Salesforce Extends Its Tech Offering Into Advertising

Technology in the hands of businessmen

For their first two decades marketing technology and advertising technology developed separately but in parallel. It was a cosy arrangement.

Generally speaking marketing tech acted upon a brand’s own content and channels while ad tech involved paid media. And brands tended to own and manage marketing tech directly whereas ad tech was more likely to involve intermediaries.

But even these distinctions tended to be guides rather than hard and fast rules.

More recently the long awaited convergence appears to be gathering pace.

Adobe signaled its intent as early as 2011 when it acquired Efficient Frontier and Auditude, while Oracle stumped up (reportedly) over a billion for Datalogix and more recently has been pushing hard with its messaging around data management platforms.

Rounding out the trifecta,  Salesforce has developed its Active Audiences solution over the last year which it describes as a service connecting CRM into digital advertising. That involved combining the expertise of ad tech specialists with the knowledge of its core CRM technology.

Active Audiences which was released for general availability only in Q1 this year is built on the foundation of its group which itself grew out of the Buddy Media acquisition.

And then just four weeks ago Salesforce revealed it had joined with five new partners in the ad-tech  market — Krux, Liveramp, LiveIntent, Neustar and Viant — and through these partners it would now seek to help marketers to advertise across the entire display advertising ecosystem, using a single view of their customer.

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According to Derk Laney (pictured), head of product marketing for Salesforce in the Asia Pacific, marketers now realise they don’t have to blanket a market with advertising. We have the data repositories and the tools to use customer data to inform ad buying much more easily,” he said.

Laney described the traditional ad tech reliance on cookies as problematic saying the approach was often too reliant on data from a single device. “Consumer behavior has shifted – there is not a single path anymore or even a single device. Consumers are using multiple devices and the customer journey is more nuanced.”

This is a reflection of changing behavior. These days consumers are more inclined to snack, he said. “They won’t spend all their time on one site. Instead they’ll do five minutes of browsing in one place and pick it up later on their phone. And their Chrome profile (for instance) lets a user roam across devices so there’s a lot less reliance on one device to hold the history.”

Companies like Salesforce need to identify the individual regardless of where they are, or what device they are using. While traditionally cookies were used to track customers, with the advent and proliferation of social logins, there are better options available, he suggested.

“The easiest way for advertisers to do this typically was using Facebook Advertising and that’s been ramping like crazy. In our Future of Marketing study 70 per cent of marketers said social was a major area of increased investment for them. And a big reason for that is identify.”

Laney said the critical thing Salesforce has done is to bring this identity together with the other digital channels. “So you can take these CRM segments that might be dynamically created through a customer journey – and it can be part of a multichannel journey -and populate different segments and then push those segments out to things like Twitter and LinkedIn, and then via data on-ramping providers marketers can push out into other ad networks as well.”

The bottom line is that marketers can track one customer journey across a range of different networks. “By using the data strategy that you have for your CRM program you can talk to customers in a more relevant and personalized way, adding in behavioral data from mobile apps and email engagement and using that behavior to inform ad buying,” he said.

In the past marketers had to stand up a bunch of kit on their own properties and across a range of media providers and then try and string it together, he said. But when you are using a social identity the fabric is already there through Facebook.”

From an ad buying perspective, marketers want to be much more relevant and much more targeted. In addition they want to be able to use what they know about their current customers to acquire the next set of similar customers using look-a-like targeting. CRM data means advertising can be more relevant throughout the customer journey.

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