Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Salesforce.com is taking steps to round out its Marketing Cloud by connecting social media monitoring and social advertising with its core CRM (customer relationship management) software through a new product called Social.com.
The new tool takes the social advertising campaign management software Salesforce.com gained through the purchase of Buddy Media and adds integrations with social media data from its Radian6 offering as well as customer information from CRM systems.
Now marketers, particularly external ad agencies hired by companies to run campaigns for their brands, will have an easier way to create campaigns based on real-time trends on social media, as well as ones that target specific subsets of customer data inside Salesforce.com CRM, said Gordon Evans, vice-president of product marketing. Other target customers include brand owners and gaming companies.
Evans highlighted two key innovations with Social.com. The first is the ability to listen socially and respond to real-time conversations with targeted, relevant and automated ad campaigns, while also connecting to a brand’s in-house customer data to power social channel-based campaigns.
Customers using Buddy Media were already able to use Facebook Insights data to create "custom audiences" for campaigns. It was also possible to use Salesforce.com information, but the process was manual. With Social.com, Salesforce.com CRM data access is automated, and the system will also be able to keep a chosen marketing data set, such as one made up of individuals who had purchased a certain product, up to date.
As for Social.com's integration with Radian6, a Salesforce.com spokesman demonstrated how a user could monitor Twitter hash tags and keywords relevant to a particular brand through a window inside the Social.com interface, then quickly use a wizard-style tool to create a campaign.
Overall, Social.com means ad buyers won't have to perform "swivel-chair analysis", moving in and out of multiple systems as they create and execute campaigns, Evans said.
Social.com's integrations with Salesforce.com CRM and Radian6 will become generally available in the third quarter. While all three products will have to be licensed in order to get Social.com's full functionality, they need not be by the same party. For instance, an ad buyer working for Ford Motor Company could licence Social.com and essentially piggyback on top of Ford's Salesforce.com CRM instance.
Evans said customers using Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud in Australia include the Commonwealth Bank, Bank of Queensland and Brisbane City Council.
Salesforce.com recently shifted its main marketing message from "social enterprises" to "customer companies", with the idea being that its technology can help companies connect more closely with the people who buy their products and services.
Social.com is a result of this, but also seems like an effort by Salesforce.com to get the most out of the large sums it spend to acquire Radian6 and Buddy Media, as well as fend off competition from the likes of IBM, Adobe and Oracle in the broader "customer experience" software market.