Salesforce.com announced several enhancements to its Marketing Cloud on Dec. 15, adding features based on its Einstein artificial intelligence software and Krux, a leading data management platform the CRM giant acquired in October for $700 million.
The main idea behind the enhancements is to give marketers better tools to reach potential customers wherever they are connected—desktop and laptop computers as well as mobile devices. The other key benefit is context, delivering ads and marketing messages when they are most likely to be well-received.
“Krux lets marketers collect and manage data from across the open web and connect that to the right audience segment,” Leslie Fine, vice president of data and analytics at Salesforce, told eWEEK.
In the case of Einstein, the AI software Salesforce unveiled in September at its Dreamforce conference, Fine said it will help marketers find potential sales leads, profiles and relationships.
Krux had several high profile customers such as Conagra and Peugot before it was acquired by Salesforce. As one example, Fine noted that Hunts, a unit of Conagra, has been using Krux to target ads based on customer preferences.
Since Hunts Tomato Sauce is produced using a water process instead of chemicals to remove the tomato skins, it targets ads highlighting that to consumers that Krux has identified as environmentally conscious. Other ads include low sodium recipes targeted at health conscious consumers.
But Krux’s overall marketing reach was limited before the Salesforce.com acquisition. “Now they’re really excited because with Salesforce they’re able to expand and leverage every sales record,” said Fine.
Einstein Journey Insights uses anonymized data to track how consumers behave on the web from the perspective of what leads to buying decisions. For example, some consumers may research a product like a Peugot bicycle by looking at various web sites and weigh the pros and cons of price and features, but ultimately make a buying decision after seeing an online video.
“Once you’ve identified the pattern, the order of events, then you have a much better idea of when to reach out to them, such as after they’ve watched a video on the product,” says Fine.
This is all very much an example of leveraging big data. Salesforce said Krux interacts with more than three billion browsers and devices, supports more than 200 billion data collection events, processes more than five billion CRM records and orchestrates more than 200 billion personalized consumer experiences.
The Journey Insights dashboard is designed to help marketers understand what events and in what sequence lead to the most efficient conversion path by using data science to analyze hundreds of millions of data points.
Video response is just one of many examples including turning a potentially bad customer experience completely around. Fine cited cases where a customer returned an item that was damaged, but ended up more loyal to the company after receiving a refund and promotional coupon. Being able to measure the effectiveness of such a sequence can help marketers to customize the promotional coupon to specific consumers.
Companies using the Marketing Cloud can also leverage the Salesforce Service Cloud to identify customers dealing with a support issue to adjust how they market to them. Salesforce said Krux is available now, but is a separate purchase that integrates with the Marketing Cloud.
A recent report by Forrester Research touts data management platforms like Krux as a highly likely, if not inevitable addition to the marketing toolbox at big companies.
"In 2017, marketers will integrate DMPs [digital management platforms] across their entire martech stack, providing better customer intelligence to drive decisioning from top to bottom in their marketing portfolio,” wrote Melissa Parrish, Sarah Sikowitz, and Susan Bidel of Forrester in the report. “Forward-leaning companies will connect this marketing brain to their enterprise CRM systems to drive better customer experiences."