Salesforce.com rolls out social marketing cloud

The venture is based on Salesforce.com's Radian6 acquisition

Salesforce.com on Wednesday rolled out the Radian6 Social Marketing Cloud, a new set of services that builds on its core CRM (customer relationship management) software.

The offering is based around technologies Salesforce.com acquired through this year's purchase of Radian6, which makes software companies can use to track what people are saying about their brands and products on the social Web.

Radian6's platform is able to pull in social data from 150 million sources and now has support for 17 languages, including Polish and Turkish, according to a statement.

Another aspect of the new marketing cloud is Social Insights, which provides "intelligent" dashboards, filtering and analytics that are meant to boil down large volumes of social data into the most relevant information for companies. It also allows customers to segment data by factors such as location, demographics and "sentiment," wherein text analytics figures out the tone of a customer or user's remarks.

In addition, the software lets companies target the most influential people discussing their brand, by weighing factors such as their number of Twitter followers and other connections. Salesforce.com is partnering with a number of vendors on Social Insights, including Klout, OpenCalais and OpenAmplify, according to a statement.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the marketing cloud is Radian6 Social Hub, a type of rules engine that can direct information from social sites to the correct sales or support people at a company. For example, a customer gripe about an airline service on Twitter could be sent to a worker in the marketing department who could then send that individual an offer for a discounted ticket.

Salesforce.com is also lumping the Siteforce website-building service under the Social Marketing Cloud. Siteforce employs a drag-and-drop authoring system that marketing departments can use to create social networking-themed websites without help from the IT department, according to Salesforce.com.

Overall, the announcements significantly raise Salesforce.com's hand in marketing software, and in a manner that extends its general "social enterprise" product strategy.

Until now, Salesforce.com has partnered with vendors such as Marketo and Silverpop, which offer automated email marketing campaigns and other lead-generation services.

Such companies and methods "aren't disappearing anytime soon," said Rob Begg, vice president of marketing for Radian6. However, "they'll do more and more things with social. They'll get smarter and smarter about how they do campaigns on email and other things."

Components of the Social Marketing Cloud are being sold separately. Radian6 monitoring is priced starting at US$600 per month. Social Hub is in limited release with general availability set for next year. Pricing will begin at $1,200 per deployment per month, according to Salesforce.com.

The Social Insights service is set for general release next month. Partner applications pricing starts at $60 per month. The Social Insights API (application programming interface) is available now and priced starting at $5,000 per deployment per year.

Siteforce is now available. A starter package available through the end of December costs $9,900 per year.

Also Wednesday, Salesforce.com is launching a mobile version of its AppExchange application market. Mobile software was already available through the AppExchange, but now mobile users who go to the site will get an "experience tailored to your device and operating system," the company said.

Some 40 applications are now available on AppExchange Mobile.

Salesforce.com is expected to discuss the news in more detail during its Cloudforce event in New York on Wednesday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicesSilverpopRadian6Salesforce.comMarketosoftwareinternetcloud computing

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