The mash-up of Salesforce marketing automation acquisitions aims to unify social media marketing.
Some industry watchers looked askance at the multi-billion dollar acquisition spree that brought Radian6, Buddy Media, and ExactTarget to Salesforce, fearing the company was creating a marketing software Frankenstein. Today, Salesforce unveiled an integration of the three companies that it says will give marketers a single platform for social content marketing, engagement, publishing, and analytics.
As part of the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, the new platform, dubbed Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio, aims to replace point solutions while unifying what Altimeter Group says may be as many as 131 social channels in an enterprise.
The new product includes collaborative workspaces and calendars, content creation and scheduling, integrated engagement monitoring, and enhanced analytics that can monitor content performance by label, campaigns, or any particular target. It also includes a mobile version, so that marketers never have to stop marketing.
Gordon Evans, vice president of product marketing for Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, says the new platform addresses four major social media challenges faced by marketers: proliferation of point solutions; organizing and managing teams, especially for global companies; finding engaging content to distribute; and engaging with consumers on a large scale.
The problem, he says, is, "As you grow, how do you ensure you have all of your global brands in sync, all the regions in sync, the right permissions in place?"
The new platform lets users set up macros to handle one-click labeling, tagging, and sentiment scoring of social media posts, so that they can identify and automatically route posts that need to be responded to individually. They can set up rules governing content in order to automate the listening side, as well.
Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio is an open platform that lets developers, independent software vendors, customers, or partners build their own applications on top of it. The platform is launching with several vendor partnerships that the company says will make it easier for marketers to discover content. They are Getty Images, Kontera, Nexgate, Pressly, Rallyverse, Shutterstock, ShopIgniter, and TrendSpottr. Marketers still need to set up licenses with individual partners before accessing them via the platform.
"We're making it easier for marketers to identify great content, including trending content from the Web, and to connect their digital asset libraries to the product," Evans says.
Salesforce noted that several key customers will use Social Studio, including Citrix, Cisco, and JetBlue. The platform is generally available and free to current customers of Buddy Media, ExactTarget, or Radian6. New customers can subscribe starting at $1,500 per month, a cost that Evans says should be comparable to or more cost-effective than individual subscriptions to the stand-alone services.
Customers already using Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud can simply have the Social Studio capability turned on, but customers can also use it without using the Marketing Cloud. Over time, Evans expects that Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio will completely replace the individual products.
But not their names, evidently. What's with the clunky nomenclature? Says Evans, if you're a marketer, "Those names have a lot of meaning to you. Those companies pioneered the space and are well-known brands in the social marketing arena."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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