The Salesforce Marketing Cloud combines the services of Radian6, acquired for $326 million in March 2011 for its social media monitoring and engagement capabilities, and Buddy Media, the social media campaign-management firm acquired in August for $689 million. The combination gives companies tools to listen to and engage with customers on social media and then advertise and measure the results of social marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
The 20 partners in Friday's announcement offer deep analytic capabilities that Saleforce.com doesn't offer. Clarabridge, for example, offers multi-lingual sentiment-analysis. Klout scores the influence of those commenting on social networks. Lithium specializes in natural language processing for a more accurate understanding of comments. And OpenAmplify specializes in identifying and classifying brand and product mentions for customer service purposes.
[ Want more on Salesforce ambitions? Read Salesforce.com's Next Billion-Dollar Business: Marketing. ]
A handful of these partner capabilities were already accessible as add-on packs through Salesforce.com's Marketing Cloud Dashboard. The dashboard lets companies plug these partner tools into social measurement workflows with "just a few clicks." With Friday's announcement, Salesforce has greatly expanded the list of third-party options. The other vendors on the list are Bitext, Calais, Caterva, EpiAnalytics, Kanjoya, Kred, LeadSift, LinguaSys, Lymbix, Metavana, PeekAnalytics, Rapleaf, Solariat, Soshio, The SelfService Company, and Trendspottr.
Salesforce.com also has introduced an easy way for customers to pay for these add-on packs through a credit-based system. The Marketing Cloud basic edition--which includes social listening, engagement, advertising, workflow, and measurement capabilities and starts at $5,000 per month--now includes 1,000 partner credits good toward add-on packs. Additional blocks of 10,000 credits can be purchased for $100 per month.
Salesforce.com's list of integrated integrated analytic options has more than doubled since it was introduced in July, proving that easy accessibililty and easy payment methods are popular with customers and partners alike.
Salesforce.com's push into the marketing arena comes as there's growing evidence that chief marketing officers are wielding growing influence over technology spending. Gartner has predicted that CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology by 2017. At Salesforce.com's Dreamforce event in San Francisco last month, CEO Marc Benioff noted huge CMO budgets and said that the shift in tech buying influence may happen as early as 2015.