Here at Salesforce, we practice what we preach and use the products that we make. You’ve likely heard us talk about how tools like Marketing Cloud can transform your business and help you connect with your customers. We use Marketing Cloud to do the same with our own customers, and we're passionate about sharing our experiences to help trailblazing marketers succeed.

At Salesforce, our paid digital team is a known champion of the connected customer experience. They’re dedicated to crafting seamless experiences for our audiences and customers. Recently, we’ve seen a trend emerge in the connected customer experience: customers now expect all of a brand’s marketing to be consistent and relevant in real-time.

This starts with knowing your customers so that you can create and align experiences accordingly. However, when strategizing to meet these needs, our team faced a few issues when engaging with audiences:

  1. Broad audiences needed updating manually, every quarter. This made for a long lag time between a prospect showing interest in a product and seeing an ad for it.
  2. Manual update processes consumed valuable time.
  3. Large account-based marketing lists caused difficulties, as many vendors couldn’t match audiences by company name, and lists were often static.

To fix these issues and meet customer expectations, we turned to automation through Advertising Studio

Here’s how our paid digital team overcame these challenges, and how you can automate your audiences to create connected customer experiences across platforms — all in four easy steps.


1. Define your audiences

Start by using first-party data (ours comes from Email Studio) to create custom audiences. You can define your audience by filtering according to multiple descriptors, depending on your source. These may include:

  • Region
  • Company size
  • Job function or title
  • Current customer status
  • Known product interest

The more focused your target, the more you can deliver the right offers to the right people at the right time. Specification is your friend here, as different audiences have unique needs and priorities. When you know more about them, you’ll be better equipped to send them the information they need in later steps of their customer journeys.


2. Send audiences to vendors

Now it’s time to put those audiences to use. Send your segmented audiences to the platforms you’ll be using to carry out your campaign. These may include Facebook, Twitter, Google, or other vendors.

By sharing custom audiences securely through Audience Studio, you can create audiences at every step of the sales funnel, while driving additional ROI with lookalike audiences. Curious? Hang tight, we’ll have more on that later.


3. Automate data extensions

Your audiences are only as good as they are current. Because customers may travel along their customer journeys rapidly, it’s important to keep your audiences automatically updating at every moment. Our team does this through Email Studio, where our contacts are stored.

Automated data extensions will make sure you have the most up-to-date information daily. No need to undergo a time-consuming and laggy manual quarterly update! We’ve been there and done that, and it’s safe to say that our teams much prefer automatic, timely updates.

Check out Trailhead for more on Advertising Studio Implementation.


4. Take your data further


In some cases, excluding customers can be just as important as including them. For example, if our team wanted to promote a new Sales Cloud add-on product, we’d target existing Sales Cloud customers first. But if we wanted to promote a Sales Cloud free trial, we’d want to be sure to exclude current Sales Cloud customers.

If you have already purchased a product and you got an offer for a free trial for that product, you’d likely get confused! Having the ability to filter an up-to-date audience maximizes the relevance of your advertising.

Pro tip: Work closely with your email team to become familiar with the data extensions that are already available in your email provider. That way, you can amplify your email messaging with digital ads and create seamless cross-channel experiences.
Familiarize yourself with email data extensions for Email Studio with Trailhead.

Lookalike audiences

Birds of a feather flock together — and buy the same products. By analyzing your first-party data, you can find more audiences that act like your current customers. These are called lookalike audiences.

With first-party data, you can target audiences who look most like your customers, people who visit your website, or people who follow you on Facebook, with varying degrees of similarity. You can target a smaller group who looks a lot like your customers, or a larger group who looks a little bit less like your current customers. Creating a larger audience increases your potential reach, but reduces the level of similarity between the lookalike audience and your source audience.


With Audience Studio, our paid digital team was able to automate manual processes and keep audiences up-to-date across platforms. This resulted in major increases in ROI, plus countless hours saved and improved targeting. Our 40+ audiences are now updated daily, with feedback from other teams incorporated along the way — all in the name of building more connected customer experiences.

To learn more, check out a webinar on how Salesforce uses Advertising Studio to increase ROI.