ABSI - far beyond system integration

On 09 July 2019     By Lise Hanzen , Jana Geeroms      Salesforce

If you lie awake at night wondering how you can make more use of your Salesforce platform to take your customer experience to the right level, you might like this article.

For the second year in a row, ABSI participated in Connections 2019. This is one of the major Salesforce events taking place in Chicago from June 17-19. We scanned it thoroughly to find out the current trends and tips & tricks to help you be a frontrunner in Customer Experience in Salesforce.

2019-07-09 Welcome to Connections 2019

What did we learn?

2019-07-09 Lise and Jana with Einstein at Connections 2019

The main focus of this event was "How to build better customer experiences with the Salesforce Platform". Topics such as Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and Service Cloud were mainly in the picture.

The first day we spent by navigating through the different booths. There is a mad interest in digital marketing and an impressive number of possibilities offered by Salesforce 

Platform and its different clouds. Of course, the challenge is to set up the most effective strategy for your own need. The good news is that most modules are intended to simplify access to digital marketing for marketers. Whether for segmentation, content development or email sending, companies offer solutions that are increasingly sophisticated, efficient and easy to use.

We are still a little more convinced that Digital Marketing has huge potential. Salesforce and its partners are shaping the future of your campaigns. The emergence of artificial intelligence will undoubtedly allow a huge leap forward. Progress in identifying profiles while continuing to comply with current legislation (GDPR for example) is impressive. In a few clicks, it is now possible to segment your audience in a very precise way. The combination of solutions like Audience Studio (formerly DMP) and Datorama allow today to combine different data sources and analyze them in detail. So, if you need a professional advice to help you select and implement the right digital marketing strategy with Salesforce, make sure you contact us.

After the first day, we devoted most of our time attending presentations, keynotes and workshops. What struck us most is obviously the main keynote, but also the UX workshops with Salesforce Experts.

Keynote - Become a Trailblazer: Build a 360° View of Your Customer

2019-07-09 Connections Marketing Cloud 360 view clientIn Salesforce opening keynote, Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Buscemi was focusing her presentation on the Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform. Mentioning the unification of customer data, audience segmentation, all round personalization, as well as optimization with data from Salesforce's Einstein AI platform.

Data unification will allow creating a full customer profile with the aggregation of known and unknown data like cookies, customer first-party IDs and all data types. In fact, as from November 2019 they will introduce a unified customer ID. This means that your customer will have one ID for all the different Salesforce applications.

Additionally, advanced audience segmentation will allow identifying specific groups of people to engage with in real-time based on demographics, engagement history, and all other customer data available.

Of course, the knowledge of Einstein using AI will allow dialogue with the customer to optimize performance and retention rate. The customer profiles will be updated continuously according to the various actions made by the customer (online purchase, opening an email, catalog request, ...)

We are definitely looking forward to the release and further development of this Customer 360 platform.  As a matter of fact we are most eager to see the unified customer ID in the different Salesforce applications. It will recognize a customer on several channels and will react, based on various data such as their phone number, email address or social media. This will improve the way we are working today!

Interactive UX workshop session

We took the opportunity to participate in 2 interactive UX workshop sessions with the user research program of Marketing Cloud.

For each workshop, the session was divided  in two parts. In the first place, Salesforce introduced the topic and gathered feedback from participants. This was a great opportunity to share experiences, but also to realize that we (as partners or as customers) often encounter the same difficulties. It was interesting to see that these difficulties were not always handled in the same way by everyone. Moreover, these exchanges also make it possible to learn different ways of using the tool.

The second part of the session worked more in an interactive workshop-way. Per table there were a maximum of 10 people, led by a Salesforce Expert. We had to give our opinion or our feedback on very specific subjects .

“Audience Targeting and Campaign Optimization with Audience Studio”
“Audience Studio - Marketing Cloud Integrations: Today and Tomorrow”

During these sessions, we generally discussed Audience Studio. Audience Studio is Salesforce's data management platform (DMP), which captures and analyzes consumer data. This data can be collected from various sources and can be unified in Audience Studio for each individual customer. From this point on, you will be able to group those customers into segments.

When you have your audience, you can use this, for example, in an advertising campaign. The example that they gave us was a Google advertising campaign. No one likes getting ads for things that aren’t relevant to them—and no marketer wants to waste money creating those sort of ads. When you know your audience very well you can identify which search words will work for them on Google. That way you can, for example, spend more money on a search word that you know a group of big buyers is most attracted to.

“Let's Talk! An Interactive Discussion with Marketing Cloud Release Experts”
"Influence the Direction of the Marketing Cloud's Sending Experience"

2019-07-09 Connections Marketing Cloud sendingDuring these sessions, we discussed how cloud marketing handles different releases throughout the year. We had the opportunity to talk about the problems we encounter before/after these releases. Finally, we gave our opinion on the integration of Marketing Cloud into the Salesforce Trust platform and on the improvements to be made to it.

In the second part, we discussed improvements to Journey Builder, and we received a demonstration of its future.. Indeed, this tool will be totally redesigned to be more intuitive and global. The purpose of this change is that Journey Builder will be the central application for email sending. You will be able to do audience segmentation, content creation, load external data and eventually report on this all. This would be a huge improvement, as all of these functionalities are now divided throughout different applications in Marketing Cloud.

To make a long story short, we really enjoyed Connections. We saw a lot of interesting things and got the share experiences with other fellow marketers. We will keep on learning and investigating the numerous possibilities of Marketing Cloud and by doing so helping our customers to get the best Marketing Cloud implementation they deserve!