Global ad giants pick sides in the marketing cloud war as Omnicom partners with Salesforce

The marketing cloud wars are spilling over into the agency world as global advertising giants Publicis and Omnicom arm themselves with strategic partnerships in the enterprise marketing software space.

Today at Salesforce’s Connections 2014 conference in Indianapolis, Omnicom will announce that it is partnering with Salesforce to create a “CRM alliance” for the benefit of its client brands and customers. The news comes barely two weeks after rival-turned-partner-turned-rival Publicis announced a partnership with Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud that will give its agencies and clients access to Adobe’s suite of marketing solutions.

“Salesforce.com and Omnicom will empower companies to connect to their customers in entirely new ways,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce in a press release. “By utilizing Salesforce as its customer journey platform for clients, Omnicom will strengthen its role as a trusted advisor to the world’s largest brands, creating amazing customer journeys that extend far beyond traditional digital marketing.”

In what sounds like an almost identical arrangement to the Adobe-Publicis deal, Omnicom clients will be able to take advantage of a range of integrated Salesforce sales and marketing applications. These include:

– Salesforce CRM, Service Cloud and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to enable Omnicom agencies to manage billions of customer interactions on behalf of its clients across digital marketing, sales and customer service. The Salesforce applications will be able to access and feed into first party customer data stored in Annalect, Omnicom’s recently acquired data analytics platform.

– Salesforce’s Heroku mobile app development platform for creating connected experiences across multiple devices.

– ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s content and automation capabilities in email, mobile, social, advertising, web personalization, connected devices, wearables and apps, which will be available to Omnicom clients. This will expand on Omnicom’s existing partnership with Social.com, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s social advertising platform.

“In this always-on, always-connected world, marketers face more complexity than ever before,” says Jonathan Nelson, CEO, Omnicom Digital. “By bringing together Omnicom with Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM, in a way that has never been done before, we will be able to span every consumer-touch point, both online and offline, which is a real first-mover advantage for our clients.”

Both these partnerships are big wins for Salesforce and Adobe, as they now have two of the world’s largest marketing agencies effectively selling their products for them.  The Annalect integration is particularly useful for Salesforce, which until now, had lacked its own big data/customer analytics platform that could rival Adobe’s Analytics or Oracle’s BlueKai platforms.This also helps them effectively compete with IBM, which created its own data-based global agency to push its marketing products.

It’s also a sign of how much marketing budgets have shifted away from large, blanket advertising campaigns towards personalized, highly targeted communications.  The million dollar nationally televised TV commercial may still be a huge part of the mix, but by giving its customers access to one-to-one focused marketing tools, both Publicis and Omnicom are showing they’re ready to orient their marketing around the individual customer. The broadcast ad might make initial contact, but the marketing software is responsible for everything after.

“The technology of the past (broadcast and print campaigns) is as important as it has ever been,” says Michael Lazerow, CMO of Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. “You can still run the Super Bowl ad, but once an individual customer sees it and starts a specific journeys, how do you move that forward?”

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