Hello Readers and welcome to a new series on marketing technology! As digital marketers, we know our technology infrastructure is crucial. In this series, you’ll hear from the people behind the top marketing technology products out there. Insight coming directly from the experts should help us all understand this space a bit more. So – on to the first interview! Let’s hear what Chris Jacob has to share.
Hester: Hey Chris! Welcome. Please introduce yourself!
Chris: Hi! My name is Chris Jacob and my team is responsible for Product Marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, as well as marketing thought leadership. Simply put, I am on a team that positions our marketing technology suite in market to customers to help them make informed decisions. The team also provides valuable education and research as to the state of the marketing landscape and where we are headed next.
Hester: Thanks, Chris. Can you please share your background? How did it bring you to your organization and the role you have today?
Chris: What brought me to Salesforce was a lifelong career in technology across a series of startups and mid-stage venture-backed companies specializing in marketing, mobile and professional services here in the US and in Australia. Some were very successful and others less so, but provided valuable lessons. Over the years, I have learned what valuable technology and a sustainable business model looks like.
History of Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Hester: What was the first technology platform your organization provided for marketers? When was it first released and what was its primary goal?
Chris: Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a digital marketing platform that is made up of several technologies and has grown as a result of a series of acquisitions and innovations, beginning in 2011 with social media marketing and through today where the breadth of solutions covers every aspect of marketing. Salesforce Marketing Cloud now includes email marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, digital advertising and analytics–all powered by Einstein, Salesforce’s AI technology.
At its core, brands have always had the same goal and still do. They want to engage with their customers in the right moments and with the right information. As people continue to turn to mobile, social and more channels than ever to browse and buy, the technologies marketers are adopting to engage with customers have evolved and grown more complex–that’s where Salesforce Marketing Cloud comes in. Marketing Cloud helps companies better engage with customers.
Helping organizations build their brands and increase ROI across their marketing campaigns means giving brands the tools to better know their customers and prospects through data. It means being able to intelligently personalize each interaction scalably using technologies like AI and to engage with customers and prospects across their ongoing journey with the brand on any channel. And, of course, giving organizations the market intelligence tools to evaluate their success and take action to further improve their efforts.
That guiding philosophy of helping our customers be successful with their own customers has helped inform product strategy and innovation at the Marketing Cloud and across Salesforce overall over the years.
Marketing Technology Stacks vs Point Solutions
Hester: What is the unique value of a marketing technology stack, Chris? And the unique value of yours?
Chris: Customer expectations have reached all-time highs. In fact, in a recent research report we released in June called State of the Connected Customer, 80% of people globally said that the experience a brand provides them is as important as the products or services they sell. In many organizations, it is the CMO and the marketing team that is leading or strongly influencing that customer experience. The value of a good marketing technology stack is to enable marketers to provide that extraordinary, personalized experience that allows their brands to succeed in the competitive markets in which they operate.
Salesforce, from our founding origins in customer relationship management (CRM), has always been about providing technologies that help brands manage the customer experience. The unique value of Salesforce is that we have the technology to power the customer experience across not just marketing, but also sales, customer service, commerce and more–both online and offline, and for both B2B and B2C companies. Customers expect a seamless experience regardless of which “team” at the brand they may be engaging with at any given moment. Great marketing technologies need to work seamlessly not just across all the marketing channels, but also in concert with other key areas of engagement like at point of sale or the call center.
Hester: Got it. Chris, what are the benefits and drawbacks of adopting a marketing stack vs a series of individual platforms by individual providers? What does pricing look like for individual Salesforce Marketing Cloud tools vs the full stack?
Chris: Historically, the benefits of adopting a point solution was the ability to focus on one thing–allowing that single technology to potentially be better than more generalist technologies. That is largely not true anymore. Some of the biggest innovations coming from larger stacks, particularly in crucial frontier areas like AI, where the scale of investment and complexity of data demand a comprehensive approach and lot of resources. Furthermore, per my point about the importance of delivering seamless customer experiences across all channels, a siloed approach does not allow brands to fundamentally meet their customers’ expectations, let alone successfully improve their overall initiatives and increase campaign ROI.
Salesforce has customers of many sizes across the globe, including well known brands like Nestle Water, Dunkin, adidas, Ticketmaster, Ducati and many others. Salesforce also offers a range of pricing options which depends on a brand’s business goals for today and where they may be on an overall maturity curve. Ultimately, Salesforce is only successful if our own customers are successful, so the way our teams sell and price our solutions is reflective of setting them up for long term success.
What Marketers Need Most Urgently Now
Hester: Ok. So what do you think marketers need most urgently now? If you had no budget restraints, what would you develop for marketers to support this need?
There are many urgent needs for the marketer today, and in many ways, almost all of them come back to establishing trust between their organizations and their customers. In another research report called Trends in Customer Trust that we released a couple of months ago, 54% of customers said they don’t believe that companies have their best interests in mind.
To be able to provide a premium experience to customers, you need their data and consent, and therefore, as a marketer, the technology you use to power experiences like web forms, the advertising they see, email marketing, etc. needs to not only be able to do the sophisticated personalization that marketers expect, but also be able to manage the trust and consent to manage the data and interactions that enable them to do that.
This is less about budget, but more about ensuring a mindset to product innovation where trust is a top priority–natively built-in to every other innovation and feature that is developed, whether that is new AI-powered tools in areas like voice interactions, or just the way app push notifications work on any device.
Skilling Up Marketers of Today and Tomorrow
Hester: What is your organization doing to help marketers learn how best to use technology? How are you reaching out to the next generation of marketers?
In recent years, this is an area that we have invested heavily in. Several years ago, Salesforce launched Trailhead, a free learning platform for anyone to learn Salesforce and skill-up with our technologies. With Trailhead, we ensure the following:
- The adoption of our technologies that customers have bought (or are considering buying and/or using) is maximized to the fullest.
- That people have a place to gain self-service and practical education on developments and innovations coming out of Salesforce.
- Provide communities, where trailblazers across industries can collaborate, share ideas, best practices and just answer questions to help them make better use of Salesforce technologies and more broadly transform their own organizations and careers.
Any budding marketer, whether still at school, or changing careers, can go to Trailhead, and begin learning today, acquire practical skills and gain certifications that are recognized by employers all over the world.
Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, Chris! And thank you, readers, for making it through to the end of this post. Any comments? Questions? Please add them below and we’ll respond as best as we can. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this interview! We’ll continue our journey next month with another leader in marketing technology. Until then I wish you well.