While I’m not at Dreamforce (#df12) I have several friends that are, including Venuelabs (that spoke twice yesterday and whom I’m doing a webinar with in October) and others I know at Salesforce BuddyMedia and Salesforce Radian6, and I’m sure there are several others I know who are attending and live in the Bay area, or traveled there for the conference.
Well, among alot of stuff that I haven’t yet heard about, there was something that dropped out of the sky, so to speak, called the Marketing Cloud, which happened to be powering the Social Media Command Center and there’s alot of good stuff that is over at Optify by Jennifer Wong. I kind of wish I was there at #df12, but more for networking as all the news is streaming out, and I’m looking at some of it via Netbase and Sysomos.
I think the story that made my ears perk up today was Mark Zuckerberg Partners Up With Marc Benioff To Sell Facebook Ads that had this snippet in it:
One new feature of Marketing Cloud is the ability to sift through customers’ email addresses and phone numbers stored on Salesforce.com to find their Facebook and Twitter handles.
Today the two companies have announced the next step: Marketing Cloud is being integrated into Facebook’s new custom audience targeting feature, launched earlier this month. This means Salesforce customers can now send very targeted ads to people on Facebook. They can sift through emails addresses and phone numbers of customer data stored on Salesforce, find those folks on Facebook, and have Facebook send only those people a special ad.
This merging of what was disparate data is significant – as emerging media continues to evolve, its starting to become more useful (integrated). I’m not sure if it displaces the argument of platforms capable of providing data enrichment (such as PeekYou/PeekAnalytics, whose advisory board I’m on) or augments it, but it’s clear to me, regardless, Salesforce decided that data merging capability had to be in the Marketing Cloud, and they are right (because without that, most of the Marketing Cloud would be useless, at least, as far as Social Media is concerned). The rest of the job of storing the data into a Social CRM, Salesforce already solved.
The development of the Marketing Cloud is also signaling, at least based on marketing speak level, that Media and Analytics fragmentation I alluded to in my Netbase Social Smarts Webinar yesterday, see below, is being solved by the larger vendors such as Salesforce (perhaps Oracle and IBM will come out with their own versions of the Marketing Cloud shortly – they almost have to).
And on slide 17 of my deck, now on Slideshare, I gave a practical example that I wrote about last year with the Mobile Application Sonar.me, a popular mobile geo-location program that has a few unique features.
Even on a pure Analytics level – just getting the data you needed for any kind of intelligent marketing insight meant going to several technology stacks and trying to match up what you needed. Too bad none of these “technology stacks” were ever designed to work together – and until now, no one felt responsible to make them work together.
To me, the Marketing Cloud is a predictably bold attempt by Salesforce to mover into the center of the Strategic Buyer Lumascape and to replace both the Social Lumascape (below) and the Display Lumascape (below) with its own solutions. Essentially, instead of trying to figure out the mess in the diagrams below, Salesforce has been the first to provide what it claims is an entirely “end to end” solution to the entire marketing suite, taking raw data food coming on one side, and turning it into spaghetti on the other (ha)!
Actually, Rachel King said it more elegantly than I have :
Salesforce is trying to position Marketing Cloud as a one-point solution that remedies all of this, touting it as the “world’s only integrated social marketing platform.” Essentially, it is described as a solution that promises to turn insights to actions and connections to customers for life because of the way that brands can engage them.
But this solution (depending on how well it actually works), might only be for those organizations that can afford it, and can make the investment. That goes along with my realization that many organizations simply are not ready for this kind of end to end integrated platform because they haven’t figured out what they need from the data (yet).
Perhaps what Salesforce needs is a Marketing Cloud Lite, for the rest of the businesses that can’t afford a “cross country, coast to coast solution, encompassing everything in between”, and then verticalize it.