Salesforce Connections 2022 – the first in-person CNX in three years – was one for the books. From listening to visionary speakers to learning about what’s next for digital experience and commerce from Trailblazers, we hope you walked away with inspiration to take to your team.
With more than 50 of our own Salesforce experts in attendance at the event, we saw three major themes we want to share.
In April, Salesforce announced its plans to rename six Marketing Cloud products in order to take SFMC in a new direction. This is part of Salesforce’s efforts – initially announced at Dreamforce 2021 – to make the platform as easy to use as possible. And consequently, a major topic of discussion at Connections 2022 was what this means for brands and how they can align internal and external efforts to the new Marketing Cloud framework.
Here’s a quick review of the changes:
While we’ll learn more as Salesforce experts dive into this new architecture in their day-to-day work, two important questions to ask your team are:
Along a similar line, we had many conversations with brands who are trying to figure out how all of the Marketing Cloud products work with one another. Brands are looking to optimize their Salesforce stack and want to know which products are needed for their specific goals and, in turn, which products they need to add to their licensing packages. If this sounds like you, our Brand Guide to Optimizing Your Salesforce Stack is a great place to start.
After brands understand what SFMC products will work best for their goals, the next step is optimizing the data that’s collected. As expected, the customer data platform sessions at Connections were packed with people trying to learn more about utilizing CDP and how to integrate other platforms and internal teams.
After years of Salesforce communities talking about the importance of data, the conversation has shifted from the importance of it to how brands can best utilize the data they have. This is why our parent company, dentsu, has invested so much in Merkle’s Salesforce expertise to empower dentsu to become the No.1 Salesforce agency globally. Our Salesforce experts noted that when talking to brands about this topic, they are well-positioned to help demystify how to make SFMC work for the specific brand.
One of these experts was Jenn Horner, Senior Director of Relationship Marketing Strategy, who presented her breakout session, Use Your Messaging to Create the Best Customer Experience. Jenn noted that many brands asked follow-up questions and complimented her digital messaging team’s approach to planning and strategies. Many brands know what the foundation for their messaging strategy should look like, but might struggle with where to go next.
That’s exactly why Jenn’s team put together the Relationship Marketing Blueprint to help define a brand’s messaging north star and give it a strategic plan, prioritization, and business case to get there. Once you have a north star, it’s easier figure out what data to utilize and the most impactful way to use it. If you want our Relationship Marketing team to help you develop this blueprint, go ahead and reach out to us and we can set up a time to chat.
Building Loyalty into the Entire Customer Experience
Loyalty is often thought of as a singular program designed for the end of the customer journey, but experts at Connections – including our own Merkle Promotions & Loyalty Solutions team – urged brands to consider every touchpoint in the customer journey as an opportunity to infuse loyalty experiences.
When your brand captures first- and zero-party data, you have the chance to meet individual consumers’ needs when they are browsing, researching, and choosing products, not just at the last mile of the customer journey. Building loyalty into the entire experience helps your brand earn loyalty earlier in the journey to differentiate yourself from the competition and maintain it throughout every stage.
Salesforce Loyalty Management (the only SFMC product not being renamed) was designed for this exact approach. The product provides a 360-degree view of the customer for a connected loyalty ecosystem, creating better opportunities to build loyalty.
One thing all of these takeaways have in common is that they represent a shift for brands that utilize Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Brands are ready to take the next step with their Salesforce stack, and those that identify what that means for their brand and how to implement it will be far ahead of the competition.
Thank you to Salesforce experts and thought leaders who contributed to this Connections recap: Jenn Horner, David Adler, and Greg Gifford.