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Meet Data Cloud for Marketers

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define a customer data platform (CDP).
  • Explain the benefits of Data Cloud.


If you'd like to listen to an audio recording of this module, please use the player below. When you’re finished listening to this recording, remember to come back to each unit, check out the resources, and complete the associated assessments. As this is a prototype, we’d really appreciate your feedback on the experience. You can provide it by completing this short survey.

The Marketer’s Mission

Marketers, here is your mission: Create a customer experience that is highly personalized, builds loyalty, and establishes trust in your brand. To complete this mission, you must navigate your known and unknown data across all channels. You have a limited budget, so you need to optimize spend and keep costs low. And to prove your mission is successful, you must show the impact your work has on your business.

File folder image for Isabelle’s Top Secret Mission.

It’s a massive mission, to be sure. But you don’t have to go it alone. We have intel that can help make your mission a success—like how to bring together your data from anywhere to build a single, unified view of your customer. Let’s learn more about the systems and products that make this possible: customer data platforms, Salesforce Data Cloud, and the Customer 360 Data Model.

What’s a Customer Data Platform?

So let’s begin the brief. At a basic level, a customer data platform (CDP) is a place where a company collects and stores data about its customers. However, data collection can only take companies (and marketers) so far in the quest to deliver connected experiences.

To build trust, you can’t just collect data, you need to be able to collect and use that data to provide relevant communications and follow customer preferences—all while respecting customer privacy. To truly complete this task, companies need to solve the issue of fragmented data that stems from department silos and misaligned business goals.

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer Northern Trail Outfitters (or simply NTO) knows this data challenge first-hand. NTO collects and uses data in many ways, from many sources.

  • Marketing manager, Isabelle, uses Marketing Cloud Engagement and collects data from an email sign-up form and preference center. She stores that data in data extensions and uses it to personalize email journeys for NTO customers. She uses data from Marketing Cloud Engagement to measure customer engagement through open and click rates.
  • Customer services director, Jason, uses Service Cloud to track a customer’s support history. He measures his team performance based on customer satisfaction scores.
  • Sales manager, LaTonya, uses Sales Cloud to track attendance at customer events, to create advertising campaigns, and to monitor internal sales incentive programs.
  • The web analytics and ecommerce team use their ecommerce site and Adobe Analytics to monitor customer activity and purchases.
  • Other employees also use an internal database for their brick and mortar stores, like store manager information and earnings reports.
  • On top of that, the CEO uses spreadsheets for various business purposes.

Each of these sources and datasets provide a slightly different view of the same customers. With all this disparate data, how can NTO transform into a company driven by customer experience? The answer is key to your mission as well: A product that can give you a single, unified view of every customer.

Connect the Dots with Data Cloud for Marketing

For NTO, and like-minded marketers on this mission, it’s critical to identify customers across multiple data sources and connect the dots between them. To transform digital experiences and create a 360-degree view of a customer, you need a unified profile. This profile should keep track of privacy and communication preferences, too. Even if you have all the data in the world to build amazing personalized experiences, if you lose your customer’s trust, you lose their business. With this in mind, we built trust standards into Data Cloud, with a specific focus on governance, security, and privacy compliance. Helping you know what data you have, what customer data you can use, and how your customers prefer to be contacted.

Not only can you unify your customer data across disparate systems with Data Cloud, you can use this data to create unique audience segments to market across various channels, including Marketing Cloud Engagement. Even better, you can build customer trust by only communicating with contacts in the channel they prefer.

With Data Cloud you can:

  • Create unified customer profiles across all touchpoints by connecting identities, engagement data, customer orders, loyalty, and marketing journeys.
  • Build smarter audience segments using insights and filtering capabilities.
  • Activate data from anywhere across your organization.
  • Capture and unify data from anywhere with a high-scale data ingestion service.
  • Analyze your data using tools like Tableau or Marketing Cloud Intelligence.

So now that you know a bit more about Data Cloud, let’s explore the data structure behind this technology.


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