What is Salesforce CDP? Announced Today: New Insights, Enhanced Segmentation, Open Access

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Salesforce CDP aggregates every data point about an individual customer across multiple platforms, represented by a unique identifier. CDP stands for ‘Customer Data Platform’, the defining characteristic of which is providing that all-important customer unique identifier.

A core part of Salesforce’s Customer 360 vision, Salesforce has both the platform architecture and capabilities to connect disparate data sources and present it in a meaningful way to the Salesforce user to discover ‘what’s in the data’.

What Does Salesforce CDP Do?

There’s no better way to explain what Salesforce CDP does than to quote the product page:

  • Build a single source of truth/create a unified customer profile across all touchpoints,
  • Match data to a person: to build unified profiles with advanced data linking capabilities, eg. fuzzy matching,
  • Bring all your data under one roof: unify data from anywhere with a high-scale data ingestion service (plus Mulesoft’s industry-leading APIs),
  • Make every interaction relevant to the customer by connecting marketing to sales, service, commerce, and more.

If you consider a typical customer, they are leaving a data trail behind. We can split this data into two pots: ‘engagement’ data, as in, how they interact with your marketing journeys, adverts, mobile apps, even what they purchased in-store. From the engagement data, Salesforce CDP generates ‘insight’ data, such as the won revenue from that customer organization, purchase intent, and privacy management.

This handful of examples only scratches the surface; consider the world’s leading enterprises and how many data points they are tasked with aggregating, from platforms such as AWS, or e-commerce platforms.

From the insight data generated from the engagement data, Salesforce CDP users can segment individuals into highly targeted audiences, activate cross-channel marketing campaigns, or run Einstein optimization tools that recommend next best actions for engagement.

Check out this guide from Salesforce that shares more use cases for CDPs.

Salesforce CDP can be launched from the Salesforce App Launcher, like any other app:

Salesforce CDP, Digital 360, 360 Audiences, and Audience Builder

How is Salesforce CDP related to the new ‘Digital 360’ and 360 Audiences and Audience Builder? Admittedly, as I was doing the research for this guide, I was increasingly confused.

Salesforce CDP extends beyond marketing use cases. Other players in the CDP/DMP (data management platform) market targeted marketing use cases; for Salesforce, driven by the Customer 360 vision, the Salesforce CDP reaches across the organization (sales, service, etc.) thanks to its robust, single platform architecture.

Salesforce CDP is Customer 360 Audiences* relaunched. C360 made a splash with the Marketing Cloud evangelists a few months back, brimming with excitement for what this could mean for the future of SFMC. To clear up confusion, it’s worth mentioning that C360 replaced the (now legacy) Audience Builder.

And finally, what about Digital 360? This is not a product itself but instead “a re-imagining of the capabilities we have around three things: Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and Experience Cloud” (ie. Community Cloud, rebranded) – source. While Digital 360 isn’t anything new, it’s an offering to target CMOs and CDOs (chief data officers).

(*one component of ‘Customer 360’)

The Origins of Salesforce CDP

Salesforce knew that to remain competitive, Marketing Cloud needed to extend beyond its own four walls. The volume of data, and the number of data points consumers are generating proliferated over the past decade, and martech innovation accelerated to supersede traditional marketing automation.

The origins of Salesforce CDP can be traced back to late 2016, with Salesforce’s acquisition of Krux, rebranded as Salesforce DMP. The investment paid off, as Salesforce DMP was crowned a market leader less than one year later.

Above: Salesforce DMP post-acquisition, the CDP in its infancy.

Salesforce CDP began its pilot autumn 2019, which essentially swallowed up Salesforce DMP. CDPs (customer data platforms) go beyond DMPs (data management platforms) with a broader range of use cases; DMPs are associated with aggregating engagement data related to digital advertising.

Since then, other smart acquisitions Salesforce made – Datorama, MuleSoft, Tableau, Evergage (now Interaction Studio) – have all contributed to bolstering out Salesforce CDP’s offering to what it is today…

Above: a dashboard with CDP data, in Datorama.

What’s New with Salesforce CDP?

Today Salesforce is announcing new Customer Data Platform innovations to “deliver a single source of truth: making customer data smarter, more connected, and easier to action upon in a trusted way”.

MuleSoft – Data from Anywhere

MuleSoft enables marketers to securely connect to any external app and data source, such as ERP, loyalty, and point of sale systems, to build a comprehensive view of the customer.

Enhanced Segmentation

Will give users the ability to query data and build complex audience segments with ease (designed for non-technical users).

The newly improved segment builder features suggested values that surface new attributes and lets users easily enhance, replicate, and share previous segments to speed up their work.

Tableau and Calculated Insights

  • Integration with Tableau: the world’s leading analytics platform, which enables brands to visualize, understand and explore customer data at a deeper level.
  • Calculated Insights now further enrich unified profiles with calculated metrics such as customer lifetime value and engagement scores.

Open Access to Platforms via the AppExchange

Enables customers to activate their segment data to participating platforms to create personalized experiences across web, mobile, Connected TV ads, and more. Customers can also safely deliver their CDP data to partners, so profiles can be enriched with high-quality behavioral, intent, location data — and much more.

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