The Monday Stack: Salesforce Pardot, SAP, and DTC

News from Salesforce this morning on the B2B front, with the announcement of Pardot Business Units, an enhancement to the Pardot B2B MA solution. The aim is to help large companies with multiple business units and/or geographical spread to promote visibility into what the parts, branches, and sub-brands are doing. The initiative pushes back against locally siloed data and local best practices by allowing audience to be segmented by sub-brand, geography, and line of business. It also helps the corporate center understand engagement by brand or geography using Multiple Tracker Domains.

I got a better picture of the significance of Business Units for the Pardot offering as a whole when I sat down with Salesforce VP of product marketing Nate Skinner, and product marketing manager Kyra Johanson, at the SiriusDecisions Summit, where Salesforce is a Premier sponsor.

“If you go back three years, there was a perception in the market that Pardot was a small- to medium-sized product, good for midmarket and below. We’ve significantly changed that, and we continue to innovate in features that help the largest and most complex environments,” Skinner explained.

VMware is an example of a brand which has been using Pardot Business Units prior to general release (its now available with the Advanced edition). “They have multiple business units at VMware — cloud, on prem, and I don’t even remember all of them. If you’re VMware, you want to maintain control over the marketing assets and collateral across those business units, at least to create consistency of look, feel, and voice. But you also want to be able to deliver unique messages by business unit; in the cloud business, they don’t want to be pushing offers which are not cloud-specific.” At the same time, a consumer might engage with more than one business unit, and Pardot now allows central visibility into how consumers are crossing those lines.

VMware is already seeing some striking results, not least around 640 percent ROI. That’s possible, in part at least, because the spend is not repeated. They’ve also seen a 20 percent increase in productivity is derived from marketing and sales teams now sharing the same platform: “The campaign object is the same,” said Skinner. Marketers also doubled their lead target attainment.

One stumbling block for maintaining that balance between central control and local flexibility is knowing how marketing assets are being handled across units and in the field. Is that something Pardot can help with, or does it require a point solution? “We have folder sharing permissions,” said Johanson, “so if you have a regional sales team you want to have access to a certain type of content, you can enable that; you could also gate it from others. That’s the sales use case. In the marketing world, it also applies, with emails, landing pages, and campaigns you build out.” Pardot Business Units enables these capabilities, but, as Skinner observed, this doesn’t make Pardot a DAM provider, but it has integrations with digital asset specialists like Uberflip.

Johanson shared a demonstration, setting up an ABM strategy for an individual business unit, with embedded Einstein AI surfacing recommended accounts and contacts, in about five to ten minutes.

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Meanwhile, ahead of the SAP CX Live event which kicks off in Orlando, Florida tomorrow, here comes SAP with a host of announcements about SAP C/4 HANA, the front office suite launched last year. Notably, SAP joins Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce in the CDP stakes, revealing plans for an enterprise-grade CDP linked to the Customer Data and Marketing Clouds, pulling together online and offline first-part data, resolving identities, and making the results available for real-time activation.

Additional highlights include:

  • SAP C/4 HANA Foundation, a single entry-point and console for administrators and developers
  • SAP Litmos Training Cloud, with extensive educational content
  • Ruum by SAP, a collaboration and project management solution for  Marketing, Commerce, Service and Sales Clouds    
  • New ABM capabilities

This follows on the recent announcement of SAP Customer Identity and Access Management to facilitate secure onboarding for third parties who need access to data or the ability to exchange information.

More to come later this week from the Orlando event.

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And in the world of direct-to-consumer advertising, some interesting figures from a MediaRadar study. Simply put, it’s on the rise. The study found a steady increase of between 7 to 20 percent annually for DTC ads across channels over the last five years. Thousands of DTC start-ups across the U.S. (IAB figures) are fueling the growth, with initial impact on social media. That’s where most young DTC operations start spending their ad budgets, with Instagram being the partner of choice. As companies scale, their ad reach expands, including entry into TV, where Casper, the mattress mavens, are now spending $30 million annually.

The study found that DTC companies place branded content pieces at three times the rate of traditional brands. Top partners are Buzzfeed, which figures, and perhaps surprisingly Yahoo! In a release,Todd Krizelman, CEO and Co-Founder of MediaRadar, said: “DTC companies are a unique class of company, sometimes referred to as ‘disruptors,’ because they have an ability to bypass traditional sales models, and to re-think otherwise staid markets.”

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