Salesforce’s CDP, Interaction Studio and Marketing Cloud: Leveraging data to drive marketing relevance and sales

October 29, 2021 Chuck Leddy

The intersection of insights and engagement

Salesforce launched its customer data platform about a year ago, intending its CDP to be used in tandem with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. How? To collect, clean, analyze, segment, and leverage customer data to drive relevant messaging across channels, marketing ROI, and sales revenue.

While the Salesforce “framework” (CDP + SFMC) is relatively new and still developing to its full potential, we asked Paul Williams, Marketing Cloud Lead at Sojourn Solutions, to help us understand what Salesforce has been doing and how it can benefit marketers like you.

Salesforce’s CDP: Offering a single source of truth (SSOT)

“The framework for the future of Salesforce Marketing Cloud is the integration of a CDP, Interaction Studio, and other features like Email Studio, Advertising Studio, and Social Studio to better understand customer behavior and interact with them via relevant content,” explains Williams. It all starts with the CDP product where all your different data sources get pulled together and put into one system that serves as a single source of truth for analytics and marketing execution purposes.

Salesforce’s integrated approach enables marketers to track and engage customers across multiple channels, becoming omnichannel engagement. These channels are connected to each other and you can use aggregated data intelligently no matter the channel. What allows Salesforce to unify your profile of the customer is an “IndividualID”, based on the Cloud Information Model (CIM).

This ID allows you to track customers and “maps to all the other unique IDs from all your other systems, enabling you to have a 360-degree customer view,” says Williams. You can then gain data-enabled insights into what your customer is doing, and how customers are interacting with your business.”

Obviously, the more data you collect, the more precisely you can understand and interact with customers. The Salesforce CDP plus SFMC combo drives a perpetual cycle of data collection and interaction. This improves marketing relevance (and ROI) as you move forward. “What really differentiates Salesforce is being able to take those insights and use them to fuel your engagement with customers in a way that you're not duplicating efforts and you're not over-saturating your customers with marketing,” says Williams, “you know who to market to, as well as when and how based on data collected from interactions.”

Driving ever-improving marketing relevance

Once you have that deeper and data-fueled understanding of customers, it’s time to target them with relevant engagement. “With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you can use Interaction Studio in combination with artificial intelligence, in the form of Einstein AI, to serve up relevant information, whether that’s product recommendations or best offers based on all the insights you've leveraged,” says Williams. “That's really the impetus at Salesforce -- and while it might not be 100% there right now, that's certainly where they're going.”

The unified customer ID mentioned earlier enables a single source of truth, “a unification of all the different data that you have in a table that has all your information across all your platforms tied to a single individual ID,” explains Williams. What are some other big benefits of this integration of Salesforce CDP with Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

  • “You have the capacity to serve up information that customers actually want and that will drive engagement and purchasing behavior,” says Williams, “all based on insights from customer data.”
  • “You have a much more direct, unified, and targeted system, so you're not flooding the customer with different offers from different points from your business. Having that single view and a single source of truth helps you avoid fatiguing your customer with too much messaging.”

Next steps: Building your CDP

If you really want to market effectively to your customers and make every touchpoint, channel, and interaction count - if you want the capacity to leverage all the data you have - then Salesforce CDP plus Marketing Cloud may be the way to go. Williams says that implementation is a commitment, but not a massive one in terms of time. “Depending on how many data sources you have and how complex your data models are, it might take 12 to 16 weeks to build out a CDP,” he says. 

A similar level of effort is required for Interaction Studio (IS) as there are a number of steps in order to implement IS.  “You’d have to map out your site, map out every single click and interaction that's possible. You put that into a CDP’s data layer.” In addition, he says, you'd need to input your full product catalog, your order history, marketing campaigns, and more.

“All that data can be tied to a single user, and there's a profile built around that user, with Einstein AI recommending products or next best offers to the customer,” says Williams. Your segments and profiles get better and are constantly improving over time, enabling you to improve targeting and personalization.

You would likely need outside help in implementing the CDP + SFMC solution: “99% of the companies out there couldn't do this by themselves without some type of outside help,” says Williams. “After all, your employees are already doing their full-time jobs, and this implementation process is a full-time commitment where data expertise is required.” 

A final word

Williams offers a final thought: “this personal engagement model is the future of marketing because you're able to segment all your data and then act on it to drive one-to-one engagement. That’s the Holy Grail of marketing, being able to market individually at scale, getting the right offer in front of the right customer at the right time. It also helps to have a CDP because cookies are going away,” he says, “making first-person data the future -- a CDP helps you unify and leverage your data, giving you the full view of your customer you need for effective messaging. This system of insights and engagement gives your customers the right offer to the right customer at the right time with the right context.”  

See related blog post: Cookies are crumbling: 5 tips from Salesforce for thriving in a cookie-less future

Interested in learning even more about how Salesforce can help your organization optimize its marketing efforts? Reach out to us for more information.

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