After one of the biggest announcements in the marketing technology space of 2013 — Salesforce.com's purchase of ExactTarget — few were surprised to see the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud feature prominently at Dreamforce last week in San Francisco. But the real headline grabber was the introduction of Salesforce1, a cloud-based platform for what the company calls the "Internet of customers." We've got a deeper look into the implications of this for marketers for Forrester clients, but some of our key takeaways were that Salesforce:
- Gets the age of the customer and what it means for their products. CEO Marc Benioff spoke at length about the "customers behind the devices" and the importance of engaging with those individuals, rather than the things they use to connect to the Web. We are in what Forrester calls the age of the customer, where "the most successful enterprises reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers." The Salesforce1 vision is to be the technology engine behind those firms — and the announcement takes a big step in that direction.
- Commits to an integrated future . . . at some point. Salesforce1 offers a slew of technical changes that make integration not only a priority but also a possibility. Marketers who increasingly need to deliver a consistent experience across all interactions over the course of the customer life cycle will find some of that need met in Salesforce1. The details around how the different clouds will connect remains vague, however. (For more about the technical elements of the integration, check out my colleague John Rymer's post.)
- Needs to answer questions about how marketers will unlock the benefits of Salesforce1. The vision and demos we saw at Dreamforce whet marketers' appetites, but it remains unclear how they will tap Salesforce1's potential without more information around pricing, inter-cloud connections, and ROI of a new approach. Without that clarity, it's hard to call Salesforce1 a true marketing technology platform.
Forrester clients can access the full analysis here.