At this point, it’s well-known that personalization is a key focus for today’s marketing leaders. Customers expect it, and marketers are working tirelessly to provide a personalized experience across channels—web, mobile, email, in-person, and beyond. Personalized experiences help drive brand loyalty, create upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and help brands remain relevant to their customers—especially when competition is fierce across all industries.
But, like any great marketing strategy, personalization isn’t a light switch you can flip on and off. It requires focus and commitment, and includes leveraging a combination of data, content, technology, targeting, and measurement—and of course, as with any strategy, nothing happens without people and processes to help get these components in place.
At its core, personalization at scale is the ability to capture, measure, analyze, and activate data to help inform the targeted content you provide to customers through segmentation. To make this process scalable, selecting the right technology is key.
This is where two key tools come in: Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform and Marketing Cloud Personalization (formerly Interaction Studio), a real-time interaction management platform. Let’s walk through what each of these tools can offer, and how they can work together to help take your personalization to the next level.
What is Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform?
When it comes to technology, CDPs—or Customer Data Platforms—are emerging as necessary tools to help marketers create unified customer profiles, leveraging a comprehensive customer database that pulls in multitudes of first-party data from previously disparate sources—including behavioral data, transactional data, and demographic data. With the looming sunset of third-party cookies, the ability for businesses to harness the power of their first-party data, including anonymous user data, will become more important than ever, and CDPs will help them do that.
When evaluating all of the CDPs that are entering the market, it’s important to consider 1. where the CDP evolved from, 2. where it’s evolving to, and 3. who it’s built for. These things are important to consider because not all CDPs are created equally. There are generally three types of CDPs:
- Enterprise CDPs - These are typically built to house large amounts of data and be deeply integrated into a larger ecosystem (like Salesforce). Many of the tools on the market were built repurposing existing technology that may affect scalability down the road.
- Event-Based CDPs - These typically originate from tag-based solutions, take in large volumes of real-time event data, and make decisions on what outbound events should be sent to various channels and platforms.
- Real-Time Personalization CDPs - Many Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM) systems label themselves as a CDP. These typically include real-time AI-based decisioning and focus more on speed than on robust features or deeper 1st party data.
We’ll focus specifically on Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform, which falls into the enterprise category. However, unlike many other enterprise CDPs, Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform is being built from the ground up with scalability in mind. Salesforce is offering a CDP that was built for the next generation of marketing, and is the next evolution toward helping businesses achieve a true 360-degree view of the customer—and act on that data. Since its inception, Salesforce has been focused on building a platform that can power an entire business and help brands connect to customers—from sales, to service, to marketing, to invoicing, and more. As business needs and customer demands have evolved, so has Salesforce.
Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform is a natural fit into the Salesforce platform—not only pulling in both known and unknown user data from across the Salesforce platform, but from multiple other sources as well, such as point-of-sale, loyalty, email, mobile, and other offline data sources. Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform offers a new depth to the data that marketers are able to capture and leverage, ingesting petabytes of data through batch processing.
Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform was built for marketers—with an easy-to-use interface, a standardized data model, and drag-and-drop functionality to enable marketers to quickly build rich customer segments using the data within their Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform, without being reliant on a developer or an IT team to write SQL statements to create segments.
Once a marketer has their various segments built out, they’re able to activate them across multiple channels simultaneously. By activating these segments to tools like Marketing Cloud, Marketing Cloud Advertising (formerly Ad Studio), and Marketing Cloud Personalization, you can deliver a truly consistent omnichannel journey to your customers. And because many of these tools can feed engagement data back into Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform, you continue to drive ever-increasing value with segment enrichment.
But, we know personalization has evolved far beyond including a first name in emails, or showing customers an ad for something they recently viewed. Now, personalization is expected to be real-time, predictive, and responsive. That’s where real-time interaction management comes in, specifically Interaction Studio.
What is Marketing Cloud Personalization?
Marketing Cloud Personalization is Salesforce’s RTIM tool, which is complementary to their CDP. Marketing Cloud Personalization gives marketers the chance to put their segmentation strategy to the test, and develop action-oriented, on-site experiences for these segments. These experiences effectively nurture both leads and customers alike to take the next best action when they are visiting or browsing a website. Simultaneously, Marketing Cloud Personalization provides a unique, personalized experience for every visitor thus increasing key on-site conversion rates.
Interaction Studio also serves as a data ingestion tool, capturing anonymous and known profile information to help continue enriching your customer profiles in CDP. With machine learning capabilities, this allows for real-time segmentation and scalability based on current and previous behavioral information—continuously distributing relevant, personalized content to customers.
Marketing Cloud Personalization is a powerful tool that moves fast and wide to continuously capture data and use it to inform what the next best action is for prospects and customers engaging with your brand.
Marketing Cloud CDP + Marketing Cloud Personalization Together 4 Eva
Together, Marketing Cloud CDP and Marketing Cloud Personalization form an incredibly powerful personalization engine—going both deep and wide in their depth and breadth of capabilities and ways that they ingest, store, measure, and activate data to power personalized experiences.
These tools enable marketers to break down data silos, create rich segments, and continuously optimize for engagement across channels to deliver the personalized experiences that customers demand.