Among many groundbreaking announcements at Dreamforce 2023, Salesforce made waves when they launched their free Data Cloud trial to all customers on Enterprise and Unlimited editions. This is terrific news for any clients looking to experience the benefits of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) before signing the dotted line. These are clients seeking better personalization and segmentation in their cross-channel marketing communications. Does this sound like you?
A CDP serves as a central data hub for an organization’s customer data. Typically, purchase data, profile data, marketing engagement data, and web/mobile behavior data are the primary data sources for a CDP. Further, this tool provides the unique ability to unify customer data from these disparate sources into a singular, unified view of the customer. This data is typically sent to marketing activation channels, analytics tools, and CRM tools.
Salesforce Data Cloud is Salesforce’s CDP. Unlike other CDPs, Data Cloud is the only CDP built natively within the Salesforce ecosystem. This accelerates the ease of connecting to Salesforce CRM, Marketing Cloud, Datorama, along with other Salesforce and third-party products. If you are asking yourself if Data Cloud is right for your organization, it probably is.
Salesforce is heavily investing in Data Cloud, and in addition to the free availability of the package, they announced a variety of new product enhancements like Segment Reporting. There was also a heavy emphasis on Salesforce’s AI capabilities – and the need for trust and guardrails – at this year’s Dreamforce. AI is already heavily integrated into Data Cloud today, and the introduction of the Einstein 1 platform is only going to accelerate this.
At Dreamforce, Salesforce announced that the free Data Cloud package would include 10,000 free profiles and 2 Tableau creator licenses. This free package is going to work well for customers with a smaller set of unified profiles to include in their segments. For customers who have a larger set of potential unified profiles, the list can be segmented down before integration into Data Cloud.
With the Tableau licenses, Salesforce users will be able to create robust reports based on the integrated data. Sample reports could include:
The free Data Cloud became available to Enterprise and Unlimited edition customers on September 19th, 2023. It is not available to Essentials or Starter edition license holders.
Since there is no cost to try it out, the first step is to enable Data Cloud within your Sales or Service. It will not be enabled by default, so you need to add “Data Cloud Provisioning” from the product catalog to get it started up.
Next, do an audit of your existing data sources. These could include:
To effectively integrate this data into Data Cloud, you need to evaluate the field-level data for each data source. It is a best practice to only bring in the data you’ll need. If a particular data point isn’t relevant to personalization, segmentation, or analytics as part of the unified profile, you don’t need to bring it into Data Cloud.
Finally, think about the types of reports you’ll want to create in Tableau to show the efficacy of your implementation and help understand the unified profile and opportunities for user experience improvements.
Ask yourself this: what could our organization do if we had the right customer data, in the right place, at the right time?
The ultimate goal of Data Cloud is to further your business. It is not just the shiny new thing. It sits at the core of your customer data. Data Cloud is not additive; it is your central hub for building a unified view of your customers and taking action on these insights.
Short term, focus on usage within your organization, creation of unified profiles, and activation within the marketing channels. You want to first show that you’re using the tool to integrate data from your external sources, and then you can focus on the business value piece.
Just because Salesforce is offering the product for free doesn’t mean that companies are optimally positioned to take advantage of the new functionality.
That’s where OSF can help – we’ve created a low-cost foundations package (think $50K) to support customers with their Data Cloud planning and implementation. We’ll map out and integrate the various data sources and configure the system for best results. As a top-tier Salesforce partner with multiple awards from Dreamforce and Data Cloud projects under our belts, we are ready to help apply these learnings for you.
Corey is a seasoned leader for digital and marketing transformation projects. He has built and managed global implementation teams, while also crafting effective marketing strategies within complex, cross-cloud implementations. As a Marketing Cloud strategist, his primary focus is driving business value from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Data Cloud (CDP), Personalization Interaction Studio), and Intelligence (Datorama).