Creating connected experiences with Salesforce Data Cloud
by Ebin Ephrem
As consumer interactions and expectations with digital channels accelerate and evolve, global brands continue to invest heavily in digital, with industry leaders utilizing it as a competitive differentiator. Gone are the days when certain industries could opportunistically play “catch-up”; consumers now instinctively hold brands accountable for their digital product with leaders outside of their industry. That said, developing a connected digital experience providing for a seamless customer journey is not optional – it is a business imperative.
For marketers and the broader enterprise, Customer Data Platforms (CDP) as a product category has provided the foundation to drive towards a more consistent and tailored digital customer experience. CDP’s represent software that can collect both behavioral and transactional data from across digital channels, centralizing them into a data repository, providing the data-advised intelligence to effectively segment, service, and market to consumers across their digital journey.
Salesforce Data Cloud: Creating real-time personalized experiences
At this year’s Salesforce Connections, we heard about “AI + Data + CRM” – the idea of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to lean into first-party data to gather real-time insights on your consumer, all on the back of a trusted Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform like Salesforce. The data element in this preface relates to Salesforce Data Cloud. Data Cloud is a real-time platform with the ability to centralize customer data at scale, providing a unified 360° view of the customer as well as the ability to act on insights via AI and automation, enabling a consistent and hyper-personalized customer journey.
Some of the key benefits of Salesforce Data Cloud are as follows:
- Data Aggregation: The ability to aggregate customer data at scale in real-time; this data not only includes first-party data that is available via an enterprise CRM or other systems of record, but also includes the ability to aggregate data from channels such as the web, mobile, cloud storage and third-party data providers.
Profile Unification: Using advanced identity resolution, Data Cloud has the ability to resolve customer identity using flexible rules with exact and AI-powered advanced (fuzzy) matching, building a 360° profile of the customer along the way across their known and anonymous interactions with your brand.
- Intelligent Audience Segmentation: An easy-to-use segmentation experience that provides drag-and-drop segmentation capabilities to quickly create, analyze, and discover new segments; in addition, AI-powered segmentation provides direction on building advanced segments using the power of calculated insights such as LTV, RFM, and engagement scores to name a few.
- Personalization at Scale: Leveraging insights from customer behavior at a broader pattern level as well as at an individual level, and utilizing the benefits of advanced AI and workflows, the platform provides the ability to drive towards hyper-personalizing the customer experience throughout the digital journey.
- Real-Time Insights: Besides using Einstein AI to drive real-time recommendations including taking advantage of calculated and streaming insights (i.e., metrics on streaming data), the platform also provides Tableau integration for data visualization capabilities as it relates to cross-business datasets, as well as integration into Marketing Cloud Intelligence.
As the Data Cloud platform has continued to evolve over the last few years, the focus on critical functional and non-functional pillars such as trust, AI, strategic market partnerships, and continuous product innovation has provided for key differentiation in a crowded marketplace. Thematically, some of these differentiating factors are as follows:
- More than a CDP: Salesforce Data Cloud is built on the strong foundation and heritage of Salesforce CRM – the leading CRM product globally. In line with the “AI + Data + CRM” pillars, Data Cloud can intrinsically inherit voluminous amounts of first-party enterprise data using a uniform data model from across sales, service, marketing, and commerce – trusted customer data that is resident on this trusted CRM platform.
Like other CDP’s, Data Cloud can also easily stream data inbound from other channels e.g., web, mobile as well as ingest data from other ecosystem platforms and/or data repositories like data lakes and warehouses. The distinct difference is this: Data Cloud leads with resident trusted first-party CRM data followed by data enrichment from other sources (on an as-needed basis); this is in stark contrast to competitor offerings where first-party data needs to be plumbed and ingested on an ad hoc basis.
- Economies of (Data) Scale: In keeping with the “More than a CDP” theme, resident first-party data means a lower effort to gaining economies of scale on startup, as well as a lower cost of ownership overtime in terms of maintaining/updating this data to impact next best action for customers in real-time.
- Strategic Partnerships: With an ongoing focus on innovation, Salesforce has continued to push strategic market partnerships across a variety of categories, including zero copy data sharing capabilities with cloud-based data lakes like Snowflake, digital advertising platforms (e.g., Google, Meta, Amazon), and the buildout of their AppExchange partnerships with a variety of ecosystem partners.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): In line with strategic partnerships and the ongoing focus on innovation, Salesforce has continued to invest heavily in AI. From the early days of predictive analytics using Einstein to the recent announcements of AI Cloud and the doubling of its AI Investment Fund (to $500M), AI is front and center as part of the ongoing product development. This includes not only the infusion of first-party AI models developed by Salesforce’s AI research division but also the flexibility to use trusted third-party models from a variety of strategic partners including Amazon Web Services, Anthropic, Cohere and OpenAI. It also includes Salesforce’s latest offering of Marketing GPT – an innovation that will allow marketers to generate personalized emails, marketing journeys, and audience segments instantly.
These investments will continue to power the application of generative AI to large datasets such as those prevalent in Data Cloud, supporting and driving audience insights as well as the real-time activation and measurement of use cases along the customer journey.
As brands continue to innovate and differentiate based on customer experience, they require a platform that can keep pace with evolving customer needs and the seismic changes underway technologically. From the early days of CDP to the current generation of Data Cloud, Salesforce has always led with innovation in this product category and others – Salesforce’s own connected vision of “AI + Data + CRM” is a testament to this product philosophy.
At Horizontal, we believe connected experiences should be anticipatory, friction-free and without dead-ends; experiences that not only build and develop relationships, but one that surpasses all expectations. While this is not a linear path, we strongly believe that the trifecta of “AI + Data + CRM” is the perfect accompaniment to impact this change on the path to mastering connected experiences. To learn more about Salesforce Data Cloud and how we can help, contact us.
Salesforce Data Cloud Whitepaper
Unlock smarter connections with your customersSee MoreSalesforce Data Cloud Whitepaper (Opens in a new tab)
Personalization across the enterprise
True personalization grows profits by 40%See MorePersonalization across the enterprise (Opens in a new tab)