Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff told CNBC on Monday that consumer "loyalty is dead."
"Loyalty is dead. It is," Benioff told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. "Because it's all about your community. Isn't that how you buy anyway, from your friends? Don't you want to join a community and be a part of a community?"
Speaking from Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual technological convention, Benioff said that Salesforce clients like Marriott International are realizing how hard it is to retain their customers.
"They realize loyalty is dead," Benioff said, adding that Marriott has found a way to engage consumers in new ways, like offering room keys that download straight to their smartphones.
"They want to have this huge community of hundreds of millions of consumers map out where they are on their journeys and get all those consumers into those Marriott hotels," the CEO continued. "Walk in, have a great experience, have your key right on your phone, and welcome back to Marriott. That's a customer experience."
News corporations like 21st Century Fox, a Salesforce client, are feeling the lack of loyalty as cord-cutters quash cable news subscription numbers.
On Monday, reports surfaced that Fox was in talks to sell most of its assets to Disney in order to concentrate its focus on news and sports.
"What part of media doesn't need to connect with their customers more smartly?" Benioff said. "And you can do it today with data."
And data, particularly consumer data, is the key to customer retention in in the 21st century, the CEO said.
"Your greatest opportunity for your customer is your last customer. And that's the reality," Benioff told Cramer. "You want to have a community and all of your customers are on a journey with you. You could be on a retention journey with your customer. You could be on a get back into our business journey. You could just be on a renewal journey. You've got to map those journeys out."
As the world enters what Benioff and Dreamforce are calling "the fourth industrial revolution" — the rise of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, quantum computing and other innovations — community is exactly what industries must strive to preserve, Benioff said,
"The question is, what are we going to do with all of these technologies? And look, there's a threat here, which is: Is it creating more inequality? Is it dividing us? Well, in some cases, it is," the CEO said. "Is it disconnecting us, or are we going to use this technology to raise ourselves up and create more equality, be more connected, be more united? And that's why people are at Dreamforce. They're here to come together and to get empowered."