Salesforce unveils its Customer Data Platform

David Murphy

CRM firm Salesforce has unveiled its Customer Data Platform (CDP) with the next generation of Customer 360, a cross-cloud technology initiative designed to make Salesforce’s B2C Marketing, Commerce, and Service products work better together.

Salesforce said that new platform services will enable companies to unify disparate customer data throughout their organization and then personalize each engagement based on a single view of the customer.
"Customers today will not settle for fragmented experiences, and companies recognize that creating a single view of the customer is imperative to earning their loyalty," said Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s president and chief product officer. "With Customer 360, we continue to extend our platform in new ways, empowering brands to unify data and personalize customer engagement at scale."

Research carried out by Salesforce for its Connected Consumer report, released last week, found that 78 per cent of customers expect consistent interactions with a company regardless of the department they’re dealing with, yet only 50 percent of companies tailor their engagement based on a customer’s past interactions.

The challenge for companies is that they are swimming in a deluge of customer data. Many are trying to unify data from legacy systems, disconnected channels, multi-channel attribution and elsewhere. They also need to adhere to regulations like GDPR and adapt to new channels like voice and chatbots. In this reality, delivering personalized and integrated engagement is difficult, and customers often pay the price.

The Next Generation of Customer 360 Delivers Integrated Customer Engagement
At its 2018 Dreamforce tech conference, Salesforce introduced Customer 360, which allows companies to connect Salesforce apps and create a unified customer ID to build a single view of the customer. Additionally, by extending the power of Customer 360 with MuleSoft, companies can connect any app, data source or device across any cloud and on-premise. Today, Salesforce is expanding Customer 360 with new advancements that it said will make it easier to bridge fragmented customer data across the entire organization and enable companies to deliver integrated customer engagement at scale.

The next generation of Customer 360 will enable data unification and consent management. Brands will be able to unify all of their customer data to create rich customer profiles. This includes known and unknown data such as cookies, customer first-party IDs and more. With Salesforce’s consent management framework, companies can also seek customer consent wherever they engage/

It will also enable advanced audience segmentation, allowing companies to identify specific groups of people to engage with in real-time based on demographics, engagement history and all other customer data available. As an example, Salesforce said a company will be able to build an audience of female shoppers interested in running shoes based on information gathered from a combination of web browsing activities across several retail sites, marketing email interactions, previous purchases and more.
Once a brand knows what audience segment they’d like to reach, it can then activate the customer data across marketing, commerce, service and other departments. AI built into the platform will enable companies to analyse and understand how and when to engage with customers to drive customer loyalty and improve business performance. Customer profiles are continuously updated based on their behaviour, from clicking on an ad to buying a product.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment hosts hundreds of games, concerts and events each year for millions of fans in Indiana. “Since teaming up with Salesforce, we’ve been able to improve fan engagement and build loyal relationships” said Pacers CMO, Todd Taylor. “We can now reach fans with the content most important to them, deliver personalized customer service and analyse how best to engage to keep them happy and involved alongside the entertainment experiences that we deliver. Customer 360 is a breakthrough innovation that we’re excited to adopt as we continue to grow the relationships we have worked hard to create with our fans.”