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Salesforce.com Launches Marketing Cloud Lightning at its Connections Conference
At its annual digital marketing event, Salesforce releases mobile, email, and advertising tools to power more personalized customer interactions.
Posted May 11, 2016
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Atlanta  "The always connected customer doesn't care [if he or she is experiencing] a sales, service, or marketing interaction,” said Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce's Marketing Cloud, during his Tuesday morning keynote at Salesforce.com's Connections conference. "The always connected customer just wants his or her needs to be met any time, [in] any place, and in a consistent way. We marketers need to connect to our customers in a whole new way. We need consistent touch points across the entire customer life cycle, [and] we need our entire organization, and every employee, including our partners, all connected to our customers."

With such goals in mind, Salesforce made several upgrades to its marketing arsenal, including Marketing Cloud Lightning, Email Studio, the Mobile Cloud Marketing App, and Marketing Cloud for Google Customer Match.

Marketing Cloud Lightning "brings together every ounce of data from the entire customer success platform, and makes it available for users to power journeys across sales, service, marketingevery part of the customer life cycle," McCorkle told the 5,000 attendees gathered at the Georgia World Congress Center yesterday. The functionality complements Salesforce's Service Cloud Lightning and Sales Cloud Lightning offerings, introduced over the past year.

According to Gordon Evans, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the Lightning upgrade offers "a common identity, a common look and feel, and navigation across all of Salesforce Lightning applications." Users can now view their marketing data alongside sales and service data from within one interface, Gordon says.

A new set of components allows users to build apps to meet their business needs; among these capabilities are core email functionssuch as previewing emails and tracking their open ratesand the ability to add contacts into journeys and track their performances.

"We're also expanding the machine learning capabilities for Predictive Journeys," Evans adds. Previously, this function relied solely on marketing data to determine how engaged an audience would likely be with a given email (for instance, whether they would open an email or delete it), and used that information to set them on tailored paths. Now, "we're able to expand that to include all CRM data.” The system can draw from service or sales data to influence the algorithm, “and have machine learning interact with that and create segments based on it,” Evans says.

Evans believes that this will enable an expansion in the types of possible journeys. For instance, instead of just powering a welcome series or abandoned-cart campaigns, it can foster new campaigns to aide sales and service departments, as well as the recruiting and hiring of new employees.

Advertising Studio provides "end-to-end" campaign management, from creating content and placing it in action to understanding its impact on audiences, and optimizing future performances based on the results. Users can leverage CRM data to segment their audiences, and then sync them with different ad networks and social platforms to target "actual individuals rather than advertising to cookies," Evans says. Enhanced compatibility with Facebook enables users to automatically capture leads from the social network and import them into Salesforce.

"Advertising driven from your CRM system is different," McCorkle said, "because we know who your customers are; we know what they've purchased. We know if they're happy or not happy. Is there an open ticket in the contact center? [Whatever] we know that we can apply to advertising is all available through Advertising Studio."

Email Studio allows users to send and track personalized messages to their customers, Evans says. It includes a new content management systems, Content Builder, that will allow marketers to upload their assets and email templates, and tag them and make them easier to share. Also included are drag-and-drop tools for creating and managing emails.

Leveraging its partnership with Google, Salesforce is now also enabling marketers to deploy CRM-powered advertising across Google search, Gmail, and YouTube. "You can drive efficiency by creating an audience segment of your existing customers, and then when you share that audience and do ad management on Google, you can exclude showing ads to existing customers when they're searching for something," Gordon mentions.

The Mobile App for the Marketing Cloud designed to provide marketers with the functionality necessary to manage campaigns while they are away from their desks. They can look at journeys, emails, and automations. Marketers who work for companies that manage multiple brands can toggle between them, and see how each of their campaigns are performing.

One customer, Sara Chapman of Life Time Fitness, notes that such functionality is particularly handy during seasonal sales events. "I'm really excited about the app," says Chapman, who is the director of email and mobile communications. "We're a fitness company, so during Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years, we need to have accessibility at our fingertips. Last year, we had to make a couple shifts very quickly on Thanksgiving Day, and I had to make sure that we were in front of computersit would have been much easier to have an app to launch, or make updates, to a campaign."

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