Salesforce have announced they are bringing artificial intelligence capabilities such as deep learning, natural language processing and predictive analytics into all areas of their business. Billed as ‘AI for everyone’, Einstein will bring a predictive experiences for customers of Marketing Cloud, CRM and all other Salesforce platforms.
It is the culmination of $600m investment in artificial intelligence by Salesforce who have built Einstein from acquired companies such as MetaMind, PredictionIO and RelateIQ.
The platform will take various data sources to train machine learning models, including “customer data from CRM, activity data from Chatter, email, calendar and e-commerce; social data streams such as Tweets and images; and even IoT signal”.
While timing and pricing details are still to be confirmed, the initial benefit to users of Salesforce Marketing Cloud will be able to start creating predictive journeys. For example:
Einstein will enable Salesforce developers to quickly build AI-powered apps using the tools that they already use.
AI-powered marketing is going to be a hot topic at TFM 2016 next week and we will be ask Salesforce to explain more in the Marketing Cloud All-Star Debate. Register for your ticket.
Salesforce is generally recognised as the leader in CRM software, and has been aggressively expanding into marketing with high profile acquisitions including ExactTarget in 2013 (which itself had acquired CoTweet, Pardot, iGoDigital and Keymail Marketing). In 2014, the group of services was rebranded Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SMC).
As with other marketing clouds Salesforce Marketing Cloud covers marketing automation (still branded as Pardot) and analytics across email, web, social and mobile, selling multi-year subscriptions to the software:
Salesforce provides an uplifting two minute video overview of the :
Gartner, in its analysis, recommends Salesforce Marketing Cloud for “midsize-to-large B2C enterprise[s] in the consumer products, retail, high tech or financial services industry with a moderate- to-high level of digital marketing expertise.” It also reports that “customers report high satisfaction with its intuitive user experience and journey-modeling capabilities” but also that some “report concerns over pricing and diminished support quality.”
TrustRadius sees “Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email” score 7.3 out of 10. One anonymous reviewer comments:
“We have not had great support when adding a new business into our existing account. It would be great to get a dedicated person that could help with implementation/consultation even after we have our initial on-boarding. Businesses change over time, and it would be great to get the support from Salesforce Marketing Cloud”
“this is a very solid solution for email marketing. It is very scalable from a developer’s view. The proprietary AMPscripting is very powerful in allowing developers to leverage most of platform programmatically which most providers are lacking. I believe that is the one key component making the Salesforce Marketing Cloud superior to others.”
“We are leveraging their API to hook in several of our company systems to process triggers, imports and other applications. There is a lot of flexibility in terms of how you would create different applications depending on what outcome you are looking for.”
Salesforce have launched Wave Analytics for B2B Marketing app, a new app to enable marketing cloud users to dive deeper into marketing, CRM other sources such as Google Analytics, webinar or event registration data into a single view.
This easy-to-use app is based in part on consumer apps such as “Fitbit, Mint and Waze” which have made analytics more intuitive, and should improve the connection between marketing cloud and the sales activity recorded in Salesforce CRM.
Read more about Wave Analytics B2B Marketing app here.
In the largest ever acquisition in the marketing technology industry, Salesforce purchased ecommerce platform Demandware, effectively kickstarting the formation of a commerce cloud to complement its sales and marketing clouds – TFM.
Demandware brings with it hundreds of clients including Marks & Spencer – Adexchanger.
— Kelly Liyakasa (@KellyLiyakasa) 1 June 2016
FEBRUARY 2016 – Quarterly performance
Salesforce’s marketing cloud revenue grew 31% to $184 million in the fourth quarter (ending Jan 31st 2016) of its fiscal year – Ad Age.
— Zachary Reiss-Davis (@ZacharyRD) February 25, 2016
JANUARY 2016 – Free consultation
In the US at least, Salesforce is offering businesses in the retail industry a free consultation with its Marketing Cloud team to demonstrate, through bespoke planning, how its software suite can help them “build smarter one-to-one customer journeys” – Marketing Land.
NOVEMBER 2015 – Feature roll out
Salesforce has added predictive analytics – leveraging machine learning and data science to score and segment customers in real-time – to its marketing cloud – Information Week.
SMC pricing starts from £280 per month (billed annually, so £3,360 per year) for personalised promotional email marketing. There are four broad solutions – “Email, Mobile, and Web Marketing”, “Social Media Marketing”, “Digital Advertising” and “B2B Marketing Automation” – each split into four packages – Basic, Pro, Corporate and Enterprise.
The Corporate package for Email, Mobile and Web Marketing starts at £2,625 per month, billed annually (£31,500 per year).
Salesforce University offers training and certification, via corporeal and virtual instructor-led training, self-paced online resources and private workshops.
Training paths include “User”, “Administrator”, “Developer”, “Solution Designer” and “Technical Architect”, with prices ranging from £325 to £3,250. Official UK courses are taught in Staines (near Heathrow).
Certification tracks for marketers include “Email Specialist” and “Social Specialist”. Both involve a 90 minute exam and registration fee of $200.