In a conversation with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at Dreamforce 2023, OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman positioned generative AI hallucinations as a new catalyst for creativity.
At the end of each school day, I ask my 8-year-old daughter some version of “what did you learn today?” Yesterday, she flipped the script on me “what did you learn at work today?” she asked. I paused. Smiled. And then began to explain Data Cloud. About 10-seconds into my response she said, “that sounds complicated.”
Turns out, she is darn right. It is complicated. It also represents ground-breaking innovation for Marketers and therefore a critical concept for my non-technical brain to comprehend.
With my daughter, I used the relevant analog of Data Cloud to her new jewelry box. My daughter is in a jewelry phase at the moment. Jewelry she makes. Jewelry her friends make. And, jewelry she buys. The trouble is she struggles with organization. Each piece of new jewelry is worn and wantonly discarded in her room. Then, each morning, she attempts to prepare her matching outfit (jewelry and all) and begins a daily search party to find just the right color necklace, bracelets, or earrings. We recently purchased a jewelry box to help her organize her habit and simplify her morning routine. The box has a slot for each jewelry type and encourages organization by color and style. She is proud of the jewelry box, looks great every day and has an easier morning routine.Salesforce Data Cloud is the jewelry box for enterprise data.
71% of company applications are disconnected.
Because of the islands of disconnected data, Marketers spend much of their time passively building manual bridges: exporting, uploading, emailing, ingesting, matching, cleansing, and … repeating.
Data Cloud is that bridge: one central automated cloud solution to unify, process, and harmonize data regardless of the source. And, because Data Cloud is built inside Salesforce, the platform also seamlessly connects to activation points, like CRM and Marketing Cloud. It removes the manual steps from the Customer 360 model and empowers true customer-centricity.
I am FAR from a technical expert, so was quite happy when Salesforce positioned Data Cloud as “Genie” in 2022 – it was all just magic I didn’t need to understand.
Here’s how Salesforce visualizes Data Cloud’s operation
And here’s Ira’s Data Cloud for Dummies definitions
Data Sources: these are all of the places that your brand currently collects and stores data. This includes all of those spreadsheets titled “10/4 Webinar Attendeess – DO NOT DELETE” and “2023 Users for Targeting_Final_Final_For_Real_Final”. Here’s a nuance of Data Cloud that is a hige time-saver: Zero-copy Federation. This means data from multiple sources can be combined together without any Control-C, Control-V.
Connectors: these are the technical tools you use to take data from these disparate sources and bring them into the Data Cloud environment. In most marketing use cases, the out-of-the-box connectors apply (especially the Google Sheets one). Some connectors are live streaming and others (typically from legacy siloed systems) operate on a batch process. You’ll want to keep the live and batch elements in mind when you consider your activation strategy.
Harmonizations: These are the ways you configure Data Cloud to read data from different sources. For instance, if you have three data sources that each use their own field naming conventions you likely have three things that all mean “First Name” (maybe its “Name” in one, “FName” in the second and “FN” in the third). Harmonizations allow you to properly map input data to Salesforce object types. Data Cloud’s UI for harmonization is very intuitive.
Activations: Once you’ve harmonized, you have your Customer 360 view. To generate value from all of this effort, you have to activate. You can do this in so many ways: target and personalize your Google Ads strategy based on email interaction data, increase basket size through your chatbot channel with customized recommendations informed by website browning history or nail your holiday email promotion by targeting last year’s top in-app converters. Today, the best activation points are within the Salesforce environment with additional activation-point integrations in development.
For the overachievers
Salesforce just released new Data Cloud certifications on Trailhead. If you are ready to be the SME in your organization, check them out.
Salesforce SVP, Market Strategy, Marketing Cloud, Martin Kihn is a blue-flame thinker and dynamic presenter. In his annual trends presentation at Dreamforce, “What’s the ‘Big Idea’? Key Trends in Marketing”, three of Martin’s quips stuck with me and are worthy of any Marketers contemplation.
“Robots are learning to write at the precise moment when humans no longer want to read."
Consumption of videos >1 min grew 135% year-on-year, with overall consumption of short-form video exceeding consumption of longer-form video on YouTube. According to the Connected Shoppers Report, 72% of consumers prefer video to text for marketing messages.
As I type, I realize how paradoxical it is to write on this topic!
Nonetheless, Martin’s point is that brands that internalize this trend and consider communication methodologies that rely less on text will be well-positioned to win in the future. “SEO is becoming robots talking to robots” is another way Martin starkly framed this topic.
“Consumers are addicted to personalization but don’t know it.”
80% of consumers say they feel “little or no control” over how companies are using their data online while a similar number (73%) expect brands to anticipate their needs and build personalized experiences.
Consumers want personalization but lack understanding for how personalization is achieved – coupled with a distinct lack of Trust in the data ecosystem – has perpetuated a “Paradox of Privacy.” For Marketers, this means that subtle and privacy-centric personalization is a winning strategy and building Trust (which is conveniently correlated to popularity) is paramount.
“We have to be better at Qs than A’s.”
Conversational interfaces to generative AI require promoting (questions). As such, the Marketer skill must shift from being able to compose the best possible headline (the answer) to catalyzing an AI-powered toolset to ideate and optimize headline iterations over time to reflect past and live performance feedback against KPIs. Remember the scientific method from research class in undergrad? It’s back! Engineering your questions is now becoming more important than ‘knowing’ the answer.
The job of Prompt Engineer did not exist 12 months ago, but it is rising in popularity as professionals throughout the marketing ecosystem learn how to generate maximum value from this quickly evolving toolset.
Martin’s engaging presentations are a must-see in my book and always produce quips worth pondering. These three stuck in my mind, along with a few more for good measure:
- “Every business is a show business … even B2B where short-form video matters”
- “Every brand should be as versatile as Taylor Swift”
- “Eventually the robots will take over and all that will be left are cats.”
I encourage you to consume all 20 of the Big Idea trends presented. Martin has kindly curated each in a series of daily LinkedIn posts.
If you felt odd this morning, it may be because you (like me) just became Einstein.
Not because of the white hair dye or slightly larger than average nose, but because Salesforce announced its latest AI innovations that empower each of us marketing practitioners to be Einstein in our daily work.
The announcement of the Einstein 1 Platform – the Trusted AI Platform for Customer Companies includes four elements that represent significant evolutions for Marketers.
All apps are now Core.
This significant step forward is based on Salesforce’s commitment with Einstein 1 Platform to prioritize integration. By bringing all Salesforce functionality onto Core, all of the apps use a common metadata framework. Yikes! Sounds really technical and boring.
Simply put, this evolution means that, for the first time, all of Salesfroce’s native and acquired products now speak the same language. This includes Marketing Cloud, which has long been an amalgamation of legacy ExactTarget, Datorama, and Pardot platforms. With these acquired apps now speaking the same language as Salesforce’s Core products, marketers can expect rapid AI feature innovation and a simplified path to Customer Magic. The roadmap announced today:
Einstein 1 Data Cloud.
71% of company applications are disconnected. These disconnects materially limit the application of AI for creating personalized customer experiences. The announcement of Einstein 1 Data Cloud drastically simplifies the centralization and harmonization of data. When combined with Salesforce Core apps, it enables the seamless organization, integration, and activation of customer data. As a marketer, this innovation will drastically simplify the segmentation content, and experience development processes.
Free Data Cloud & Tableau.
Yes, FREE for up to 10,000 records! If you are like me, you appreciate the power of great data visualization and the power of a harmonized customer experience but are resource or cash-limited in your ability to adopt complex data solutions in your organization. This free package is a great opportunity. Claim your free org now and give it a test. Prove the potential impact on your firm by showing (or engage a partner like Revely to help you with storytelling), and overcome the corporate obstacles that limit adoption and innovation in your marketing operation.
Einstein 1 Copilot.
Ever attempted to write a Brief and realized that the necessary context to inform your team to develop the perfect output was anything but brief? Einstein Copilot is every piece of every brief, context, design asset, and insight, plus all of your operational metadata combined into a conversational interface to hyper scale your productivity. With the interface, you can build and launch contextually informed customer-facing communication in several prompts. To me, this tool is the epitome of Salesforce’s commitment to use AI to enhance, not replace.
When my daughter displays new learning from a busy day at school, I often joke with her that if she learns anything else, her brain just may come out of her ears. Now, in one day, she just became Einstein. So did you.
Our team at Revely has the certified experience to help you realize these product innovations today. Give us a shout to help bring Einstein 1 to your marketing org.
As a marketer who loves a good headline and a practitioner with an analytical mind, Salesforce’s positioning and headline for 2023 resonates with me.
DATA + AI + CRM = CUSTOMER MAGIC
That said, it wasn’t until last week, when I saw the headline coming to life in downtown San Francisco for the annual Dreamforce conference, that I paused to digest and assess what the headline actually means to me as a marketer.
My high school calculus teacher, Mr. Wilson, had a unique talent when he sought to get the class’s attention: he’d write an entire math problem upside down and backward on the whiteboard. Impressive as it was, this skill always put the solution at the top. So, that’s where I’m going to start.
Trust: People do business with people and companies they trust. As marketers, we are commonly forced to trade trust for efficiency. Each new data offering, targeting tactic, and measurement solution represents that trade-off.
The race to develop and implement an AI strategy is no different. Underlying AI is an amalgamation of large-language models hoovering the internet to develop increasingly accurate predictions that promise to deliver operating efficiency.
Salesforce is placing its AI bet on Trust. When the equation solves for trust, the efficiency trade-offs are minimized, and customer Trust remains at the center of decision-making.
CRM: As the world’s #1 CRM, Salesforce has pioneered what it means to be a customer-centric company. Salesforce has also given its customers the tools to organize, protect, and activate trusted customer data across platforms and touchpoints. This customer-centric data architecture is the core of solving for trust in AI.
Data: Whether known by its various monikers, CDP, Einstein, or Data Cloud, Salesforce’s data tools are worth understanding. As marketers, we love relying on the adage: right place, right time, right message.
As a non-technical brain, this is how I’ve chosen to understand Data Cloud capabilities. When executed correctly, Data Cloud enables the “three rights” by connecting and harmonizing data to deliver customer magic at the enterprise scale. Formula 1 is an excellent example of Data Cloud in action and, frankly, a marketer’s dream!
AI: Salesforce has called all trAIlblazers to Dreamforce 2023, so it is safe to assume that this year’s event will include more AI-based product enhancements (to add on SalesGPT, ServiceGPT, and MarketingGPT announced this summer).
In preparation for this week’s announcements, get to know the Trust Layer. This innovation is at the heart of Salesforce’s product innovations and represents a critical differentiation in its solutions and a catalyst for the latest projections of the Salesforce economy over the next five years.
Mr. Wilson taught us to always show our work (right-side-up or up-side-down). When an efficient tech stack is a marketer’s #1 challenge, understanding the nuances of Salesforce’s AI value proposition is critical to surfacing the opportunities to reduce the trade-offs between Trust and efficiency.
We can all solve for Trust when we have the right tools for the job.
I’ve found it easy to treat the mass of breathless AI coverage and countless thought pieces on AI with a side-eyed skepticism; aware, in relative awe, moderately afraid, and yet infinitely unclear on the enduring impact the technology is likely to have on my near-term professional existence.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff recently gave an interview to the AP where he reiterated his position that Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents the fourth major wave in technology and the most important of our lifetime. Marc’s comments to the AP, which align with his longer-form commentary from a March 2023 interview with Kara Swisher, and a series of excellent AI-oriented episodes of Kevin Rouose and Casey Newton’s Hard Fork podcast (including this episode featuring Dario Amodei the CEO of Anthropic, and this one on workplace ChatGPT etiquette) have cemented my predictions on AI’s impact on Marketing over the next 3 – 5 years.
DATA REALLY MATTERS
As marketing SaaS providers build machine learning and AI into their platforms, the rewards for high-quality data increase exponentially. And the challenges presented by poor data quality multiply equally. It’s simple to view the potential:
In Salesforce’s June 2023 Generative AI Snapshot Series, 71% of marketers said they believe generative AI will eliminate busy work and allow them to focus more time on strategic work.
No more busy work? I’m in! Here’s the rub: that busy work is eliminated through quality data + AI. No amount of powerful AI alone can fix years of poor record-keeping or siloed data.
I’m no mathematician, but I can state unequivocally that there is a near-perfect correlation between data quality, data governance, and the elimination of future busy work.
63% of salespeople surveyed seem to agree with me when they report their company data is not properly set up for generative AI. If you are like me and are up for less busy work and more strategic thinking, focus resources now on improving data quality. Future you – free from busy work – will have plenty of time left over to say, “thank you.”
HUMANS TRUST HUMANS
The same June 2023 report from Salesforce found that 63% of marketers believe trusted customer data is important for using generative AI successfully.
At its core, AI is a series of math equations. It’s not a magical wordsmith-ing wizard, it’s a collection of extremely well-informed ones-and-zeros. This is quite helpful for solving large problems quickly (think narrowing in on the best target segment for a new product without bias), but not nearly as great for solving people’s problems in a trust-first fashion (think airline chatbot repeatedly offering to rebook you on a new flight that is 24 hours after your friend’s destination wedding).
The fact is, humans enjoy the company and support of other humans. As Roose and Newton discuss on this episode of Hard Fork, human-to-AI interaction is short on the EQ we need.
AI in marketing must be rooted in trust and deployed as a catalyst for human interaction.
Enhance, not replace. I believe the most important impact of AI on the marketing function will be its ability to enhance our collective capabilities. Salesforce’s most recent research agrees with this position, reporting that:
- 68% of desk workers say generative AI will help them better serve customers.
- 61% of salespeople believe generative AI will help them sell efficiently.
- 58% of marketers say generative AI is transforming how they analyze market data.
While AI is sure to have an impact on our professional lives, considering it as an additive, not a replacement is a healthy viewpoint (Salesforce Ben has an interesting take on AI in the Salesforce ecosystem).
Yes, it can alleviate busy work.
Yes, it can help improve our human-to-human interactions by supplying critical contextual intelligence.
Yes, it will change how we work.
But, that change is in our control. Invest in data strategy, security, and quality now. Build with trust first and look for ways to enhance your day-to-day, not eliminate it.
In fact, I may just try to enhance my content creation capabilities right now…
ChatGPT4 Prompt: Write 100 words on how AI will most impact marketing in the next five years
ChatGPT4: In the next five years, AI will have a profound impact on marketing, revolutionizing the way businesses engage with customers. AI-powered analytics will enhance data-driven decision-making, enabling marketers to predict consumer behavior more accurately and tailor personalized campaigns. Natural Language Processing (NLP) will boost chatbots and virtual assistants, providing instant customer support and improving user experiences. AI-driven content generation will streamline copywriting processes, creating relevant and engaging content at scale. Moreover, AI will facilitate hyper-targeted advertising, optimizing ad placements and increasing ROI. As AI technologies advance, marketing strategies will become more efficient and customer-centric, fostering stronger brand-consumer relationships and driving business growth.
When your team is hitting its marks and your business is growing, the prospect of incremental investment in new technology and processes can feel unnecessary. However, when the demands on revenue leaders and contributors remain on the rise, exploring the proven ROI of marketing automation is a wise decision.
Here are five facts to keep in mind as you evaluate an investment in marketing automation.
1. INCREASED REVENUE AND ROI
According to Nucleus Research, businesses that invest in marketing automation software see sales productivity increase by 14.5% on average. And, deal size grows by 34%. In a typical organization, these lifts prove quick ROI for a marketing automation investment.
Salesforce’s 2020 State of Marketing Report confirms this success, with a whopping 67% of marketing leaders attributing revenue growth to marketing automation.
2. IMPROVED LEAD CONVERSION AND NURTURING
Thanks to marketing automation, investing businesses see a 10% lift in qualified leads and a 50% lift in sales-ready leads, says Forrester.
Salesforce’s stats add more fuel to the fire, showing that lead nurturing can lead to a 45% increase in lead generation ROI, while nurtured leads tend to make purchases that are 47% larger.
3. ENHANCED CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND PERSONALIZATION
DemandGen Report discovered that marketing automation users experience an incredible 451% increase in qualified leads. How? By analyzing customer data, segmenting audiences, and delivering personalized content. The personalized content, that 80% of buyers today expect.
4. TIME AND RESOURCE SAVINGS
Gleanster and Salesforce research have both found an average 15% reduction in overhead costs for businesses that embrace marketing automation.
5. IMPROVED MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT
Salesforce research reveals that companies with aligned sales and marketing teams generate a staggering 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts.
The first day of Salesforce’s Connections Conference was full of product announcements, inspiring innovations and memorable moments. AI, Data Cloud, personalization, and privacy headlined a busy day. Here are three key takeaways, and guidance for how to apply them to your business.
TIME TO BECOME A TRAILBLAZER
AI is transforming the way marketers operate for the better. While today’s AI announcements from Salesforce offer a peek at what is possible, it’s easy to see the future as a distant reality. We are all witnessing the rapid transformation of AI’s application from predictive to generative and the possibilities are impossible to predict. To be a TrAilblazer means embracing new technology, and understanding how to leverage these solutions to enhance your work processes. Quality data is foundational for AI success. Be a TrAilblazer in your business by organizing and architecting your data to fit seamlessly into an AI-powered toolset.
DATA POWERS PERSONALIZATION
The average business uses 976 applications in its operation – yes, 976! And since 73% of customers expect personalized outreach, harmonizing data from across applications is essential to being a ‘Customer Company’. Salesforce Data Cloud (formerly Genie, formerly CDP) is quickly becoming central to Salesforce’s customer 360 promise – and a must have for marketers. In the next two months, expect to see 30+ new Trailhead offerings to help you scale your Data Cloud knowledge.
INTERACTIVE CONTENT GROWS CUSTOMER TRUST
Consumer engagement with interactive content has seen the greatest one year uptick of all content types (+37% YoY). Not surprising when you consider consumers’ preference for control of brand and buying experiences and desire for personalization. Interactive content allows in-the-moment personalization, entirely at the hands of the customer. Further, interactive content affords marketers the chance to design dynamic digital experiences that build consumer trust and more naturally support the collection of zero party data. Consider what customer touch points in your business can be enhanced through the development of a truly interactive experience.