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Rachel Illingworth

As a brand-new homeowner, I take home decor very seriously. In fact, after a jaunt to Amazon.com for some much-needed bed pillows, I signed into my Facebook account — as one does — to humble-brag that I got a good deal. It certainly wasn’t unusual at this point to find advertisements for pillows, rugs, and other home decor on my newsfeed, but nonetheless, it made me do a double-take. Even after seeing this happen more than a few times, it still surprises me that marketing professionals notice so much.

We can all learn a thing or two from this tactic … content can no longer be a generic blanket of words and images, it has to be relevant to what the customer wants. Businesses are taking notice, and providing a Customer Experience (CX) that is more specific. In fact, 94 percent of top-level executives think that the only way to reach customers nowadays is to deliver personalized content. Customers expect an optimized experience whenever, wherever, and on whichever device they prefer, and it’s up to your business to play catch up. Tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Community Cloud can provide customer data, so businesses know what customers want when they want it.

Understanding customers

No one wants to be treated the same way in every interaction. Marketers who can harness the technologies available to automate the timing, channel, and content of each communication will stand the greatest chance of success. Through Marketing Cloud technology, they can create the demanded content through modularization.

Marketing Cloud is Salesforce’s suite of technologies that automate and manage the creation, delivery, and tracking of digital marketing channels. Even better, it can leverage data from Salesforce’s Sales and Service Clouds (because it’s part of the overall Salesforce environment), and capture information about a customer’s marketing preferences and interactions. That means marketing teams get a complete 360-degree snapshot of the customer in real time.

Social communities: data gold mines

It’s vital to brand on at least one social community platform. Research has shown that belonging to an online social community affects these six phases of a person’s purchasing decision:

1) Recognition
2) Research
3) Evaluation of alternatives
4) Purchase
5) Consumption
6) Post-purchase evaluation

Stay relevant to your customer, connect with a user-built community like Salesforce Community Cloud. This community platform can brand and scale to specific needs, while providing vital user context. Communities’ partner-built Lighting Bolt solutions gives marketing professionals the ability to create communities even faster.

Marketers already know that the best way to nurture and convert prospects into customers is to create content that speaks directly to that person at that moment. And the strongest tools that gather customer data and build context are Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud. (Now I think I’ll go back to getting house decorating ideas from my Facebook newsfeed ads.)

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