Dreamforce 2023 has come and gone, and wow, it did not disappoint. Not only was this my first Dreamforce, I had the honor of co-presenting the Marketing Cloud Release Highlights session with two amazing members of Salesforce product team: Ruth Bolster, product marketing manager, and Whitni Freeman, lead solution engineer.
In this session, we covered key Winter ’24 release highlights across each of the Marketing Cloud products:
- Data Cloud
- Account Engagement
Here’s a recap of the Marketing Cloud Winter ‘24 release features covered…
Highlight #1: Segment Intelligence (Data Cloud)
A new Data Cloud for Marketing feature, Segment Intelligence connects and harmonizes customer and marketing performance data — like revenue data, first party data, as well as paid media data — so you can understand how your segments are interacting with your marketing.
Using out of the box dashboards, you can see how segments are performing across channels, and gives you an executive understanding of how segments are performing across channels.
Plus, you can use Einstein to optimize existing segments, or create new ones based on performance data.
With all that data in one place this allows marketers to have a more holistic view of how segments are doing, without being bogged down by time consuming data management and reconciliation. And having those insights to optimize channel performance by segment – that level of visibility and adaptability means more impactful and relevant marketing campaigns, which leads to better marketing ROI.
And the built in dashboards and connections means that marketers can get started right away!
This feature will be available for select customers starting in October, and will be available to all customers later this winter.
Highlight #2: AI-Powered Segment Creation (Data Cloud)
Another Winter ‘24 feature for Data Cloud for Marketing is Segment Creation. Powered by Einstein, this allows marketers to build complex segments using a descriptive prompt.
So, for example, I can just tell Einstein “Big spenders in North America who made a purchase in the last 3 months and love hiking”, and it will generate the segment for me, showing what that segment looks like, and the attributes used.
This means that marketers can build their segments without having to be a data scientist to do it. Being able to pull data based on specific criteria has often required technical knowledge of the data model to know where to look, and SQL skills to query the data to know how to access it. This feature will allow marketers to be more self-sufficient to get the data they need when they need it.
This will be Generally Available in October for Data Cloud Customers.
Highlight #3: Intelligence GA4 Connector (Intelligence)
As of Winter ‘24, Marketing Cloud Intelligence will have a built-in GA4 connector and pre-defined data sets available to ingest GA4 data. Marketing data is the foundation of Marketing Cloud Intelligence. Its data models, dashboards and guidance are built for marketers. There are already more than 100 native connectors available, and now with GA4 data connector this is a natural addition to the platform to have relevant marketing data in one place.
How this will work: When setting up data streams, GA4 properties will appear under the ‘Website’ dropdown. These new properties will be supported in API connectors as well as Marketplace apps.
Marketplace apps will replace previous UA 360 websites and support the new GA4 web properties, dimensions, and other fields for data retrieval.
One thing to keep in mind: Due to the differences between GA4 and UA properties, the new connector will pull different, yet very similar, datasets into the platform when the GA4 property is selected, so your visualization may need to be tweaked when setting up the data stream for the first time. Marketplace will discontinue support of UA360 properties after the GA4 support begins.
Highlight #4: Trigger Action on GA4 Data (Engagement)
Marketing Cloud Engagement has some goodies in the Winter ‘24 Release as well. The first is Google Analytics 4 Integration, which lets marketers activate journeys based on Google Analytics 4 segments and events.
This new integration will include two key features in one:
- Visual dashboards embedded within Engagement reporting so that marketers can see real time impact on revenue, AOV, and conversion metrics.
- Audience activation, which allows marketers to create engagement and re-engagement campaigns based on customer interactions using that GA4 data.
- So for example, if you had a customer that viewed your product pages for backpacks and hiking boots, then abandon the session, you can use audience activation to trigger an abandoned browse journey. This also allows you to get cross-channel insights across mobile, web, and email.
There is a fully paid version which includes both Reporting and Audience Activation. There is also a free version that will feature the Reporting feature only.
Highlight #5: AI-Powered Email Content Creation (Engagement)
AI is coming to Marketing Cloud Engagement with Email Content Creation, including Typeface partnership!
Marketers can set up and specify personalities with brand voice and tone, and using natural language prompts can get draft ideas on subject, body copy and images. With the ability to give feedback on what works and what doesn’t this lets the model learn and improve over time.
Marketers can consider this a tool to help them get a first draft in place. They still have control over the content throughout. They’re given choices based on their prompts, which they can use, like or dislike.
That human element and judgment is a crucial part of the whole process.
Content Creation will be available in Marketing Cloud Engagement this October, and it is currently scheduled to be in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement next February
Highlight #6: Transfer Assets from Sandbox to Production (Account Engagement)
Speaking of Account Engagement… With the Summer ‘23 Release we saw the ability to move assets between business units, which is fantastic! But that still left a gap with sandboxes. Anyone that has used Salesforce sandboxes has been used to building and promoting configurations, and unfortunately that hasn’t been possible with Account Engagement sandboxes, which has been painful to work around. Any assets built in a sandbox had to be built again in production, which is of course time-consuming and also prone to error if something is missed.
In the Winter ’24 release, marketers can now copy assets from sandbox to production using Salesforce Flow. After installing the flow on your campaign, all you need to do is select your sandbox environment and your production environment, select your assets, and then copy it over. And this supports 8 asset types, including email templates, dynamic content, form handlers, custom redirects, custom fields, landing pages, and more.
This allows for a more useful Account Engagement sandbox, to perform all asset testing and avoid conflicts – and all that test data – when trying to build in production. Not to mention saving time because you won’t have to build assets multiple times. You can even use this to set up a QA process, giving a subset of users access to build in the Sandbox only and then have another subset of users review the assets and push them to production when approved.
This was first mentioned in Erin Duncan’s post on Winter ‘23 Highlights for Account Engagement.
Highlight #7: Real-Time Event Stream (Personalization)
With Winter ‘24 Release, Personalization will now include Real Time Customer Event Stream, a Lightning component that can be added to record pages, giving users a real-time view of the marketing assets that a lead or contact has interacted with.
This gives sales and service teams better insight into the types of content their customers have been engaging with. They can then have more relevant and informed conversations with them about their current needs and interests, and provide a better overall customer experience.
Learn more about the Marketing Cloud release highlights
If you want to learn more about the Marketing Cloud release features covered, here are a few resources:
- Dreamforce ‘23 Marketing Keynote
- Winter ‘24 Release Feature Demos
- State of Marketing Report
- Marketing Cloud Release Notes – Winter ‘24 Release Notes are expected to drop September 25th.
What do you think about these Marketing Cloud release highlights? Let us know in the comments.