Salesforce outlines Customer Data Platform, aims to advance Customer 360 strategy

The CDP effort by Salesforce, which will be piloted in the fall, is seeking to redefine the category known as data management platform, or DMP.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Salesforce outlined its Customer Data Platform, or CDP, which fleshes out the roadmap for the company's overarching Customer 360 strategy.

The CDP effort by Salesforce, which will be piloted in the fall, is seeking to redefine the category known as data management platform, or DMP. That space is crowded with everything from Salesforce's own Audience Manager to Oracle's Data Cloud and Blue Kai to Adobe and others.


Most DMPs are focused on marketing primarily, but Salesforce's CDP aims to go across an entire enterprise and its functions. The Customer 360 plan, outlined at Dreamforce 2018, is designed to bridge Salesforce's various clouds and CDP is the next generation of it.


Marty Kihn, senior vice president of product strategy for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, acknowledged that the CDP category is in flux largely due to consumer expectations of a common experience across all channels. Kihn said that CDP will be based on NoSQL so customers won't have to define data schemas in advance. "CDP will move beyond marketing," he said. 

Customer 360's unified customer ID service will be generally available in November.

CDP has two core functions. The first revolves around customer engagement across digital, messaging, ads, devices and in person. The second part of CDP revolves around insights including segments, personalization and analytics via Salesforce's Einstein AI engine.


Salesforce's CDP will integrate outside data sources via MuleSoft and provide drag and drop ability for the company's clouds. The CDP will include:

  • Data unification and consent management for customer profiles. This data will include known and unknown data including cookies, first-party IDs and consent across channels.
  • Audience segmentations with real-time demographics, engagement history and all available data.
  • Personalized engagement across marketing, commerce and service channels.
  • Einstein optimization based on engagement and profiles. Optimization tools will recommend engagement tactics.

The CDP lands as Salesforce outlined a bevy Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud updates. The Marketing Cloud updates aim to use Einstein artificial intelligence to drive returns across multiple digital channels with a spin on emails, which drive strong returns.

Updates to Marketing Cloud include:

  • Einstein Engagement Frequency, which uses AI to gauge how many emails to send to customers to engage them and avoid annoying them.
  • Einstein Send Time Optimization, which uses AI to predict the best time to send marketing emails.
  • Einstein Content Tagging, a tool for tagging images at scale in a marketer's content library.
  • Transactional Messaging, which focuses on often overlooked messages revolving around purchase confirmation, shipping notifications, financial alerts and appointment reminders. The general idea is that Salesforce is integrating transactional email and mobile messages into promotional campaigns.

Updates to Commerce Cloud include:

  • Page Designer, which uses Lightning to design commerce Web pages and schedule them with low code.
  • MuleSoft Accelerator, which integrates Commerce Cloud with operational systems outside of Salesforce.
  • Heroku Solution Kit, which has blueprints to build mobile apps, storefronts and in-store commerce apps.
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