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Salesforce connects ExactTarget's CRM platform to mobile apps

26/09/2014 by


Last year, mere months after Salesforce acquired email marketing platform maker ExactTarget, both companies began touting the virtues of a new model for visualizing a customer's interactivity with a marketing campaign as something it called a "journey." Analysts such as Forrester's Sheryl Pattek who met with ExactTarget, and then met with me, began discussing the framework of journeys as though they could act as blueprints for an intricate set of pathways that customers may themselves choose to take when interacting with companies.

More importantly, the "journey" framework presents itself as a substitute for the marketing "funnel," the principal metaphor for marketing interactions with customers since the turn of the 20th century.

ExactTarget went so far as to develop a service around the diagramming of customer relationship models called Journey Builder--a kind of Visio-like tool, for anyone familiar with flowcharting or org charts, for planning the stages of a campaign. Rather than devise a method for marketing and sales to direct the customer toward a single goal of an end sale, the "journey" model recognizes that not all customers can be pushed toward a single point, especially in a world where some percentage of customer interaction is bound to be digitalTuesday at the two companies' joint Connections 2014 conference in Indianapolis, they announced a kind of connection between Journey Builder and mobile applications on the Salesforce1 platform. With Journey Builder for Apps, a marketer can design a set of planned interactions based on events in the customer's interaction process. Those events become triggers in a mobile app which the system constructs around these journeys.

"Journey Builder for Apps makes your mobile apps part of your digital marketing efforts in a completely integrated way," explained ExactTarget CEO Scott McCorkle during Tuesday's keynote, "which is a big help just for your app itself. How do you encourage adoption, get engagement, manage that first week of app usage and bring back those who aren't engaged? You have to have a platform to do that. And we go a step further: We now connect your app into all your digital channels, so your app can trigger things to happen; and email, Web, mobile, all those other channels, can trigger things in your app."

It's fair to say nearly everything in a Salesforce-produced conference is presented with copious amounts of enthusiasm. That said, Journey Builder for Apps did indeed generate interest among many of the marketing professionals I've spoken with this week, in the idea of prototyping and even developing mobile apps themselves, perhaps without a developer team's involvement--at least at first.During the Day 2 keynote session, the new system was demonstrated in greater detail. With a diagramming process immediately familiar to anyone who's created a PowerPoint presentation, the data objects with which the marketing team deals are distributed among color-coded zones in a block diagram. These data objects are part of the schema in a database maintained in the Salesforce cloud. Marketers name these zones so that the data constructs reflect the needs of the organization, not the database manufacturer. One demo involved an existing Salesforce customer, concert promotion and ticketing service LiveNation, in which fans of the singer Lady Gaga were given incentives to purchase tickets to her New York concert.

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