"The previous CRM system was an archaic, non-cloud-based CRM platform," said Maggie Lang, senior director of guest marketing at Kimpton. "It was a legacy system. Much of it had started breaking. There was no ability to connect with marketing automation."
Kimpton decided to redesign its whole CRM and loyalty system around the customer experience. What it didn't do was redesign its paid media strategy.
The company makes large investments in digital advertising to be sure, especially search and retargeting. It partners with Google and Adara on these initiatives, but those relationships are largely managed by Lang's colleague. Paid advertising through Salesforce.com is not a focus.
"We're extremely focused on retention vs. acquisition," Lang said. "In terms of loyalty, we're more interested in building deeper relationships with members than getting new ones. It's very expensive to acquire a new member."
Salesforce.com has a good story about its narrow focus (to date) on social paid media.
"We think of advertising in terms of identity," said Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. "We have focused on the social ad world. People vs. cookies is a powerful [paradigm]."
Fair enough, but what about the larger sea of inventory out there, on platforms like Yahoo, Amazon and the hordes of mobile apps? And what about executing media buys across those inventory sources using a centralized data-decisioning engine?
McCorkle says Salesforce.com does have a data-management platform (DMP), though it doesn't call it that, designed to wrangle a range of data sources.
"We've not positioned our AudienceBuilder product as a DMP in the ad tech world," he said. "But it is a highly capable DMP. We are integrating point of sale, CRM, print and Facebook Custom Audiences data."
What remains is to better execute media based on that data. The options are limited today, but the overall direction is clear.
"That ad tech and marketing tech are coming together is a trend worth noting," McCorkle said. "Beyond our own consideration of that trend, we execute based on the customer. The road map is based on customer interactions and what we're being asked to do."
So hurry up and wait.