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How to prepare your CRM system for a world of smart devices


GE’s newly introduced free-standing Profile Series gas and electric range is so tuned in to consumers’ needs, you almost start to think of it as a friend, not an appliance. If you have a smartphone, it will check to make sure you turned it off before you left for a busy day, or start preheating on your way home from work — just like a good friend with the keys to your house. It actually performs a multitude of other tasks but as someone who has rushed home during lunch on more than one occasion to make sure the house hadn’t mistakenly burned down, I must say that that “check the stove” feature is a home run.

So yes, I do want it as a friend. And you, as a company whose CRM system and approach is ever-evolving with the times, should be getting ready for the day when I do call it friend. Or at least I start relying on it for far more than an ease-my-mind safety check.

IoT must include CRM

Consumer products, in this environment, will be far more than just inanimate objects. They will be part salesperson and part customer service rep. They’ll even do a bit of cross-selling and upselling for you if the situation is right.

“Today, if you have problem with a product, you go to a support website, call or video chat with a live agent, or walk into a store,” Chuck Ganapathi, founder of a company called Tactile, tells CITEworld. Advances in software, hardware, and even biology, though, will kill off this model of customer service. Eventually, he predicts, “every product — no matter the cost or size — will have an embedded agent in it. Not a human, but a piece of intelligent software that is running on nanoscale electronics or bioelectronics.”

In fact, this scenario is already here, Ganapathi says.

“Companies are already building pills that tell your doctor whether you are taking your medication as prescribed. We already have washing machines that email you when it’s oversudsing because you added too much detergent. As we learn how to shrink electronics to fit under your skin and make circuits out of bacteria, every product can become as sensor-filled, personalized and interactive as your iPhone.”

Couple those advancements with such evolving software techniques as machine learning and natural language processing, and you get embedded agents that can mimic the intelligence of a human agent, Ganapathi concludes.

These CRM-infused devices will also be revenue generators, predicts Aaron Fulkerson, the CEO of MindTouch. These devices will know their “human” very well — including his or her limitations and possible interests, Fulkerson tells CITEworld.

Continue reading… 

Crain’s BtoB Announces Its Social Media Marketing Award Winners

Cisco Systems Wins Two awards; People’s Choice Online Voting Open Now

NEW YORK & FRAMINGHAM, MA – February 26, 2013–BtoB editors have selected 20 companies as winners or runners-up among 118 entries in BtoB’s fourth annual Social Media Marketing Awards program.

First-place honors go to the following 10 companies:

Integrated (technology): Adobe Systems; Integrated (non-technology): Aon;  Facebook: Emerson Climate Technologies; Twitter: GE Intelligent Platforms; LinkedIn: Dell Inc; Best Use of Pinterest: Constant Contact; Viral Video: Dun & Bradstreet; Mobile: Cisco Systems; Corporate Blog: Intel Corp.; and, Closed Community: Cisco Systems.

            Submissions were accepted last November into January 2013.  All the editors’ selections are online at http://bit.ly/13bx6vv, and will be reported on in the March 2013 BtoB print issue.  John Obrecht, editor of BtoB, said: “We’ve entered a new era of social marketing, The sophistication of programs has reached a new level as exemplified by our People’s Choice nominees.”

For the fourth consecutive year, IDG Communications is the Premier sponsor of the BtoB Social Media Marketing Awards.  “Marketers have come a long way since the first awards program where social might have been a small part of a campaign.  Now, marketers must include earned media exposure if they want to reach prospects who rely on social networks for information and purchase decisions,” said Matthew Yorke, president, IDG Global Solutions.  “We congratulate the winners and runners up who excelled in their use of social media marketing.”

 Online Voting for People’s Choice Awards Continues Through March 1
BtoB editors selected three entries from tech and non-tech categories for the People’s Choice awards.  Online voters can choose between tech entries: Adobe Systems:  “Metrics, Not Myths;” Deltek: “Connect More;” or, Dell: “LinkedIn Page.”  On the non-tech side the nominees are Aon: “Global Service Day;” New Cities Foundation: “DeusM Social Media Campaign;” or, Emerson Climate Technologies: “Painted Copeland Scroll Compressor Program.”

Online voting for the People’s Choice nominees is open until Friday, March 1 at 4 pm eastern.  Vote at http://bit.ly/URZPGs.

Awards Lunch at Digital Edge Live Conference
The People’s Choice awards, selected by online voters for tech and non-tech entries, will be announced on Wednesday, March 20 at the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco.  The category award honorees and runners-up will also be recognized at the lunch.

Speakers at the all day conference include executives from IBM, SAP, Intuit, Intel, Cisco Systems, USG, and IDC.

To register for the conference and awards lunch, please go to http://bit.ly/YU0Qe6

About BtoB
BtoB, a Crain Communications publication, is the magazine for marketing strategists. It is the only publication dedicated to all disciplines of business-to-business marketing. In print and electronically, BtoB delivers the latest trends, best practice case studies, research, and analysis that senior marketers need to develop a winning integrated marketing strategy.

About International Data Group
International Data Group (IDG) is the world’s leading technology media, events and research company. Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, IDG products and services reach an audience of more than 280 million technology buyers in 97 countries.

IDG Communications’ global media brands include ChannelWorld®, CIO®, CSO®, Computerworld®, GamePro®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World®, PCWorld®, TechHive, and TechWorld®. IDG’s media network features 460 websites, 200 mobile sites and apps and 200 print titles spanning business technology, consumer technology, digital entertainment, and video games worldwide. The IDG TechNetwork represents more than 500 independent websites in an ad network and exchange complementary to IDG’s media brands.

With expertise in branding, lead generation, and social media marketing, IDG marketing services programs are strategically designed and implemented to influence technology vendor prospects worldwide.

A recognized leader in conference and exhibition management, IDG produces more than 700 globally branded technology and entertainment conferences and events in 55 countries.
International Data Corporation (IDC), a subsidiary of IDG, has more than 1,000 analysts who provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in more than 110 countries.

Additional information about IDG, a privately held company, is available at http://www.idg.com.


Contacts: For IDG:  Howard Sholkin, 508-766-5610, howard_sholkin@idg.com
For BtoB: John Olbrecht, 312-649-5326, jobrecht@crain.com

Trademarks and registered trademarks are owned by International Data Group, Inc.  All product and company names are trademarks of their respective companies.



Tech Brands Dominate Top 10 Listing

Marketing Charts

Although beverage brand Coca-Cola is the most valuable global brand of 2011, with a brand value of $71.8 billion, the majority of the 10 most valuable brands are technology firms, according to a ranking from Interbrand. Six of the top 10 brands, including number two IBM ($69.9 billion), are providers of technology products and/or services.

The other technology brands on the list are number three Microsoft, number four Google, number seven Intel, number eight Apple, and number 10 HP. The list also includes a restaurant company (McDonald’s), a diversified company (GE) and a media company (Disney).  Read more

Worry Not, Obama: GE's "Global Innovation Barometer" Puts U.S. on Top

Fast Company, 1/26/11

A survey with 1,000 executives worldwide places the U.S. well ahead of runners-up Germany and Japan. The execs push for individual creativity, small businesses, and local needs.

Last night, in his State of the Union address, President Obama used the word “innovation” nine times and called on Americans to “out-innovate…the rest of the world.” According to GE, we already do.
A new GE-commissioned survey offers what the company calls its “global innovation barometer.” After interviewing 1,000 top execs worldwide, the firm GE hired to conduct the survey found that the United States is already seen as the leader in innovation (with Japan and Germany a comfortable distance behind). The survey also found that while innovation was needed globally, executives believe individual creativity will drive innovation, and that innovation must be tailored to fit local needs.

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