Overview of Dreamforce (Part Two) – Marketing Cloud

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Continuing my overview of Dreamforce this blog will focus on the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Keynote.

Scott Dorsey, the CEO of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, launched the keynote. One of the first comments Scott made was to reiterate a comment from the previous day “Get to the future first and welcome your customers as they arrive”. This is an interesting way to look at things as I believe we are on the cusp of seeing some amazing things happen as Marketing transforms with tools such as ExactTarget and Salesforce.

For as long as I can remember the view has always been that data is king and this is true to some degree. The problem is that with all the data there was a lack of tools that allowed one view to understand the data and how it should be used. That was true until now…

Today our customers have so many tools and devices at their fingertips. The marketer’s challenge is to ensure their reach extends to these tools in a meaningful way. As Scott mentioned there are 5.0 Billion smartphones being utilised globally and we carry our smartdevice 16 hours a day. Our Smart devices are the dashboard to our lives – any marketing activities must utilise a Mobile first focus or risk missing a significant amount of potential customers.

In the main keynote Marc Benioff introduced the concept of “The Internet of Customers”. Part of this concept is utilising devices to deliver information to the user. We are seeing connected devices being utilised in our daily life. I’ve lost count of the number of friends with Fitbit bands and the gamification, across social networks and smart devices, that these programs use to encourage competition and deliver results to the users.

This is all good but how can Marketing evolve to take advantage of these type of tools. Does it need to change?  The reality is customers demand a personal experience and want and demand to feel special. They are clearly saying –

“Deliver me a personal experience in every single interaction. Know who I am when I walk into a shop, when I interact with you online, when I pass by your store.. Deliver content that makes sense to me and don’t give me content that I won’t be interested in”

How? You’ve got the data so the next step is utilising tools to analyse the data you have collected over time. You need to utilise tools to help build out campaigns that can use the data in meaningful interactions. Tools such as Pardot and ExactTarget.

Pardot is a strong B2B marketing tool that allows the marketing team to build out campaigns and track all online activity of customers (both potential and existing). Activity can be scored and progressive profiling utilised to maximise conversion rates. Pardot effectively delivers prospects to the sales team based on their activity, nurturing a customer to ensure the sales team effort is spent on those leads/customers that are have been “pre-qualified”. What I like about Pardot is that it is simple to use, setup, maintain and update flows which delivers the power of Pardot into the hands of the Marketing team.

For a B2C tool I don’t think you can go passed ExactTarget. This has now risen to the Number 1 tool in the space. Why? ExactTarget can use any conceivable data source which can be integrated into the ExactTarget Marketing cloud for all campaign activities. Ultimately the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud is not about email though as it also utilises Radian6 and BuddyMedia to complete the entire Marketing Cloud offering.

The Marketing Team start by building up a journey utilising a canvas that sits over their data and provides the ability to clearly buildout the campaign in real time. Specific content is developed and delivered to the consumer across many channels – such as Facebook, Twitter, Email and push messages etc. As soon as the customer interacts with the content the journey moves to the next stage.

A big win, in my view, is that the design and analytics dashboards are one and the same. This is a nice approach and simplifies the user experience.

The biggest avenue for marketing interactions is in the Social space. It is imperative, in the current world, that the Marketing team need real time analytics listening to real people talking about real products in real time. They must be able to collaborate with suppliers, customers and consumers via the same tools. ExactTarget Marketing Cloud utilise Radian6 to listen and BuddyMedia to publish in real time. The power is that these tools are all delivered in one solution – ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

I will leave you with one last thought. Having the sexiest tools in place to drive your marketing activities is fantastic but the reality is content is still more important than anything else. You need content to ensure the right messages is delivered at the right time – you need the right tools to ensure the delivery can can be achieved effortlessly.

My main takeaway from this keynote is that you need the tools to allow you to build and deliver content across multiple platforms quickly and without engaging multiple teams. Speed to market increases effectiveness and increases the outcomes you can achieve. This can be achieved with the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

My next blog will be about the Platform Keynote from Dreamforce. If you’re interested please subscribe or leave a comment.

Overview of Dreamforce 2013 (Part One)

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Last week I had the pleasure of travelling to San Francisco for my third Dreamforce experience. This journey was different as it was my first as a Salesforce MVP which meant I got to hang with the cooler kids (I’m not one of those just yet) and experience some of Dreamforce from a different perspective.

Arriving in town a few days early helped acclimatise to the San Francisco timezone and weather and try and get over the onset of jet lag. On Sunday registration opened and the flood of the 135,000 registrants with the familiar blue lanyards and Dreamforce badges could be seen around San Francisco.

The conference kicked off on Monday and I attended several sessions in the Foundation Zone. This is an area, that was set up in the Hilton Hotel, to cater specifically to the Not For Profit space. Having a specific space together with the Community Zone, which was next to the Foundation Zone, shows why devotees like myself support and enjoy working in the Salesforce space.

On Tuesday Dreamforce really kicked off with the main keynote. At the start of every main Dreamforce keynote the first section is dedicated to the Salesforce Foundation and how they are working in the community. Salesforce are the pioneers of the 1-1-1 model which has now been adopted by other large companies across the globe.

As you will see in the above video, view from 12.47 if you don’t want to watch it all, Marc Benioff announced that the main beneficiary of support from the Salesforce Foundation over the past twelve months were the People of Haiti following the devastating earthquake. In the following YouTube clip, as Marc interviewed Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti, and Petra Němcová, I can honestly say there were very few dry eyes in the Moscone Centre. Seeing how Salesforce, and donations from the Salesforce Foundation, was being utilised to help get Haiti back on it’s feet was amazing.

We then moved into the main keynote. As usual everyone in the room and those around the globe watching on the livestream were on the edge of our seat waiting to hear the announcement. And then it was announced – The Internet of Customers. Such a simple concept that clearly connects the Internet of Things and the end result being the Customer. How does Salesforce play in this space?

Salesforce1 is the new Customer platform connecting everything in new ways. Salesforce1 has been developed with a focus on mobile first linking how society has embraced smart devices as the mainstay tool to stay connected and their work life/activities.

Salesforce1 replaces the Touch product and is already in general availability. Further functionality will be coming In the next release allowing custom branding enabling app developers to get an app to market quicker than ever before. How? Well developers get “10 times more” APIs; partners get new tools to make their apps mobile; end-users get the all-new mobile apps; administrators get a new “Salesforce1 A” mobile admin app for provisioning (and freezing) end users; and customers get superior and connected experience across the Salesforce ecosystem including the acquired tools such as Heroku, ExactTarget, Buddy Media, and Radian6. Is it a game changer? Well that phrase has been overused – it is definitely a revolution on how mobile apps are built and delivered!

Be prepared to be consumed by the phrase “Internet of Customers” which will replace Cloud as the standard phrase but it truly describes where we are heading with technology.

As Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, stated during the keynote “For everyone in technology, is this not the most exciting time to be in technology? I wholeheartedly agree!

My next blog will focus on the Marketing Cloud Keynote. If you’re interested please subscribe or leave a comment.