Marketers need to engage through empathy: Salesforce’s Stephanie Buscemi

Two weeks ago, shares of Salesforce soared to a new all-time high, giving the software giant a market cap of almost $250 billion. Despite a spectacular quarter in which it passed $5 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the company’s 21-year history, Salesforce laid off around 1000 people, approximately 1.9% of the workforce, as per reports. In a way, the coincidence of these developments perfectly captures the prevailing mood of uncertainty in the post-pandemic world. A world where businesses and people have to navigate an unprecedented crisis in the present while safeguarding the future.

In an exclusive interaction with Brand Equity earlier last month, Stephanie Buscemi, EVP and global chief marketing officer of Salesforce, shared her views on the forces reshaping relationships between people, corporations and brands. The company declined our email request for a comment from Buscemi on the recent layoffs and impact on the employer brand, but explained the cuts as “reallocating resources to position the company for continued growth.”

Edited excerpts:

Brand Equity (BE): How has the pandemic affected relationships between brands/companies and customers, in your view?

Stephanie Buscemi (SB) : Values and belief systems matter more than ever. Businesses are powerful platforms for social change and one of the platforms where we can best help educate, elevate, empower, and learn.

Marketers need to engage through empathy. To gain empathy, we need to listen to our communities, employees, customers and partners, and remind ourselves that we’re marketing to people.

BE: What’s the defining trend of 2020 that will reshape the marketing ecosystem?

SB: Large segments of society are now addressable by products and services previously out of reach. With a digital-first mindset, there’s a good opportunity to be smarter about using data to make sure that our touch-points with customers are intentional, mindful, and impactful. For marketers, smart use of data and AI delivers personalization, and personalization drives growth.

Of course, a lot remains unknown. I believe that human connection will persist and there will always be a need and longing for true connection with one another. This pandemic is a full demonstration of that. We just aren’t made for isolation. Even though we’re moving towards a more digital world, the human connection will always persist.

BE: From a marketer’s perspective, how are you dealing with the challenges of the fractured world of business?

SB: The pandemic has tested the marketer’s ability to be adaptable. So, while retrofitting was an initial coping mechanism, we must now continuously rebuild to adapt to our ever-changing situations.

While working through the challenges of Covid-19, I have created six core principles that help guide us.

Marketers need to engage through empathy: Salesforce’s Stephanie Buscemi Marketers need to engage through empathy: Salesforce’s Stephanie Buscemi Reviewed by TechCO on 9/12/2020 Rating: 5

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