Salesforce introduced its customer data platform (CDP), Customer 360, at its Dreamforce conference in September 2018. A tool to unify customer data, Customer 360 holds a lot of promise for brands using the Salesforce ecosystem.

Salesforce Cross-Cloud Experts Recap Connections 2019

This week at its Connections conference in Chicago, Salesforce unveiled new updates to the CDP, and where its looking to allow brands to better connect their customer experiences through artificial intelligence (AI)-powered product updates. Here’s what our subject matter experts thought about these announcements.

Customer 360 is changing the view of the customer

Amanda Turner, SFMC consultant

Customer 360 is a promising feature to bridge the gap between Salesforce Cloud products. While this is not a replacement for the current connectors offered; it looks like a wonderful addition to make the Commerce, Service and Marketing Clouds function more seamlessly. This is a wonderful, native integration that I look forward to using.

Adam Spriggs, SFMC engineering team lead, Salesforce MVP

I am excited that Salesforce is taking ground-up, concrete steps to address the pain many clients feel when it comes to data integrations with the platform. — Adam Spriggs, DEG, Salesforce MVP

I’m not excited about Customer 360 yet, because I know better. However, I am excited that Salesforce is taking ground-up, concrete steps to address the pain many clients feel when it comes to data integrations with the platform. I see the announcements as preparation for the new data model for Marketing Cloud that includes consent tracking. I expect the fourth quarter this year to have plenty of exciting announcements.

Greg Gifford, senior Salesforce Marketing Cloud engineer, Salesforce MVP

I think this is a really cool tool and is a great combination of data gathering, normalization, and analysis on top of a fairly verbose AI—it’ll allow for great learnings and optimization all inside a single spot. I do worry that Salesforce is now competing against itself with recent acquisitions of Datorama and Tableau, which are both very similar tools and already on the market and adopted by many companies.

The other interesting part of Customer 360 is that it isn’t hosted inside Salesforce Marketing Cloud. In fact, it requires a license and environment to function. This is likely due to how it runs off the Salesforce data model and points to a future state where Marketing Cloud is brought into the same data model.

Embracing AI-powered recommendations

Sara Asic, director of solution strategy

Connections 2019—what an action-packed and informative three days! There was no lack of intriguing content and it certainly delivered on some of my key interests, including artificial intelligence (AI).

Throughout several sessions, the message was clear that retailers should dive in deep with AI across multiple channels. One suggested solution was using Einstein to power recommendations throughout the commerce site experience—beginning on the homepage all the way through the shopping journey and into checkout. But retailers shouldn’t stop there.

AI can power recommendations in transactional emails and marketing emails, as well as across other touchpoints. It can also improve store sales by providing associates with recommendations tied to the in-store apps.

Roots Canada had an interesting case study shared during a session where a new product listing category page powered by AI recommendations drove 70 percent of all AI-recommended sales with a 12 percent average click-through rate (CTR). This is just one example of many success stories shared by brands taking advantage of Salesforce Einstein.

AMC Theatres Transforms its Business with DEG, Linked by Isobar and Salesforce

What this means for the customer experience

With tools like Customer 360 and AI-powered Einstein, more Salesforce clients can create better views of their customers and thus, better experiences. How? By bringing the Salesforce Clouds together, with upgraded predictions and suggestions.

Brands can use these tools to segment their audiences, create personalized messaging, and deploy communications in the moments that matter to their customers.

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