Dreamforce 2017: Technology Is Revolutionizing Marketing

Dreamforce experts in marketing and analytics spoke about how advancements in technology such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, while having a big impact on our daily lives, are also revolutionizing customer engagement. As Jon Suarez-Davis, chief strategy officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, put it, “Transformational technologies are creating entirely new marketing opportunities.”

“Artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, and the Internet of Things are fusing the digital world with the physical world and they’re creating these new and powerful connections that are changing our economies, our societies, and even our daily lives,” he said. “As marketers, we get it; we deeply understand this because we’re leading a revolution in marketing—a revolution to get closer to the consumer.”

He noted that as the business world moved from mass marketing to Internet and digital marketing, marketers grew closer to, and opened up an online dialogue with, individual consumers. “Now we are entering the age of intelligent marketing where data and transformational technologies such as artificial intelligence are enabling us to engage with consumers at scale,” he said. “This is enabling marketers to deeply understand consumer behavior, unlock rich insights, and deliver what we all want to do, which is these exceptional brand interactions that meet, and ideally exceed, consumers’ expectations.”

Chris Thomas, chief innovation officer at the Sierra Club, an environmental nonprofit and Marketing Cloud customer, said that the organization relies on engaging supporters, so understanding them and the ways they interact with the Sierra Club is critical to its mission.

“We’re really all about people—that’s where we start. Everything people do with us, the way they engage with us, the support they lend to us, that’s what drives us, that’s what makes us happen, that’s what makes us work,” he said. “We engage people all over the place—we engage them offline, we engage them online. With [Marketing Cloud] technology, what we’re able to do is actually capture all of those transactions, and that really helps us understand what people are doing, what motivates them, and it builds power for us because we can demonstrate those signatures, those donations, those people turning out in the real world for activities.”

But capturing transactions is not enough; businesses also have to understand them so that they can achieve better outcomes, which is where analytics come in, according to Ketan Karkhanis, general manager of Salesforce Analytics. “Now analytics is flipping from being a reflection tool to a guidance system which means that every business app is no longer a business app or a business process app, it is an intelligent experience,” he said during a one-on-one interview. “There are four characteristics that are worth noting about this intelligent experience: Number one, it is no longer a reflection tool, it’s a guidance system. Number two, it is all about helping you understand what to focus on. Number three, when you think you need analytics, you basically have four questions: what happened, why did it happen, what is likely to happen, and what should I do about it, and your analytics needs to answer all four questions. Number four, analytics is not just about data, numbers, and scores; it is about explanations.”

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