One of the big messages from Salesforce World Tour London was a simple one: There’s never been a better time to be a marketer.

The old days of data silos and transactional customer relationships are fading away. Customers no longer have time for a fragmented experience where your sales, marketing and service departments don’t talk to one another. And they’re right to be impatient. 

The already porous walls that separate CRM functions are dissolving completely. Which is good news, because your customers don’t care if it’s a salesman or a business analyst they’re talking to: it’s all part of a single brand experience. 

We’re going to need a smarter CRM

To track this shifting relationship, CRM systems have evolved. Systems of record became systems of engagement, as retrospective reports on one-way transactions were replaced by living, breathing records of two-way interactions. 

With some data science thrown in, systems of engagement have become more intelligent. Which is lucky because now you need to keep up with your always-connected customers and respond to their needs, no matter how quickly they change. 

As a marketer, you’ve been charged with managing this customer journey, meandering though it may be. You need to make sure you engage the customer at every step and that every connection is smart, personal and consistent. No pressure then!

The 4 elements of customer engagement

Breaking customer engagement down to first principles, we get four key elements:

  1. Audience: who exactly are you talking to? 
  2. Content: what do you use to start that conversation and keep it flowing?
  3. Personalisation: how do you make sure it’s always about the customer?
  4. Journey: how do you combine all of the above in a logical flow?

The long and winding road

The customer journey starts well before your buyer is on board (sometimes before they’ve even heard of you), and it doesn’t end at the checkout. We can look at it in five stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acquisition
  3. Onboarding
  4. Engagement
  5. Advocacy


First off, you need your customers to become aware. First, they need to recognise the need they have that you’re going to fulfil. Second, they need to know that you’re there to do just that. 

US clothing company carter’s do this using highly personalised advertising campaigns managed through Salesforce Marketing Cloud Active Audiences. The service gives carter’s a single view of their customers instead of relying on unreliable cookie data. 

Active Audiences helps sellers target real-time audiences across web and social based on triggers that might include online purchases, email clicks or upcoming trips.  It’s tailored advertising for awareness across any device, and it’s scalable.

Acquisition and Onboarding

We know that, where the old customer journey was transactional and disconnected, the new one is a series of joined-up, 1-to-1 interactions between buyer and brand. But it bears repeating that amid all this smart digital engagement, we should take care to remember offline marketing -- and that, where possible, online and offline channels should be integrated into your acquisition and onboarding campaigns.  

One example discussed at Salesforce World Tour was from toy retailer Mattel. When a toy is delivered to a customer’s home, they’re invited to download the app by scanning the QR code on the packaging. Through the app they can receive personalised recommendations  and deals. And depending on their actions, they can be prompted via email to move to the next step of this journey that criss-crosses between digital and physical worlds. 


Room and Board is another company using Salesforce Marketing Cloud to practice personalisation with brains. Their product recommendations aren’t based on product information alone, churning out similar suggestions, but instead use real data from the customer journey. This thinking helped the company raise its average order value by 16% through its Complete the Room personalised email campaigns.


Social media marketing is important at all stages of the customer journey, but no more so than at our last stage: advocacy. 

Online jewellery retailer Alex and Ani understand that the most effective marketing voice is not their own, it’s the voice of a happy customer. They scan the social waves for every mention of their brand and try to respond to them all. This lets them pull existing brand content into the conversation or, if it’s a complaint, to send social threads to the Service Cloud. The result? Swift resolution to customer queries and more valuable data at the brand’s disposal to keep the customer journey going in the right direction. Win, win.

Key takeaways

  • The separations between CRM functions are dissolving
  • Social is not a silo. It’s part of a connected sales, service and marketing whole
  • Don’t forget offline: find new ways to integrate both on- and offline channels
  • Your most effective marketing voice is not your own, it’s a happy customer’s
For more information on all you've read here, you can watch recordings of the Marketing Cloud Keynote and all the other main sessions from Salesforce World Tour London.