In June 4, 2013, Salesforce chairman and CEO, Mark Benioff called it, a “historic day for cloud computing.” This was the date that Salesforce entered into an agreement to acquire the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud company for $2.5 billion. Benioff further stated, “Our whole industry is changing. Mobile and social have entered the cloud.[ExactTarget] has been along on the ride with Salesforce and we saw in them a perfect partnership. I’ve never been more inspired and motivated about what we can do to automate CRM.”
In April of 2013, Gartner released their Magic Quadrant analysis of how CRM companies performed in lead management. Salesforce.com was labeled a serious competitor despite the fact that it fell behind some of its competitors with regard to turnkey solutions and lead management. In addition, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud was called a visionary.
Regarding the acquisition, Yvonne Genovese, Managing VP of Gartner For Marketing Leaders conveyed, “This is a big deal for marketing. There is a lot of attention being paid [by providers] on marketers spending more to automate what they’re doing. All these providers know the marketing area has a lot of money. Companies are allocating more than 10% of revenue on marketing budgets, and that’s a big number. By way of comparison, IT department budgets are 2% to 3% of revenue.”
What Is the Journey?
Fast forward to today, and both Salesforce.com and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud want to take their clients to heights previously unknown. Using both companies’ expertise and background, it seems like a natural progression. ExactTarget brings to the table Pardot and iGoDigital, which they acquired in 2012. On the other hand, Salesforce brings along Radian6 and Buddy Media, which they acquired in 2011 and 2012.
The CEO of ExactTarget, Scott McCorkle has shared that the future of marketing is based on the journey. So, what is it? Essentially, it allows marketers use their tools to send client communications at the most opportune time while looking at the big picture of customer interactions. So, for example, these can be milestones achieved by the customer that are reinforced by the marketing department.
McCorkle shares, “If we’re in the world where physical and digital are converging as fast as they are…we have an opportunity to meet customers’ needs anytime, anywhere.” Not all companies have the need for the end-to-end customer experience, but many do. And, oftentimes, companies can fail when the customer does not feel their needs being addressed or even noticed, for that matter.
So, based on their findings, Salesforce and ExactTarget have embarked on the next generation of a tool called “Journey Builder.” It comes with new features: Journey Maps, Journey Triggers, and Journey Metrics. Journey Triggers allows marketers to create triggers, such as a reached milestone, so that they can send a message to the client. They can also create backup triggers such as when a client leaves a shopping cart without purchasing.
Also, Journey Metrics gives marketers a view of how well their efforts are paying off. It shows performance rates as well as whether or not goals are being reached. Furthermore, it can be used to track behavioral data.
As a whole, Salesforce partnering with ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to offer new and improved marketing tools will help them move ahead of their competitors. At the same time, their clients will feel even better about having the ability to achieve their marketing goals.