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Prepare for Data Cloud

Learning Objectives

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

  • Identify the benefits and use cases for Data Cloud.
  • Prepare for implementation.


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.

Data Cloud

Back to the mission at hand. As a marketer, you’re at the center of creating connected experiences. That’s why Data Cloud for Marketing was built for you, using the easy-to-use Lightning interface. Still wondering how you can complete your mission? We get it. It’s time for some reconnaissance about what you can do with your new Data Cloud.

Action Explanation More Info
Ingest your raw data. Ingest data from a variety of sources including second- and third-party data.  First-party data: Your customer data that you own and manage.

Second-party data: Someone else’s data that you purchased from another company or source.

Third-party data: A collection of data from many sources (often behavioral or demographic data).
Clean and transform your data.
Bad data hygiene costs businesses money by spending marketing dollars on unusable data. Before you use that dirty data in an audience segment or for personalizing content, cleanse and prepare your data for segmentation.
Not sure what we mean by dirty data? Come clean and check out the module Data Quality. Learn how to transform data
Map and model your data. Data Cloud uses standardized data models, called data bundles, that are based on the Customer 360 Data Model. Select a model that matches your use case or create a custom model. Map your ingested data to identify relationships between your data (like email address). You can use these suggested models or you can create your own data model. Learn more in the Trailhead module Data Ingestion and Modeling.
Identify and unify your customer info. Within this data, you have customers that are known to you (through email and mobile numbers) and customers that are unknown (anonymous cookies and mobile device IDs, as an example). It’s time to narrow down your data to identify and know who each customer is. Having a unified customer profile is key to your mission’s success. Customer identity resolution rulesets can help you mitigate any duplicate contacts in your imported data. Visit the Data and Identity in Data Cloud module to learn more about identity resolution.
Select your channels. Determine where you want to send your segmented data to be used. For example, Marketing Cloud Engagement, Google, your analytics platform, and so on. It’s important that you understand and follow data protection laws. Check out the trail Learn Privacy and Data Protection Law.
Segment and activate your audiences. Create flexible audience segments using easy drag-and-drop functionality. Once satisfied with your segment, activate that segment across those channels you just selected. Segments include real-time population counts! Learn about segmentation and activation in the module, Segmentation and Activation.
Do your marketing magic. Take those segments and delight your customers with timely marketing experiences. Use your Data Cloud audience segments as an entry source in Journey Builder.
Measure your success. Using the various data sources you have brought into Data Cloud, you can analyze and visualize customer engagement across channels and touchpoints. Once you have a complete view of your marketing performance, you can demonstrate to your team that their investments in the Data Cloud (and your marketing programs) have led to higher customer lifetime values, better margins, and ultimately increased growth.

Data Cloud in Action

Remember the Northern Trail Outfitters example we shared earlier, where each department was using different data sources? Let’s see how Data Cloud helps NTO across several use cases.

Use Case Explanation Benefit to NTO
Data unification Unify CRM, marketing, commerce, and service data to extend your marketing abilities. Marketing Cloud Engagement, Sales Cloud, and Service Cloud data is imported into Data Cloud. NTO also imports its analytics data, ecommerce data, as well as its CEO’s spreadsheet data.
Customer identity resolution Merge customer information from various systems to create a single ID, a single record for a customer. For NTO, creating a unified customer ID and record is the first step to creating a cohesive and consistent user experience for its customers.

NTO’s executives are pleased to see that the merge process revealed duplicate contacts that they can remove for cost savings.
Audience segmentation Build quick audience segments for marketing campaigns. NTO marketing manager, Isabelle, is excited about how easy it is for her team to create complex segments that can be used across channels. Her team also loves seeing an immediate audience count so they can decide if they need to narrow their audience even further for more personalized audience segments.
Delivery management Control cross-channel spending by streamlining campaigns. Isabelle can streamline her customer engagement communications and maintain low costs by targeting customers efficiently in their preferred channel.
Audience suppression Create a suppression audience for marketing and advertising campaigns based on business use cases. Isabelle is collaborating with the Customer Support team to suppress customers with open support tickets from receiving marketing communications. Jason immediately notices this improves customer satisfaction scores.
Consent management Deliver communications based on channel-specific consent and customer preference. Since Isabelle is tracking and following a customer’s communication preferences, she not only builds their trust, she also ensures NTO is maintaining privacy compliance.
Analyze metrics
Visualize and understand customer engagement and long-term retention.
The CEO is thrilled as he finally has an enterprise look at metrics across NTO departments, from marketing to sales to ecommerce data.  

Preparing for Data Cloud

No mission is successful without a detailed action plan. Similarly, digital transformation won’t occur unless you have a plan in place. It requires top-down support, along with input from many teams across your business ecosystem. Customer interactions happen across a wide array of business channels and devices, and some of those channels may require more work than others. To help with your mission prep, here is a checklist of topics and questions to address before implementing Data Cloud.

  • Identify Project Stakeholders

Who are the stakeholders involved in data decisions? In addition to the decision makers, list anyone whose job is impacted by this implementation (marketing specialists, IT specialists, and so on).

  • Identify Data Sources and Integrations

What systems need to be integrated into your Data Cloud to help you create marketing segments for planned campaigns? Who owns these systems? Be sure to add them to the list of stakeholders.

  • Identify Users

Next, think about who needs access to Data Cloud, as well as who should be your admin. The admin is one of the most important people when it comes to making your implementation a success. Take time to consider who is most qualified for this role. Review users in your organization who need to create segments and create a plan for who needs what permissions in your Data Cloud org. Here are the standard user permission set options:

Data Cloud for Marketing Admin—Responsible for the setup of the application, user provisioning, and assigning permission sets within the system. This role has access to Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds in addition to other integrated systems within the Core cloud platform. The admin executes day-to-day configuration, support, maintenance and improvement, and performs regular internal system audits.

Data Cloud for Marketing Data Aware Specialist—Creates and manages the data model defined by the team. They also create identity resolution rules, create data streams, map data in the data model, and build calculated insights.

Data Cloud for Marketing Manager—Manages the overall segmentation strategy and identifies target campaigns. 

Data Cloud for Marketing Specialist—Creates, manages, and publishes segments for the identified campaigns.

  • Document All Business Requirements

It’s important to document all business requirements and use cases. Think about all the marketing campaigns that you plan to run for a given brand or brands within your company. When ready, review your requirements with your stakeholders and your selected admin. Approved business requirements can help ensure you have a successful implementation.

  • Understand System Requirements

Data Cloud is built on the Salesforce Lightning UI with each instance deployed to a Salesforce org. An org is an identifier that represents a customer’s version of Salesforce and its data within an instance. Likewise, Marketing Cloud Engagement has a distinct definition for an Enterprise account (referred to as an EID), which can have multiple business units (each with separate MIDs). Each Data Cloud instance is allowed to be connected to one enterprise Marketing Cloud Engagement instance or a single EID, with all associated business units.

Here is an example of the Northern Trail Outfitter account setup.

Marketing Cloud Engagement Enterprise Account Salesforce Instance
NTO EID: 123456 Northern Trail Outfitters Salesforce Data Cloud Instance
NTO Internal MID: 234567
NTO Amer MID: 345678
NTO Europe MID: 456789

Before implementing Data Cloud it’s important to consider your Marketing Cloud Engagement account structure. If your company manages multiple brands that do not share data with each other and have access restrictions, you may need to consider deploying more than one Data Cloud instance for each restricted brand. Review your company’s data privacy requirements to decide if you need more than one production instance of Data Cloud.  


Want to review all the implementation steps? Check out the Data Cloud Implementation Guides and Data Cloud Checklist.

Come Full Circle

With Data Cloud for Marketing, you can gather and unify your data across systems. You take that data and create audience segmentation that can be activated and used across a variety of channels. Additionally, you can view the data using various analytics tools to review the performance of your marketing efforts. A true and effective customer data platform.

All in the name of your marketing mission: to create a customer experience that is highly personalized, builds loyalty, and establishes trust in your brand.

File folder graphic with text, Do you accept this mission?


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