Although Salesforce is best known as a top customer relationship management (CRM) platform and cloud platform pioneer, the company offers several other data management and audience development solutions in its portfolio.
Salesforce CDP is their highly-rated customer data platform (CDP) that implements predictive and behavioral analytics, smart audience data segmentation, and cross-channel data management which allows enterprise digital advertisers and other audience-facing professionals to better target their messaging to the right users.
This Salesforce CDP product review examines some of the platform’s most important features, typical customer use cases, and how this product fits into the greater CDP landscape.
A Closer Look at Salesforce CDP
Also read: Data Management Market
Salesforce and the CDP market
Customer data platforms unite customer data from several different sources in one platform to be analyzed and manipulated for a variety of digital audience development needs. CDPs share several similarities with data management platforms (DMPs), but they take a wider lens to the audience lifecycle and source data from more first- and second-party sources, in addition to third-party sources.
The customer data platform market reached a value of $2.4 billion in 2020 and is predicted to grow to $10.3 billion by 2025, according to a report by Markets and Markets. Salesforce CDP is a top competitor in the CDP market, along with:
- Treasure Data CDP
- Bloomreach Engagement
- Adobe Experience Platform
- Dynamics 365 Customer Insights
- Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform
- SAP Customer Data Platform
Learn more from Enterprise Networking Planet: Best Customer Data Platforms (CDP)
Key features of Salesforce CDP
This customer data platform offers several traditional CDP features, but it goes beyond the basics in areas like regulatory compliance, data visualization, and relevant API connections. Some of the top features included on Salesforce CDP are:
- Unified customer profiles
- Privacy management
- Data ingestion service
- Integration with Mulesoft API platform
- Advanced resolutions with data linking and fuzzy matching
- Connection to other Salesforce portfolio solutions
- Customer segments with contact- and event-focused data sources
- Type-ahead functionality
- AI for big data analytics
- GDPR and CCPA compliance
- AppExchange application sourcing
- Salesforce Einstein for intelligent segmentation
- Integration with Tableau and Datorama
- Calculated Insights tool for customer engagement scoring
Learn more about big data solutions: Big Data Market Review
Key benefits of Salesforce CDP
Constantly evolving portfolio of Salesforce Solutions
Salesforce commits significant time and resources to acquiring and building new solutions and optimizing existing portfolio solutions. Many of these improved and emerging solutions directly integrate with Salesforce CDP. Salesforce’s acquisitions of Tableau and Datorama have increased Salesforce CDP’s capabilities in data visualization, business intelligence, and AI marketing intelligence. Features like Commerce Cloud, Interaction Studio, and Loyalty Management help CDP customers in areas like e-commerce insights, real-time interaction data, and membership management data.
Focused data security and privacy efforts
Salesforce CDP prioritizes data security and customer privacy, helping enterprise users to establish and maintain trust. Salesforce offers GDPR and CCPA-driven compliance features natively, and also gives its customers provisioning support and monitoring dashboards to manage compliance and security.
Access to a top marketplace for applications
The customer data platform is given direct access to Salesforce AppExchange, which is widely recognized as a top enterprise cloud marketplace. Users who are looking for cloud applications to meet additional business needs can conduct application research and sourcing directly through their Salesforce CDP subscription.
Prioritized intelligent data management with Einstein
Intelligent data management is an important goal when large enterprises want to manage the full customer lifecycle. Einstein, Salesforce’s integrated set of several different AI functionalities, helps users to automate, drive, and utilize insights they would otherwise have missed at face value.
Find other top AI/ML solutions: Artificial Intelligence Market
Salesforce CDP use cases
Because Salesforce CDP does not limit its focus to digital advertising and marketing as most DMP solutions do, customers frequently deploy this tool to manage the full lifecycle between early prospect to loyal customer.
Take a look at how two different customers used Salesforce CDP to meet their goals:
“There are a lot of great things about this product but the ones that I like the best are these: managing customer journey across the funnel is really easy and effective. The planning feature for advance occasions and campaigns helps you visualize the deliverables that will go live in the coming months … We have a lot of data of customers and have to manage multiple online campaigns across different channels. This tool helped us marry all the different things that we were managing” – management trainee in finance and banking, review of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Salesforce CDP on Gartner Peer Insights
“This system is levels above what we were using before. It has replaced several other smaller systems into one integrated whole. Now we can identify winning campaigns, identify our most responsive customers, and really interact with other companies in a more holistic way that we were never able to do before. Our marketing teams capability has really gone to a new professional level with this system.” – head of IT in industrial manufacturing, review of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Salesforce CDP on Gartner Peer Insights
Pros of Salesforce CDP
- Helpful linking to Salesforce CRM: Salesforce CRM is one of the most widely used CRMs in the world, and many CDP customers use both. Several reviewers appreciate how cleanly customer profiles and campaign data integrate between the two platforms.
- Useful AI provided through Einstein: Salesforce Einstein is a feature that customers frequently compliment across Salesforce products. In Salesforce CDP, several customers highlight that Einstein allows them to apply AI to customized mass messaging and one-on-one communications.
- Scheduling and pre-planning visibility: Through a combination of dashboards and data visualizations, Salesforce CDP wins many customers over by making post schedules and community insights highly visible in real time.
Cons of Salesforce CDP
- Lack of end-user training: Some customers have complained about the high learning curve that comes with deploying Salesforce CDP. According to these reviewers, Salesforce offers few end-user trainings or internal support experts to guide them through these difficulties.
- Problems with error reporting: A handful of reviewers have commented on problems with debugging the platform. They specifically mentioned how error reporting does not cover the depth or breadth of issues they’ve encountered on the platform.
- Missing ad management features: Customer reviews compliment the granular audience insights they receive from the platform, though some have noted that paid ad insights are not as comprehensive as they need.
Learn about 5 Ways Brands Underutilize Data Analytics.
Salesforce CDP ratings
Salesforce sells Salesforce CDP independently as well as part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud suite of tools. Most reviewers have taken the time to review the greater Salesforce Marketing Cloud portfolio rather than individual solutions:
|Gartner Peer Insights||4.3/5|
Salesforce CDP cost
Salesforce CDP comes in three different pricing packages:
- Corporate: $12,500 per organization, per month
- Enterprise: $50,000 per organization, per month
- Enterprise Plus: $65,000 per organization, per month
Each of these plans offers some amount of access to unified profiles, the super message feature, segment publishing, and engagement events. At all price points, Salesforce CDP requires an annual contract. Pricing information for the entire Salesforce Marketing Cloud is not readily available.
Many customers who previously used Salesforce’s Audience Studio DMP solution have since been funneled to Salesforce CDP, after Salesforce announced they would be discontinuing the sale of that product. CDPs and DMPs offer different functionalities because they typically source data differently: CDPs focus on collecting first- and second-party data, while DMPs collect third-party data that limit the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) the company can access.
While some users might be wary to use Salesforce CDP to meet their DMP goals, Salesforce’s focus on both data privacy and additional Marketing Cloud integrations makes Salesforce CDP an ideal location to manage first, second, and third-party data simultaneously. Users may need to take extra precautions and rely more heavily on Salesforce privacy and regulatory support, but the platform provides all of the functionalities necessary to run a successful CDP or DMP.
Read next: Top Data Management Platforms and Software