Top Highlights From Connections 2024

A couple of weeks ago, I had the exciting opportunity to attend Salesforce Connections in Chicago, Illinois! What made this visit extra special was that it was my first time ever attending a Salesforce event! I was really impressed by the large number of sessions that covered a wide variety of subject areas and featured different presentation styles, including roundtables and hands-on workshops; basically, there was something for everyone! I also enjoyed connecting with new folks and learning about the latest and greatest updates that Salesforce has to offer. If you are thinking about attending a Salesforce event in the near future (Dreamforce is taking place in September, just saying), then consider this blog as your sign to fully commit and register for what will be a fantastic learning experience.


The tagline of the event – “The data and AI moment where it all clicks is a catchy way to boil down the event’s primary focus. In the keynote presentations as well as the many sessions, the overarching theme pointed to how Data Cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) together can help us properly manage our data and create unique and personalized experiences tailored to the wants and needs of our customers. With that said, let’s dive a little deeper into what that means, and review some of the major takeaways from our two days at the campground.  

It all goes back to Data Cloud


I get it – you are excited to learn how AI can help you grow your connection to your customers and personalize their experiences. But first, it’s important to know that Data Cloud is at the root of it all. During his portion of the main keynote, Ariel Kelman, president and CMO of Salesforce, said something that resonated with me: “Data Cloud really is the heart of modern marketing.” He went a little deeper to discuss what that meant:  


  • We have data in all sorts of places – there’s data inside Salesforce, and there’s data from outside sources. With Data Cloud, you can unify all your data regardless of where it comes from. This ability provides three advantages: visibility into your data, the power to activate on your data, and the capability to use AI with that data. Breaking that explanation down further:  


      • Visibility – You are able to create a single view of every customer. 
      • Activation – Use connectors with a variety of platforms to reach out to your customers and personalize campaigns to fit the needs of your customers. 


  • With all our data organized, we can unlock the potential of generative AI. You can use generative AI to create compelling emails by providing key information about the customer. For example: What products are they interested in? How long have they been a customer? Armed with this data, generative AI can help you design an email that can truly enrich the customer experience.  




Einstein Copilot: Ready and at your service  


At Dreamforce last year, Salesforce introduced Einstein 1, a cloud-based platform powered by next-gen AI (if you missed Dreamforce, you can check out the big takeaways from that event in this blog). Einstein 1 has several positive attributes: It’s integrated, intelligent, automated, low code and no code, and open.  


Expanding on the discussion of Einstein 1, the main keynote presentation also explored the capabilities of Einstein Copilot. Einstein Copilot is a conversational digital assistant that works across your trusted company data. You can ask it questions, and it can help in different ways, such as translating content for you. Something neat about Einstein Copilot is that it works the same way across the entire Salesforce platform – so whatever platforms you have with Salesforce, you will be able to utilize Einstein Copilot consistently in your activities and work.  


Michael Affronti, SVP and GM of Commerce Cloud at Salesforce, outlined the exciting Einstein Copilot offerings for Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud and when they will be available: 


  • Marketing Cloud Generally available in June 2024, this feature will help you use generative AI to do things such as creating content/imagery, and even text for emails, to deploy campaigns faster and easier. 


  • Commerce Cloud There are two different offerings!  


    • For Shoppers – Generally available now, this AI assistant holds conversations with your customers to assist them.  
    • For Merchants – Available in beta now, this feature allows you to use AI to create storefronts, optimize your SEO, and complete other activities.  



Welcome to the AI Enterprise | Salesforce Connections 2024 Keynote



You might be reading this and thinking, “This all sounds amazing. But with AI using my company’s data, how can I know that things are kept safe and secure?” No need to worry. Salesforce has your back on this. Incorporated into Einstein Copilot experiences, you’ll find the Einstein Trust Layer program. This program utilizes data masking and secure data retrieval, so you can rest easy knowing your company data won’t leave your organization.   


You can learn more about Einstein Copilot here 



Personalize, personalize, personalize


Customers don’t want plain, generic emails that haven’t taken their preferences into account and seemingly ignores their shopping goals. They are looking for personalized experiences that speak to them and relate to their preferences. With unified profiles (thanks to Data Cloud) and generative AI, you are in an incredible position to design campaigns and emails that fully align with what your customers are looking for.  


You can follow a customer’s experience throughout the sales process, including noting their previous history with your company and making sure you are displaying the right products to that customer. You can also create a pipeline where a 360-degree view of your customer is accessible to your marketing, sales, service, and commerce teams so everyone knows how to best serve that customer and attend to their needs. With all this infrastructure in place, you can be sure that you’ll be communicating with your customer effectively and they will feel like an individual whose voice is being heard. 


An added benefit of the unified profile and utilizing personalization is the opportunity to create experiences that will expand your customers’ loyalty. Here are just a few examples of what you can do: 


  • Automate your journeys with paths that depend on how your customer engaged.  
  • Include email and SMS touchpoints in those journeys, thus tailoring your outreach according to how your customer prefers to communicate. 
  • Reach out to a customer to both alert them of expiring contracts and provide details of other products that relate to their needs. 


With Data Cloud and AI, you can truly reach your customers where they are and fully get to know them. 



More new features for Data Cloud


One of the sessions I attended during Connections focused on this year’s roadmap for Data Cloud. I learned about several features that will be made available either in general availability or beta this summer, and I thought I’d point out a few that captured my interest:  


  • Connectivity and zero-copy: 


    • There are over 190 prebuilt connectors for structured data. 
    • With Data Cloud’s connectivity network, you are able to connect data from any source, act on data faster, and maximize your data investments.  
    • New – Zero Copy Partner Network: 


      • The network offers a variety of useful capabilities, including bidirectional integration and direct file access. 
      • Zero Copy Partner Networks include Snowflake, Databricks, Amazon Web Services, and more. 
    • For more information on zero copy and what that can mean for you and your business, check out this article. 



  • Data Cloud sandboxes: 


    • Sandboxes are coming to beta in the summer and will be generally available during fall 2024. 
    • With Data Cloud sandboxes, you’ll be able to train and test with a copy of your production data. 
    • These sandboxes require only minimal setup to create a mirror of your production organization.  



  • Segmentation and activation: 


    • Generally available now, you are able to access new activations with LinkedIn, Google Display & Video 360, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. Examples of what you can do with these new features include: 


      • Activating your segments directly to LinkedIn Ads. 
      • Activating ads with Google Display & Video 360, Amazon Ads and Snapchat.  



  • Einstein Personalization: 


    • This feature will be generally available this summer. 
    • Use data and AI to communicate with your customers in real-time – allowing you to react instantly.  
    • Built on the Salesforce platform and Data Cloud, Einstein Personalization allows you to create personalized experiences in real time and effectively optimize the customer journey – across any industry. 


If you are ready to get started on your adventure with Data Cloud and AI, feel free to reach out to Devs United today. We are Data Cloud experts! 


Emily Scafidi