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Benioff: Marketing Cloud is our next $1bn product line

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24th Aug 2012
Managing editor MyCustomer.com
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The CMO will be front and centre at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce annual jamboree in San Francisco in a few weeks time, according to CEO Marc Benioff who declares his Marketing Cloud vision to be “the next $1 billion product line in the making”.

“I'm really focused on how do we get the Marketing Cloud to $1 billion in revenue,” he says. “Gartner predicts that CMOs will soon outspend CIOs over the next 5 years as the social revolution sparks the biggest transformation that the marketing industry has seen since the birth of television nearly 60 years ago.
“With the acquisitions of the two number one social media marketing companies, Buddy Media and Radian6, Salesforce.com is now the clear choice for brands to listen, engage, advertise and measure their social marketing programmes in a whole new way. Salesforce's Marketing Cloud already manages more than 10% of Facebook's ad spend.”
 
Customer-led vision
Those acquisitions should make it clear that Salesforce.com is “going to be a player in marketing”, he adds. But he cites the Gartner prediction as supporting evidence, Benioff insists that this evolution is customer-led by users of Radian 6 in the first instance.
“Dell and the Gatorade and even the American Red Cross all had built these social media command centres and started to promote them on YouTube and other vehicles and came to us and said, ‘This is a company that you should be paying attention to’,” he explains. “We acquired the company for over $300 million. And as part of that transaction, we really started to look at what was happening on the total marketing space.”
  
What the firm saw, says Benioff, was a consolidation looming in social media management. This in turn led to the next acquisition – Buddy Media - and work began to “re-conceptualise what those 2 products now have created, which is really a 1 plus 1 equals 3,”declares the never-knowingly under-selling CEO.
  
The principle behind the Salesforce.com vision of the Marketing Cloud – other marketing Cloud visions are available from the likes of Marketo and Infor! – is relatively simple. “We believe that CMOs are going to want their own cockpit to fly, their own fighter jets, because honestly, CMOs are going to start spending much more than CIOs in technology,” says Benioff.
“We want to invest so that we can take advantage of that spend. But what no one has delivered yet is really that cockpit for the CMO and for all those marketers integrated with the sales and service solutions so that companies can have a total 360-degree view of their customer from advertising to close.”
Not just MRM 2
So it’s not ‘Marketing Resource Management 2: Let’s Have Another Go At This!’? “When we look at a lot of the traditional marketing vehicles, like the lead-generation vehicles or the e-mail marketing vehicles, those are areas that we did not jump into, because we just didn't see the same rate of growth that we saw in social media marketing,” affirms Benioff.
“We believe that fundamentally companies are moving away from e-mail as their marketing vehicle and lead nurturing, away from lead nurturing as their marketing vehicles and towards social media management,” he adds, but keeps his options open. “I'm not saying that we won't include at some point e-mail and lead nurturing into our Marketing Cloud. If that's what our customers want, make no 2 ways about it, we'll deliver it to them. But right now, it's through partnerships.”
In other words, if you want that sort of traditional email marketing functionality, get yourself over toe AppExchange and pick up a Salesforce-friendly solution there.
The Social Enterprise Audience
All of this adds another participant to the potential Salesforce.com prospect list. “We've demonstrated the ability to sell service solutions, and we believe this year we have already started to demonstrate its ability to sell marketing solutions,” says Benioff “We have to be able to sell to that chief sales or Chief Revenue Officer. We have to be able to sell to the Chief Service Officer. We have to be able to sell to the Chief Marketing Officer, and we have to be able to sell to the Chief Information Officer.”
All of these individuals are now part of the Salesforce.com vision of the transformation into a Social Enterprise – that’s the Benioff-version, not the third sector meaning of the term!
“We think that this is the transformation that all companies are going to have to go through, and we're leading that,” predicts Benioff. “I don't think we can make that transformation without marketing. And that's why we've made the investment in marketing. We've made the bets, and we are now executing.
“It's not going to happen overnight, but it's also not going to take that long, honestly,” he concludes. “I fully expect that, just as we announced that we're over $500 million annual revenue run rate on service and well on our way to $1 billion in the Service Cloud, very shortly, we'll be talking about the same kind of numbers with the Marketing Cloud.”

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