Marketers: What You May Have Missed From Dreamforce ’22
Another Dreamforce has been and gone – faster than any others that I’ve been to in the past! Perhaps because of the pace of innovation – and not just the “heavy-hitters” (Marketing Cloud Genie (CDP), the partnership with WhatsApp), but also all that’s been new in and around Marketing Cloud (Journey Builder, Marketing Cloud Intelligence (Datorama), Account Engagement (Pardot) and more).
There’s a ton of news circulating (Genie, CDP…?) that could leave you feeling overwhelmed. I feel you. This guide will serve up what was heard at Dreamforce, and what you may have missed in the releases leading up to this moment.
Note: There will be mentions of “roadmap” features that are not currently available for purchase/usage but are planned. Please adhere to Salesforce’s Safe Harbor agreement – in essence – only make purchasing decisions based on what’s currently available as the roadmap is subject to change.
Salesforce CDP Extended (Genie)
Up until now, Salesforce CDP had only really been interesting to marketers/marketing use cases. Traditionally, marketers have been juggling multiple data sources (at the top of the funnel, casting the net wide).
Enter Salesforce Genie: taking Salesforce CDP’s capabilities, and extending the offering right across the “Customer 360” (i.e. Salesforce’s product portfolio). That’s the data unification, identity resolution, and activation that Salesforce CDP customers have been taking advantage of.
- Data Unification: Data from siloed sources is hard to unify, or “harmonize”. I like to imagine this as trying to fit a “square peg in a round hole” (we’ll circle back to this later).
- Identity Resolution: By ingesting data streams at massive scale, and combining it with Salesforce data, the aim is to reconcile all the many identities one individual could have across the hundreds of apps your organization uses. The result? A single, cleaned record for each individual customer.
- Activation: Following segmentation, activation is crucial – as in, activating personalized engagement across marketing, sales, service, commerce, etc. – in a way that’s efficient. Traditionally, marketers would need to do the “heavy lifting” afterward to activate segmentation in a meaningful way (which is how Salesforce CDP stands out in a crowded market).
Marketing Cloud Genie
Salesforce Genie paves the way for highly personalized customer experiences, delivered in real-time.
Genie ingests and stores real-time data streams at massive scale, and combines it with Salesforce data. The aim is to reconcile all the many identities one individual could have across the hundreds of apps your organization uses. The result? A single, cleaned record for each individual customer.
So if Salesforce CDP is now (Technically? By name?) “Genie”, we should get up to speed on Marketing Cloud Genie – in other words, how Genie is used with Marketing Cloud.
- Power “Engagement” (i.e. Journey Builder): Activating segments containing contacts that have data unified by CDP (Genie) which could have come from multiple data sources. These contacts can be sent into a journey.
- Next Best Action: By capturing marketing real-time events (i.e. the digital interactions contacts make, not in the tradeshow sense), the Einstein Next Best Action can be applied by anyone across the organization. Genie is available* in the Sales Console and Service Console.
- Hyper-personalize: With a higher-volume of unified data (by individual) and enriched (by more data sources) within Salesforce CDP (Genie), AI predictions become more accurate. These are served up by Salesforce Einstein’s products and features.
*With restrictions. Your organization must have Hyperforce available in your region. Genie pricing is still under wraps (at the time of writing).
We saw this in action during the Marketing Keynote. Below you can see the Salesforce Genie app on the Data Streams overview. Connected Data Streams are shown on the left-hand side panel – in this case, Account and Opportunity data from Salesforce, from Account Engagement (Pardot), product-specific usage data, Google Analytics, and others.
The Segment Builder enables you to narrow down your audience, with criteria based on data points from any data stream. This segment can then be activated to various locations, including Account Engagement (Pardot) lists, that can be used as the recipient list for Engagement Studio programs.
Genie + Snowflake
Genie has a special connection to Snowflake, an industry-leading data lake. Known as a zero-data copy architecture, Genie can directly access data stored in Snowflake (and vice-versa) without moving or duplicating data.
Availability: Expected to become generally available in the Spring ‘23 release (expt. Jan/Feb 2023).
How We Got Here
You’ve heard that there’s an increasing amount of data year on year (in fact, doubling in volume between now and 2026). Left untamed, this creates a fragmented space – data comes from more channels (email, web, social mobile, paid digital ads, programmatic ads, commerce, etc). The problem exacerbated when analyzing by region, campaign, product. The downstream effect of siloed data is complex data preparation (the silent killer of your team’s productivity), meaning multiple days are spent working on it before you can even get to meaningful analysis.
This is because data from siloed sources is hard to unify, or “harmonize”. As mentioned before: “square peg in a round hole”.
Marketing Cloud Genie + Advertising Platforms
Coming in the Spring ‘23 release (expt. Jan/Feb 2023), Salesforce are extending their advertising partnerships with Google, Meta, and Amazon. This will enable you to use first-party data (stored in Salesforce) to inform digital advertising, and optimize ad budget spend.
Bring Your Own Data Lake
A data lake is a place where huge amounts of data can be stored, and accessed when you need it. Imagine different data sets swimming around, available for you to “cast your net” (writing a query) to pull the specific data set you’re looking for.
You’ve already read that Salesforce Genie was announced with a tight connection (zero-data copy architecture) with Snowflake. In the future, you will be able to use your own data lake solution seamlessly with Salesforce Genie.
Partnership With WhatsApp
WhatsApp will now integrate with Salesforce Customer 360 (i.e. Salesforce’s product portfolio) to allow organizations to connect with their customers and streamline communication through the WhatsApp Business Platform API. The new integration can be enabled in a matter of minutes. This is expected to be available towards the end of 2022.
This is a striking opportunity for marketers to “meet customers where they are”. WhatsApp is a popular messaging platform for international audiences, outside of North America. Here’s how it will work within Marketing Cloud:
- WhatsApp messaging within journeys: Have a two way conversation with contacts via Journey Builder. Salesforce phrased this as “conversational marketing”.
- Improved integration: This WhatsApp connector is more “turn key”, refreshing feeds with a direct call with Meta (owners of WhatsApp). There will be far less development overheads involved.
- WhatsApp messaging with CDP (coming soon): Take related attributes from Salesforce CDP data and use them to personalize messages further. In the spirit of Genie, this data exchange will be faster (real-time).
- Single conversation: Whether communicating through a marketing campaign, sales reps selling, or service agents solving a customer query, the conversation will be kept on a single thread.
Slack Canvas for Marketing
Alongside a Slack channel you have a Canvas. Slack canvases are described as a “surface to capture and share knowledge [with] the ability to access and take action on Salesforce data directly in Slack”.
For marketing teams, Slack canvases can be used for, but not limited to:
- Marketing campaigns.
- Executive briefings.
- And much more!
Marketing teams will also appreciate the enhanced Slack huddles, now with video and screen share capabilities. Still light-weight, huddles are perfect for collaborating on logistics, or just bouncing creative ideas off of each other:
Marketing Cloud for Slack App
Announced in beta at Trailblazer DX earlier this year, the Marketing Cloud for Slack App is now generally available. This enables teams to quickly collaborate and execute on marketing campaigns, such as gathering feedback on an email in Journey Builder, then activating the journey straight from Slack. Users can also request dashboards to render in Slack.
Account Engagement API Enhancements
The Account Engagement (Pardot) API V5 has undergone improvements:
- New integration with Salesforce’s Customer Data Platform: Create and share segments with CDP, and therefore, leverage a richer set of account attributes for personalization. Segments can be activated in Account Engagement (Pardot) lists that can be used as the recipient list for Engagement Studio programs.
- New integrations with external segmentation tools: Activate engagement across channels, for example, engaging freemium software users with an upgrade journey.
- Export API V5: Now has parity with previous API versions, with new features such as the ability to copy Engagement Studio programs from one environment to another – for example, from a sandbox to production.
Einstein Engagement Frequency in Account Engagement (+ “What If” Analysis)
During the keynote demo, an Einstein Engagement Frequency node was featured within Engagement Studio.
Einstein Engagement Frequency evaluates your contacts and subscribers’ interaction behavior, and identifies the optimal number of email messages to send. Previously, this product was more aligned with Marketing Cloud (Journey Builder). Used in Engagement Studio, this would prevent prospects from receiving too many emails (AKA recency and frequency rules). Instead of manually setting these, based on an intuition, Einstein can help regulate this, automatically.
On a side note, “what if” analysis has been recently added to Einstein Engagement Frequency, forecasting to keep saturation intact; this will indicate the frequency you should communicate on in the next week, perhaps if you should “tone it down”!
Future of Marketing Cloud
Now for some insight into the roadmap, features that are not currently available for purchase/usage but are planned. Please adhere to Salesforce’s Safe Harbor agreement – in essence – only make purchasing decisions based on what’s currently available as the roadmap is subject to change.
Marketing Cloud on Core
The eagle-eyed viewers of the Dreamforce main keynote will have seen “Marketing Cloud on Core” featured on the “True to the Core” slide. “Core” refers to the platform that hosts Salesforce’s native products, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, etc. and automations, metadata, etc.
While Marketing Cloud is still a standalone platform (due to being an acquired product) this mention is a promising sign. There’s still a lot of planning and work to be done, and there’s no public, estimated timeline.
Marketing Cloud moving onto the core platform will alleviate the need for any connectors to Marketing Cloud/Account Engagement (Pardot), and at some stage, mean object alignment (e.g. using the same Lead/Contact records, versus separate ones like “Prospect”).
Future of Account Engagement (Pardot)
The Account Engagement product team are clearly leaning into extensibility – in other words, how Account Engagement can be integrated with third-party platforms, and syncing usable activities data back. The focus on extensibility has been marked by the release of External Activities followed by External Actions. For specialists who have already had a dig around External Actions, there’s been praise all-round.
Interestingly, the keynote demo featured Marketing Cloud Personalization (Interaction Studio) working in combination with Account Engagement (following communication being sent from Engagement Studio). Einstein Engagement Frequency, traditionally aligned with Marketing Cloud, also featured in the Engagement Studio demo.
My thoughts are that we will be seeing a lot more of Marketing Cloud modules cross-pollinating with Account Engagement – not only a move to rebrand Account Engagement under the Marketing Cloud “umbrella” but making it smoother to work together, technically, too.
Future of Salesforce CDP
With all the talk about CDP, no surprise that there’s plenty scheduled in the next couple of releases.
- Real-time Data Transform: Cleanse, normalize, and validate data that’s ingested into CDP, using new data transformations. This will eliminate the need to do data “heavy-lifting” in other systems, upstream (before it reaches CDP).
- Bring Your Own Data Lake: We’ve seen that data can be continuously accessed from Snowflake as if they are in the same data environment (generally available Spring ‘23, expt. Jan/Feb 2023). There are no talks of other data lakes adopting this special connection to Salesforce at this time.
- Bring your own AI model: There was a statistic mentioned, that data scientists spend 80% of their time cleansing and repairing data, versus actually doing data science. In the Salesforce “AI Studio” data teams can bring their models built in Amazon SageMaker (a popular machine learning modeling platform); with modeling capabilities right within Salesforce, they can continue to train models, and build new ones on top of harmonized “people” data in Salesforce CDP. With the same zero-copy capabilities (like in the data lake example), this frees up time for building more complex measures, e.g. churn scores, propensity scores, etc. Availability: Pilot in Winter ‘23 (current release); generally available ,TBD.
- Highly-targeted advertising: “Unlock first-party data” and deliver personalized adverts across top platforms – Google, Amazon, Meta are the strategic partners Salesforce are extending to. How is this different from before? First, you are “future-proofing” by using first-party data to influence advertising (not third-party data). Secondly, this integration is not just shuttling data from Salesforce over to the advertising platform; the advertising platform brings back aggregate campaign performance data that touches on the entire campaign lifecycle, including pre-campaign insights during segment activation.
Future of Salesforce CDP + Marketing Cloud
Tagline: “Leaning in to empower Engagement* with CDP”.
*(Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder and messaging modules).
- Rapidly publish segments from CDP to Engagement, x6 faster than today.
- Enhanced data actions: Immediately send a user into a journey while also including enriched data from CDP alongside the action.
- Add related attributes into messages, and support making decisions on which content to display. Availability: Pilot starting.
- Bulk contact entry API in Journey Builder: Enables you to enter more contacts at a time, while ensuring performance and scale (i.e. won’t slow down processing time).
- Distributed Marketing campaign reporting: There will be improvements coming to the campaign reporting possible through Distributed Marketing, a Marketing Cloud module that allows brands to deliver journeys, assets, etc. across corporate marketing (sales and service) and partner networks.
Future of Intelligence (Datorama)
- Data Stream Control Center: Insight into how you’re using analytics, bringing more governance to the process. You will not only be able to see which, and how much, data you are using in your analytics, but also act if reprocessing is required.
- Visualization for pivot tables: Explore data by toggling from pivot table to dashboard widget, and vice versa. The seamless back and forth means you can see how data is being transformed into visualizations, and audit data quality.
- E-commerce Marketing Insights App: Guidance for connecting various e-commerce data sources (not restricted to Commerce Cloud) with marketing sources – then, spin-up visualizations.
- Marketplace Widgets: Ready-to-use, expert-made widgets – and templates to create your own custom widgets (and share them across your organization).
As the dust settles on another Dreamforce, it’s an ideal time to reflect on the future of Marketing Cloud. It’s been an eventful year so far – the renaming of multiple Marketing Cloud products, surprise news and future-looking themes at Connections ‘22 – and at Dreamforce, Salesforce CDP underpinning huge innovations across the Salesforce platform, with Salesforce Genie.
With Pardot (now Account Engagement) coming under the Marketing Cloud “umbrella”, it was interesting to see how these modules were melded into a seamless story.
Let’s not lose sight of the day-to-day – the wider challenges that we are facing. Salesforce called these challenges out to address them, head-on.
In the tightening privacy landscape, first-party, known, digital data must be the foundation of how we plan and execute campaigns, and how we enrich our databases.
To be adaptable, speed to insights is important; instead of post-campaign, or monthly reporting, Salesforce advocates that real-time analysis should be accessible for all marketers.
Watch the Marketing Keynote from Dreamforce ‘22 on-demand on Salesforce+.