ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s Connections digital marketing conference gets bigger and better every year. So much bigger and better that the whole event had to be moved to the Indiana Convention Center this year for Connections 2014. Keynotes and entertainment from will.i.am, The Script, and Mindy Kaling, and 100+ breakout sessions were all kicked off with an opening keynote session featuring:

  • Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO, salesforce.com
  • Scott McCorkle, CEO, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud
  • and extremely impressive product demonstrations from Bryan Wade, Chief Product Officer, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud (all three pictured above)

It was fast-paced with video, special guests, and a house band — Indy-based “Dude” — but the message was clear. Demand is perishable and as marketers, sales people, and citizens of the Internet, we have to meet our customers wherever they are in their journey.

“When we look at this kind of gambit where everything is connected — where our customers are connected and our employees are connected and our partners are connected and our products are connected — well … we have to ask ourselves a question,” Benioff said. “How do we connect with our customers in a whole new way?

“… We realize that there is no better time to become a customer company, some companies are focused on employees or shareholders, but the most successful are focused on customers and its all happening through apps.”

Benioff finished with a bold statement saying that Salesforce.com and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud are the only ones building a customer success platform that is singularly focused on helping marketers create more success with their own customers.

Scott McCorkle backed up Benioff next giving an overview of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder and introducing Journey Builder for Apps. The Journey Builder platform manages the customer journey the way marketers think — visually with boxes, pictures, lines and arrows. The tool maps out every step in the customer journey from acquiring and onboarding to daily use and support. McCorkle revealed that a majority of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s customers are now using them to integrate multiple channels including email, web, mobile, social, advertising, group messaging and now apps will be integrated through Journey Builder for Apps.

“Apps should be the center of our thinking,” McCorkle said. “Apps, in a statement of great irony, are the most disconnected part of your marketing platform. They exist on an island. Its a separate team somewhere else … a release goes out and that’s it. We change that today with Journey Builder for Apps. It makes your mobile apps part of your marketing effort in a completely integrated way.”

Read the full press release about Journey Builder for Apps.

For the first time, marketers will be able to manage the entire customer experience with continuity through their apps using one platform. Demonstrations during the keynote included video case studies and personal appearances by executives from Fitbit, Live Nation and Stanley Black & Decker.