Salesforce.com announced the launching of Marketing Cloud, on Wednesday, September 19, during the company’s Dreamforce 2012 event in San Francisco. This should really be called the “Social Marketing Cloud,” as it combines the two recent social acquisitions made by Salesforce.com – Radian6 and Buddy Media – to form a new social marketing software suite. The Marketing Cloud uses the Buddy Media interface for content publishing and the Radian6 tool for monitoring and measurement.
How can this combined solution benefit b-to-b organizations?
For those that have done little with social marketing, and lack a robust social listening tool, a more unified platform can help streamline parts of the social marketing workflow. The burning question is what can organizations gain from this solution that they can’t achieve with the social tools they may already have in place? From a features perspective, not much; but the ability to perform key social tasks from a single solution, rather than jumping between separate tools, can boost productivity. However, this is already achievable with social media management platforms such as Sprinklr and Spredfast, which also enable organizations to manage all of their social accounts.
The real benefit will be in the ability to take all of this social data (e.g. from Facebook, Twitter) – from a listening, interaction and content consumption perspective – and add it to contact and account records within the Salesforce.com database. Perhaps the most surprising fact from this announcement is that according to Marketing Cloud CMO Michael Lazerow, there were no plans until June 2012 to create a solution from the Radian6 and Buddy Media acquisitions. Ever since Radian6 was purchased in March 2011, we’ve advocated the value this integration could provide.
The true value of the Marketing Cloud for b-to-b companies will be twofold in my view: First, by providing a more complete picture of the role that social media plays within a buying and customer experience process, and second, by providing organizations with the data to move from simply measuring brand metrics to the potential for determining the impact of social media on deals and revenue.
Jonathan Block is Vice President and Practice Director, Technology, at SiriusDecisions. He has developed key models and frameworks that enable b-to-b organizations to understand, evaluate and implement appropriate marketing and sales technologies, as well as advised executive clients on the role of technology to help drive sales and marketing integration and enterprise alignment. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @jblock.