New Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Adam Blitzer Doubles Down On CDP

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is crowning a new leader.

Longtime Salesforce vet Adam Blitzer will take the CEO reins from Bob Stutz this month.

But the business strategy will remain the same: customer data platform (CDP) all the way.

Salesforce introduced its CDP service, called “Customer 360,” in June, and Blitzer colored in more detail at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week. In Q1 next year, Salesforce will launch Customer 360 Audiences, an identity resolution and audience segmentation product that will become the CDP offering within the Customer 360 suite, Blitzer said.

“This forms the beating heart of Salesforce marketing,” Blitzer said.

And if there’s anyone who’s familiar with the beating heart of Salesforce, it’s Blitzer. The co-founder of Pardot in a past life, Blitzer came into Salesforce through the ExactTarget acquisition and served in multiple roles, including as GM of the Salesforce B2B business and GM of the Salesforce Sales and Services clouds. Now he’s only missing Commerce.

AdExchanger caught up with Blitzer about his vision for the Marketing Cloud and its place in the mar tech ecosystem.

AdExchanger: Salesforce only recently embraced this positioning as a customer data platform. What to your mind are the defining aspects of a CDP?

As a marketer-focused CDP, I think the most important aspect is getting at this idea of a single source of truth for a marketer. The CRO and sales group has always had a single metric and view of success, because it’s sales. And other leaders within the org, such as product chiefs and HR chiefs have a single source of truth they use to judge as well.

But that single source of truth hasn’t existed on the marketing side.

Companies optimize in pockets. Sales, customer service and marketing all optimize on their own metrics and view of the customer. What a CDP does is collapse that into a single view of customer experience. Eventually we think the CMO is going to own that.

What’s the difference with this offering and what you’d get from a data onboarding and identity resolution company like Experian, LiveRamp or Neustar?

The main difference with those services and CDP is the real-time nature of things.

There’s marketing and engagement data piping in constantly, and that needs to be reactive in close to real time.

Companies that have ID offerings typically play nice with the new CDP ecosystem. Take a Dun & Bradstreet, which has B2B identifiers. A client of ours may bring someone into their system as a lead, and then use a D&B ID to fill that out with useful profile data on that company. We can then push that out to email, search or social for activation, all in real time.

Does this replace products like the Krux DMP or Datorama?

It’s an evolution of the DMP. But the DMP will still exist and is fantastic for what it does, which is creating audiences around unknown data and activating across advertising channels.

There’s a tried-and-true strategy of third-party data enrichment within the DMP. But that isn’t the same as being the source-of-truth customer data set.

Customer 360 is a family of products, of which the CDP – Customer 360 Audiences – will be one. For instance, Data Manager is an identity data resolution product within that offering.

A service head or COO might see that someone spoke with an associate in a store or called a customer service line, and the CRO knows this customer has made these purchases before. The marketer has a view of this person in their media and analytics. Data Manager collapses all those instances of identity into one version.

The Customer 360 Audiences CDP can then incorporate anonymous or pseudonymous data and do segmentation and analytics, like a DMP, traditionally, but with first-party data and identity resolution – and it sits across all views of the customer, not just marketing.

Sounds like you envision a more empowered CMO moving forward.

Yes. And we are seeing that change. More CMOs becoming, say, chief growth officer or chief brand officer, where they’re responsible for the whole customer experience. They have more ownership of their own budget and are being judged on growth, not marketing metrics, because they have that full view of the customer.

At certain companies, and it tends to be the bigger, more forward-thinking companies, the CMO is starting to own that end-to-end. As consumer brands and CPGs in particular we’re seeing that happen as they move more direct-to-consumer.

What’s the biggest challenge for this new kind of CMO?

Integration is the number one focus for CMOs in those businesses.

The mar tech vendor ecosystem has gone from about 100 companies to 7,000 in a decade, and technology stacks are only getting more heterogeneous. It’s never going to get simpler.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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