At Dreamforce in San Francisco earlier this week, Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle highlighted retailer Eddie Bauer’s strategy to make marketing so good that it feels like customer service and customer service so good that it feels like marketing. He may well have added that when marketing and service are well executed, they both begin to feel like sales – or at least the extension of sales environments that they are meant to support.

This thinking underscores the blurring lines between marketing and customer experience. Where does one end and the other begin? And does it really matter? Certainly to the customer it doesn’t; all he or she wants is a great experience that delivers value appropriate to the current context. So then, why do brands continue to let organizational or functional silos get in the way? It’s easy to say that legacy systems and processes still dictate what brands are able to achieve, but surely with today’s business technology capabilities, it’s possible to do better.

Brands highlighted at Dreamforce not only do better: they blend marketing, services and sales for a seamless customer experience. Take Fitbit, for example. Of course the Fitbit business model is based on interaction and context, but Fitbit has taken things to another level by ensuring that marketing content is fully incorporated into app functionality instead of pushing messages at customers. Up-sell, cross-sell and promotional content appear when contextually relevant and blend smoothly with customer services information and sales/transactional opportunities.

Perhaps a more classic marketing example is LiveNation. Promoting the right concerts to the right people at the right time is marketing 101. However, linking that marketing content to the right devices and touchpoints, enabling ticket sales, and encouraging viral promotion via social media all take marketing beyond its usual boundaries into the domains of sales, service and customer experience. That’s especially true when you consider that marketing continues to orchestrate the customer journey beyond the ticket purchase, providing information on weather, transportation, concessions, and additional opportunities to enhance the overall experience.

Fitbit and LiveNation are just two examples of how digital technologies are both disrupting every industry and providing opportunities to deliver better customer experiences. Putting technology to work for your brand means building a contextual marketing engine that leverages customer insights to spark interactions across the entire customer life cycle. Does it really matter if you call it marketing, services or sales, as long as you delight your customers with contextually relevant experiences?

As always, feel free to send me an email or set up an inquiry to discuss the marketing technology landscape. If you are considering enterprise marketing software investments to support your own contextual marketing engine, we’re here to help.