Digital disruption is here; customer insight can help companies be disruptors instead of being disrupted.

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“Digital disruptions are threatening business norms,” Shar VanBoskirk asserted during her keynote at Sailthru Lift 2015.

But far too many businesses are unprepared for this new digital reality, said VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. According to Forrester, 79% of e-business professionals surveyed think that their CEOs have a solid plan in place to become truly digital businesses. “What keeps us from being digital is that we don’t know how to disrupt ourselves,” she said.

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CX brings a focus on the customer that CRM had always intended to, but for many organizations, didn’t quite achieve.

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Customer experience. You can’t go to a marketing or CRM conference these days without being inundated with content about it. In fact, at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit, customer experience (CX) is, not surprisingly, a central theme—not only in sessions, but also in the hallways.

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Forrester Research finds an alarming decline in CX scores—or perhaps customers have gotten too tough to please.

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Customer experience has a direct impact on loyalty. That impact isn’t always positive. Too much email that’s impersonal or irrelevant—that’s a marketing-driven customer experience that could lead to churn. Spot-on targeting with contextually relevant messaging can surprise and delight customers and get them to stay longer, buy more, and advocate.

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Brands that are digital humanists will get further with customers than those who are digital machinists.

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Airbnb. Kickstarter. Task Rabbit. Uber. All of these companies have been hailed for being innovative or disruptive. What do they know that you don’t? Don Scheibenreif asked that question of attendees during his keynote at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit. His answer: They know that technology and customer experience are almost inseparable.

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When does marketing pay off most? When it’s all about the customer.

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The good news is that the Direct Marketing Club of New York has announced the honorees of its 2015 Silver Apple awards, as well as a special Golden Apple. The great news—for me—is that I’m among this year’s honorees. I’m sharing this news with you because I’m absolutely bubbling over with excitement. Here’s why:

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A siloed approach to marketing is fast becoming outdated. “Optichannel” marketing is the future, one pundit predicts.

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Chandar Pattabhiram is so passionate about customer-centric marketing that he’s launched a thought leadership agenda proclaiming the death of mass advertising. “Mass advertising is a frog in hot water,” says Pattabhiram, VP, product and corporate marketing at Marketo, “but just doesn’t know it yet.”

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Is it even possible to be a marketer today without being exhausted all the time?

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“Marketers have to be present everywhere today.”

That assertion, from Andy Main, principal with Deloitte Consulting and U.S. leader of Deloitte Digital, is one of many he made during a lively discussion we had on marketing trends. Main also pointed out that “people want always-on innovation.” As a result, a six- to nine-month strategic planning cycle in marketing is becoming a thing of the past.

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Both can make a brand hot stuff if marketers use data to steer CX, says one data scientist.

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“The old models [of marketing and tech] don’t play well in modern marketing, because marketers can’t react fast enough to customer actions,” RedPoint Global VP of Product Strategy Jason McNellis told me shortly after he joined the data management solutions provider. “Some customer data, such as location, is valuable for only a brief period of time. What that data provides is what I call perishable insights.”

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Consumers’ omnichannel habits make marketing measurement problematic. It’s time to rethink what measures matter.

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Marketing measurement has gone from difficult to, in some cases, practically impossible.

Consider: According to Forrester Research, 68% of customers use Internet-connected devices while watching TV. “This makes measuring extremely difficult,” Forrester analyst Tina Moffett said during her session at Forrester’s 2015 Forum for Marketing Leaders.

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