What We Saw at Salesforce Connections 2024

Last month some of our Ingredient rock stars gathered in Chicago for the annual Salesforce Connections conference. This is an event we attend annually to discover the latest marketing and commerce trends, get inspired, and learn how we, as a Salesforce certified partner, can get more out of Marketing Cloud for our clients that use it.

Many of the sessions we attended drew highlights from the most recent Digital Trends report and the 9th edition of the State of Marketing report. Of nearly 5,000 marketers surveyed, implementing or leveraging AI was identified as their top priority. However, difficulties in implementing or leveraging AI was reported as their top challenge. Not surprising, marketers use an average of eight different marketing tools and technologies, which present significant barriers to success.

Also of note were the discussions on how Litmus can augment traditional email metrics to drive more valuable insights as well as Vimeo’s ability to tag live video and invoke additional information overlays. Both of these experiences were truly eye-opening. Very cool.  

The Central theme of this year’s event was utilizing CRM + Data + AI to help marketers achieve true personalization at scale. During live demos, we saw the evolution of Einstein 1, Salesforce’s first comprehensive AI for CRM. My biggest takeaway from this was Data Cloud. It unifies data from multiple sources onto the Einstein 1 platform, “giving every team a 360-degree view of the customer to drive automation and analytics and personalize engagement.” The ability to unify data that’s structured OR unstructured is a huge leap forward and removes the work it takes for a team to harmonize that data manually. 

But don’t just take it from me, here are the major takeaways from the rest of the Ingredient team that attended this year’s event!

Abby McCune, Sr. Campaign Manager

My biggest takeaways were discussions on the topic of sender reputation and deliverability. Now more than ever, email clients are cracking down on bad senders. It’s crucial to build a culture of permission and respect as well as maintain consistency in sending practices. This means authentication = necessary. Remove any contacts who aren’t engaged (i.e., no opens after 6+ months) and remember there are NO shortcuts. Big problems tend to start out small (especially when it comes to sender reputation) and companies HAVE to continuously monitor sends. Consistency in sending practices will help avoid peaks and valleys, especially when it comes to peak seasons like Black Friday when mailbox providers are more strict!

Hannah Jones, Email Marketing Campaign Manager

Personalization and AI dominated many of the trends and topics discussed. One thing that really stood out to me is how much more impactful and personal AI becomes when it’s multimodal and integrated across channels — it provides a better customer experience. My favorite multimodal use case was about returning a pair of shoes: an AI integration scanned an individual’s inbox for an email from the shoe company with instructions on how to return  the shoes then automatically filled out a return slip and scheduled a pickup. I also enjoyed diving into Salesforce’s  predictive AI capabilities and the powerful experiences it can create, particularly in building smarter journeys.

Rose King, Director of IT and Development

My favorite takeaway was learning more about the Einstein 1 platform and how it can be used to solve common pain points for businesses. At the top level, Einstein 1 unifies data before bringing it into all of the AI-powered tools it offers. It has three main features: Prompt Builder, Copilot, and Model Builder. Prompt Builder creates templates that can be used across an organization to automate tasks such as writing emails or qualifying leads. Copilot is a conversational AI assistant that understands natural language and uses data to answer business questions. Model Builder configures the LLM (large language models) that are used with a no-code or low-code interface. All of these work together to bring you a 360-view of data and help ease manual time-intensive tasks. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the innovations and trends our team experienced at Salesforce Connections 2024, how to leverage the latest advancements in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, or simply how to get started integrating Salesforce into your workflow, get in touch with us today!