Salesforce is the 800 pound gorilla of the CRM market, but it could soon be a major part of the ad market.

This week, the company announced its next-generation Marketing Cloud, and perhaps the biggest update aims to bring CRM data to media buying.

In the new version of Active Audiences, companies can sync the information they have about their customers in Salesforce CRM with their ad targeting.

Thanks to new partnerships with LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Neustar and Viant, CRM data can be used to target across more than 100 ad networks. Through integration with Salesforce's campaign planning tool, Journey Builder, Salesforce promises that its customers will be able to:

[orchestrate] digital advertising based on the customer's entire experience with a brand - the emails and mobile messages they open, their purchase history, their engagement with the customer service team and where they are in a sales cycle.

The holy grail of personalization?

In short, Salesforce is offering what looks to be the holy grail of personalization. As Scott McCorkle, the CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, puts it:

The next generation of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud uniquely helps companies take action on data from any customer interaction to deliver the right content at the right time across every channel.

What might that look like? AdAge's Alexandra Bruell offers up a hypothetical example:

For example, if a Salesforce service-cloud client sees that its customer tweets a complaint, the client, through the marketing cloud, can automatically adjust advertising targeting that client until the issue is resolved. An email marketer can also use customer information from its contact database to serve ads across devices with the goal of driving more email conversions.

Of course, such targeting requires that companies collect the right data and have it present in Salesforce's cloud.

Just a few years ago, this might have meant that a limited number of companies had the opportunity to take advantage of Salesforce's new offerings, but today, many companies, including even SMBs, have robust and relatively sophisticated CRM programs built on Salesforce.

In theory at least, that gives those companies the ability to follow in the footsteps of brands like furniture retailer Room & Board, which applied CRM data to its marketing initiatives to realize a 16% increase in its average order value and a 225% increase in its email open rate.

While mileage may vary and CRM data probably isn't a panacea for brands, the capabilities of Salesforce's next generation Marketing Cloud are a reminder to companies that data is an appreciating asset and, increasingly, a competitive necessity.

Patricio Robles

Published 23 June, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)


Brad Guthrie, GM at Search Republic

Nice Article Patricio. Salesforce are legends when it comes to marketing themselves - Benioff runs a slick machine and has the vision of what's going to be important 5 years down the track for enterprise customers.
But I have noticed a gap between what was being sold in by the Salesforce team and what can actually be delivered. Often this is the fault of both Salesforce ad the client whose data is often very dirty - it doesn't matter on the quality of the platform if the data isn't clean.
But Salesforce does have a knack for getting great services out years ahead of their competitors - who always seem to be playing catch up.

about 3 years ago

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