Salesforce is starting off its Connections conference today with news that it is partnering with Omnicom for its first CRM alliance. The partnership is intended to help Omnicom agencies "create highly personalized communications that connect the dots between marketing, sales, communities and customer service, allowing its clients to create dynamic, end-to-end customer journeys." The offering will be managed by Omnicom's data and analytics firm Annalect. It remains to be seen whether this benefit will ultimately make its way to Omnicom PR agencies. But across the holding company, a partnership like this could help close the gap between digital marketing and CRM data and give firms a more holistic view of the customer journey. There's also the chance for Omnicom agencies to manage customers across various channels: email, mobile, social, advertising, apps, etc. And on the creative side, to build and manage apps using Salesforce Heroku. Also today, Twitter CCO Gabriel Stricker, General Electric CMO Beth Comstock, Salesforce CMO Lynn Vojvodich and LinkedIn VP of marketing Nick Besbeas are gathering at the show to talk high-level marketing. Stricker told the Holmes Report, among the topics he plans to raise during the talk, is looking at the lessons learned from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took a viral hold on social media this summer. Now there's been an inevitable surge of interest from other organizations looking to replicate its marketing genius. [caption id="attachment_1090" align="alignright" width="150"]Gabriel Stricker Gabriel Stricker[/caption] "If others are looking to emulate the Ice Bucket Challenge, they have to suspend the goal of the transaction," Stricker says. "Instead, I'd ask them to establish a relationship between an action and a cause. You have to move beyond the transactional." But too many organizations take this relationship for granted. Take universities, for instance, as places where students — not only experience hugely formative moments — but often meet their spouses, closest friends and figure out their life's ambitions. These are places heavily steeped in emotional significance, yet often that relationship is absent in a university's donation solicitations. "Why do the universities I went to reduce my long-term relationship with them to a transaction when asking for donations?" Stricker said. "Universities are an example of organization that needs to invest equal parts in the customer journey that they've done in the transaction." It's safe to assume that won't be the only mention of the "customer journey" at the Indianapolis-based conference that wraps up Thursday with a keynote from writer, producer and actress Mindy Kaling.