Salesforce is today unveiling the 2.0 version of its Marketing Cloud, which boosts the role of Journey Builder and ties this Cloud more tightly with its brethren clouds, Sales and Service.
It also points to an evolution of this major marketing cloud toward becoming more of a platform for managing advertising, sales, and service. The announcement was made at the company’s Connections conference, now taking place in New York City.
Journey Builder’s timeline-like interface shows when the customer interacts with the brand across the multi-device world. Downloading an app or submitting a question on a website, for example, trigger communications to help the customer through her journey to a purchase and keep her as a loyal customer.
“We’ve [now] revved, matured, and promoted Journey Builder to be the best of the Marketing Cloud,” senior vice president of product marketing Eric Stahl told me, “the glue that pulls together the channels, the personalization engine, the data in the Sales and Service Clouds.”
One aspect of that promotion is a heightened integration between Journey Builder and an updated Active Audiences, which Salesforce introduced in March.
Active Audiences uses data from the company’s crown jewel, its customer relationship management (CRM) system, to target individual users for ad campaigns, instead of relying on Web cookies or email lists uploaded to Facebook. This data might include, for instance, emails or mobile messages, a purchase history with a brand, or interaction with customer service or sales.
At its launch in March, Salesforce gave the example of a hotel brand that used Active Audiences to deliver an ad offering a special promotion to all guests staying at its San Francisco hotel in the next two weeks. The hotel could also use Active Audiences to run a separate ad campaign for guests who belong to the loyalty program, but haven’t stayed at the hotel recently.
The basic idea with Active Audiences, the company said, is to move ad campaigns from batch or blast modes into event-triggered and personalized efforts.
“Ads now work hand-in-hand with digital marketing,” Stahl said.
Previously, only ads on Facebook and Twitter were supported in Active Audiences. In 2.0, campaigns can work across a wide range of sites, apps, and social networks. Active Audiences is also now integrated with ad tech and data providers Krux, LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Neustar, and Viant, enabling campaigns on more than 100 digital ad networks.
There’s also now a native integration with the Sales and Service Clouds, coming closer to a functional super-cloud. Prebuilt triggers from events in the company’s Sales and Services clouds can generate marketing or advertising toward a customer or potential customer.
Salesforce offered the use case of Fleetcor, whose products include fuel cards for businesses. When a user has an issue with a fleet gas card, the Fleetcor agent can click into the case in Service Cloud, take care of it, and then close it. The resolved issue now shows up as part of the customer’s history in the Journey Builder.
When a person’s case is closed, he automatically receives an email from Service Cloud confirming the resolution. But Journey Builder allows the marketer to send a SMS or other messages if there needs to be some follow-up, such as a thank you or a survey about customer service. Service Cloud has some built-in automation, but the idea is that there is now one managed experience.
“Now, any Journey is possible, not just a marketing journey,” Stahl said. These integrations, he told me, constitute a “more fully realized integration of ad, service, and sales info” in Journey Builder.
Does this mean that it’s now more than a Marketing Cloud?
Yes, Stahl said. “Customers don’t care if it’s marketing, sales, or service.”
This distinguishes the revised Marketing Cloud from its major competitors like Adobe or Oracle, he said. (In VB Insight’s recent report, “Marketing Clouds: How the best companies are winning via marketing technology,” Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud ranked second in market penetration, behind Adobe’s.)
Salesforce is “the only company pulling together sales, service, community, analytics, and apps into one,” he said. “You won’t find anyone else who can drag and drop an ad alongside an email, SMS, triggered by marketing, sales, or service.”