CNX16 Diary (3): The party’s over

Getting back from Atlanta was such a breeze, I am almost convinced it’s a shorter journey than the M23 from Seventh Avenue to the Javits Center.  What did I come home with?  Plenty of business cards, but this time around no totes, tee-shirts, pins, caps or other ornaments of the tech conference world.  When my daughter starts turning down free backpacks, you know we’ve got too many.

I also have a pocketful of notes, including some items worthy of mention which I didn’t shoehorn into my previous reports. In particular, some announcements from the product keynote by Bryan Wade, the marketing cloud’s Chief Product Officer.  Let’s tidy that up first.

More Salesforce Product News

First up, and available immediately, Command Center: a real-time, large-scale screen display of marketing activities and campaign results. A recommended installation for business lobbies or, of course, C-suites, just so everyone can finally see, at a glance, how marketing efforts are performing.

Coming soon, Journey Builder Audiences, to simplify the way in which audience segments can be plugged into Journey Builder; Personalization Builder, to tailor marketing content to each individual customer journey; and the full integration of Automation Studio and Journey Builder. That’s what caught WeddingWire’s eye (see yesterday’s story). As heritage Automation Studio users, the business hesitated to migrate to Journey Builder despite participating in beta testing: now there’s a five-step wizard to help with the move.

Driving Complexity

One takeaway from the keynotes was the increasing complexity of the customer success platform. That’s the over-arching way Salesforce refers to the totality of its clouds: Sales, Service, Marketing, App, and the rest of the virtual weather system. Increased complexity in theory, at least. In practice, grizzled veterans of Pardot, or Automation Studio, or Journey Builder, or Email Studio, or the Social Cloud can no doubt execute smart moves in their sleep.  But it is getting harder to explain how it all fits together. At one point, Wade was addressing questions on Twitter about the difference between Builders and Studios.

Obviously, you can’t fit everything onto one dashboard. But one does wonder whether there’s a simpler way of organizing the suite. And Salesforce has less of a challenge than Oracle, for example, when it comes to pushing the square nails of acquired solutions into the round holes of its system.

Last Words

Finally, what else did I hear that’s worth sharing?

  • Scott McCorkle identifying a trend: First party CRM data will be increasingly essential to advertising strategies.
  • McCorkle again, on being able to push social/curated and user-generated content into marketing cloud messaging: “That’s not a part we have yet.” It’s under evaluation.
  • And Shelley Bransten, SVP of Retail & Consumer Products Industry Solutions: “The future of marketing is personalization at scale and running your business from your phone.”

Personalization at scale. Like the customer experience, that raises all kinds of questions. Maybe we can get some answers at Dreamforce.

Salesforce covered The Hub’s travel and expenses to attend Connections 2016.

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