Salesforce.com made its largest purchase ever when it acquired social media marketing company Buddy Media for $745 million. The idea is to compbine Buddy Media with the rest of Salesforce.com’s products, including Salesforce Radian6, a social media listening platform, to deliver a Marketing Cloud that will allow customers to listen, engage, gain insight, publish, advertise and measure social marketing programs.
Eight of the top ten advertisers are clients of Buddy Media, making it a clear leader in the social media marketing. The company currently has nearly 1,000 customers, including major global brands and the world’s largest marketing agency groups such as IPG (Interpublic Group), Omnicom, Publicis and WPP. Buddy Media is also the only company to be named a charter Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, Google Engagement Solutions partner and LinkedIn Certified Developer. These are key partnerships which along with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, will be empower CMO’s to manage the entire social marketing lifecycle.
“I am really excited about the Marketing Cloud,” Marc Benioff commented during his earnings announcement last quarter. “I really think it is a multibillion-dollar opportunity just as we’ve seen the Sales Cloud is and the Service Cloud is and the platform is. So I’m trying to get my thinking around that, and by the time we get to Dreamforce [in September], I think now we’ll have a lot to talk about in regards to the Marketing Cloud.”
Many of Buddy Media’s feature set looks very similar to new functionality offered by Marketo’s Social Marketing Suite that was launched after the purchase of Crowd Factor in 2011. Eloqua Social Suite is a another attempt to better integrate social media marketing.
So what’s next? Here is what the folks at Appirio seem to thing might be down the road…
- Marketing automation: this is an area that is very close to traditional CRM and would round out Salesforce’s CMO portfolio nicely. Being able to score, nurture and convert leads developed through direct or social marketing would be powerful. In addition, bringing lead scoring, nurturing and flow logic to social platforms such as Radian6 and Buddy could be game-changing. Currently email is the preferred channel for lead nurturing and the question is whether it’ll be supplanted over time by social channels. Salesforce’s moves to date could be read to suggest that they believe that social is where the future of customer experience lies. One could make the case either for or against email so it’ll be interesting to see where Salesforce goes next.
- Multi-channel campaign management and analytics: The other area that Salesforce may focus on is in pulling all the pieces of their CMO portfolio together. As we’ve described, they now have full bag of tools for the CMO but this is truly a case where integrating the tools could produce an exponential increase in value. Salesforce now has the ability to give a salesperson insight into what their customer is talking about on Twitter, what emails they opened, what they liked on their company’s Facebook page and what messages they’ve responded to recently. On the marketing side, Salesforce has the data to help marketers optimize offers and campaigns across channels. Could Salesforce’supcoming webinar on Big Data be a hint that they plan to help companies make sense of masses of social interaction data very soon?