2RM graphic representing people networking at the Salesforce Connection Conference.

Salesforce Connections is an annual conference that brings together industry leaders and marketers. For two days, attendees immerse themselves in the latest marketing technology. A colleague and I attended this year’s conference in Chicago, where we learned about new Salesforce offerings and what’s in store for the industry. Here are our three main takeaways for brands looking to get to the top of their marketing game.

First-party data in a cookieless world

Customers have changed, and so have the ways to reach them. With the introduction of Apple’s iOS 15, and Google’s plans to drop third-party cookies soon, data privacy is evolving. Brands need to adapt, especially when it comes to building their customer database. There are two ideal types of data used to build an accurate, privacy-compliant database. The first is first-party data: personal data collected from customers during checkout, registration, and other interactions. The second is zero-party data, which is data that a customer shares with a brand to help with personalization and marketing.

Brands should build in opportunities to collect first- and zero-party data from their customers. Options include gated content, interactive email forms, email preference centers, and progressive profiling. To get started, consider three things: the data you have, the data you need, and the data you want. Use those needs to determine which data collection method will work best for your brand.

The importance of artificial intelligence (AI)

While 88% of marketers using AI have reported moderate to major ROI, only 30% of B2B marketing organizations currently use AI, according to Salesforce. This is a huge opportunity for marketers. Use AI to target the right prospects and accounts and improve the customer experience. AI can also help you bring new insights to the surface and optimize marketing efforts. With such a low percentage of B2B organizations currently using AI, the space is wide open for growth and innovation.

Brands can start by discovering which AI tools they may already have access to. Salesforce has Einstein, which can support engagement scoring, frequency scoring, and content selection. When used properly, AI is a great extension of any marketing team. Marketers can use AI tools to optimize email send times and deliver dynamic content. AI is also useful for customer segmentation, ensuring that each user gets a personalized experience.

Personalization and the connected consumer experience

Personalized marketing content is far more likely to get a click. Salesforce makes it easy to build user profiles using Salesforce-connected systems. Connected systems include all the individual systems you can connect to Salesforce and use data from to generate a user profile. This profile could include information like a user’s web behavior, email provider, and commerce preferences. Using that customer profile, your brand can create real-time, one-to-one experiences with their customers. Experiences could include interactions on social channels, within an email, or after purchase.

When getting started with personalization, remember that perfection is not necessary. Start small, analyze how users react, and build upon that for later efforts. Build out your strategy using a crawl, walk, run approach. First, build your team. Learn the fundamentals, drive user adoption, and figure out how you’ll measure success. Then as you “walk,” you can begin to build a road map and, when “running,” automate it.

Our team regularly attends conferences like Salesforce Connections so that we can help our clients thrive. Ready to up your brand’s marketing game?