Salesforce.com seeks more advertising, marketing revenue from social

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff

At a glitzy Salesforce.com event in San Francisco on Tuesday, it became clear that the coming connection between customer-relationship management tools and social-listening and social-advertising features isn’t just a neat upgrade for Salesforce users. It’s an attempt by Salesforce to get business from advertising and marketing agencies that want to do a better job of targeting specific customer segments.

The big-picture goal is to carry out on an “incredible new vision for what it means to market and how to transform your company and just get much closer to your customers,” to use the words of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

At least for one marketing and advertising company on hand to talk up the Salesforce news on Tuesday, the integration between the CRM and social publishing is a welcome improvement.

“What Salesforce talked about today is something we had to do a little bit more manually before but just one more step in the evolution of our craft,” said Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital.

It does seem that contacting leads on social media in response to what people say could bring about more deals and turn whiny users into advocates. What Salesforce is trying to do here is make the most of its CRM service — and also grow it — to help advertisers and marketers do their jobs better. Salesforce has already signed up WPP Group, Mindshare, Resolution and other big companies, and if results beat out other options, the more than $1 billion Salesforce spent on the two social listening and publishing companies enabling the new CRM-publishing connection could pay off.

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