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Privacy underlies product updates as Salesforce and Adobe bolster CDPs

By Andrew Blustein | Reporter

June 18, 2019 | 6 min read

Marketers need their data management platforms (DMPs) to do the near impossible: organize a seemingly endless amount of third-party customer data.

Salesforce and Adobe bolster competing CDPs

Salesforce and Adobe bolster competing CDPs

Now add a layer of consent management to that remit — as the marketing industry has to manage data governance in the face of GDPR, California’s coming data privacy act and anti-tracking policies from tech giants such as Apple and Google.

Forrester is one of the research firms tracking which DMPs are up to the task. The Forrester Wave report on DMPs found that Salesforce's and Adobe's competing DMPs rated highest among seven major DMPs for their strong offerings and strategy around data privacy management.

Already with industry-leading DMPs, Adobe and Salesforce are working diligently to ensure that their customer data platforms (CDP) also rank high. Both company have recently made several product announcements related to their CDPs. Oracle has updated its CPD, as well.

CDPs and DMPs both build and share customer profiles, but DMPs organize and classify disparate third-party data sets, while CDPs manage a company’s first-party customer data from across channels.


A global report from Salesforce of 8,000 consumers and businesses found that 64% of customers prefer to receive marketing messages over email compared to all other digital channels. Meanwhile, a study from Litmus found that for every $1 a company invests in email marketing, the return is $42.

To capitalize on this, Salesforce has invested in its Einstein Insights – or artificial intelligence – suite. Using AI, the Salesforce CDP can now optimize email frequency and send-time, reaching individual consumers at their preferred time of day with the right message.

The company also said it plans on making its Customer 360 platform, a platform-as-a-service that connects Salesforce’s cloud offerings to provide a cross-channel view of a customer, generally available in November.

Salesforce offers Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud. Regarding the CDP, Marketing Cloud senior-vice president of product strategy Martin Kihn said: “The overall strategy of [Salesforce] is to create these platforms that will serve all the Clouds.”

Kihn also said Salesforce retooled its platform post-GDPR to include consent frameworks at each touchpoint. Bobby Jania, vice-president of product marketing at Salesforce, echoed that.

“Trust is our number one value. We obviously value the privacy of our customers and of their end customers. Specifically in Marketing Cloud, we've built it in a way that is fully capable of supporting GDPR compliance, as well as other privacy laws that are out there,” said Jania.


Adobe is expanding its Experience Platform with real-time engagement features, dubbed triggered journeys. Marketers can now leverage Adobe’s CDP to send consumers a message based on an “event” they have with a brand.

For example, a local hotel can create a geo-fence that triggers a message if a guest arrives in that city. Adobe then compiles real-time data, such as whether their room is ready, that the hotel can send via push notification to the guest.

Kristin Naragon, director of product marketing at Adobe Campaign, said the company is also “doing heavy testing” on send-time optimization features similar to what Salesforce has rolled out.

When it comes to privacy, Naragon said Adobe makes sure to apply all of the best practices for data privacy and in all the markets where it serves.

“You as a consumer want to receive information that is useful for you. Brands just need to find more creative ways to make sure that you can opt-in [and] can appropriately tell the brand that you want to receive information over that channel,” said Naragon.

“It is a best practice actually to engage with your most engaged customers on those channels. [Companies have] seen lift in engagement in the email channel when they cleaned up who was unengaged on the channel.”


Oracle is also working to build out its CDP, having announced a partnership with Accenture and Capgemini to help marketers understand best practices, map data sets and define business outcomes in a growing field.

Oracle just needs to ensure that its CDP performs better than its DMP. Forrester’s Wave report on DMPs found it has a comparatively weak offering. Salesforce, Adobe, Neustar and Nielsen DMPs all have stronger offerings and strategy than Oracle, according to Forrester.

A look ahead

Whether DMP or CDP, data privacy will force marketers to seriously evaluate their customer data. Tina Moffett, senior analyst at Forrester and coauthor of the DMP Wave, said privacy actions will force advertisers to connect directly with publishers or other advertisers to share first-party data in data marketplaces.

“All brands should focus on building a good base of loyal customers. But you will have customers that are pure “transactors” or customers who just aren’t loyal to any brand, said Moffett.

“The privacy protection actions from the government and from the major tech companies like Apple, Google, and Firefox, is forcing advertisers to focus more on collecting quality first-party data and using that data as a bedrock for building their marketing strategy. Brands will look towards collecting their own intent, perception, and additional customer attributes that can help them target more effectively.”

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