After a two-year break from in-person events, it was such a great feeling attending Salesforce Connections 2022 in Chicago. We took home a lot of great insight that we can’t wait to share with our customers (in addition to the ‘out of this world’ Crocs).

While there were more insights, case studies, product demos and announcements shared throughout the event than any single person could possibly absorb, our team divided and conquered over the course of two days to see it all. After sharing stories and trading notes, we pulled together our top five takeaways from Salesforce Connections 2022.

1. “WOW” Your Audience by Delivering Personalized Experiences

The Salesforce team and their customers spent time helping everybody understand that great customer experiences are broken down into moments that create that “WOW” for your customer. Often the “WOW” is made up of subtle experiences that tell your customer emphatically that you’re listening to them and you’re making the effort to give them a personalized experience that feels unique to them. We learned how companies like Crocs, Shoe Carnival, and Humana were delivering personalized experience across all their touchpoints.

The question turns from vision and strategy to, “how do I get this done”. The remaining takeaways give you some insight into how you can start to activate the WOW to your customers.

2. Customer Data Platform (CPD) Has Taken Center Stage

There are two critical parts to a CDP, the C = Customer and the D = Data. While there’s no lack of an abundance of data, what brands do need is a strong data strategy. That data strategy needs to be focused on your customer, so think of data as signals. What signals can you gather about your customer that can help you create a personalized experience. In addition to the classic signals that identify the source of your customer, look for additional signals that can give you a perspective on intent. The Salesforce CDP does an amazing job of helping you to collect and standardize this data. The collection of this data helps you to take on the next biggest theme: activating your customer.

3. Hyper-personalization Requires a Strategic Framework

Ok, there we said the biggest buzzword that might be in existence, but what is hyper-personalization and how do you enable it? Hyper-personalization is the ability to use real time data signals to deliver relevant content, product and information of interest to each customer in any channel.

Salesforce demonstrated that the Salesforce CDP, in addition to making the ingestion and harmonization of data easier, also allows marketers to create meaningful intelligence and segments from the data. This intelligence and segments are then shared with activation functions within Email Studio, Journey Builder and Personalization to impact any customer, in any channel in real time.

To help guide marketers in creating a personalized experience that can be scaled across the organization, we’ve created a framework that breaks down the key considerations that inform a strong strategy.


4. Personalization in a Cookie-less Future

One of the major announcements made by Salesforce on the launch of Connections is the release of a strong partnership ecosystem that is aligned with Salesforce CDP. Partners such as LiveRamp, MediaMath, The Trade Desk and several others have joined the ecosystem to help marketers overcome the cookie-less future. Partnerships such as these will help brands ingest privacy-safe customer data and incorporate it into a unified profile that will provide more opportunities to provide a personalized experience and more opportunities to identify the target audience of brands. These capabilities tie back to the first theme, which is having a data strategy. You’ve heard of cookies, cookie-less, first-party and zero-party data, but it’s important you tame them by putting them in a framework and strategy that will work for your brand.

In addition to these CDP integration partnerships, Salesforce’s new Loyalty Management offering will enable brands to advance their personalization efforts by capturing and rewarding customers for providing their valuable purchase and preference data. The platform integrates within the Marketing Cloud suite and allows marketers to build more personalized loyalty, engagement and retention strategies using the captured data.

5. Get Busy but Have a Roadmap

The biggest challenge marketers and frankly most executives face, is figuring out where to start and prioritizing. There’s a lot of value in “getting started” but make sure you have a roadmap as your guidance.  While this isn’t often the message from our partners at Salesforce who are eager to sell their solutions, this year, there were several sessions focused on creating actionable and digestible roadmaps. Salesforce shared recommendations on how to best implement their technology in a phased approach that ensures the right team is in place before getting started with their products. Vision demonstrations that showed amazing, connected experiences that seem so seamless, were broken down into the “what it actually took” to get to that place. As a partner often implementing these tools, we couldn’t agree more and found the perspective refreshing.

The Takeaway

In addition to the five major themes we called out, there was also a lot of interesting information on other topics. Salesforce shared the “why” behind their recent product name changes, their expansion with Google Ads, the rollout of NFT Cloud and Commerce Cloud’s integration with TikTok.

Events such as Connections are exciting for our organization. We’re focused on being a leading customer experience company and Salesforce is focused on bringing enabling software to market. Together, we see a bright future for realizing the vision of a personalized experience.