The EX Squared Solutions Blog

Bed Bath & Beyond: Investment in Technology Pays Handsome Rewards

May 10, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Steven Temares, CEO of the retail chain Bed Bath & Beyond, recently discussed the company's technology-investment strategy and the transition to a digital enterprise.

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Topics: Digital Enterprise

How Really Knowing Your Customers Can Drive Sales

May 6, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Five or six decades ago, shopping was a radically different experience for most people. It was common for a person to walk into a store, be greeted by name, and have the proprietor recommend new products that he believed the customer would like. The proprietor often knew the names and ages of other family members and their preferences as well.

Through the years, shopping has become much more impersonal. Chain stores replaced mom-and-pop retailers. Store personnel changed shifts or locations frequently. The size of stores expanded as well as the number of products. Staffs were often kept to a minimum, making it difficult for customers to receive any attention much less warm, personal attention.

Online shoppers have never fared much better. They often find they must navigate through multiple pages to find the item they want. Unless they bookmark the page, the entire process may have to be repeated if the purchase is postponed.

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Topics: Digital Enterprise, Digital Transformation

Technology is not the Biggest Stumbling Block for Digital Transformations — Mindsets Are

May 3, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Digital_Transformation_2.jpgA quote attributed to Albert Einstein defines insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing the same way but expecting different results. Another quote for which Einstein is credited warns that the same thinking that led to the creation of problems will not be effective for solving them. Whether Einstein actually said these statements is immaterial. What matters is that there is a great deal of truth in both statements.

Blockbuster, Kodak and Borders are just a few once-major corporations that failed to adapt to the digital age. Many others are no longer the power-players that they once were, such as Motorola, Blackberry, Sears and JC Penney. Other organizations failed to leverage technology to understand who their customers were and what they truly wanted. 

Today, businesses must adapt if they are to survive. This means leveraging technology to provide the maximum benefits, but technology alone will not solve the problems. Human intervention is required for a digital transformation — and therein lies the problem for many companies.

Change starts in the C-suite. It is the upper levels of management who determine the methods that the company will use to compete. Their support can also make the difference between successful adaptations and failed attempts. The initiative needs to be company-wide, requiring all executives to cooperate for the greater good. Old mindsets, such as claiming exclusive control over technology decisions or databases, have to be replaced by a better understanding of how every piece of the puzzle affects the customer.

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Topics: Digital Enterprise, Digital Transformation

What CEOs Are Saying to CMOs and CIOs

April 22, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

What_CEOs_are_saying_to_CMOs_and_CIOs.jpgHistorically, marketing and IT have not always had the best relationships. Marketers often want things done quickly to reap the greatest benefits from a shift in customer attitudes or a competitor's actions. However, IT may not be able to respond as quickly as marketing would like. The IT department may be spread too thin, preoccupied with issues that affect numerous departments or lacking the "hard" resources needed to meet marketing's demands. 

Any organization interested in becoming a digital enterprise must find a way to get IT and marketing to work together in a peaceful, productive manner. This means building a partnership between the CMO and CIO — after all, a digital transformation starts at the top. Although many companies have found ways to build bridges between the CIO and CMO, the partnership is either non-existent or non-functional in many more. A recent survey conducted by the industry magazine CIO found that 43 percent of those responding reported that the relationship between the CIO and CMO had not changed over the past few years, while 49 percent stated that the relationship had become at least "somewhat closer." Barely more than half — 51 percent — reported that the CMO and CIO worked together for the selection and deployment of marketing technologies.

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Topics: Best Practices

How to Become a Customer-Obsessed Organization through Digital Transformation

April 21, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

A few years ago, many experts began discussing the need for companies to become more customer-centric. Call this the "it's more about the customer" model. Today, however, merely being customer-centric may not be enough. The latest advice points to the need to be customer-obsessed; call this the "it's all about the customer" model. 

Fortunately, becoming customer-obsessed does not require a major financial investment or a complete overhaul of the organization's business logic. However, it typically requires some alterations to the company culture and may require a new way of thinking from some departments.

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Topics: Customer Experience

How CEOs can Improve the CMO-CIO Partnership for a Digital Transformation

April 12, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Historically, marketing and IT have not always had the best relationships. Marketers often want things done quickly to reap the greatest benefits from a shift in customer attitudes or a competitor's actions. However, IT may not be able to respond as quickly as marketing would like. The IT department may be spread too thin, preoccupied with issues that affect numerous departments or lacking the "hard" resources needed to meet marketing's demands. 

Any organization interested in becoming a digital enterprise must find a way to get IT and marketing to work together in a peaceful, productive manner. This means building a partnership between the CMO and CIO — after all, a digital transformation starts at the top. Although many companies have found ways to build bridges between the CIO and CMO, the partnership is either non-existent or non-functional in many more. A recent survey conducted by the industry magazine CIO found that 43 percent of those responding reported that the relationship between the CIO and CMO had not changed over the past few years, while 49 percent stated that the relationship had become at least "somewhat closer." Barely more than half — 51 percent — reported that the CMO and CIO worked together for the selection and deployment of marketing technologies.

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Topics: Digital Transformation

8 Digital Transformation Traps to Avoid for Marketers

April 8, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Digital_Transformation.jpgIn recent years, much has been written about the need to "go digital" if your business is to be competitive and successful. Despite all of the attention, however, many businesses are still struggling with the transformation. Many more believe that they have completed the move to a digital enterprise but are disappointed with the results. Other companies want to make the move, but they are so overwhelmed by the different technologies that they have yet to launch a digital initiative.

Why are so many organizations struggling with their digital transformations? There is no single answer that applies to all situations, but in most cases, the problem is one or more of the following.

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Topics: Digital Enterprise, Digital Transformation

How to Combine Your Website & CRM Insights to Deliver the Best Customer Experience

February 23, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Insights_for_Better_Customer_Experience.jpgThere’s a popular bumper sticker that reads “Live in the past, it’s cheaper.”

Hopefully, you don’t operate a business that subscribes to this philosophy. Nostalgic references may make aging Baby Boomers wistful, but don’t you dare take away their smart phones and tablets. When it comes right down to it, there aren’t too many of us who wish we could go back to the bad old days. You know, the days when life was easier and your marketing department could run a respectable CRM program by keeping a list of customers along with contact information and notations about what they bought last time they were in the store.

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Topics: Customer Experience

3 One-on-One Marketing Technology Features that Boost Customer Engagement

February 19, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Relationships are at the heart of marketing in 2016. Ads need to be personalized if they are to be effective. The general consensus among leaders in the marketing world is that personalization is the true future of marketing. Appearing authentic and approachable can be difficult for both big corporations and small brands. If you’re a marketer, how you reach out to the world to spread your message is every bit as important as the message itself is. The good news is that today’s technology can help you make every customer feel like you’re investing time and money into giving them a satisfying, customized experience. Whether your customers want questions answered or they need help finding products that fit their needs, you can use technology to give them what they want without assigning a team of employees to cater to them. One-on-one marketing is a beautiful thing because it creates the illusion of personal service without the costs and time commitments associated with actually creating that level of service. Are you wondering how to make your business more personal? Here’s a look at the top three ways to boost customer engagement. 

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Topics: customer engagement

5 Marketing Technology Predictions for 2016

February 17, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Rumor has it that 2016 is going to be a big year for developments in programs and tools that merge marketing and technology. Marketers and tech firms have now had close to a decade to study modern online trends and habits. As a result, we can expect to see streamlined technology that empowers marketers to use data like never before. It is safe to say that anyone who was questioning the relevancy or effectiveness of social media marketing has been silenced by now. The latest debates in the marketing world are centered on how to best utilize popular platforms to get new views and build brand loyalty among existing clients. If you live in the marketing universe, take a look at the five concepts you can expect to hear a lot of buzz about this year. 

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Topics: Marketing Technology

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