Wherever you sat and listened at Salesforce World Tour London 2016, one thing rapidly became clear. There’s an extraordinary shake-up going on, and it’s the customer that’s at the epicentre.

As organisations figure out how to meet the needs of increasingly demanding, mobile, connected customers, it’s Marketing that’s feeling the strongest tremors.

And one of the first casualties could be the trusty seasonal marketing campaign.

The mismatch between expectation and execution

Speaking at the Marketing Cloud Session ‘Customer Experience is the New Marketing’, Salesforce Regional VP Erinn Leahey summed up the force of expectation that’s driving this change:

“Every single one of your customers, these days, expects to be known and understood as a unique individual, at every single touchpoint […] every interaction.”

And that’s a million miles from old-style, seasonal marketing execution.

Marketing execution – until pretty recently

The seasonal campaign is the cornerstone of many successful marketing operations. 

It might go something like this. You run a campaign to promote a new product or offer. The most promising leads would be passed to Sales to close, and then come into contact with Service further down the line. Somewhere along the way, they’d hopefully turn into loyal brand advocates.

The problem with this approach today is two-fold. Firstly, such seasonal campaigns are often triggered by internal needs – ‘we’ve got a new product to tell people about’, or ‘we’ve got stock we need to sell fast’ – not those of customers and prospects. 

Second, it’s all too easy for each customer interaction – and department – to be disconnected from the others. The upshot? Customers receive disjointed messages and are asked for the same details every time they get in touch.

Marketing execution – today and tomorrow

Giving customers what they want – the chance to feel like individuals, engaged in a consistent relationship with your organisation – means looking at their customer journey from prospect to advocate as a whole, and tailoring each interaction accordingly.

That means delivering communications, ads and offers based on who they are, and what they need at that particular time.

It also means connecting departments. After all, customers don’t think in terms of marketing, sales and service interactions. They think in terms of talking to your organisation, and getting the result they want.

In an ideal world, those broad, seasonal campaigns of yesterday would be fully consigned to the past – giving way to the creation of unique personalised journeys, for every individual.

And that’s exactly what today’s most visionary marketers are striving towards – with the help of tools built for the purpose.

Capital One – building better customer journeys

In that same Salesforce World Tour session, Russell Howe, VP Solutions Engineering, gave a powerful practical example. He showed how Capital One has been taking advantage of Marketing Cloud’s integration with Facebook, to create smarter, more personalised customer journeys.

Capital One is one of only two banks in the US top ten to have been established in the last hundred years, and it’s a readiness to seize the opportunities of the latest tech that’s helped it to thrive.

Howe explained how Capital One is using Advertising Studio within Marketing Cloud to find new prospects – searching Facebook’s data for, for example, people who match the profile of its existing small business customers.

The bank has also used Marketing Cloud to create personalised journeys that adapt to each prospect’s actions, and learn their preferences. For example:

  • When a prospect doesn’t respond to marketing emails, they may be shown a series of Facebook ads instead
  • When that prospect responds to the ad, and buys the product, the instruction to show them the ads will be cancelled – saving the customer the frustration of being followed by ads for something they’ve already purchased

Even better, that new customer automatically becomes another data point for the ‘lookalike’ tool to draw on – helping the bank find even more great prospects.

Marketers, it’s time to lead!

The Age of the Customer is transforming every corner of the modern business, but it’s marketers – as brand creators and curators – that are the natural leaders of the change.

To learn more about how we’re helping marketers lead the way, check out this video of the Salesforce World Tour session.

You’ll learn about our latest enhancements to Marketing Cloud – including the analytics it takes to effectively manage and optimise thousands of personalised customer journeys. You’ll also hear Cian Weeresinghe, CMO of Secret Escapes, discuss the challenges of efficient email marketing at serious scale. (We’re talking 3.6 billion emails in the last year alone.)