The long-whispered rumors are finally confirmed. The “marketing cloud”, which salesforce.com has hinted at for a while, was announced today at Dreamforce ’12.
Salesforce laid out the framework during the keynote address at the cloud computing event in San Francisco. Analysts and other industry watchers have suspected a marketing cloud was coming as salesforce snapped up social marketing businesses like Radian6 and Buddy Media over the past couple of years.
So what is the “marketing cloud?”
Really, salesforce is combining the features and functions of Radian6 and Buddy Media to create a social marketing cloud where social media monitoring, content and advertising are integrated with salesforce’s CRM product. The concept is not that there’s a dileneation between marketing and social marketing, but that all marketing is becoming social marketing.
Marc Benioff, salesforce’s CEO, believes that the above combo will enable marketing teams to gather sentiment spread across social media about products, brands and competitors, push content to owned and social sites, publish ads on places like Facebook, analyze data to see which campaigns are resonating on social, respond, see and measure the effects on customers from within one product. It’s a grand vision kind of thing, where marketers are able to adopt a more agile strategy by adjusting to trends in their marketplace. It’s a stock ticker of customer sentiment, if you will.
This is good news for marketing automation customers. Marketers who use both Eloqua and salesforce.com will be able to enjoy an enhanced version of the social marketing cloud. The integration of marketing automation and tools like social sign-on with salesforce’s CRM and Data.com means marketers can cull the insights from the marketing cloud to append the profiles of individual leads and customers within their pipeline. The result is better nurturing of leads, using both social and proven digital marketing tactics, and an actual gauge of how actions on the social Web drive revenue at the end of a sales and marketing pipeline.
This is just one of the big markets salesforce is gunning for. Thanks to other recent purchases, the company is also looking for a foothold in the HR and file-sharing industries.
If you’re wondering why salesforce is placing marketing among it’s bets, it’s because the discipline is increasingly data driven and social. Benioff predicts that “CMOs are going to start spending much more than CIOs in technology.”
In other words, modern marketing is becoming both more technologically savvy and social. Enterprises want to engage more buyers through social channels and then measure precisely how that engagement infuences buyer behavior. That means greater need for products that can size up market sentiment at the top level and tie that back into an organization’s specific sales and marketing funnel.
That’s why Benioff has been working towards a marketing cloud, and why he waited for the fanfare of Dreamforce to officially announce it.