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Salesforce exec discloses plans to boost one-to-one marketing

Traditional mass marketing methods don't cut it anymore. Salesforce discusses its plans to bring one-to-one marketing to customers.

As companies struggle to gain slivers of competitive advantage, customer personalization is critical. The ability to show prospects and customers that you know them can go a long way toward securing a sale.

This concept of one-to-one marketing isn't about sending more email -- it's about crafting personalized messages to a target audience. Marketing departments that work at the top of the sales funnel can only benefit from this customization.

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a toolbox for marketing departments, strives for these kind of "show them you know them" marketing tactics. Salesforce has made several enhancements to its personalization features, including sprucing up its customer Journey Builder offering, which helps companies map out customer pathways to a purchase or other interactions. Journey mapping also boosts customer personalization strategies.

Eric Stahl, senior vice president of product marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, sat down with SearchSalesforce to talk about updates since Dreamforce 2015, and how Lightning integration will play a role this year.

SearchSalesforce: What enhancements have you made to Journey Builder and its one-to-one marketing features this year?

Eric Stahl, senior vice president for product marketing for Salesforce Marketing CloudEric Stahl

Eric Stahl: Two and a half years ago, we acquired ExactTarget, a digital marketing platform. And now, we're delivering that vision around being the company that connects to your customers. We are laser-focused on all the data connected to the various clouds: Sales, Marketing, Service, Community, Analytics and Apps; and we've recently added the IoT Cloud, [which brings Internet of Things-connected device data into Marketing Cloud for alerts, messaging and analysis].

The glue that pulls all that together is the vision for the one-to-one journey, and the product behind that is Journey Builder. It lets you set up triggers and bring people on one-to-one journeys that span time and channels, so you can connect through email, SMS or push notifications through an app, targeted ads or custom content on your website, and you're moving them along in their journey.

With integrations and Marketing Cloud Connect, it can be a sales or a service journey. Our ultimate vision is to blur the lines in CRM. The customer doesn't care what department they are interacting with. They just want one holistic experience.

We're moving to systems of intelligence, where systems are getting smarter and we want to automate as much as we can. We want to apply big data and machine learning to make the sales rep more productive, the campaign smarter -- and those themes are permeating throughout the platform.

You also rolled out predictive capabilities in marketing campaigns. How do these elements work for customers?

Stahl: The first was Marketing Cloud Connect, which is pulling together [CRM data] in Salesforce, and making it easier to synchronize that data with the Marketing Cloud and making it easy to trigger customer journeys on anything from a [customer service] case, to a lead, to an activity, to any Salesforce event and build out journeys on them. And then, create cases, leads and activities from Journey Builder.

The customer doesn't care what department they are interacting with.
Eric Stahlsenior vice president of product marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The other big announcement was predictive journeys. Customers were saying, 'I have all this data. Instead of me figuring out which audience I should put into a campaign, or figure out what the next step in this journey should be, can your system be smart enough to help me figure that out, or tell me who that audience should be?'

You can apply algorithms to all your customer records in the system and look at their propensity to engage around anything -- whether they're going to unsubscribe, their propensity to click [or] to buy. We'll continue to build out more machine learning and ways to score these things, and then use them in Audience Builder, our multidimensional segmentation tool, and you can put those audiences in Journey Builder. And you can then measure and optimize them over time.

What's the net gain for customers?

Stahl: You have a team of people cranking away on these campaigns and you have results -- for better or worse. Our job is to make it faster and easier to implement these campaigns with fewer resources on their end, and make the results better over time. By automating and making these systems smarter, we can drive the outcome. Sending more email is not always a great strategy. Sending smarter emails, sending more personalized, more targeted email is where people's heads are.

How is the development platform Lightning going to improve the Marketing Cloud?

Stahl: Lightning is not part of that product yet. Over time, the Marketing Cloud will come into the Lightning experience. Back in the ExactTarget days, you would have to do heavy lifting to move data back and forth. We're going to make that native and seamless, and not require a lot of consultants and heavy lifting.

What else is on customers' wish lists?

Stahl: We're still in the process of rolling out the IoT Cloud and what that means for Journey Builder. The IoT Cloud is being driven by customers [who] are managing billions of pings from devices. It's a scale that had to be purpose-built. The market is moving in that direction: Your car, toothbrush [and] home alarm are pinging the back end. And we are triggering events based on specific things that customers can take action on -- sending an email or SMS alert, or having a customer service or salesperson call you.

We're still doing the Journey Builder tie-in. IoT Cloud and Journey Builder will fuse, and customers can configure IoT to trigger events natively in Journey and Builder, and drive one-to-one customer interactions across different channels.

What does the future of one-to-one marketing look like?

Stahl: We're going to see ongoing disruption in digital advertising in a profound way. The status quo of cookie-based ads and all the middlemen, when you look at ad block and the move to mobile, where cookies don't work, compare that to what Facebook is doing with identity-based ads.

We are integrating CRM data [Marketing, Sales and Service Cloud], making it easy to create audiences, and integrating those audiences so you can advertise to those people and expand your reach. We're very focused on this use case of connecting your CRM data to these identity-based networks.

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