5 Takeaways from Salesforce Connections 2024

The Connections conference holds a special place for me. It’s an event that shares new product roadmaps, provides opportunities to meet fellow marketers, clients, and partners, and offers a glimpse at new platform features. This year was just as full of exciting announcements as previous years (except for the concert on the first day, which we will not discuss in this post).

As you might have guessed from the announcements leading up to the event, the main focus was on Data Cloud and AI. After attending all the keynotes and a handful of Salesforce sessions, here are my five takeaways from Connections 2024, along with some tips for marketers to prepare for upcoming changes.

1. Marketers Brace for Data Cloud

I remember the times when a new team member would join, and one of the first things we would do is train them to earn the Salesforce Admin certificate. This approach helped them familiarize themselves with Salesforce’s ecosystem and understand its data model. However, times have changed, and we now have a new platform to adapt to – Data Cloud.

As Kelly Eliyahu stated in the keynote, “Data Cloud is a company data platform. It’s a hyperscale data engine built directly into Salesforce that enhances every cloud.” Whether you’re an admin, marketer, or business analyst, it’s time to start learning Data Cloud. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself involved in a Data Cloud project or task, and it’s better to be prepared.

Visual on Data Sources for Salesforce Data Cloud

2. The AI Enterprise

The central theme of the CNX24 event was the AI Enterprise. AI is being incorporated into every product or solution that will be used in the coming months, if not sooner. If you’re in sales, AI is integrated into Sales Cloud to guide salespeople towards the best next action. In Service Cloud, AI aids with customer interactions and automates responses. For marketers, AI will soon be embedded in all Marketing Cloud products. It will assist with tasks ranging from crafting your subject lines to using a simple prompt to create an entire email, including content and audience.

5 steps to the AI Enterprise Salesforce Graphic

3. Einstein Personalization on Data Cloud

Einstein Personalization is a new feature introduced at this year’s CNX24. It offers AI-powered real-time personalization based on information available in the Data Cloud. Although its general availability is planned for GA’24, there are still many uncertainties about how much it will replace the existing Marketing Cloud Personalization platform. The demo during the keynote illustrated the potential of this new capability and hinted at what the future holds. If you have a keen interest in this topic, I highly recommend following Mateusz Dąbrowski and Matheswaran Kanagarajan. They will be among the first to delve into these new features.

Salesforce Einstein Personalization

4. Flow for Marketers

Though Flow didn’t take center stage like other announcements, it was still featured in all keynote and campground demos. With the introduction of Marketing Cloud Growth, marketers are one step closer to using Flows. As showcased in the keynote demo, Flow was the primary orchestrator behind the hyper-personalized offer to the customer. If you haven’t already, consider adding Flow to your 2024 learning objectives. If you’re interested in learning the basics of Flow, I did a session with Prag, which you can check out here.

Series of Salesforce Marketing Flows

5. Slack AI

I haven’t been keeping up with Slack updates recently, but my friends who use Slack believe that new features such as Recap, Record Channels, and Copilot are game-changers for users. I think this is significant because we are close to launching our marketing campaigns and will soon be able to monitor campaign metrics without leaving Slack.

Slack AI features list

Bonus – Easter Egg?

Each Connections event tends to include an “easter egg” – a hidden feature or demo that hints at future developments. Last year, the focus was on a campaign page that later became part of the Marketing Cloud Growth (introduced earlier this year). This year, the easter egg may be a new personalization string displayed during the main keynote demo. You might be familiar with the Handlebars Merge Language that uses {{}}, or %% %% in AMPscript, but now we’ve seen a new syntax that uses a single %. Whether it’s a new syntax or merely a demo, we’ll have to wait and see.

Screenshot of new personalization string displayed during the main keynote demo at Salesforce Connections

And that’s a wrap! Salesforce Connections 2024 reaffirmed that there are numerous opportunities for marketers, and everyone in the Salesforce ecosystem, to upskill, learn new platforms, and adapt to the new marketing era where data and AI work in tandem. Can’t wait to see how this year unfolds!

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