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  • 07
    OCT 2016
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Salesforce Future of Marketing 2016: Technology, Thought Leadership, and More

POSTED IN Company News, Digital Marketing, Technology, Trending BY

Technology, data, insights, and people always go together in driving the digital marketing industry, and these served as the core values behind Future of Marketing 2016.

AFDigital was part of this year’s Salesforce Future of Marketing, a one-day, digital marketing event that highlighted the power of Salesforce for marketers. The recently-concluded conference in Singapore was hosted by Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The Centre of the Marketing Universe

Dubbed as the Digital Marketing Event of the Year, the gathering showcased the Salesforce Customer Success Platform (the official name of Salesforce’s portfolio of products) and how it helps marketers provide the best customer lifetime value.

We were able to listen to inspiring keynote speakers, take part in multiple breakout and hands-on training sessions, and connect with other industry professionals. The gathering brought together executives, professionals, experts, and innovators from various industries to talk about the tools and technology that help marketers connect with their customers in a whole new way.

The Age of the Customer

The Singapore leg of the Future of Marketing event was headlined by a keynote address from Lee Hawksley, the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Salesforce Marketing Cloud-Japan Asia-Pacific Region.

Hawksley talked about the ‘Age of the Customer’ and how to master the customer journey. He explained that whether marketers like it or not, the customers now control brands.

He discussed their vision for building 1-to-1 customer journeys across marketing, sales, and service by connecting data, employees, partners, and customers with a breakthrough experience. The talk also included strategies on building experiences across advertising, email, mobile, website, social media, and the Internet of Things.

There was also a panel discussion on the Age of the Customer, with three executives leading the conversation:

  • Caitlin Nguyen—Global Digital Marketing: Innovation and Transformation Lead for Fonterra
  • Sebastien Lepez—Integrated Marketing Communications Director for Johnson & Johnson
  • Suraj Naik—CTO and General Manager of Genius U, the first online training and mentoring university for entrepreneurs

Thought Leadership

On Leadership, Management, and Marketing Styles

One of the most interesting parts of the keynote address is the panel discussion that followed.

Three marketing trailblazers (Nguyen, Lepez, and Naik) talked about the Age of the Customer and how leadership styles should adapt to this trend.

My takeaway from Ms. Nguyen’s talk is that business people, especially the successful ones, should take action as quickly as possible, even though they may work badly. Fail fast, fail often (fail better, fail forward) meant marketers should not be afraid of things not working out the way they want to.

Rather than trying to avoid mistakes and failures,marketers should embrace them. Actively seek tasks and opportunities that push your skills and knowledge to the limit, and overcome them.

Always test your products and services, and look for ways to improve these offerings. If it comes out right, then great. If not, all the more reason to use it as a learning experience and press ahead. To quote Babe Ruth, never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

For Lepez, his main suggestions for marketers and industry professionals is to keep doing what they do — but don’t forget do something different. Keep with the things that work and improve on those that can need it.

Your marketing strategies should be about timing. For example, when reaching out to millennials (the favoured demographic group of today’s market), you have to know everything about them.

That means being there at the right place and at the right time, with the right content that connects with them. While you’re laying out your plans, remember that “it’s not a marketing journey, it’s a customer journey.”

Naik echoes Lepez’s sentiments: that is, for your marketing strategy and company to succeed, do something different. While going with the flow will move you forward, starting your own wave could propel you further.

Moreover, he adds that marketers shouldn’t stop improving, whether they experience a good quarter or not. The marketing industry is always changing, and so should your strategies and outlook. “The best of the last quarter should be the worst of this,” Naik said.

On the Future of Marketing

The future of marketing is 1-to-1 customer journeys—Everything and everyone is connected. This was the central theme of the 2016 Future of Marketing event and the panel discussions that followed.

What was made clear was that marketers today need to build 1-to-1 journeys across every customer interaction. This has long been a mantra for us at AFDigital: building a smarter customer journey. One of the many ways we build this journey is by embracing agile marketing (more on this in another blog).

In today’s fast-paced, multi-channelled world, marketers need to quickly adapt to changes. We must be able to innovate and produce results on the fly, as well as adapt immediately to market disruptions.

Take for example Mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Mobile marketing is hitting triple-digit growth this year. It also sees significant growth year over year.

Mobile ROI is also seeing growth in 2016, and is expected to continue in the coming years as handheld gadgets become the go-to tool for consumers looking for a product or service. The percentage of marketers who are realizing a return on their investment rose to 147% this year compared to 2015 figures.

When it comes to coming up with marketing strategies, we can no longer ignore the importance and power of mobile.

The same goes for IoT. There are about 15 billion devices connected to the Internet worldwide, with predictions seeing that number rise to 50 billion by 2020. To keep pace with an ever-changing industry, 72% of current top performers are increasing their budget to spend on marketing tools and tech in the coming years.

Marketers should get smart with adopting new technology and leveraging it for their strategies. Businesses should make the most of marketing analytics, predictive intelligence, and big data, among other tools, to develop better products and services.

With the right opportunity and tools, marketers can even help shape the use of the IoT for the businesses we serve.

Connecting with the Customers

In all, the Future of Marketing event was a huge success, not only for the organizers, but for the attendees as well. It was a real learning experience  hearing from industry experts and fellow professionals.

In today’s marketing sector, digital is still king, and the customer journey and experience are the crown jewel. This 2016 and the near future, these two truths will shape the path of the industry and the profession.

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