Below is the transcript from the Uncover The Benefits of Media Cloud video interview from our Ad Sales for Media Cloud Series. Please note we have slightly edited this transcript to reduce the length and make it more reader-friendly.
Joe Hooper: Welcome to the next video in the Ad Sales Management Series. I’m Joe Hooper Senior Director of Industry Products and Solutions at V2. I head up our media cloud practice. Very excited today to speak with Candice Edwards, VP of Global Industry Strategy and Solutions Media & Entertainment at Salesforce. Candice, would you mind giving a quick intro and excited to get into some topical conversations about media cloud.
Candice Edwards: Thank you Joe for having me today. It’s a rainy LA day but in a success from anywhere environment. It’s a perfect day for you and I to have a meaningful, lengthy, chat about transformation, ad sales within media and entertainment, and beyond. We’re seeing a lot of movement and transformations in other industries like retail. So again, Candice Edwards, I work in our Global Industry product and solutions organization at Salesforce. I’m focused at developing industry specific solutions for our media and entertainment customers globally. I spent the better part of the last 20 years, at the nexus of technology specifically within the media industry, with direct-to-consumer streaming platforms. It used to be called authenticated or NVPT-oriented streaming service. Over the last 3-5 years we’ve gone direct to consumer and that’s been massively accelerated with the pandemic. Really focused on maximizing customer lifetime value, and putting the customer as the single source of truth.
Joe Hooper: You touched on the rapid pace of change and transformation that we’ve seen in media in recent years. I’d love to get your perspective on how the landscape is evolving.
Candice Edwards: We’ve seen with the pandemic most shifts to digital accelerate exponentially across a variety of industries if not all. Specifically in media and entertainment with the streaming platforms and access Consumers having access from anywhere on any device is key. That shift to digital is really one of our imperatives at Salesforce. I would argue across any technology company and any customer. If you’re not going digital, you’re going backward.
At Salesforce, we are the leading CRM company, but we do so many more things than just customer relationship management. If you think about the core tenants of any business, managing that subscriber-customer relationship will enable you to amplify and accelerate your business goals. In this environment, shifting to digital is imperative in putting technology in place that will allow companies to transform to meet their customers where they’re at. And they’re everywhere. They’re on social channels, at home, and on connected televisions.
Again, I’ll try to keep our conversation media and entertainment-focused but we’ll certainly evolve and talk about business-to-business and ad sales. Advertisers and marketers are trying to reach their customers and meet them where they want to be. That’s the biggest shift we’re seeing. A trend that will continue as we slowly move out into what analysts are calling the recovery period from the pandemic. I’m not certain that we’ll ever go back to live in the way that we used to. When you think about other entertainment areas, live events, concerts, sports events globally, those industries had to shift exponentially fast in order to maintain connection to their customers.
Now the hybrid environment exists, and we’ll talk more about this metaverse. What does that mean for our customers and how can they be prepared to meet their subscribers and customers in this metaverse? Those kinds of shifts are pretty tectonic across the board. I don’t think we’ve seen more change and evolution in an 18 months since this period.
Joe Hooper: Yeah, that’s absolutely the case. It presents many challenges for media and entertainment companies to respond to this rapidly changing landscape. What are some of the top challenges within the space that you hear about?
Candice Edwards: Companies have a very siloed approach to their business. We’re talking about ad sales so talking about the CGO, Chief Growth Officer or CRO, Chief Revenue Officer selling placement for the publisher. What does that look like? We have media buying, we have agencies, we have the customer, then we have the whole business and operations. The flow of managing a media plan, fulfilling that plan, yield optimization on putting dollars against certain campaigns and measuring real time performance. There’s a lot of systems that are in place. There’s a system of record, a sales systems, and then delivery systems. Each of those systems are run by different individuals. The ability to connect those different systems, unlock the value, and create transparency is an essential imperative. The CEO and the board knows it. It takes a bit of buy in, enablement, understanding what the shifts and outcomes will look like. How particular individuals or teams will be measured in this new marketing economy.
Digital ad spend has surpassed linear ad spend, again speaking specifically about trends. Retail media will exceed the revenues in 2022 according to Forester the revenues of Netflix and Youtube combined. Netflix doesn’t sell ads, that’s a subscription business. They did about 25 billion globally last year. Youtube has a hybrid model ad supported and of course subscription with Youtube TV. So retail media, nobody even talked about that last year or the year before.
We’re unlocking value in businesses and creating new businesses just by the sheer fact that consumers have more choice. They’re experimenting constantly. You and I are experimenting with our purchase behaviors or our families purchasing behaviors when we’re given certain opportunities like video ads or tweets. If you’re on twitter, it’s the ability for you to transact within the confines of a specific influencers tweet. Choice is everywhere. And marketers and publishers have to stay at the forefront and pace of innovation in order to meet, their customer where they are.
“Speak the language of your customer. They’re adept, super smart, and know what they want. If you can’t super serve them, they’re going to go to your competitor or elsewhere.”
– Candice Edwards
Joe Hooper: Yeah, absolutely. That aligns with what we’re hearing from our customers. Historically, ad sales have required a multitude of systems and a lot of highly manual processes to run the business. When we look at growth in digital and the need to meet customers where they’re on a multitude of platforms, it explains the challenges of doing those things in manual or semi-manual ways. That’s where there’s an opportunity for technology to be an enabler for growth in this new environment. I’m curious to hear about some of the goals that Salesforce has to play a role in enabling this new digital world.
Candice Edwards: That’s a great question. Maybe I’ll take just one step back. We at Salesforce will become the fastest technology company to 50 billion in the history of all technology companies. You say that and think how long the history is. Some say that technology started with Alexander Bell. But over the last 25 – 30 years, we’ll be the fastest to 50 billion.
At Salesforce, we do many things and acquire companies that enable us to go deeper in certain areas. To support an industry-specific go-to-market strategy, to speak the language of our customers in that specific industry, and each industry has a lot of sub-verticals too. You think about communications, telecom, and media at a top level. Then you think about media and entertainment. I might call it an industry, but it’s a sector in terms of how it responds to and categorizes it.
We acquired Vlocity, June of last year. Right before we acquired Slack, which is an excellent acquisition also. Velocity was built under the premise that we’re building applications, business flows, and visualization tools to automate digital process automation. This will create efficiencies within these business flows for XYZ industry in case of ad sales. We needed to commit to that deeply through our technology, and Velocity allowed us to do that.
The telco industry was our largest and most prolific industry. Over the last year, we’ve launched several products across the 7 to 12 industries that Salesforce supports. That takeaway is not small. Salesforce is going to market with an industry perspective in everything we do. There’s no such thing as horizontal play. If you want to connect with your customer, the theme is to go where your customers are. Speak the language of your customer. They’re adept, super smart, and know what they want. If you can’t super-serve them, they’re going to go to your competitor or elsewhere. The takeaway is that industry comes first; then, we have these incredible product innovations that are cross-industry, like Slack. The ability to swarm when you’re, say, Hulu, and you’re servicing your subscribers. Slack is an excellent tool for an asynchronous approach in an AI-driven way. We haven’t even unlocked the potential of how Slack and Salesforce can accelerate customer service.
We just announced our Net-Zero Cloud. As we move into this next iteration and it’s essential, regardless of what industry you’re supporting, the ability to strive to be net-zero.It’s important our business customer having the ability to measure how they’re impacting the environment. Those sort of measurement tools are outside the mainline of business that they are monetizing. These are things that Salesforce thinks about from an industry-first perspective. That trickles out and permeates in everything that we do. I hope that answers your question.
Joe Hooper: Yeah that’s absolutely critical to the future of Salesforce. At V2, we’ve been focused on the media and entertainment industry extensively. We have seen the value that we bring to our clients speaking the language of media and understanding the common problems out there and the solutions that exist. We’re tremendously excited about media cloud as a standard Salesforce product that addresses these needs in the marketplace and the continued investment and growth over time. That’s why we’re so tremendously excited at V2 about media cloud.
Candice Edwards: Without partners, of course I’m representing Salesforce and you’re representing V2. Quite candidly, Salesforce doesn’t exist without our partner ecosystem. We built incredible technology. We’re the pioneer in cloud based enterprise software.
One of our executives was partner forward and really understood that the partner ecosystem. Whether it be a systems integrator, an implementation parter, or an ISV Partner. ISV’s really fill a functional gap in our product blueprint, in our industry blueprint, cause we can’t do it all. We have 72 thousand employees. We can do a lot, but that’s not really the intent. We want to focus on what we do well. We have three software releases a year. All of our customers have the benefit of getting those updates. That’s the advantage of cloud based enterprise software.
It’s the 80/20 or 90/10 rule. 90% of it should be out of the box because it’s software. The industry specific data model and business process objects that are included as part of the software are efficient in enabling customers to get and speak to market, to get value, speak to value, in a measurable way. The other 10 to 20%, we need to customize it. There’s existing legacy systems, particularly in ad sales, which I’d love to hear Joe just a read on the number of systems that V2 has had to integrate to. These are important. We don’t want to unseat these systems of record. I’d say our partner ecosystem is essential to our success. And we continue to grow it. Our industry product is new. As you mentioned our product is called Media Cloud. Media cloud has application layers that get plugged in on top of it. It’s like a pyramid. We need experts in the field. When you introduce any new product into the market, there is a whole enablement process, education and certification process that our partners, architects, and customers go through in order to be proficient at developing and extending the benefits of the software. We’re psyched that V2 is an industry expert. It’s hard to be an industry expert in ad sales. It used to be yellow sticky pads, faxes, swivel chairs, and the sheer fact that you have penetrated this industry. You’ve helped customers solve for the challenges with software and with expertise. Those are the kind of partners we look for when we’re trying to expand our partner ecosystem.
Joe Hooper: Yeah that makes perfect sense. We’re excited about the opportunities that media cloud is going to present for our clients. I’m curious to hear what you think the biggest opportunities are that media cloud will be addressing.
Candice Edwards: Let me see. There are so many, endless. Salesforce puts the customer first, it’s the customer 360. Whether you’re a philanthropic organization or a for profit organization, if you don’t put your customer as the single source of truth, you can’t monetize in a way that makes sense for that customer. We’re in an environment where trying to create and help our customers create products and services at scale that make sense, as well as being a product fit or service fit for their consumer. We always put customer success as of our first value. Trust is our first value but customer success is right there as well. If Salesforce, media cloud, or any ecosystem portfolio cloud is not the right fit, I would argue anyone at Salesforce would say we’re not the right fit. At the end we want happy customers. We want delighted customers. We want them to be singing the success stories to other customers and partners in the street. That’s a important nuisance about a large Fortune 100. We just broke into the Fortune 100. We put the customer as the single source of truth as we move forward with all of our developments, innovations, and integrations into the third party ecosystems.
â€œSalesforce doesn’t exist without our partner ecosystem.” “We can do a lot but that’s not really the intent. We want to focus on what we do well.
– Candice Edwards
Joe Hooper: Yeah. Those integrations are really key. That’s one of the things that we see media cloud presenting opportunity to streamline the manual aspects of media process flows. To be a platform that can integrate where needed and really add a lot of value that way.
Candice Edwards: I don’t think I completely answered your last question Joe. You asked where do you think the trajectory of media cloud is going in the next fiscal year. The ad sales market is an enormous market, whether that be digital or converged ad platform.
Fundamentally when you’re talking about sales and service, about leads and opportunities, the servicing of those customers in an ad sales environment, media cloud is the data model. Currently it’s a managed package. A managed package essentially sits on top of sales and or service cloud. You’re taking advantage of all the benefits that come, out of the box with sales or service cloud. Then the data model is very industry specific. That’s an important distinction that every media company from the enterprise level is what we call a tier-one as media company,. Studios, broadcasters, etcetera, and commercial smaller companies should be using media cloud. As they transform their business flows, processes, and application suites into the next iteration of subscriber management, loyalty management, ad sales management, media commerce management, IP licensing, and rights management. These are the critical focus areas in any media and entertainment company. These are the areas of media cloud and our media and entertainment industries solutions as a whole include a variety of our ecosystem clouds.
Marketing Cloud, for attracting and acquiring, and maintaining a relationship with a subscriber, a fan, or a customer. Mulesoft, this stitch witch of technology. The ability to integrate seamlessly into third-party systems even some of our own systems. Tableau CRM for insights and digitalization tools. And then Salesforce industries product suite, these are all essential together. They are better together but absolutely can be positioned based on customer needs. There are lots of different scenarios.
With V2 leading solutions and strategy, you probably see way more than I ever see because you’re boots on the ground in the fields. I’d love to turn the tables and ask you, based on your experience with Salesforce and what you’ve seen in the evolution of ad sales, where do you think the industry is going? How do you believe in combination with Salesforce, we two can help our customers reach their goals?
Joe Hooper: You mentioned the different revenue models that exist within media. Whether that’s subscriptions or memberships as well as ad sales and rights licensing. One of the things that we’ve focused on at V2 is the need to work with a variety of media revenue models and bring that information together. With some of our customers who are targeting business-focused media, there’s a lot of crossover between ad buyers and subscribers. That’s also a highly valuable audience. When we look at bringing subscriber management and ad sales into one centralized platform where we can capitalize on the value of the data that we have. From a B2C perspective, we’re talking about subscriptions and from a B2B perspective, we’re talking about ad sales. It’s really powerful to bring that together and look at B2C2B as an enabling business model in a lot of media companies.
It all goes back to that ability to have a standard platform that’s built on open APIs that can tie in data from many different sources. Having that suite of products that can process automation, and analytics, all together. Where we’re one source of truth but everyone who is involved in the entire prospect-to-cash process can have their own view of the data. Providing the tools that will enable them to bring that data into their day-to-day workflows, make better decisions, work more efficiently, and ultimately drive revenue, and growth as well as contain costs.
Candice Edwards: I’m glad this is being recorded because that’s exactly right. No wonder people hire V2. It’s no small task as we know. These are complicated complex challenges that we face. If customers don’t make decisions and don’t take risks, the stakes are too high. We’ve passed the fear, uncertainty, and doubt, situation. We’ve had enormous demand globally, demand around ad sales with Salesforce at the center. Salesforce is already there. We’re already managing the sales and opportunities. Thinking about how we can go deeper and become more meaningful and connect those systems such that, that transparency and the ability to make decisions based on insights where teams are informed almost simultaneously drives those business objectives. Growth is an objective. Whether you are a brand or a publisher that has a specific target audience, I would argue a brand or a publisher, or a league like the NFL has a problem. They have a problem attracting younger viewers. Most leagues around the world, particularly the NFL are challenged and faced with â€œWow, people aren’t spending this kind of dollar amount on tickets, they’re not going in stadiums. We were in a state of dormancy for a while, and we’ve seen everybody go back to live. But broadening your audience to an international scope, and then attracting audiences that are essentially a younger demographic. How can the NFL be more meaningful to them? How can they be placed or advertised or create experiences on platforms that are atypical and that are not traditional channels that they would typically be distributing their content or advertising on? The social channels will evolve. That’s the pace of innovation and why it’s vital that companies like Salesforce, keep pace with that through our customers. The feedback that we get from our customers on where their customers are going and the pace of innovation that’s required to super-serve them is something that we have keen eye on. We’re constantly in research and insights mode with our global research and insights team and our customer success teams. That informs our product roadmap. That tells our 3RR. That informs some of our acquisitions to fill in the functional gaps in our blueprints. With the goal of servicing the customer, the demands are there, and we need to meet our customer’s demands, not just their customers’ demands as a byproduct.
“I’d love to turn the tables and ask you, based on your experience with Salesforce and what you’ve seen in the evolution of ad sales, where do you think the industry is going?”
– Candice Edwards
Joe Hooper: Yeah. Everything that we’ve talked about leads to the need for digital transformation in the ad sales world. I’m curious to get your perspective on some of the hurdles companies might face in adapting to this world and adopting new technology from the standpoint of an executive or a leader in media.
Candice Edwards: We kind of addressed that a little but it’s the siloed systems. It’s the leaders that are running that line of business exclusively. It’s hard to adapt and change cause you’re doing something, and maybe you’re doing it well. You’re meeting expectations. You’re meeting your revenue numbers. Your sales teams are optimized. But what could that next new growth metric look like for you? I think through experimentation and taking risks, although measured risks now. We have business value assessments for our customers that map to the outcomes by which the board measured them, and their executive leadership team measures them. When we talk about positioning our technology as a conduit for transformation, we look at our customers and our partners as collaborators. The challenge is from an operational organizational structure, we’re overcoming those. Legacy systems are always a challenge. They’re deeply embedded. These processes are sticky, and they’re not operationalized such that they’ve got open documented API’s to just plug us right in. That’s why I reiterate the importance of strong partners that understand the vast ray of technologies that are required to be successful. Those open frameworks, they’re coming. We do have standard sports. We do have IAB, etcetera. But in media and entertainment as a whole, we haven’t had as many standardized boards as let’s say the telco industry. It’s difficult. Customers have choices and are smart and demanding things of their publisher. The publishers have to innovate, and they have to meet the customer where they are. Those are the top challenges. There are probably many more. Competition is huge, and so there are only so many digital dollars to go around. Now there are channels everywhere.
There are publishers everywhere, popping up all the time. Understanding your customer, understanding as a marketer who you want to reach, or who you haven’t reached, and how you can tell that narrative through your relationship with your publisher and using technology automated and otherwise to help you inform some of those decisions is just essential. We’re in a great position, which is awesome. There are many more things that we’re doing in the space. I’m really excited about moving into this next calendar year. Hopefully moving beyond the pandemic. I’m excited to touch on innovations with customers and experiment with customers around experiences in the metaverse. What does that mean? What is their consumer going to get out of it? We’re going to be in an experimentation phase, which is fantastic. Experimentation leads to transformation. Some will stick, and some will not. Those that don’t do anything will probably die on the vine. Hopefully, none of our customers are in that position. Some need more hand-holding than others. Others are innovating at a pace more quickly than their technology partner.
“Providing the tools that will enable them to bring that data into their day-to-day workflows, make better decisions, work more efficiently, and ultimately drive revenue, and growth as well as contain costs.”
– Joe Hooper
Joe Hooper: Yeah, absolutely. As you said, the risks that companies need to take these days are measured risks. That’s one of the things that we work to do with our clients at V2. Understanding all the dimensions of transformation and technology is critical. But there’s an investment that’s needed in other areas that maybe people better definition of process or make better use of data. All those things are what we like to help our customers bring together with the technology. It’s an exciting time and I really appreciate the time today and the opportunity to talk about these topics.
Candice Edwards: Thank you. I’m grateful that you invited me, Joe. It’s always a pleasure working with you and the team at V2. I look forward to continued success with our customers next year.
Joe Hooper: Awesome, Thank you.