Tucked away in the far recesses of the Salesforce Connections 2018 conference was a lonely stand manned by a very technical buy shy sales consultant. The consultant eagerly dusted off and walked me through a well-polished presentation.

The goal of the presentation was to demonstrate the flexibility of Salesforce DMP by creating complex audiences with many nuanced possibilities. My overly eager sales consultant didn’t flinch when I asked him to create the most complex model yet. I wanted to see an overlay of

  • Website data from Google Analytics 360,
  • Audience models from Krux,
  • Einstein Splits into various demographics and
  • Something programmatic. With a self-assured smile, the consultant accepted the challenge and got to work.

He kicked the session by starting with a blank canvas on Salesforce Journey Builder. He jumped over to Google Analytics and authenticated with a secure handshake between the two systems. Within moments the canvas was filled with site analytics data. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Google allow data to flow out of their walled garden! He skipped over to the AI engine and deployed the Einstein Splits bot and fragments that audience into various demographic targets.

The canvas now came to life and started to look like the beginnings of the London Underground train map. Each station was a set of defined audience targeting rules. He then hopped over to the audience profiling section and overlayed Krux 3rd Party DMP data to further break out each of these audiences into smaller groups. The canvas now looked even more like the underground with smaller rail lines splitting off from the main lines.

Revelation

Then the sales consultant almost nonchalantly pushed the data into a programmatic media environment. He did this step so quickly that my jaw nearly hit the floor. ‘Are you okay?’ He asked me as he could see that I was transfixed on the integration between Salesforce DMP and the programmatic world. It felt like that scene from The Blues Brothers where the light shines through the church window onto James Belushi whilst James Brown asks “Do you see the light?” I felt like I was standing alone in the conference looking at this screen and realised just how fundamentally this will change media planning and buying in the near future. “Yes, I see the light!”

The DMP to programmatic media buying process was touched on again during the closing keynote by Ducati. They walked through a very tangible use case of a customer that browsed the website on their laptop and then pushed that audience from Google Analytics 360 into programmatic media.

I was fascinated by this demonstration because in no place did either Salesforce or Ducati mention using their media agencies for media planning and buying. In fact, their DMP pushed segments directly into a programmatic landscape and thus bypassed agency trading desks.

A thousand more questions

I needed to know more. Where in the programmatic landscape were these audiences being pushed? Were the audiences being pushed to the buy side or the sell side of the programmatic world? If they were being pushed to the sell side then did publishers know and how the hell could they effectively yield manage this very valuable inventory? If these audiences were being pushed to the buy side then did the agencies know and how would the agencies account for this in their overarching media strategy? Or even worse? Did neither Agency or Publisher know and this new piece of Mar-Tech was now running programmatic media by itself?

Unfortunately, the enthusiasm of the sales consultant started to wear out as I peppered him with a barrage of technical questions about Deal IDs, Seat IDs, Brand Safety, Ad-Fraud and a dozen other programmatic questions which didn’t seem to be included in this kind man’s polished presentation. The only clue that I could see was that the audience was being pushed to ad-tech vendors like Double Click for Publishers which makes me think that it’s more of a publisher connection than an agency connection.

Sometimes, at these mega-events it’s the small things that make the difference. It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and the glamor of visually stimulating presentations. However, if you squint your eyes and turn your head on an angle like a dog that doesn’t understand it’s master, you may find something small and useful that may end up changing the way we look at marketing today.

My prediction is that Salesforce will sit up and take note. They will beef-up this section of the DMP offering to become a full programmatic solution. They may fast track this development roadmap with the purchase of a self-service programmatic media buying company but even if they decide to build it themselves they certainly have enough developers to get the job done. Either way, it’s a bright future for the Salesforce DMP

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