Kicking Off Dreamforce

df18-during-headerDreamforce kicked off in earnest yesterday, grinding traffic south of market down to a crawl, and ushering in a series of exciting announcements about Salesforce products and services.

At the top of the list was news about Salesforce Customer 360 which “comprises a set of powerful platform services that will enhance data management across Salesforce apps and provide instant access to consistent, reconciled customer data.” This sounds very much like functionality being offered by many of the Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) we reviewed in our recent CDP Buyer’s Guide, and I am very much looking forward to learning more.

Also on tap yesterday was big news about a new strategic partnership between Salesforce and Apple, with plans to redesign Salesforce mobile apps to more fully embrace iOS and plans for new tools that will allow Salesforce developers to build their own native apps with a new Salesforce Mobile SDK for iOS.

Today is all about Einstein, with the Einstein AI keynote, and a series of in-depth conversations focused on Artificial Intelligence. Addressing topics like “How AI Has Changed the Future of Work,” “How AI Will Drive Business Transformation,” and featuring an “AI Dreamtalk with will.i.am,” audiences today will hear a lot about how Einstein can help them drive business objectives.

If you couldn’t make it to SF this week for the conference, you can tune in to much of the content via live broadcast here, and I’ll be following up with another post after the conference that highlights the best stuff.

 

What to Make of Adobe’s $4.75 Billion Acquisition of Marketo

What to Make of Adobe’s $4.75 Billion Acquisition of Marketo

My first thought is the value. This is a lot of cash to jump into another cloud that is crowded by B2B marketing solutions. But then I think that many of them have yet to integrate such a solution across the marketer and advertiser experience (I am talking to you Oracle).

Below I enumerate why this deal makes sense from my market analyst point of view. To be clear, I am not, nor does The Relevancy Group (TRG) provide a financial analyst perspective. That is, we are not offering investment advice.

1) Adobe is a winner, they have a process to satisfy clients. In our most recent ESP Buyer’s Guide – Enterprise edition they received client satisfaction awards in deliverability support, technical services, and omnichannel marketing. Customers we spoke with had high praise for the Adobe technical teams and remarked that “implementation has been a ten out of ten,” and that they “anticipate [our] needs ahead of time.” Marketo clients you are going to be fine. The company that has a cloud called “experience” respects, embraces this client-oriented culture. The experience will likely be an upgrade for you.

2) Adobe does acquisition and integration better than most. Earlier this year they jumped into the commerce cloud with the $1.7 billion purchase of Magneto in May. This commerce platform is ripe for the Adobe Sensei framework and every element of the Adobe Experience Cloud. Integration is coming. I can’t say what I saw, but I can say it was impressive.

3) It is not about B2B and B2C but is about what B2B is Missing. If you have read my book, seen me speak or just overall – I see everyone as a client and we all have journeys, events, experiences and things that could trigger us. Some like Eloqua and Responsys did an awful job of competing internally as to who had the best automation. I realize there is a true B2B element, I am talking about Account Based Marketing, but this is just a way to say that we are all as an industry moving to individualization. As people, we don’t have different buying or online expectations as a consumer or a business operator. We have the same respect for relevant experiences. Adobe’s win here will be if they can utilize the best aspect of that platform – but the real value upside is to sell all those 5K plus Marketo B2B clients all the other elements in Document, Creative and Experience Clouds. I believe Adobe can do this better, certainly in comparison to Oracle.

4) For the Buyer, This Completes the Adobe Cloud Picture. Adobe can now tick the front office, traditional CRM off the capabilities that they used to rely on partners. They have always done well in Financial Services and industries where capabilities that define Marketo are necessary, but they did so through a tapestry of partners. This will combat vendors such as Oracle when they pitch and throw in their email capabilities (formerly Responsys) for free to sway a deal. Adobe’s more robust offering will have new implications for their partners, some of which that go to market with a blended bag of partners. It will be most interesting on how this is received in their partner and agency channels.

Congratulations to Adobe and Marketo, as stated we believe that this is an upgrade that will benefit Marketo and Adobe clients alike.

Until next time,
David

McDonald’s Rewards Student Pranksters

 

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McDonald’s will feature two University of Houston students in upcoming ads, after their fake ad campaign went viral.

Filipino-American students Jevh Maravilla and Christian Toledo felt that McDonald’s ads hanging in their local Pearland, TX location weren’t diverse enough, so they made their own. The two purchased a McDonald’s uniform at a thrift store, photographed themselves in the uniform, and made a poster.

With the help of friends, the kids snuck the poster into the location and hung it up on a blank wall. They then photographed themselves in front of the fake ad and it went viral. “I noticed there was a blank wall at mcdonald’s so i decided to make this fake poster of me and my friend. It’s now been 51 days since i hung it up,” Maravilla tweeted on September 2nd.

The media production student’s tweet went wild and caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres who hosted the students on her show this week. DeGeneres surprised Maravilla and Toledo, giving them each a $25,000 check from McDonald’s and revealed that the brand plans to use them in future ads.

McDonald’s took down the poster, but plans to add more diverse posters to the store soon. The company tweeted, “You guys earned this dream.”

Marketers can learn a lot of lessons from these kids. First of all, remember to include diversity in your messaging so that all customers feel welcome when patronizing your businesses. Secondly, in the era of social media, consumers can change the conversation around your brand. In this case, the change had a sense of humor and the brand was able to capitalize on the prank. But 51 days is a long time for a DIY message to be live without a company being aware.

And who is hiring these kids? Their creativity, sense of risk and ability to point out an ad’s flaws are core skills to being a great marketer.

Kicking Off The Conference Season

13719563_10154600766338322_8207156853734719452_oIndustry analysts attend a lot of conferences. We participate in a wide range of industry events, vendor events, and trade shows of all sorts. Sometimes the travel and long days are rough, but the tradeoff is exposure to new technology and access to the people who built and use it, which is highly valuable no matter what business you’re in. As I work with David to plan our 2019 event schedule, here are a few upcoming conferences that are on our radar and may be worth considering for you.

  • Dreamforce – September 25-28 – If you haven’t already booked your hotel room for this year’s Dreamforce, you’ll likely be staying in Sacremento. The city of San Francisco will be overrun next week for the largest vendor event of its kind; if you’ve never been, you should consider it for next year.
  • Email Spotlight – October 10 – Hosted by BrightWave, this single evening event coming up in Atlanta will feature 15+ leading email vendors and is sure to be excellent [David will be participating].
  • Email Insider Summit – December 9-12 – Produced by MediaPost and hosted at the beautiful Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah, this is a great place to connect [and re-connect] with many of the top minds in the space; always plenty of cocktail and chairlift time.
  • Email Evolution Conference – April 24 – 26 – David and I have been attending and participating in EEC since its inception and it has always been an excellent event. This year will be the first in Savannah.
  • EiQ – March 14 – Billed as ‘The Intelligent Email Gathering,” David and I have been in attendance and participated in previous years and the conference has been excellent. Certainly worth considering if you’re near Atlanta or hungry for great content.

I’ll be checking back in with a more complete list as we plan our schedules and you can always check our events page for up to date info on where we’ll be.

 

Email Marketers Who Use Artificial Intelligence Report Better Results

Email Marketers Who Use Artificial Intelligence Report Better Results

Last week I teased this research with a webinar promotion on the same topic. This one is a favorite, exploring AI and email deliverability. Layers of complexity and many months went into this piece. I am thrilled to be the first to research AI and email deliverability and document these results.

Today we are releasing the full research report in advance of the free webinar on September 26th at 1:00 PM ET.

Sponsored by Return Path, the report illustrates how AI-powered deliverability solutions can enhance outcomes for marketers while eliminating tedious and repetitive tasks from their daily lives. Research findings also highlight improved effectiveness for marketers using AI-driven email marketing tactics versus those that rely on humans alone.

“As the email industry continues to evolve, marketers are looking for more than just monitoring and best-practice based recommendations. They’re demanding real, effective solutions to the problems they face every day,” said Return Path CEO Matt Blumberg.

At The Relevancy Group, we are excited by the significant potential for AI in the email marketing space—and especially its ability to drive more valuable inbox experiences.

Download the research and attend the webinar when we will be digging into the details of this data-driven report as well as showcasing Return Path’s EmailDNA offering.

If you have any questions about the research or methodology, follow and message us on Twitter.  Otherwise, I will see you on the webinar.

Wishing you all the best,

David

 

Optimizing Email Deliverability with AI

Optimizing Email Deliverability with AI

AI (Artifical Intelligence) is being used to optimize many marketing and advertising disciplines with impressive results.  Return Path recently sponsored new Relevancy Group research to investigate how email deliverability can be improved with AI.  This new research highlights how inbox placement can be optimized by utilizing AI.

Join us on September 26th at 1:00 PM ET for a free webinar on this new research, title Optimizing Email Deliverability with AI. Register and get a recording of the webinar and a copy of the research.

The webinar will address these questions:

• What is the state of email deliverability in 2018?
• Why do consumers engage with email marketing?
• Why is engagement important to improve email deliverability and inbox placement?
• Are marketers ready to embrace machine learning-powered AI solutions?
• How can artificial intelligence (AI) be utilized to improve email deliverability?
• What benefits can marketers expect from utilizing AI for email deliverability?

Speakers:
• David Daniels, CEO & Founder – The Relevancy Group
• Nicholas Einstein, VP of Research – The Relevancy Group
• Tom Sather, Sr. Director, Research – Return Path

Register and you’ll receive an email with a link to the recording of the webinar, even if you can’t attend at the specified date and time.

Trendline + Inbox Pros

For TRG BlogExciting news crossed the wire this morning with the announcement that Trendline Interactive has acquired Inbox Pros.  Trendline has been featured in every email agency buyer’s guide we have published and has always impressed us with the quality, depth, and breadth of the services they offer. We also have great respect for Chris Arrendale and the team at Inbox Pros who have a proven track record and a stellar reputation.

This move adds top shelf deliverability, privacy, and compliance services to the Trendline Interactive menu, making them that much more attractive to enterprise marketers looking for a comprehensive services solution.

Enterprise marketers today need to be strategic about deliverability, privacy, and compliance, as they juggle data between programs, systems, and countries, and having these types of services integrated with their agency team, could make a lot of sense for many. We’ve also noted that delivery rates have been trending down over the past several years, and have advised senders to allocate more resources towards deliverability data and services.

We’re looking forward to talking more about this partnership in our 2018 Email Agency Buyer’s Guide which will be publishing in Q4.