Scott McCorkle — the CEO for Salesforce Marketing Cloud — spoke to Target Marketing about cloud platforms and how Salesforce Marketing Cloud is redefining engagement for marketers.
What are marketers looking for in a cloud platform?
There are five massive tech shifts that are happening right now, that have created entirely new ways for marketers to connect with customers, and that have redefined how they create engagement and customer experience:
- Cloud has created scale and performance previously unthinkable.
- Social has created new places where customers go and new places companies can join them.
- Mobile has created an always-on, always connected experience. For the first time in history, we have a unifying tech platform, literally for all of humanity.
- Data science is unlocking goals we‘ve talked about as marketers for over 10 years: How to create truly relevant, personal, one-to-one interactions, at-scale.
- IoT lets marketers extend into more contexts their customers are experiencing.
To keep pace in this new and exciting world, marketers need a platform designed to build a single view of their customers, plan and optimize unique customer journeys and measure the impact of every customer interaction on the business.
When it comes to actually using the platform, what capabilities are most important to marketing success?
According to Gartner, 89 percent of companies today expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience vs. 36 percent four years ago. As such, marketers should focus on connecting with customers on the channels they’re engaging on and tying all of those interactions together into a cohesive journey.
Marketers need a platform that empowers them to answer four key questions: Who are my customers? Where are they in their journey? How can I engage them in any channel? And how can I measure the results? The answers to these questions give marketers the ability to guide customers on one-to-one journeys across sales, service, marketing and beyond — uniting the brand’s voice and providing a seamless experience.
When it comes to digital channels, email should rank high on marketers’ list for driving marketing success. Email is the foundation for building one-to-one relationships throughout the customer journey, because it’s the connective tissue between all channels and keeps customers satisfied on every front. Email also delivers the highest return on investment in digital marketing.
Is there a gap in what marketers look for and need?
It’s a new era where the physical and the digital worlds have converged, and every business has an unprecedented opportunity to connect with customers in a new way. While this new world presents new opportunities, it also presents new challenges. Marketers need to keep up with massive amounts of data — turning insight into action in real-time — and also need to connect discrete interactions on each individual customer’s terms.
What capabilities are going to be more important for marketing clouds to offer during the next five years?
It’s clear the future of marketing is the customer journey. Customers expect a seamless and personalized experience from the companies and brands they do business with, every step of the way. Over the next several years, this will only continue to strengthen.
For example, Salesforce Marketing Cloud customer AT&T enlists the help of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud to identify over 100,000 social conversations that are actionable and merit a response from the more than 1 million social media mentions of the company that occur monthly.
As a result of the company’s heightened social customer service team, AT&T is now ranked No. 1 in customer service performance among full-service wireless providers by J.D. Power, has shortened response times by 70 percent year-over-year and has dropped social service costs by 35 percent, as well.
The Internet of Things will continue to reshape the rules for customer engagement. Marketers need tools to help them process large amounts of device data, build customer profiles, take actions and respond directly to customers based on IoT events.
More marketers will embrace a cross-channel strategy. For example, we’ve seen that the combination of email with digital advertising is a new holy grail. In a case study of one major online retailer, Facebook ads were matched with a group of email subscribers to create a Facebook Custom Audience.
This audience was then targeted with both email and Facebook ads for two weeks, finding that when first reached with Facebook ads, email openers were 22 percent more likely to purchase. Social audiences become more likely to purchase when they receive emails, and email subscribers become more frequent openers when they see Facebook ads.
What types of companies stand to gain the most from working with a marketing cloud?
Marketing technology should be able to manage the complete customer lifecycle from the earliest phases of awareness and acquisition to transforming customers into brand advocates, no matter the industry, audience or size of the business.
Take Room & Board, an American modern furniture and home furnishings retailer, for example. The company deployed Salesforce Marketing Cloud for targeted email and predictive digital marketing capabilities to provide a custom online experience, targeting customers with the right offer at just the right time from their first interaction with the site through post-sale. Doing so, Room & Board increased the average order value by 16 percent and delivered a 2,900 percent ROI payback over a two-month period.
In a completely separate industry, Donorschoose.org, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for people to donate funds to classrooms in need, uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud to make giving a truly personal, hyper-local and targeted experience. They send highly personalized emails and create a personalized journey for each of their donors and prospective donors based on projects that match their interests, hometown, current location and more. Email was the biggest revenue driver in 2015 for the organization, accounting for more than 50 percent of donations.
How do you counsel your customers in defining the parameters and setting up an attribution model?
[Special thanks to TM blogger Chuck McLeester for suggesting this question.]
Marketing Cloud Services drives customer success through five service categories that range from strategy to execution, and everything in between. Each category encompasses channel-specific approaches and deliverables, spanning the entire product line — email, mobile, social, advertising and the Web.
Our strategy and insight services guide the development of our customers’ strategic vision for social media and digital marketing programs; help establish realistic goals; and provide insights on their customers, competitors, brands and markets.
Our onboard and activation services encompass the implementation and migration process that get customers started with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform, enabling them to quickly begin driving measurable results.
What’s going to determine who wins “The Cloud Wars”?
There are more than 2,500 companies in the marketing technology space today. While many companies claim to be a “system of record” for marketing, our customers know that it’s impossible to be a system of record without a powerful, complete CRM at the center.
At Salesforce, we put our customers at the center of everything we do. Our No. 1 focus is making them successful, and we innovate by paying attention to their needs. Our customers continuously tell us they want to consolidate the view they have of their customers into one home base, and be able to act on immediate insights across multiple channels. The concept of a marketing cloud, and having a central hub for the customer journey that continues to evolve, is absolutely the direction marketing technology — and to an extent, advertising technology — is headed in.