Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud (try saying that three times fast) has launched a new visual “Journey Builder” that promises to enable marketers to understand, define, and create coherent, unified customer experiences across Web, social, email, apps, advertising, sales, and service.
That’s a big promise.
The new software simplifies your view of how people interact with your brand, according to CEO Scott McCorkle.
“The future of marketing is the ‘customer journey,'” McCorkle, who leads the ExactTarget component of Salesforce, said in a statement. “Marketers need to understand the complete journey people have with their brand and how to measure and optimize its impact on their business.”
In addition, Salesforce says that the new software will enable companies to optimize “every point of interaction” on that journey while also measuring the impact of “all customer communications.”
Salesforce plans to deliver on this promise by providing essentially a drag-and-drop graphical user interface for customer interactions, across all your media and channels. Salesforce calls it a “canvas,” which marketers can use to map customer journeys across apps and social and email, building flows and stages through which they hope to bring prospects and existing customers.
The result, McCorkle says, is a complete view of the customer in a visual format.
Journey Builder is available today, but the new features won’t be available until, as Salesforce put it, “Q3 FY2015.” Before you gasp, that translates not to calendar year 2015 but to about November/October of this year.
Pricing will start at $5,000/year for a subscription, with the dollars rising as you send more messages to customers via the system.
At each step of the process, marketers can add triggers for ad campaigns, email messages, or offers in response to events like abandoned shopping carts, completed purchases, or interactions with the brand on mobile or Web. Those triggers aren’t just preset; Salesforce has added predictive analytics to intelligently trigger responses automatically.
It’s not just all pretty pictures, however.
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According to Salesforce, the new Journey Builder product includes real-time analytics that help you measure the impact of each interaction, identify best-performing channels, and test variations in customer flow to optimize conversions, downloads, sales, or “loyalty achievements.”
“Everything begins with uncovering the journey of connected customers and how it differs from the funnel you’ve organized around today’s already familiar customers,” Altimeter analyst Brian Solis said in an accompanying statement.
Solutions that manage the marketers’ mountains of data and help them understand their customer better in all the places they touch are getting more and more popular, and more and more necessary as the internet has added hundreds if not millions of channels for customer acquisition and marketing. Beckon recently launched to tie all marketers’ data together, as did Origami. And CertainSource just released a tool for evaluating all your hundreds if not thousands of lead sources.
None of these solutions, however, have built in the capability to influence the data you’re seeing and change your marketing behaviors in response the way Salesforce has.