Although M&A for data-driven companies slowed before the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation took effect, Salesforce charged ahead.
The CRM giant dropped $6.5 billion on middleware firm MuleSoft in March. It followed with a reported $800 million acquisition of data integration company Datorama, which closed Aug. 20.
A month later, multiple Salesforce customers are already using it to connect and unify data, and Salesforce is “on the road to integrating Datorama into the Marketing Cloud,” said Jon Suarez-Davis, the Marketing Cloud’s chief strategy officer.
“Datorama will serve as the marketing intelligence platform for the Marketing Cloud, bringing all that data into one place,” Suarez-Davis said.
MuleSoft, Datorama and their role in connecting data across systems played heavily this week at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce in San Francisco, where the company also unveiled Customer 360. The identifier, which links customer profiles across its cloud products, coupled with the acquisitions, moves Salesforce closer to what it says its customers want.
“We’re really focused on integration because that's what customers are asking for,” Suarez-Davis said. “They need systems that are integrated across marketing, commerce, sales and service. Doesn't matter if it's B2B or B2C, they need that integration. That's the key requirement that customers are asking for.”
Suarez-Davis spoke to AdExchanger at Dreamforce.
AdExchanger: What were the key drivers behind the Datorama acquisition?
JON SUAREZ-DAVIS: When we talked to our customers, they kept telling us, “We don't have a single source of truth for our marketing investment.”
They said they've got hundreds of different marketing data sources, and they're really struggling with how to bring that all together, make sense of it, visualize it and get the insights into the hands of the marketing C-suite, their agency partners or other parts of their ecosystem.
And so, it was a clear need in the marketplace. Datorama clearly rose to the top as the industry’s leading marketing intelligence platform, both for marketers and agencies.
A lot of people are saying DMPs aren't hot right now, it's all about CDPs. I've heard some people call Datorama a CDP. Would you consider it a CDP?
No, we don't. We do not consider Datorama a standalone CDP solution. We acquired Datorama to aggregate [and] unify marketing data. It's a purpose-built marketing intelligence platform. That's the primary reason we bought it.
There are a lot of acronyms in the marketplace. We believe we are a marketing cloud. We're bringing all the data in, built on the world's No. 1 CRM platform and rounding out [with] solutions such as Datorama, to deliver this marketing intelligence platform to our customers. The acquisition of Datorama was not in response to CDPs because we believe that we already have the components that customers are asking for as it pertains to taking CRM known data in and then activating that across channels.
How is the Google Analytics 360 partnership going? Are there any examples of how that’s being used?
The Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360 integration is going incredibly well. Open Colleges in Australia is a great example. They are a Marketing Cloud customer so they've been orchestrating really sophisticated messaging journeys to get students to sign up for courses, which are manifested in the online environment.
They're a big Google Analytics 360 customer. Before they had to look at two different data sets and cobble together insights. Now with the integration, with just clicks and not code, they can bring in Google Analytics 360 and surface it right in the Marketing Cloud, taking those insights and increasing the performance of their campaigns without data scientists and without developers.
Now with Datorama, they're going [be able to] to take all the data sources into one place – Google Analytics 360, our other Marketing Cloud data, numerous other campaign data they have – and they can visualize it all in one dashboard.
Saleforce had a pretty close relationship with Marketo. Do you just think you’ll continue that relationship now that it's been purchased by Adobe?
We have a very open ecosystem. We partner with numerous other technology providers to the benefit of our customers. We're going to continue to focus on a customer success platform across marketing, commerce, sales and service, and bringing in those partners as we do today. Nothing to change on that.
What do you think about the Marketo price tag?
I don't really have an opinion on it, to be honest.
Marketo is B2B, and Adobe also has Neolane, which was more of a B2C play. Why do you think it needs two different marketing automation stacks?
If you look back at marketing, it continues to evolve. Business is highly dynamic, and the marketing function is arguably one of the most dynamic functions. We have seen over time B2B and B2C technology stacks develop. Now we're increasingly seeing a lot of B2B and B2C marketers trying to do the same thing: They're all trying to deliver these incredible brand experiences.
Do you think there will be a time when there's no longer differentiation between the B2C and B2B stacks?
We see the definition of marketing blurring – is it commerce, is it service? So fundamentally we're seeing the definition of the edges around marketing blur, and then I think in response to that you can clearly see how technology stacks are also kind of coming together with a real emphasis on integration.
Speaking of B2B and B2C, how do your ecommerce acquisitions – Demandware and CloudCraze – work together?
This goes back to a perfect example of why we see the lines blurring between B2B and B2C.
Adidas is one of our fantastic customers. They are a huge Commerce Cloud customer. Adidas is fundamentally transforming their business in the Commerce Cloud. They're selling direct – it's the fastest-growing channel on the Commerce Cloud, and yet they still do a massive amount of business, of course, with their retailers.
They're building that on the back of the B2B Commerce Cloud, so it's a perfect example of how a global powerhouse brand is really blurring the lines between B2B and B2C because they want to deliver that same great experience to you when you buy direct on Adidas.com as they want to deliver to their retailers.
This interview has been condensed and edited.