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Data-driven marketing. Data is driving transformation in nearly every department of modern business, and marketing is no exception. “Driven by the advent of the Internet of Things, mobile technology and big data, this new marketing paradigm is all about analytics and understanding your customers better than ever before,” writes Jean K. Spencer in a post on the Microsoft Dynamics blog. What are some of the new marketing capabilities data enables? Creating dynamic, multichannel campaigns; A/B testing each facet of your plan; and using social engagement tools to track sentiment — not to mention getting feedback in real time.

Little library lessons. We learn to share at a young age, and the new phenomenon of Little Free Libraries are a great example of those lessons in action. But what about sharing our knowledge, our expertise? “There’s something truly inspiring about someone who gives away hard-won expertise for nothing, with no expectation other than that someone else may find it valuable. And while ‘profiting’ from such generosity isn’t usually a giver’s first priority, there is real value in giving away knowledge,” writes Shannon Perry in a post on the Microsoft Partner Network blog. Check out her post for five lessons on the value of “free.”

The art of customer-pleasing. Almost nothing can do as much damage to your business as an unhappy customer. And, according to Kelly Rigotti, “As online commerce continues to grow, both the importance and challenge of keeping customers happy has increased. Despite never having met them, we’re expected to anticipate the evolving needs of our online customers, heading off possible problems before they arise. It’s a big challenge.” In a post on the Microsoft Dynamics blog, she describes three things to avoid: doing the bare minimum, treating new customers as strangers and improving sales without improving relationships.

Business Roundup is a recurring collection of short takes on topics of interest to Business Matters readers. We compile the latest thinking from Microsoft and other industry experts to showcase how companies of all sizes are achieving efficiency, deploying innovative technology and becoming digital businesses.