Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How to ask for ideas from your customers. The Top 20 Customer Experience Management (CEM) Software Technologies.



It’s all well and good to work on ideas and innovation by collaborating internally.  But if we want ideas from our customers we have to deliver that message, along with all the other important messages we communicate outside of the company.  Even if the message is that “we’re an innovative company”.  

Customer Feedback Wanted.  Here’s a fact, in case you didn’t notice…Large companies are trying to figure out how to engage with their customers.  They are asking the public what they’re thinking by using Customer Feedback Management (I wrote about that a few weeks ago here).  And they’re carefully managing how they communicate with their customers.  Customers must be reached where they dwell and they live for the most part in social networks.


Marketing automation used to be simple.  The channels were email, direct mail and phone.  Companies used these simple channels to reach out to customers (and potential customers).  You would pick the most likely prospects, and the best way to reach them and fire away.  Fingers crossed for 1 to 3% response. 
Social networks, where people tend to dwell now, and can be reached, is not just another channel.  It’s a whole new ballgame, requiring an interactive, sometimes real time, conversation between the people who work at your company and your customers.  If you’re lucky you’ll get those customers to be loyal and advocate for you.  

Why is Customer Experience Management important to the innovation inclined?  Two main reasons: 

     1.      You want to find out what your customers are thinking.

     2.     You want to periodically challenge them to provide their ideas.

There are too many social network channels, too many customers and not enough time to communicate effectively (and track the results) without good software.

Customer Experience Management is a class of software on offer from big companies like IBM and Oracle as well as a slew of smaller companies.  Remarkably it’s somewhat of a level playing field.  No company owns the market and the slew of software options are difficult to compare.  It’s not that they’re virtually equal in competencies. It is just that so many have taken different steps to get there.

Some of these come from the email space, recently adding on software to communicate via the mobile channel, then tools to push out messages via Twitter and Facebook.  Other software vendors focus initially on the social channels and add on dashboards to give the bigger picture.  Still others take novel approaches, like providing technology to track contests or setup a social network.   With this blog post I’m endeavoring to take a look at what the choices are.

A List of the Top 20 Customer Experience Management Software Offerings.  Let’s take a look at the most well known, and widely installed Customer Experience Management (CEM) software offerings that can be used to manage the messages and calls to action you put out to your customers and the public. There's actually way more than 20 but that looked better in the headline :).   In all cases, I’m adding the company’s own description.


    1.     Empathica                  empowers employees and customers of leading brands to create places they love; turning transactions into great experiences, employees into owners and customers into advocates.

     2.     Satmetrix                    the leading provider of cloud-based customer experience software for companies worldwide.

     3.     Eloqua  (Oracle)         highly personalized and unified experience across channels 
     4.     Totango          combines big data analytics with powerful segmentation and engagement tools to allow online services to take the right actions with each customer, in realtime.

     5.     Shoutlet                      a social marketing platform.

     6.     SDL                              solutions for managing the global customer experience

     7.     Silverpop                    marketing technology provider with expertise in email marketing and marketing automation

     8.     ExactTarget                 a provider of on-demand email marketing software solutions.

     9.     Hootsuite                   social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks

     10.     Hearsay                       bolster brands across all the major social networks

     11.     Wildfire/ Google         social media marketing software

     12.  Vitrue/Oracle                social marketing solution

     13.  Involver/ Oracle            social marketing platform

     14.  Sailthru                        helping brands deliver individual experiences to millions of unique users in real time.  
     15.  Hubspot                       All-In-One Marketing Software

     16.  Lyris                             data-driven interactive marketing campaigns that facilitate superior engagement, increase conversions, and deliver measurable business value.

     17.  Thismoment                 powers dynamic brand experiences - online social marketing campaigns comprising multimedia-rich content, creative design and social conversations

     18.  Brickfish                      engagement based social media programs through contests

     19.  Dynamic Signal           provides a white-label platform for brands to run high-reach word of mouth marketing campaigns in collaboration with a trusted circle of brand advocates.

     20.  Moxie                            the most complete and intuitive social networking software for the enterprise for employee and customer engagement

     21.  Tongal a social content development platform that helps global businesses connect with global creativity

     22.  Expion                           a social software company with a centralized platform that empowers global brands, agencies, and retailers to localize and manage their social marketing efforts. 


These are more CRM systems, than Customer Experience Management, although CEM is typically a subset of the offering:

21.  Neolane                      provides the only conversational marketing technology that empowers organizations to build and sustain one-to-one lifetime dialogues
22.  IBM (via Unica or their EMM offering) enterprise marketing management software
23.  Aprimo                        delivers technology and insight that accelerates marketing productivity and the ability of marketing to document performance.
24.  Loopfuse                     a sales and marketing automation software
25.  eTrigue                          easy-to-use marketing automation, demand generation and sales acceleration Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications
26.  TreeHouse Interactrive  a leading SaaS provider of marketing automation and partner relationship management (PRM) software for companies that sell B2B, B2C or through partners.
27.  Act-on                         allows business users to integrate their customer relationship management efforts across a variety of popular tools in one easy-to-use interface.

Summary:  Idea Management Solutions are perfect for internal collaboration focused on innovation.  Compelling portals with easily administered security can be configured using existing internal idea management software solutions.  Specialized software exists designed to Challenge customers (and the public) to provide solicited feedback including ideas.  And these software products are perfect to communicate both brand messages and the message that your company embraces innovation.
 

Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60 .  Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.

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