Lightning strikes the marketing cloud

At Salesforce Connections in Atlanta today, Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, will announce Marketing Cloud Lightning, described by the company as “a new user experience, platform and ecosystem that will give marketers the ability to create 1-to-1 customer journeys that span sales, service, marketing and more.”

Briefing The Hub, Gordon Evans, VP of Product Marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud called Lightning “a new, modern user experience.” Users will be able to customize their Salesforce app “based on what they’re working on” to create predictive journeys based on CRM, email, and other channel data, with a machine learning component to help build audience segments.

Lightning Experience was announced at Dreamforce 2015 as a desktop app with a modern interface optimized for speed, as an alternative to the classic Salesforce UI. Lightning has already been expanded into the Sales and Services Clouds. Today’s announcement signals Lightning’s availability within the Marketing Cloud, giving users a consistent experience across the entire Salesforce platform. As within the other Clouds, Lightning Components will now allow Marketing Cloud users to assemble custom business apps by dragging-and-dropping preconfigured features. Any activity detected across the Salesforce platform can now trigger the creation of a personalized journey.

Advertising Studio

Salesforce will also announce new products, including updates to Advertising Studio, allowing users to coordinate digital advertising across multiple channels, leveraging Salesforce CRM data to personalize the content. Evans described this as “Advertising management from creation to execution to optimization, based audience segments.” He said automatic pop-up forms, for example on Facebook, could be configured to send data direct to Salesforce, and that campaigns could be created and launched directly in Journey Builder. 

Users will also be able to connect CRM data to search, he said, using the new Google Customer Match solution. Advertising Studio users will be able to identify their best prospects at opportune moments–when searching on Google, watching YouTube, or browsing Gmail.  According to Evans: “The congruence of adtech and martech will unlock a lot of new value.”

Email Studio/Marketing Cloud Mobile App

Salesforce also announced enhancements to Email Studio, making it easier for users to create messages using drag-and-drop content blocks instead of coding (although that option is readily available)–an opportunity for personalization at scale–together with the availability of preview and test functionality in the same dashboard view.

The new products and product enhancements will be rolled out between May and June, but as of today, the Marketing Cloud is available as a mobile app on iOS. 

The Hub will be reporting from Salesforce Connections later today and during the rest of the week. Salesforce covered The Hub’s travel and expenses to attend Connections 2016.  Note: the story was updated at 4pm ET to include Email Studio and Mobile App news.

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