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Top Takeaways from Connections 2019

Dillon Baker

This year was Datorama’s first at Connections, Salesforce’s (second) biggest event of the calendar year. The conference — located in what happened to be an incessantly foggy Chicago — brings together all of Salesforce’s product lines, best customers and partners, and an awesome line-up of speakers into a packed three days.

For those paying attention, there were plenty of important trends being discussed throughout the panels, keynotes, and demos on display. Above everything, one thing was clear: data — of all types, from audience, performance, and even production data — and the management of it is taking a central role across Marketing departments. More than ever, marketers are expected to be able to gather, unify, and interpret data — and that’s having a huge affect on the industry as a whole.

Here are the three biggest takeaways we got from Connections 2019:

1. Marketers are beginning to understand the value of owning their data

Not long ago, marketers were reliant on partners, agencies, and IT for all their data. That began to change a few years ago, and the trend is only accelerating. Now, marketers want to own — or more accurately, share — their data.

As marketing becomes more reliant on customer and performance data to optimize their efforts and out-do competitors, it’s becoming something of an arms race to digitally transform marketing departments with data at the center of everything. That means that more marketers than ever are data-fluent, as roles traditionally held by IT or outsourced to agencies start moving internally so that marketing departments can move faster and trust their insights.

That’s all taking place at Bayer, where Jeff Rasp, Director of US Consumer Health Digital Strategy joined us on stage to tell their story of brining data in-house. By leveraging Datorama, Rasp and his team began combating some of their biggest hurdles: static, dated reporting; unclear data integrity; and months-long processes or unifying and reporting on performance. By unifying their data within Datorama, Rasp could up his team’s speed-to-insight — and trust that the data they were using was accurate.

It’s something we saw across industries and teams, and we don’t see the trend slowing down.

2. Unified data models are becoming a reality

One of the biggest benefits of unifying a marketing team’s data is that building a unified data model — where all data shares the same taxonomy and can be compared apples to apples — suddenly becomes possible. While the idea of a unified data model is a common concept in marketing, it’s often more aspirational than reality.

However, thanks to new technologies like Datorama and Salesforce products like Customer360, what was often a painstakingly manual process of connecting technologies, channels, and backend data taxonomies is within reach of the average marketer.

Disney — one of Datorama’s customers and certainly anything but an average marketing team — spoke with us at Connections on how they used Datorama to execute cross-device data modeling across all their marketing. The result was a foundation for sophisticated insights they can use to optimize campaigns and ultimately drive growth for their products. Brands across the world are trying to follow suit, and they’re likely than ever to get there.

3. IT and Marketing are partnering up

While marketers increasingly want to own their data, that doesn’t have to come at the expense of IT. While many tech-savvy roles in marketing departments are taking over traditional IT roles, many are also realizing the value of creating strong partnerships with IT to supplement their efforts or accomplish things marketing can’t do by themselves.

One example from Connections was Datorama customer Land O’Lakes, who took the stage with representatives from both Marketing and IT to explain how they’ve worked together to create a single source of truth neither could do alone. It took plenty of effort, including internal workshops and an intensive process of mapping out an analytical framework, but the results speak to how much the effort has paid off

It’s an important reminder that digital transformation can’t happen in siloes: To achieve true data-driven marketing, marketers need to connect with stakeholders across the company. And ultimately, that’s what Connections is all about.


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