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Salesforce's Benioff Talks Social Marketing

Wednesday, 9 Jan 2013 | 5:32 PM ET

The thousands of new cted devices featured at CES will have massive ripple effects. There's no question that constant connectivity will drive use of Facebook and Twitter, which will in turn shift billions of advertising to social and mobile platforms.

And it's created a huge opportunity for Salesforce, which offers brands tools to manage social marketing and interactions. CEO Marc Benioff spoke exclusively to CNBC at his company's booth at CES, a "Social Media Command Center" with dozens of screens showing how Salesforce analyzes tweets, turning chatter into data about trends.


"We have built an incredible new capability with our Salesforce marketing cloud," Benioff said. "In fact we have spent a billion dollars acquiring companies just to be able to show our customers exactly how to connect with their customers." He explained that Salesforce can sift through data, "listening" to all the chatter, to help connect --with paid ads or free tools -- on Facebook and Twitter.

Benioff says marketing is in the midst of a massive transformation, thanks to technology. It's shifting from a "one to many" conversation, with the likes of TV or newspaper ads, to a "one to one" conversation on social platforms.

"As a marketer, as a sales professional, you'd better know what's happening on those social networks because those are your customers. We've seen brands go haywire when one tweet goes wrong," Benioff said. "Soon customers are going to be connected in a much deeper way because they're all sharing in a community. Are you paying attention to that? Do you really know what's happening with your customers? That's the question."

Marc Benioff
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Marc Benioff

Benioff took the stage at CES for a panel with a number of Chief Marketing officers, from the likes of Samsung and Toyota, along with the president of American Express' North American business, to discuss these trends.

"It's amazing that a software professional is on a panel with CMOs; that's never before happened at CES," Benioff said. He says it can be explained with the shift in those CMOs' spending.

"These marketers are going to spend more on technology than their Chief Information Officer counterparts in a very short amount of time."

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