Dreamforce: The “Core” Message
Salesforce’s flagship event, Dreamforce, made headlines again this year, not just for its daily attendance of over 40,000 or the celebrity sightings of Matthew McConaughey, perennial rockers The Foo Fighters, and AI Pioneer Sam Altman of OpenAI fame. At its core, the conversation spotlighted one clear message: The future revolves around AI, but its success hinges on building trust in its capabilities and its use of your data. Salesforce billed Dreamforce 2023 as “the world’s largest AI event,” and it didn’t disappoint.
The Rise of Trusted AI
Salesforce, under CEO Marc Benioff, has distilled the company’s vision into a simple formula: Data + AI + CRM + Trust. In Benioff’s words, the introduction of the Einstein 1 Platform marks the beginning of a “new era of AI.” It’s not just about advanced algorithms; it’s about establishing trust. With a substantial half-billion-dollar Ventures AI innovation fund and a strong commitment to ethical AI, Salesforce appears to be shifting the conversation towards AI that is not only intelligent but also ethical and personalised.
A Glimpse into What’s Next for Marketers
Here are several developments we were able to catch during the conference, with release dates coming as soon as next month:
- Co-pilot Studio: A suite featuring Prompt Builder, Skills Builder, and Model Builder for AI customisation (Pilot in Fall 2023).
- Free Data Cloud: Grants access to up to 10,000 profiles alongside two complimentary Tableau Creator subscriptions. (Available now).
- Einstein AI Data Cloud Segment Intelligence: An integrated interface for enhancing segment performance, recommendations, analytical insights, and performance graphs. (GA Oct ‘23).
- Generative AI Content Creation: Content Builder Content Collections, driven by the newly acquired Typeface generative AI technology. (GA Oct ‘23).
- Einstein AI Generative Subject Lines: Craft subject lines using your unique first-party customer data. (GA Oct ‘23).
- Journey Re-mapping: Real-time personalization using Journey Builder to activate actions based on real-time Marketing Cloud data from Personalization using what appears to be a new decision split.
- Real-time Campaign Management via Slack: Optimise campaign processes from approvals to updates within the Slack client.
- Einstein AI Data-Driven Campaign Briefs: Create and adjust campaign briefs using prompts. Send for approval and then use Generative Content Creation to build out your messages.
- Einstein Trust Layer enhancements will be generally available in October 2023 and included in Einstein products.
The conference didn’t get into specific details on what versions would have these features enabled (at least as far as I was able to catch), though in a blog post earlier this month, Steve Hammond (EVP/GM Marketing Cloud) specifically calls out Marketing Cloud Engagement. A number of new product features appear to be released first via a Pilot program before then being rolled out as GA in a ‘24 release. We’ll be keeping an eye out for related developments and will update you as they come up.
Looking forward to 2024
A few highlights:
- Unified Marketing and Commerce Cloud integration through the Einstein 1 Platform.
- Enhanced Integration between Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Core. Interestingly, and maybe a sign of things to come, Salesforce Starter now comes with a simplified version of Marketing Cloud in a single UI.
- Einstein for Account Engagement with lead metrics, campaign attribution, behaviour scoring, and more enhanced Einstein capabilities.
- AI-Powered Customer Support: A cool demo showcased AI's selecting and serving relevant help articles during real-time customer chats.
There are many additional product features and products being released in ‘24 across the ever-expanding Salesforce ecosystem. For brevity, I’ve only listed a few of the more Marketing-centric announcements, neglecting at least an equal number of Sales, Service and other product announcements
Charting the (AI) Path for Marketers
Salesforce’s commitment to AI this year was unmistakable. While marketers can still use non-integrated LLMs for content, Salesforce emphasises the importance of bringing together AI and customer data for genuine personalization and, crucially, building customer trust. Just prior to Dreamforce, Salesforce introduced a revamped Data Cloud Consultant credential and a brand-new Certified AI Associate credential, both accessible on Trailhead, and giving customers and consultants alike the opportunity to keep pace with the company’s direction. Their confidence in this AI-centric vision is further emphasised by their plan to hire an additional 3,000 employees, announced just after the conclusion of the conference, bucking the wider trend amongst Tech’s big players.