Microsoft’s CMO wants to develop a common customer identification system that would allow B2B marketers to log on to software applications from almost any vendor and ease the process of analyzing the work they do.
During the closing keynote of Uberflip’s The Content Experience in Toronto on Wednesday, Grad Conn showed a screenshot of all the technologies that feed into a dashboard he uses to monitor marketing activity across Microsoft Corp. The tools included ad automation products, marketing automation tools from Adobe and Marketo, field marketing systems from LinkedIn and others, sales automation such as its own Dynamics CRM and customer service applications.
“Every one of these systems has a different ID, and different databases. You can’t have a singular customer experience,” he said. “If we had an industry standard customer ID that every marketing vendor could align to, we could have a holistic view across the board. There would be less risk — and more innovation.”
Microsoft is actively exploring a common ID as part of its recently-announced partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, Conn said. He suggested the company would announce more details at one of its upcoming user conferences this Fall.
Conn, whose background includes stints at Proctor & Gamble as well as several startups, also offered a look inside Microsoft’s U.S. customer experience centre, where it is trying to improve the way it responds and engages with fans and detractors on social media. Microsoft runs more than 110 social channels and more than 60 daily brand-related posts, conducting approximately 24,000 daily interactions with customers.
Using social media management software from Sprinklr as well as its own technologies, Conn said the Experience Centre will analyze more than 150 millions mentions and messages of Microsoft products and services. These are processes through an Azure-based machine learning layer to determine what’s relevant. “There are people who will talk about ‘windows’ in their ‘office,’” he explained.
A Microsoft team based in Costa Rica prioritizes key influencers and distributes urgent issues to groups within PR, sales, and engineering, among others.
One of its most successful approaches so far has been the creation of what Conn called “micro bits of content,” where reactions to Microsoft products and services on social media are turned into small graphical images containing a custom image (sometimes even a rendering of the person who made the comment) and Microsoft’s response.
— Xbox (@Xbox) June 20, 2013
Conn said these kinds of images have seen a 98 percent retweet rate in some cases.
“It’s about making lots of content really fast, and you don’t worry about being precious with it all,” he said.
Conn said the increasing impact of technology on marketing should be a wake-up call to his peers about how their role should evolve, and the necessity for ongoing training and professional development.
“I’m using things I learned literally on the first week on my job at P&G as well as things I’ve learned through my whole career,” he said. “You say you’re not a technical person? Well, get technical. Learn how to be technical. It’s turning into that.”
The Content Experience wrapped up on Wednesday.