Many New Innovations Announced at Salesforce Connections

ExactTarget Connections is always a fantastic digital marketing event. This year, Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) moved Connections from Indianapolis to New York City so that they could accommodate the 18,000 registered attendees. It was a mass of humanity and my break out session with Jonathan Wilbur from Fanatics and Arthur Sweetser eDatasource was standing room only.Connections2015

But the real buzz at the conference was about the many new innovations from Salesforce and their partners.

Speed: True to theme that customer now rules, and speed is the new currency of business; Salesforce Marketing Cloud improved the performance of the email application. The platform is now faster and they made it easier to use.
Journey Improvements: The next generation Journey Builder includes improved testing capabilities, analytics and they have completely integrated sales cloud and service cloud into the marketing journey. For example, this makes it possible to pause an individual’s marketing journey if there is a serious service incident. Once the service case is closed, the marketing journey resumes or can be adapted based on the context of the service incident.
Connecting Advertising: The Salesforce Marketing Cloud now makes it easier to trigger ads based on CRM customer data and they have expanded their partnerships so that ads can be displayed anywhere. SoMedia announced a new video ad production integration and listings with Salesforce.  Further improving Salesforce’s Active Audiences, LiveIntent has partnered with Salesforce Marketing Cloud to empower marketers to orchestrate personal advertising campaigns as part of every touch point along the customer journey. The partnership will allow Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers to leverage the LiveIntent platform for people-based marketing campaigns in email.
Social Studio Upgrades: The adoption of Social Studio has increased 20x year over year and these new adopters will no doubt be delighted with the increased number of platforms that are supported including LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook Video and Google+. Social Studio is now fully integrated in to Journey Builder now with a single sign on and new iPad app. Social Studio will listen across any of the social networks and allows users to build processes around it, such as leveraging an individual’s social disposition in the customer journey. Social studio is also integrated into Active Audiences, which empowers the marketer to target ads based on what they are listening for the social net.
The 1+1+1 Model: Philanthropy continues to drive the Salesforce culture. To date they have delivered 920K service hours, $85 million dollars in grants and 25K non-profit organizations operate for free on Salesforce.
Continued Growth: As 6th largest software company in the world, Salesforce was recently added to the Fortune 500. They have 16,000 employees and for FY 2015 Salesforce expects to be a $7 billion dollar company.

In addition to the great speakers and keynotes, in Salesforce style there were some fun surprises that included a performance by The Roots, Elle King and a cameo by Derek Jeter who briefly talked about leadership.

It was a great event and I always appreciate their invitation to have me speak, and if you missed my session we will be running it again in a few months at Dreamforce in California. The Relevancy Group team looks forward to seeing you there.
Until then,
David

Apps Take Center Stage at Connections 2014 #CNX14

CNX14I’ve been attending ExactTarget’s Connections before it was called Connections and each year it continues to get bigger and better.   This year Connections 2014 is no exception as eight thousand marketers meet collaborate and discuss digital marketing innovations.   Into addition to the 100+ breakout sessions, there are some fantastic keynote speakers.

Scott McCorkle, CEO, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud announced Journey Builder for Apps.   The solution empowers any company to deliver personalized customer journeys directly from mobile apps, creating interactive experiences that drive brand engagement and loyalty.    Several notable brands including Fitbit, Sony PlayStation, and HSN all rallied around the concept and new product announcement.   Leveraging the company’s Journey Builder, Journey Builder for Apps now extends a customer journey to any connected addressable App capable device.   This includes messaging to wearables and all connected things.

Read The Entire Journey Builder for Apps Press Release

As Scott McCorkle pointed out in his keynote, the Journey never ends.   Journey Builder allows the marketer to think and work visually and tie journey’s to service, sales and marketing events.  Marketers can manage a Journey of any size and scope, across channels.

ExactTarget also announced new website and mobile analytics, stating that they are rolling out web analytics  for all customers.  Here ExactTarget is clearly taking on Adobe Marketing Cloud (Omnitrue) and Coremetrics, For a Salesforce Marketing Cloud customer, it is a perfect extension of the platform and I can easily see it taking market share away from Adobe, IBM (Coremetrics) and other analytics vendors.

Marc Benioff – Chairman & CEO – Salesforce.com stated that they are celebrating 15 years of success and innovation, 38% growth in the last quarter.  He added that we’ve been following the customer, we are catching up to were the customer is with mobile.   Benioff also highlighted their 1:1:1 initiative, which over the last 15 years they have dedicated 680,000  hours of service, $68 million dollars in grants and 23,000 nonprofit organizations were helped.  Marc Benioff  went onto to state we are the The Customer Success Platform – “we want to create more success for your customers, we only succeed when you succeed.”

ExactTarget Marketing Cloud went onto highlight the sophistication of LiveNation, which was an excellent example that content matters and is a necessary part of the journey. There are 205,000 different versions of a single email at LiveNation.  Now that is dynamic content!

Also discussed was their Cloud Pages, which is a rich push notification, enabling an HTML 5 page to be pushed pushed directly to the subscriber’s phone.   The company will also be rolling out a content management solution to round out the suite of tools that every marketer needs.

Once again, another fantastic Connections with some fairly impressive product innovations.  Congratulations ExactTarget!