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’s acquisition and integration of the Krux data management platform (DMP) into its Marketing Cloud is a sign that these data-centric adtech solutions are increasingly becoming core components in the martech stack.
That’s the view of Salesforce head of product marketing for APAC, Derek Laney, who caught up with CMO this week to discuss the first wave of features being offered to Marketing Cloud customers as a result of the acquisition.
Salesforce announced its US$700 million purchase of Krux, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based DMP vendor, in October. Several industry commentators described the deal as giving Salesforce a data-centric technology architecture that enabled it to create unified customer identities across all channels, extending its audience segmentation and targeting capabilities to the digital advertising environment.
The vendor unveiled three new digital advertising offerings this week off the back of the acquisition, all designed to take advantage of the coming together of the martech and adtech platforms and help marketers improve interactions with both existing customers and prospects.
Top of the list is cross-channel ad delivery management. This is based on the Krux platform calculating the optimal ad frequency range for campaigns by testing and measuring ads customers engage with and convert through. Ads can then be turned off oncean optimal frequency has been reached. Laney said this functionality is about helping its clients better manage customer journeys across all different types of digital media touchpoints.
The second new feature is the ability to target digital advertising activity using any Salesforce data from across the vendor’s pool of solutions, including Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud and Sales Cloud. As an example, Laney said this will allow a marketer to turn off ads to a customer if they’re experiencing a service issue.
“Organisations have transactional information, they know customers purchased a product, so this enables you to turn off ads to that customer, or target them with content around complementary products that are more relevant to them right now,” he explained.
The third enhancement is a new journey insights dashboard, powered by Salesforce’s artificial intelligence offering, Einstein. The technology scours millions of data points in order to help marketers understand what sequence of events led to the most efficient conversion path for a customer.
As an example, the vendor said an ecommerce company might uncover that a video ad coupled with two display ads increases a customer’s likelihood to complete a transaction by a factor of two.
“You might have Facebook or mobile ads that are effective, but what is the effect of those combined and did that have a greater impact on customers?” Laney asked. “This capability is about seeing the combination that’s most effective.”
According to Laney, the unification of Salesforce’s and Krux’s two data sets is unprecedented in what it allows marketers to do.
“Krux has an analytical environment with 20 petabytes of data, Salesforce is the largest CRM platform in the world, so there’s a huge amount of customer information that clients can use to manage their own customers’ journeys,” he said.
“The aspiration for advertisers has always been to have a conversation with a customer. Now, with this type of technology on offer, it’s becoming possible. This has been a huge bringing together of these technologies to provide marketers with one platform that they’re able to use to create that consistent customer experience.”
Laney also believed integration of Krux into the Salesforce Marketing Cloud signals the expansion of DMPs to mainstream use. He noted early adopters of Krux have been the big brands with large media spend, who can achieve a higher ROI off the back of such a technology investment.
In its release, Salesforce also pointed to recent research by Forrester, which predicted marketers will integrate DMPs across their entire martech stack in 2017.
“As Krux becomes part of Salesforce and our customer success platform, what we’ll see is these types of technologies becoming available to everyone, as it becomes more understood, and as we improve ease of use and accessibility,” Laney said. “We’ll see this start to come down from something for big brands to something for every brand.
“Everyone wants to have that consistent experience, and in the future, I expect this to be a standard part of the marketing stack.”