The EX Squared Solutions Blog

Should Seamless Dynamics 365 Apps Be Driving Your Outreach?

June 21, 2017 | Posted by Doug Sylvester

Effective outreach demands that you leverage technology to fulfill the needs of not only your consumers but also the team members who work so hard to see your organization expand. Could Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 help your teams activities evolve from hesitant undertakings into decisively smooth operations?

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Topics: Digital Transformation, Dynamics 365

Top 7 CRM Trends in 2017 Get, Set, Go!

June 14, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

As global competition has become more intense, most businesses have increased their efforts to retain existing customers. Acquiring a new customer can cost as much as 25 times more than retaining a current customer. To help them reduce customer churn and improve their retention rates, marketers have increasingly turned to CRM technologies. The unprecedented growth of the CRM industry reflects the importance of providing meaningful, engaging experiences to customers as well as the constant evolution of CRM technology. This evolution will continue to bring new trends and innovative technologies during the coming years, but there are several enhancements that you can expect to see in 2017.

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Topics: Digital Transformation, CRM

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Delivering Personalized Experiences

February 27, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

The concept of retail personalization has been around for several years. A decade ago, Netflix and Amazon led the industry when it came to personalized experiences for their visitors. Netflix made recommendations based on the visitor's past history or stated preferences — a practice that continues today but was unexpected when it first launched. Amazon was especially adept at using visitors' previous purchases or navigation paths to show items of potential interest to each specific visitor. Other early attempts at personalization included greeting returning visitors by name, enabling site-specific preferences or using different versions of a site for specific audiences.

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Topics: customer engagement, Digital Transformation

Four Predictions on the Future of Marketing Technology!

January 17, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Marketing technology has come a long way since the new century dawned. As recently as the 1990s, many marketers were still relying more on "gut instinct" than hard facts, but harnessing big data helped them make more informed decisions. What passed for personalized emails was often little more than a mail merge to insert a contact's name. Target audiences were painted with a broad brush that often included more people who had no interest in the product or service than people who might actually become customers. Automated campaigns, predictive analytics, customized content, seamless connections across touchpoints and powerful marketing analytics have helped transform how — and to whom — marketers are delivering their messages.

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Topics: Digital Enterprise, Digital Transformation, Digital Marketing

De-risk Your Digital Transformation Project in 2017

December 14, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Launching a digital transformation project can be scary. Customers are demanding more, managers are expecting to see rewards and employees are hoping that the project will make their jobs easier. You know that your project is not going to progress from inception to deployment without a few issues, but you are also aware that seemingly minor issues can snowball into project failure. With so much at stake, how can you reduce your risks and feel confident about the eventual success of your project?

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Topics: Digital Transformation

Building an Effective Digital Transformation Plan and Budget for 2017

December 12, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Companies launch a digital transformation initiative for a variety of reasons. Some are looking to respond to changes in customer demands and preferences, others are trying to remain competitive and some companies see the opportunity to expand into new markets. Whatever your organization's reason for undertaking a digital transformation project, you will need to plan and budget wisely if you want the project to be a success. Considering that IT budgets are set to increase by almost 2 percent in 2017, according to Gartner, the pressure to provide detailed, accurate budgets is likely to increase as well. If you are responsible for the task, the following tips can help you plan and budget for a digital transformation project that will be completed in 2017.

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Topics: Digital Transformation

Digital Technology vs. Digital Strategy: What is worth paying more attention to?

June 28, 2016 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

When making the move to a digital enterprise, many businesses find themselves wondering whether they need to focus more on digital technology or the development of a digital strategy. A few companies even believe that technology alone is sufficient; if they can dazzle their customers with all of the latest technological advances, the strategy will take care of itself. Other companies find themselves so involved with developing a strategy that by the time that they are ready to implement a plan, the chosen technologies have been usurped by innovative methods.


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Topics: Digital Transformation

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

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

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