5 Pieces of Advice for Navigating the Security Culture Shift| By |Natalie Walsh

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As security threats become a bigger part of the day-to-day concerns at all types of organizations, it has become vital to inculcate and promote a “culture of security.” Yes, security is everyone’s responsibility — but it requires a shift in culture for people to begin accepting that responsibility.

Triggering this shift can be harder than it sounds on the surface. Why? Well, for one thing, most people in the organization don’t have their success measured on security. When the marketing team gets a performance review, no one brings up security. When a direct reward or consequence isn’t on the line, it can be more difficult to get people to buy in to their responsibility to help keep the company secure.

That said, it’s not impossible by any means. It just requires focused and sustained effort to change the culture. As with any culture shift, it won’t necessarily be easy or linear, but it is achievable. Here are a few steps you can take to help your team more security-minded.

1. Recognize That it Takes Time

Culture shifts don’t happen overnight. So it’s a good idea to be realistic about the time it will take to get certain people on board. For example, it took 5–10 years for DevOps to fully catch on (and in some circles it is still a work in progress) — so recognize that it will take some time for DevOps to embrace SecOps, and for the rest of the organization to see security as part of their jobs.

Don’t get frustrated if your first security lunch-and-learn doesn’t result in an overnight obsession with all things security at your organization. After all, it’s not the most thrilling topic on the planet — and it’s certainly hard to prove every time you avoided getting breached. But keep at it! Remind your people why security is vital to the organization through an ongoing security awareness program. (If you don’t have one in place yet, here are some tips on how to build one.)

2. Identify Cultural Resistance Factors

Let’s be serious for a minute. We love security, and many of us are security geeks through and through. But there’s a certain attitude that often comes with working in security. When your day-in, day-out work involves catching bad actors and slapping employees on the wrist, it can erode trust. Security’s business objective is to reduce risk — which often falsely appears to be at odds with the velocity of the rest of the business.

Part of getting past this is being honest about it. Sometimes security people may feel like the “bad guys,” and sometimes DevOps will intentionally go around them or ignore them because security makes their jobs harder. That won’t fly if your organization wants to truly take security seriously.

It’s up to both sides (and all the other parts of the organization) to build conversations and trust with the people they need buy-in from in order to do their jobs. And it’s a good idea to recognize that each can learn from other perspectives. Be open-minded and recognize that, at the end of the day, everyone has the same macro goal: to help the organization succeed.

3. Break Down Silos

Sometimes we get into patterns where one team is throwing requests over a wall to another. “Hey DevOps, you need to develop a tighter permissioning policy.” “Hey security, can you review this release?” If you really want security to be an integral part of your organization, you can’t just throw tasks over the wall. You need to break down silos.

How? Start by integrating teams, tools, and processes. If you need another team to do something to make your job easier, then make it easy to do that. Show them how to use any new tools, or find ways to integrate security protocols into the tools they already use.

It’s a good idea to implement this in a physical way, too. If your company allows it, have ops, engineering, and security co-located in the same office and ideally the same area of the office. This way, they will communicate more with one another, and hopefully share each others’ goals, ethos, and way of working — reducing friction and increasing their ability to work together. Security and DevOps both need to have a clear understanding of what the other is doing, what they’re focused on, and why.

4. Implement Tools That Support Security Culture

The best security tools will actually support the transition to a security culture by forcing DevOps and security to work together.

5. Leverage Automation

Automation is a key component of a modern approach to IT and can be a huge help in making sure that security becomes a seamless and natural part of your organization’s culture. The more that security teams can automate, the easier it will be for both them and the people they need to work with (e.g., ops and engineering) to get things done.

When security doesn’t feel like a giant mountain to climb, other teams are more likely offer their support. For example, Threat Stack integrates with Slack for distributed alerting. This way, non-security folks can receive an alert when something they touch causes a potential security concern. They can quickly confirm that it was them who did it and check whether it was a mistake or just a routine process that shouldn’t throw up any red flags. This process makes it easier for security to open the lines of communication with other teams, so others can do their jobs without security slowing them down.

Final Words . . .

It may take some time to get your team fully bought into the value of having a security mindset, but getting there is well worth the effort. Security teams need to understand that part of their responsibility is to educate and to make security easier for everyone. And everyone else needs to recognize that security isn’t just a tax they must pay, but a vital aspect of a healthy business.

Taking the steps above should help increase your organization’s security maturity by making the cultural transition smoother.

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9 Ways Custom Event Apps Increase Attendee Engagement| By |Maura Canavan

I love going to conferences. I like schmoozing, learning something new, and just getting inspired about the work I do every day. But I don’t necessarily like scrambling to figure out where I’m going, what I’m doing, and how to get the most out of it–and that’s why I love event apps.

But considering that I’m toting around a lot of gear (laptop, notebook, business cards, water bottle, etc) and may very well be in a city I’m not too familiar with, I need a little help. The first thing I look for in those event emails and on the website? An custom app, created specifically for that event. I’m talking about conferences now, but I do the same thing for any big event I’m attending, like the Boston Calling music festival.

So why are native apps perfect for events?

They’re faster and have smoother functionality on mobile devices than mobile websites. Being in a crowd is stressful for most people, so when there’s information you need–where a bathroom is, what time a session is starting or a performer is coming on–your attendees want it fast.

There’s a ton of ways you can use mobile apps for events to improve your attendees’ experience:
1. Make it easy for users to set their schedule when there’s multiple tracks, stages, etc.

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Events with multiple tracks can leave attendees frequently looking through lists of tracks to find what they need. It’s much easier for them (and for your events team, too) if they can put an easily referenced schedule together for themselves on the device they use most.

2. Send reminders about special or limited-time events with a push.

Here, Wistia reminds me that they just launched a new product at their conference WistiaFest, and there’s limited time to check out a demo. This push was timed in-between sessions, when attendees were considering what’s next in their schedule. (Extra points for the emoji!)

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3. Use location-based messages to tell attendees what’s happening nearby.

Sponsor booths, special events within your events, or an afterparty happening nearby–there’s a ton of stuff happening that attendees may want to check out, especially if they’re already in the area. This kind of highly relevant information is perfect for a push notification triggered by a geofence.

4. Let your attendees be your hype squad: include a social integration in your app.

Attendee engagement on all the big social networks both drives engagement and creates buzz around your event. Clearly, it’s a big deal. Your mobile event app can integrate with attendees’ social networks so they can easily post, tweet, or Snap your event, with all the right hashtags.

5. Update your attendees about last minute changes in real-time.

It’s pretty much inevitable that something’s going to change last minute. (Ask your event team. They’ve been there.) Re-printing brochures is expensive–and if your event has already kicked off, they might not be ready in time anyways. An of-the-moment, easily updated mobile app means your attendees always have a reliable source of information.

6. Get feedback while it’s still fresh.

Events can really inundate you with content. After everything’s over, the details around what your attendees liked or didn’t like aren’t so fresh in their mind. They’ll remember how they felt, but not the specifics, making it tough for you to get real insights for next year. WistiaFest’s app let users submit ratings and reviews right as they experience them, meaning users can recall more detail–so the team gets better insights.

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7. Help attendees network.

Kicking off last week, the Cannes Lions are a major event for advertising and creative professionals. Since a key part of attending any event is making connections, the Lions team deeplinked to the Braindates section of their site, where attendees can plan meetups and connect with each other. (Also a great example of creating a seamless experience between mobile apps, and mobile websites.)

8. Use the latest in mobile tech to delight.

A little musical festival known as Coachella (ever heard of it?) created an app with all the practical info attendees needed. Great! But they also made a Virtual Reality app that let users experience Coachella through special filters, letting them find festival VR “Easter eggs.”

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9. Let the users who couldn’t make it in on the fun, too.

Back to the Cannes Lions: it’s a high-profile event–i.e., it’s pretty exclusive. The Cannes Lions app is key for attendees trying to find their way around a huge festival, but it’s a great resource for industry pros who couldn’t make it, too: there’s plenty content highlighting winners, speakers, events, and more.

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Your attendees have plenty of brands competing for their time. Your app keeps them feeling secure and engaged at your event–and happy they came.

Successful events can be a major asset for your company. But they’re a big investment. Anything that involves that much detail and planning means the risk of disappointing attendees is greater and might be keeping your event manager up at night. Having a mobile app for your event helps streamline the entire user experience and gives your team peace of mind that your attendees are in the know about everything happening.

On the attendee side, I don’t necessarily like scrambling to figure out where I’m going, what I’m doing, and how to get the most out of it–and that’s why I love event apps. It’s a win for you and your attendees: When you take out the anxiety around figuring out where to go and what you may be missing, users get to focus on why they’re actually there: to meet great people, experience great content, and build a stronger relationship with your brand.

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Can’t Remember Complex Passwords? No Need to Worry!| By |Kevin Edge

The days of having to remember a series of complex passwords may soon be over!

So, what’s changed, you ask? A draft of recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, www.nist.gov) is.

NIST is recommending three changes to password management for organizations. These changes are not mandatory (except for governmental agencies), but are worthy of consideration to help your employees perform more productively and ease some of the burden on your IT staff. You can read the full special publication on the NIST website; Appendix A provides a summary of information on the strength of memorized secrets.

  • No more periodic password changes
    According to the NIST report, passwords don’t need to be changed “arbitrarily,” (which it defines as periodically) “unless there is a user request or evidence of [a] compromise.” This means that once a user has created a password, he or she doesn’t have to change it, say, every three months and then try to remember the new one.
  • No more complex passwords
    NIST also recommends not requiring passwords to be complex by including numbers, special characters and the like.

    NIST notes that “analyses of breached password databases reveals that the benefit of such rules is not nearly as significant as initially thought, although the impact on usability and memorability is severe.”

  • Mandatory validation of newly created passwords
    NIST indicates that when a new password is created, it should be validated against a list of common problem-prone passwords such as “password” and “123456789” that are easily guessed by hackers.

So, why is NIST making these recommendations?

Users are seriously burdened with trying to remember multiple passwords and complex rules for password creation, in addition to having to change the passwords on a regular basis. Even with all of these “safeguards” in place, it hasn’t stopped security breaches.

With the introduction of multi-factor identification (MFA), passwords alone are not guarding the gate. MFA combines the password (which is “something you know”) with a second factor (which is “something you have,” such as a mobile phone or token) or, in some cases, “something you are” (such a fingerprint or face recognition). This means you can use the same password over and over for different systems; the MFA will help to authenticate that the user is authorized to access the system.

In addition, there are a number of free and paid password management software programs available to help users. These programs can do many things, including generating and storing passwords. Users then only need to remember one password to unlock the vault of passwords managed by the software.

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Where Mobile Fits In The Marketing Cloud| By |Tom Farrell

As most of us are well aware, mobile isn’t so much changing the world as sitting back in its chair congratulating itself on a job well done. Consumer habits have been changed utterly by the rise of the smartphone, to the extent that according to eMarketer research the average adult in the USA spends 3.1 hours of each day on their phone, and most of that time in apps. And those of us with teenage children are probably pinching ourselves in disbelief that that number isn’t significantly higher.

For brands, and more specifically the people who are responsible for communicating on their behalf, all this matters a lot. At this point I could write long screeds about exactly why, but ultimately it all boils down to two very simple and easy to understand facts:

  • The actions that consumers take, from which we learn about their tastes and preferences, now take place primarily on mobile.
  • Consumers carry around with them a personal digital device that is the single best way to communicate with them.

And whilst mobile may indeed have changed the world, the world of marketing is struggling to catch up.

That is simple enough to understand, but it changes fundamentally the nature of the digital marketing challenge, or indeed the marketing challenge full-stop. And whilst mobile may indeed have changed the world, the world of marketing is struggling to catch up.

The Marketing Cloud: Where We Stand Today

Many moons ago marketing was easy, mainly because nobody could figure out that most of it didn’t work. Things moved on, of course, but only so far. We now have a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t, but still struggle to deliver real engagement with consumers – and a lot of that is to do with the rise of the smartphone. Again, there are probably two main factors at play.

Firstly, the smartphone is just the latest development in an ongoing trend in which the individual has greater control of the conversation. Historically, marketing was based on interruption. The company found out what TV program you liked to watch, and inserted an advert in the middle of it. More scientifically, they might discover which newspaper people more likely to buy their product would read – and then interrupt their enjoyment of that newspaper with print advertising. And crucially, there was very little the consumer could do.

Things are very different today. In the modern digital world, consumers tend to order up their entertainment, edification and other services as they require them. Interruption in that context is more aggressive and less effective. The techniques that marketers are used to are in danger of becoming not just ineffective, but actually damaging to the brand.

The techniques that marketers are used to are in danger of becoming not just ineffective, but actually damaging to the brand.

Secondly, most organizations simply don’t have the skills, experience and technology to deliver compelling campaigns in the native mobile environment. We have an infrastructure and mindset that was first built for broadcast and considers email to be about the limit of sophistication. And when most of our customers are on mobile, that’s a real problem. In many cases, it’s not so much that we want to communicate via native mobile but can’t, but more that it never enters our heads. Why would it, when we’ve spent the rest of our lives in other channels?

Before bringing mobile into the marketing cloud, some of those attitudes will inevitably have to change. Let’s talk about how to make that happen.

The Marketing Cloud: What Happens Next

Before going further, something needs to be stated loud and clear. Many of these existing systems, approaches, technologies and so on do an extremely good job. Just because the ‘old ways’ of broadcast marketing don’t necessarily work, doesn’t mean that the general approaches and strategies that have characterized good marketing since forever are suddenly out of fashion.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It would be foolish in the extreme to believe that changing technologies render irrelevant the need to understand the audience, think clearly about how to communicate with them, and carefully measure success or failure.

Similarly, much of the technical infrastructure in place remains very much fit for purpose. At Swrve, we know this because we work alongside a large number of marketing automation solutions. The one message we hear consistently from our enterprise clients? “Please don’t make me remove or rebuild existing, working infrastructure”. So in a whole range of areas, there are working solutions in place that handle a huge amount of valuable work.

The one thing that is missing, at least in some cases – is mobile.

The point is relatively straightforward. In an ideal world, mobile doesn’t replace the marketing cloud – it extends it. In most cases, what is in place can and should be retained. That includes broader marketing automation platforms, orchestration engines (into which mobile campaigns can now be plugged) and best-of-breed solutions in areas such as email.

In an ideal world mobile doesn’t replace the marketing cloud – it extends it

The result is bringing native mobile into the heart of the marketing ecosystem, with minimum disruption and maximum ROI.

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Hybrid Databases: Combining Relational and NoSQL| By |Ariel Maislos

Although NoSQL databases have been gaining popularity over the years, the idea behind them isn’t really new. What’s changed is the availability of new solutions and their improved reliability and performance, leading to expanded use from a niche audience to a broader one.

Nowadays, especially thanks to this broad range of tools for developing robust database systems, we shouldn’t stubbornly stick to our preferred solution simply for subjective reasons, but instead make use of the best tools available for a specific task or project requirement. Sometimes, your best bet is a combination of relational and NoSQL databases because one often complements the other.

The Difference Between the Two

Relational databases require you to structure a database into tables and then each table into columns according to data types. The relational part comes in with defining certain columns in a table as foreign keys of another table. That way you create links between entities. This is a great approach, but it doesn’t allow you to restructure your data on the fly, to remove some columns without losing data, or to add columns without migrating all the previous entries to a new schema.

NoSQL databases, however, don’t require you to stick to any predefined structure. Just enter data in a form and it’s stored. This applies to a lot of use cases, some of which we’ll go over later, but it also presents a potential problem. The freedom to add any type of data to the database means that some developers don’t actually design the database. Instead, they “add stuff” and worry about that stuff later. Except later, when they need to review or analyze data from their databases, they end up with problems. For example, they’ve renamed a field five times and now they have to check each entry for five fields. An additional downside of NoSQL databases is that they require more storage than relational databases, and you need to manage all the relations.

Hybrid Use Cases

There are certain scenarios where it would be wise to either add NoSQL databases to an existing relational database or vice versa. The reasons vary from just wanting to cache the reads to enhancing your queries to scaling your data more easily across servers. Here are three use cases for a hybrid setup.

Use Case: Document Database

ERP solutions are historically a stronghold for relational databases, but they’re lacking the flexibility to enable their users to customize entry forms without updating the database schema. By adding a NoSQL document database into the system, users can create and edit forms quickly, as needed. The data will be stored as documents, and it will be future-proofed for any form parameter changes moving forward. Some relational database vendors have recognized the need for such a blended solution and implemented something similar to a document database inside of their relational database. Microsoft SQL Server 2016, for example, offers support for storing JSON documents inside cells, which does ease up workflow but also complicates updating that data compared to updating data in a normal table.

Document databases store everything in a form of a “document,” usually a JSON object. Because they don’t require any structure, you can add different fields to each JSON object, while keeping in mind that it’s up to you to make sense of that data when retrieving it. Popular document databases are MongoDB and Couchbase.

Use Case: In-Memory Database and Graph Database

The success of e-commerce sites relies heavily on their ability to recommend something that might interest you in particular. How do they do this? They analyze your previous purchases and track the items you’ve watched, but didn’t purchase. They’ll do the same for your friends and for other users in your region, and they’ll then correlate all this data with what’s trendy. The challenge is that this data analysis must happen quickly for each page opening and each user, an impossible feat if you need to query your relational database and join together multiple tables in order to get results.

A solution could be to add an in-memory database in front of your relational database to cache all the data needed to perform queries in-memory, instead of going to the disk each time. An even better solution would be to also add a graph database to keep track of all your relationships as a user regarding your preferences as well as who your friends are and their preferences.

In-memory databases mostly run in your RAM, but some of them have the ability to persist data to the hard drive and offer replication support, snapshots and transaction logging. Memcached and Redis are the most well known in-memory databases. Graph databases store their data graph structures, and they’re optimized for fast querying and lookups. That’s done by adding a pointer on each entry to their “connected” entries. Check out Neo4j and InfiniteGraph.

Use Case: Fraud Detection

Whether you’re running an online shop or a brick-and-mortar retail store, it’s important to continuously be on the lookout for fraud attempts. To do that you need to rapidly log a lot of data from various parts of your system. Naturally, because the data is coming from many different places—think of your web servers, your file servers, or credit card payment gateways—and it’s not structured in the same way for each, it would be very difficult to design a relational database for this purpose. Also, there’s a chance that over time you’ll start or stop logging some parameters somewhere in system, and you need a database that can handle that. Column databases were designed with this purpose in mind, and they provide you with fast writes, but you need to take care while designing one to make sure it fit your needs.

Column databases are designed for read and write performance, large volumes of data, and high availability. They are intended to run on clusters of servers, so if your data is small enough to fit on a single server, you should consider using another type ofdatabase. Bigtable and Cassandra are the most popular column databases.

Scaling the System

Scaling relational databases across multiple machines requires you to shard your database, which isn’t a trivial undertaking, but it’s a well-trodden path. Scaling NoSQL databases is another task entirely. They’ve been designed to scale easily across multiple machines, and sharding data is something they do without a problem. Getting the two to scale together is somewhat of a challenge for DB admins and for sys admins, especially when you need to add search engines and similar “add-ons.” The required process depends heavily on your environment and requirements.

OrientDB is a multi-model open source NoSQL DBMS that combines the power of graphs with documents, key-value, object-oriented and geospatial models into one scalable, high-performance operational database. Because it’s designed to be a distributed solution, and because it “packs” in it various types of NoSQL databases, you cover all your NoSQL needs with just one solution. The only thing that’s missing in OrientDB is a relational database.

In addition, the performance of RDBMs in Amazon Cloud, we discussed the great benefit of elasticity. When looking at the infrastructure support of your database scalability, you can scale up a single machine size to support the growing demand of your database.

Final Note

Even relational database vendors are beginning to see the benefits of NoSQL databases, and they’re trying to find a feasible way to incorporate them into their relational databases so that customers can have everything available out-of-the-box. The main thing to remember is that NoSQL solutions are production-ready and useful in certain situations. That said, relational databases are still relevant, and developers won’t be abandoning them so quickly. So give them both a chance.

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It’s Official, I’m Connected More Than Ever Before| By |Jenn Reichenbacher

AzureEyes / Pixabay

If you haven’t heard of IoT, the Internet of Things, you may be hiding under a rock. Just in case, IoT is defined as the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. Simply stated, we’re moving more and more to a connected world, relying on these connected, ‘smart’ devices. According to Gartner, 8.4 billion, yes BILLION, connected ‘things/devices’ will be in use this year, up over 30% from just last year. And, they forecast that, by 2020 – that’s only 2 ½ years away – there will be over 20 billion connected ‘devices’ worldwide.

I actually came across this statistic around IoT and connected devices while drafting a contributed content piece for my company. But it left me to pause as I reflected on my own life and how much I rely on my smart devices today, especially compared to where I was only 2 to 3 years ago. My smart devices, especially my iPhone®, are admittedly critical to my day-to-day being. Mind you, I rarely use the phone element compared to everything else, even though we don’t have a home phone.

Let’s take shopping for example. Of course, like millions of other Americans I use my device and the Apps on if for frictionless payments. Starbucks, Lyft and Uber are at the top of that list. I also use my iPad® to order my bi-weekly items from Target. Even a year ago, a weekly trip to Target or Wal-Mart was on my weekend to-dos. Today, it’s a 10-minute online order. Then there’s Amazon, Whole Foods, and too many other shopping related Apps and/or experiences to even mention. We’re buying online! In fact, I cannot even tell you the last time, outside of grocery shopping, that I went to a store to buy something. With recent news from earlier this week, I am sure it’s only a matter of time before drones will be shuttling my Whole Foods order to my door – I hope so at least.

I’m also more connected than ever, and not just through my shopping and social Apps. I recently bought a new car that came with a really cool App that serves as a remote car starter, which I loved, but it also tracks every trip your car makes. My car is 100% connected. I also travel a lot – and I rely on my smart device for everything – boarding passes, flight alerts, car rental booking and terminal check-outs, hotel check-in and check-out. A few weeks ago I was heading out on a trip and I had been using my device for map/directions. Inadvertently I left if in the car when my husband dropped me off. Needless to say, sheer panic set in when I reached the counter and didn’t have my boarding pass, or my phone. Luckily I was able to use a second smart device (iPad®) to text my brother-in-law who was with my husband so they could turn around. As I waited, I realized that my horror and panic wasn’t about the phone at all, it was about the lack of connectivity I’d have without it. At home, I’m also using connected devices for home management (Amazon Echo), Heat and AC control (Nest) and I even have an App for my lawn that tracks rain and alerts me when I need to apply treatments and/or water. Never could I have imagined my connected life today!

Are you connected? Please share your experience and what you love/don’t the most about what’s becoming the new normal in the world of the IoT.

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What is Call Tracking and How It Helps Your Business| By |Dan Sincavage

If you still haven’t implemented a call tracking software to keep up with your sales and marketing, you should. Call tracking is the line that separates businesses that know where its at, and those that go about their marketing campaigns blindly. Where you are when it comes to this line affects your marketing ROI. Do you know where your calls are coming from? Are you investing in ads and marketing campaigns that actually work?

Call tracking is a system that allows you to track campaigns that drive calls to your business. Through this system, you can associate your local and toll-free numbers to your online and offline advertising, landing pages, and search or social media campaigns.

Your call tracking CRM integration captures the performance of these campaigns. With this data, you can assess your marketing investments, as well as improve your callers’ experience. Without it, you might end up misreading your prospects’ behavior and putting your funds where you don’t get enough conversion back.

How A Call Tracking Software Works

The way a call tracking software works is simple. Its system allows you to assign unique phone numbers or web codes to online and offline marketing campaigns. The responses are tracked and, alongside other data culled from your CRM system, assessed according to key metrics, such as leading call drivers and top conversion venues.

How A Call Tracking Software Benefits Your Business

There are several benefits from a call tracking software:

In-depth Insight On Your Marketing ROI
With call tracking, you know exactly which of your advertising venues are sending over good leads and improving your conversion rates.

From the experience of DemandResults Marketing Director Jennifer Stretch, call tracking makes marketing ROI visible. And, many of their clients are finding out how phone calls are actually delivering more clients their way.

According to Stretch, “When that much ad ROI is suddenly visible, we can make much smarter decisions about where to help clients invest their marketing. And there I’m really just referring to basic channel tracking. When clients begin tracking at the keyword level, then we can get even smarter about actual messaging and inbound marketing tactics.”

Keeping Up With Smartphone Usage
Smartphones have changed buyer behavior. In a way, it has muddled up the accepted notion that web ads lead to clicks and online conversion. Because with smartphones, the conversion could still be over the phone.

When you set up call tracking, you can monitor phone calls triggered by online ads and made through smartphones. This gives you valuable insight on how interconnected your marketing channels are. You can’t rely completely on online advertising and online subscription and booking because some people still prefer to call. Yet, you can’t ignore the value of online presence – you have to reach out online.

This is important to take note, especially since some industries have actually considered ridding themselves of their sales team. For instance, even with the prevalence of online booking websites and online agents, the hotel industry still gets 25% of their reservations via the phone. Starwood specifically found that their click-to-call web ads work and has increased their ROI twenty times.

Better Caller Experience
Call tracking, when integrated with your CRM system, puts important information about the caller upfront. You know their location, product of interest and call history. You might even know how they’ve engaged with you through your website and social media presence.

This information can be used to improve the caller experience. From the get-go, they can be routed to sales and support teams that are better equipped to help with their specific needs. They can be attended to by someone local to them or someone who knows where to pick things up from.

Tracking Offline Engagements
Call tracking helps you keep track of your offline marketing channels. Instead of asking your caller how they found you, you know already through the number they called.

This is a good way of quantifying the success of your offline engagements, such as TV and radio ads and trade show participation. It is important to keep track even of your minor marketing efforts, such as one-paged flyers. Assign specific numbers to these efforts and use your call tracking software to keep track.

Know exactly how much of your efforts give back and make better marketing investments from there.

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