Sarah Franklin, President and Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce, joined business leaders at the VivaTech conference in Paris to discuss how the accelerated shift to digital will continue to transform customer experiences and the future of work.
Engaging customers in a digital-first world
In the first session, Franklin was joined by Agathe Bousquet, President of Publicis Groupe France, Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at L’Oréal, and Howard Lerman, Founder and CEO of Yext. They discussed ways personalized engagement has impacted the omni-channel landscape.
Franklin shared that the pandemic caused necessity to become the mother of invention. Creativity and removing complexity has been essential to innovating and marketing in a disrupted world. So, too, has speed: “Things that were planned for five years down the road had to happen yesterday” said Franklin. “This explains how Salesforce was able to develop its Vaccine Cloud platform to enable the delivery of millions of COVID-19 vaccines globally through the Salesforce platform. We wouldn’t have had the ability to be creative if we were mired with complexity.”
During the pandemic we lost the ability to plan, we needed solutions now. We shifted our roadmap with Vaccine Cloud. We took a very complex problem like vaccinating the world and sought to solve it digitally.Sarah Franklin, Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce
When asked what customer engagement trends will and won’t stick post-pandemic, Franklin responded that every CMO must do more with their first-party data to drive personalization and embrace hybrid ways of serving and selling, working and living. “It’s an incredible time for technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds,” she said, highlighting for instance that this year’s Dreamforce, traditionally held in San Francisco, will be the first to go global. In a post-pandemic world, said Franklin, “we need to be successful from anywhere.”
Asked how CMOs and CDOs can set their businesses up for success over the next two, five or 10 years, Franklin said it’s all about leveraging data and building a sense of community with customers. “It’s never been more important to look at your values and build your brand in an authentic way. You don’t have to be a celebrity to be an influencer,” she added, emphasizing the power of word of mouth when it comes to buying everyday essentials to a new car. Beyond serving customers, she said, the most successful companies will communicate in an authentic voice and make communities feel like they too can innovate.
The future of work and culture
At the Future of Work roundtable, Franklin joined Aiman Ezzat, CEO at CapGemini, Sandeep Mathrani, CEO at WeWork, and Eric Yuan, CEO at Zoom. With pandemic recovery on the horizon, Franklin said “the world is going to look nothing like we had before; we’re going to build that world together.”
A key ingredient to succeeding from anywhere, she continued, will be companies’ connection to their customers and employees, investing in their culture and ways of collaborating. Whether in the office, at home or on the go, “we need to come together.” This, she explained, is why more and more companies are reinventing their workplaces as cultural centers and collaboration hubs. After a pandemic in which people have spent unprecedented time looking at their screens, businesses must also be mindful of their peoples’ mental health, encouraging balance, and always listening to their employees’ needs. With learnings from the pandemic and empowered by technology, Franklin said, “we’re going to take the best of both worlds.”
To learn more about Franklin and her plans for the future, read this.