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Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Homes in on the Customer Journey

It’s been a busy year for Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle. 

It all started when CRM and cloud computing company Salesforce announced its $2.5 billion acquisition of digital marketing software provider ExactTarget in June 2013—continuing the consolidation trend among major marketing automation providers. Then last September the companies united their marketing prowess to debut the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud: a culmination of acquisitions that united the capabilities of ExactTarget’s 2012 purchases of Pardot and iGoDigital with Salesforce’s 2012 and 2011 Radian6 and Buddy Media buys, respectively. Just seven short months later ExactTarget’s cofounder and former CEO Scott Dorsey left the company and McCorkle, who was serving as ExactTarget’s president of technology and strategy, stepped into the position.

Instead of dwelling on the past, McCorkle is looking towards the future. And the future of marketing, he said, is the customer journey.

The customer journey requires marketers to deliver customer communications during moments that matter and think about customer interactions as a whole, McCorkle said at the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Acquisition Anniversary Event in San Francisco. Some organizations are already there, he said.

Bryan Wade, Fitbit user and SVP and chief product officer for the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, cited the producer of wearable fitness trackers as an example. Fitbit sends new customers a welcome email after they purchase one of its products. These emails contain a call-to-action that encourages customers to download its app, Wade explained. After users download the app, Fitbit monitors their progress and sends congratulatory emails when they reach major milestones, such as their 5,000th step. Additionally, the company systems can detect when its products’ batteries are running low, Wade said, and send an email reminding customers to charge their device.

Transportation network company Uber is another organization that’s focused on the end-to-end customer experience. When customers download the Uber app, they receive a welcome email with instructions on how to use the car service. After users order a car and enjoy their ride, they’re emailed a receipt. Uber also rewards its users for their advocacy. For instance, they can earn free or discounted rides by spreading the word about the service through social. 

Providing a consistent end-to-end customer journey isn’t a reality for all brands, however. Disconnected campaigns are often a result of internal silos, McCorkle said. But with the world becoming more interconnected every day, it’s imperative for companies to patch up the holes.

“If we’re in the world where physical and digital are converging as fast as they are…we have an opportunity to meet customers’ needs anytime, anywhere,” he said.

To help marketers piece together their customer journeys, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud launched the next generation of Journey Builder: a tool that allows marketers to plan, personalize, and optimize one-to-one interactions across channels and devices, McCorkle explained.

Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud originally introduced Journey Builder in September 2013. The company revealed three new features at the anniversary celebration: Journey Maps, Journey Triggers, and Journey Metrics.

Journey Maps: “Journey Maps maps the way marketers think,” McCorkle said. Wade likened Journey Maps to a digital whiteboard that enables marketers to draw out and plan every interaction across the customer journey for each channel. Marketers can create life cycle phases and map out their sequence through Journey Builder’s drag-and-drop interface. 

“Marketers can now think like marketers…. They no longer have to think in the context of their software,” Wade said.

Journey Triggers: Journey Triggers allows marketers to send messages at opportune moments based on customer interactions. Marketers can turn any behavior into a trigger—such as an affinity change, product activation, or shopping cart abandonment—depending on their goals and what they want the customer to do next. Marketers also can designate backup triggers. For instance, a company may opt to send a customer an email immediately after he abandons his cart; however, if the customer doesn’t open the email, marketers can then use Journey Triggers to send him a push notification two days later, Wade explained. And if marketers still hear crickets, they can then send that customer a text message a few days later. In addition, marketers can do split testing with subject lines to find out which triggered messages are the most effective.

Journey Metrics: Marketers want to make sure that they’re getting their money’s worth. Journey Metrics aims to do just that. The visual analytics tool enables marketers to measure how they’re interactions are performing and whether they’re meeting their goals. Journey Metrics also allows marketers to track all forms of behavioral data across the customer journey. 

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