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CMO interview: What Salesforce APAC’s marketing leader is doing to build customer and employee connections

CMO interview: What Salesforce APAC’s marketing leader is doing to build customer and employee connections
01 Jun
1:33
Michael Peachey
Michael Peachey

The onus is on marketers to better understand technology at their disposal because it is technology providing the ability to interact with customers in new ways, Salesforce’s CMO for Asia-Pacific, Michael Peachey, says.

“It’s the tech creating these touchpoints with customers. You have to have a good understanding and knowledge of the way tech and systems work to create these new experiences,” he tells CMO. “But that’s also what makes it exciting – what better time to be a marketer when there’s all this innovation available to you.”

Peachy was appointed Salesforce VP and CMO for Asia-Pacific marketing in November after spending the previous seven years in the software vendor’s US headquarters. Most recently, he ran two editions of Dreamforce, Salesforce’s US-based conference now attracting more than 170,000 people to San Francisco each year.

Prior to this, Peachey was part of the Salesforce solutions marketing team working across special projects. The remit included building immersive experiences at Dreamforce showcasing how key brands, such as NBC, Virgin America, Philips and Tesla, are using the technology platform.

It was technology and not marketing which initially prompted Peachey to study business IT and landed him his first job at the Australian Stock Exchange, helping construct the first IP trading network connecting brokers. From there, he became a software consultant, systems engineer and moved into sales. He then became a US-based product manager for networking giant, Juniper Networks, via its acquisition of WAN optimisation company, Peribit, in the mid-2000s.

With a knack for communicating the benefits of technology in business, it was only a matter of time before he moved product marketing. After a role running marketing at Silicon Valley startup, Pareto Networks, Peachey applied to join Salesforce as a product marketer for Service Cloud, one of just three offerings from the vendor at that time.

“What struck me was the level of customer advocacy for the brand and the excitement and passion our customers had around what they were doing with our products,” Peachey recalls. “That changed the game for me as a marketer and made me excited to help share these stories.”

Customer advocacy

It’s this customer advocacy and success that lies at the heart of Salesforce’s marketing strategy as it shifts gears from cloud-based CRM upstart to one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. In its fiscal 2018 year, Salesforce reported annual revenues of US$10.48 billion, up 25 per cent year-on-year, across its portfolio of platforms for service, communities, commerce and marketing functions.

Peachey points to Dreamforce as the penultimate expression of this brand approach. “It is about our culture, community, and a showcase of trailblazers, which is where our marketing effort is going,” he says. “Dreamforce is an extension of how we tell these stories of innovation, whether you’re an admin, developer, leading sales, marketing or customer service function. If you’re an individual trying to change the game in your company, these are the important stories to tell.”

Priority set

More widely, Peachey outlines four priorities coming into the regional CMO role. The first is building knowledge around customers, a list that includes Service NSW, Volkswagen and McDonalds in Australia.

“The second thing is our ability to innovate fast. As a smaller proponent of the Salesforce ecosystem globally, we’re able to rapidly change and innovate,” he explains. “We as a marketing organisation rapidly need to evolve and innovate to take advantage of the new technologies. In this market, we can test and rollout quickly.”

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