Only 18 percent of respondents are using traditional mail for business development/marketing and 20 percent are including product information/updates. 
  • Basic correspondence related to ongoing business was the primary reason for using email for 59 percent of respondents.

--Online Chat Spans Sales and Support
The whitepaper, titled "Live Chat Market Adoption : Who's Chatting Now?," by TELUS International in partnership with Kenna LLC., analyzes which major online retailers offer chat and whether it's used as a customer support service, a sales service, or both. Key findings of the research include:

· Of the 42 retailers analyzed, almost half (45 percent) of companies used online chat for both sales and customer support, including Dell, HP, Microsoft, Amazon and Macy's.

· Almost two-thirds (60 percent) use online chat to offer customer support

· More than half (55 percent) offer online chat to support sales.

· Twenty-nine percent of companies don't yet use online chat at all, including several national retailers.


Technologies Developments

--Aspect Software Enhances Its Multichannel Interaction Suite
Aspect Software, a provider of customer contact, enterprise workforce optimization and Microsoft platform solutions, announced the launch of Unified IP 7.1, which is an extension of the Unified IP 7 family that powers Aspect's multi-channel interaction solutions for customer contact. The 7.1 release brings additional flexibility and efficiencies for inbound multichannel contact handling. The solution allows customers to deliver consistent experiences across all communications channels creating a single experience continuum from self-service through assisted service.  

--FirstRain Announces Customer Intelligence Solution
FirstRain, a B2B analytics software company, has announced the launch of FirstRain Performinator, a solution for easily adding strategically tuned customer intelligence to the daily lives of major accounts, sales, and marketing pros within their existing CRM systems, social enterprise platforms, tablets, and smartphones. The solution includes the following modules:

  • The Personal Intelligence Carousel sits on the home page of, SharePoint, or other social enterprise platforms, and allows individuals in sales or marketing to select, view, and share the intelligence on their top customers and markets that they want to see every day.
  • The Market Landscape component provides a view of the companies, markets, and competitors that are influencing a business.
  • The Account Snapshot generates a brief on any company in a CRM system.

--Infosys' SpeedSolve Aims to Redefine Customer Service
Infosys launched SpeedSolve, which aims to make it easier for contact center agents to find the necessary information to help customers and improve the client experience. The communication platform allows agents to use chat to ask a question, which is then directed to an expert in the field to find a resolution for the customer. This strategy minimizes call transfers.

--Lyris' Digital Marketing Platform Addresses Big Data Challenge
A new digital marketing automation platform unveiled by Lyris this week aims to help marketers transform the massive amounts of customer interactive data into measureable business value. Lyris ONE analyzes structured and unstructured data, including social, email, and mobile. The platform integrates customer analytics with real-time data processing and campaign automation.

--Moontoast Unveils Suite of Social Engagement Applications
Moontoast announced the launch of its Social Activation Platform, which offers a suite of social applications designed to drive social engagement and growth, lead generation, and digital and physical product sales. These applications, which work alongside the Moontoast Social Analytics Suite, provide insight into customer relationships, relevancy, and results. From sweepstakes, to coupons, to Pinterest, these applications reward consumers for their participation, generating leads and encouraging engagement in the process.

--Skyword Launches Content Creation Platform
Skyword announced the launch of Skyword for Agencies. This version of its content production platform allows agencies to streamline and automate their entire content creation and publishing process when managing multiple content programs or clients. With this SaaS platform, agencies can manage writers and assignments, optimize their content for search, and measure social reach and site traffic in order to optimize content performance and improve production efficiency.

-- VirtuOz Launches IVAs for Mobile Phones
VirtuOz, Inc., a provider of intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) for online marketing, sales, and support, announced the availability of VirtuOz' IVAs for mobile phones and tablets. Key features include:

  • Multi-input flexibility giving end users the choice to use speech recognition, multi-touch, or typing interchangeably
  • Multi-lingual support for English, French, German, and Spanish.
  • Native mobile application integration enhancing the user experience by providing relevant location-based information
  • SDK availability that supports the latest mobile iOS and Android OS
  • Speech API for plug and play integration with any speech recognition solution
  • SMS channel accessibility for the broadest audience reach via SMS text message.

--Visual IQ Enhances Its Scenario Planning Software
Cross-channel marketing intelligence software provider Visual IQ  announced the availability of IQ Sage 3.0, an enhanced version of its attribution management scenario planning software module. Sage 3.0 utilizes historical marketing performance data to quickly and easily predict future performance and produce customized media plans that utilize the optimal combination of tactics required to meet specific budgetary, conversion and cost per conversion goals.