Salesforce: Australian CMOs are some of the bravest

Australians are innovators and our consumers are among the most digitally savvy, says the marketing technology vendor's regional president

Australia is quick to embrace new technology and brave in its application, Salesforce APAC senior vice-president, Lee Hawksley, claims. 

Speaking to CMO during this week's Dreamforce, Hawksley suggested the country's physical isolation, along with digitally savvy consumers, often makes Australia the perfect test case for new technologies.

“Some of our best trailblazers are Australian companies. Australia has always been quick to embrace new technology. There’s a certain bravery, as we are small market we can experiment quicker and feedback loops are much faster,” he explained. “I see Australian CMOs being braver than many other countries, regularly. 

“Look at Volkswagen, a very traditional company. The group decided to go artificial intelligence [AI] enabled with Salesforce and Australia was the first market it was launched.

“Global companies like Australia to go first because we are very digitally savvy, and that gives us an amazing opportunity. Within my company, we also feed a lot of data and use cases back to our own product teams from Australia." 

AI acceptance

At a wider level, Hawksley noted a certain amount of apprehension around AI globally. But get past that, and it can help marketers reach consumers in the way they are now demanding to be reached, offering a creative renaissance.

“AI is a natural evolution. We keep going through iterations and technology is getting smarter. From a marketing perspective, there is way more intelligence in the digital connections marketers can have with their customers, thanks to AI,” he told CMO.

Salesforce's AI foundation, Einstein, has expanded significantly since being released to market 18 months ago, going from zero to three billion predictions every day.

“We sometimes forget the positive stuff around AI. It offers what marketers have been striving for and what consumers have been demanding for years, which is not to treat them as segments or groups, but treat them as individuals. 

“Even four or five years ago, the effort it took to do hyper-personalisation at scale was incredibly difficult. Now what we do with AI makes all that easy. This frees up marketers to be more creative and do what they do best, and get out of the data a bit more. It’s a potential renaissance for creatives, which is really exciting."

What AI is increasingly tackling is the all-encompassing view of the customer. Hawksley agreed everyone has been striving for a 360-degree of the customer for years but no one’s got it right until now.

"You needed big data lakes and hundreds of people. And historically, by the time you got data out of them, it was out of date," he said. 

With Salesforce's freshly announced Customer 360 platform, Hawksley said the vendor is aiming to take away the need for segmenting. "Now you can do genuine one-to-one intimate relationships with customers, at scale, in real time, and that’s pretty amazing," he said. 

According to Hawksley, Salesforce has had the vision of the end-to-end customer success platform for a while, and now it’s coming to life. "For years, people have been struggling to keep pace with their customers’ expectations, and now, AI can make recommendations at lightning speed. All employees are armed with the data and all of the intelligence they need to service the customer they was they want to be serviced with the launch of Customer 360," he continued.

All his has seen marketing change dramatically. "Not only generally, but in the way consumers think about it as well, and the only opinion that matters is theirs. Marketing is the entire brand experience now. Selling, service and marketing is all packaged together, and all of these exposures people have all roll up to the brand value, and therefore what the CMO is responsible for," Hawksley said. 

What's also clear is businesses must connect to customers in every way now to succeed, and that includes offline. Hawksley claimed offline is still by far the most valuable form of engagement.

"If that relationship with digital isn’t transitioned to offline as well, then it’s lost. The physical has to merge with the digital and bring it all together," he added. 

“Customer experience is like trust, you never stop building it, but one mistake destroys it all.”

  • Vanessa Mitchell travelled to Dreamforce in San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu


 

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