Editor’s note: this blog article was co-written by DEG Director of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consulting Jenny Smith.

Today’s customers are omnichannel. And shopping online often involves more than three different channels, such as email, social media, and a mobile app or website.

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The challenge brands face is understanding these evolving, cross-channel customer journeys and the people experiencing them. While the customer may stay the same across each channel, brands see multiple data sets with differing identities assigned to the same individual.

To be more customer-centric, brands need to unify that data and the differing IDs, which means using a CDP. Let’s explore what a CDP is and why Salesforce’s Customer 360 Audiences may be right for your company.

What is a CDP?

A customer data platform, better known as a CDP, is packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.

Using a CDP, you can unify your first-party and third-party customer data and activate it across your marketing channels. A CDP connects all your brand’s customer data into a singular view, allowing you to unify identities across channels and better understand the types of customers worth targeting for your campaigns.

How are brands using CDPs?

CDPs allow brands to collect customer data in one place, unify IDs across channels (known as customer identity resolution), uncover insights, and activate insight-driven, data-fueled marketing initiatives to grow their reach, awareness, and business.

Many brands are embracing a more customer-centric marketing approach versus channel- or campaign-centric, which involves managing customers as unique individuals. Personalized customer journeys, including tailored content and data-activated targeting, have grown in popularity over the past several years because brands are recognizing that not every customer follows the same path to conversion.

Brands looking to do the same will need a CDP to view their customers across all marketing channels and activate campaigns and content based on insights drawn from the data collected.

What is Customer 360 Audiences?

Customer 360 Audiences is Salesforce’s CDP, filling the gaps between its platforms—Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Experience Cloud—to unify all your data for a complete view of your customers.

Redefining the CDP

Previously, many brands were using Salesforce Marketing Cloud as a CDP with Audience Builder, which processed large data sets but was cumbersome and expensive to implement. C360 Audiences gives you an easier starting point to feed in Marketing Cloud data—and data from other channels and systems—and map it to your other systems without the need for a Salesforce developer to unlock, modify, and reconnect.

Using an informed data model, called data bundles, brands can select the model best matching their use case or create a unique data model for a clearer view of your customer data.

C360 Audiences is also open to Amazon S3 integration. While it’s limited to a batch instead of real-time, there is a roadmap for C360 Audiences to allow for a lot more data ingestion. And real-time interaction management—through Salesforce Interaction Studio—will launch directly into the CDP in 2021.

From launch, C360 Audiences will allow any brand to see how large a customer audience segment is without needing technical assistance or ongoing maintenance to the system.

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Let’s consider a special-offer campaign targeting women in your customer database. When using C360 Audiences, you notice the number of women customers is well over the 100,000 coupons you have as part of your campaign. To narrow it down, you target women who’ve spent $100 minimum on your products in the last year. Within 360 Audiences, you see that the audience number gets you closer to your target. So, you continue refining your segment until it’s just right for your campaign.

Then, C360 Audiences can share that segment with Marketing Cloud—or any other marketing platform—for you to target with your campaign.

Know your customers with unified IDs

Different systems have different IDs. Your email ID is different than your Facebook ID, which differs from the customer service ID you received when you called about your TV streaming subscription issue last month.

Rather than continuing to use a disparate data set that includes duplicate IDs of your customers, C360 Audiences can identify and match customers within your data for a single source of truth.

Even Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud use different IDs for the same customer, and by unifying them within C360 Audiences, brands can understand which customers are interacting with their customer service reps and engaging with their marketing campaigns.

With a better overall view of your customer, you can know who everyone is everywhere they go.

The ideal brands for C360 Audiences

The ideal organization for C360 Audiences includes:

  • Brands with cross-cloud solutions—within Salesforce and beyond—have a need for unified customer IDs they haven’t solved for yet
  • Anyone using complex segmentation with a need to understand and validate the counts of audience segmentation
  • Brands with a need for more data democratization, wanting marketers to be able to segment on the fly or calculate customer lifetime value without having to go to IT for integration or set up

C360 Audiences offers brands the opportunity to bring in more data sets and attributes of each individual with a mapping capability to see all your data in one place and send it to whatever platform you need. By mapping your data from systems like Marketing Cloud to C360 Audiences, you allow your systems to run more seamlessly without the data as you collect, unify, segment, and activate data from C360 Audiences.

Now, you can push all your data to C360 Audiences and use it there without having to store data in every system.

Why we’re excited

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As a Platinum Salesforce Consulting Partner, DEG is excited to see Salesforce have the vision and ability to redefine the CDP category with Customer 360 Audiences. We have been playing in the CDP space for a while, helping our clients leverage Salesforce technology to gain a single view of their customers.

Now, Salesforce is bringing all the clouds together, providing an exceptional CDP solution to allow us to help brands embrace a new set of capabilities and data sources to integrate with and unify their data to make better-informed marketing decisions. We’re also excited about the ability to help our clients manage consent for things like GDPR and CCPA, as well as HIPAA and financial compliance regulations.

Customer 360 Audiences simplifies the process brands are using daily to understand their audience, segment data for campaign targeting, and activate customer-centric experiences personalized to the individual. What’s not exciting about that?

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