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Connect, Harmonize, and Activate: 3 Keys to the Product Data Revolution

If there’s one takeaway from this year’s Salesforce Connections conference, it’s that you should be preparing your product data now—so you don’t get left behind later.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, AI will soon be a ubiquitous part of your business’s daily workflow.

The faster companies get on board with that reality, the faster you can get your product data ready for the coming era. 

This was the overarching message running through this year’s Salesforce Connections, the conference for digital solutions in marketing and commerce.

Here’s what you need to know.

3 Core Ways to Prepare Your Product Data for the AI Revolution

The conference highlighted that "product data" encompasses various types of information needed to build a complete and functional product profile that AI can later harness. These include:

  • Inventory Data: Real-time information on stock levels, which is crucial for managing promotions and avoiding stockouts.
  • Telemetry/IoT Data: Data from connected devices that provide insights into product usage and performance.
  • Product Specifications: Detailed information about product features and attributes, essential for creating accurate product descriptions and marketing materials.
  • Quality Reports: Data on product quality and performance, which can inform customer service responses and product improvements.

For product companies looking to stay competitive, the key lies in mastering the art of connecting, harmonizing, and activating your product data across your entire value chain, from design to commercialization. 

Here's how your company can leverage Salesforce solutions to remain at the forefront of innovation.

1. Connecting Data: The Starting Point of Your Data Journey

Did you know? The average company uses 1,061 applications.

That means data is stored in 1,061 disparate places. 

Effective use of your product data begins with connecting it. Whether it's specifications, digital assets, inventory, pricing, or telemetry/IoT data from field assets, creating a cohesive hub for this information is crucial. That’s your first priority. 

Salesforce’s Data Cloud for Manufacturing meets this business-critical need. The Data Cloud allows product companies to prevent the common pitfalls of multiple, conflicting data sources, which can lead to inefficiencies and decision-making errors. Instead, companies are able to connect data from various origins, ensuring a comprehensive view that is both accessible and manageable. 

This first step is essential for building a robust data infrastructure that supports further data enablement.

 2. Harmonizing Data: Towards a Unified Data Model

After connecting your data sources, the next critical step is harmonization. Creating a unified data model, which Salesforce refers to as the "unified customer profile," allows for accurate and reliable data across your company's operations. 

For product companies, the same idea should be applied to not only customer profiles but each product profile as well. Propel Software's equivalent concept of a "unified product thread" exemplifies how such a model can streamline processes and decision-making by ensuring all product information is aligned and consistent throughout the product lifecycle.

3. Activating Data: Unlocking the Power of AI

Here’s where everyone’s new favorite business technology comes in. 

The ultimate value of your connected and harmonized data is “activated” when AI translates it into actionable insights. The endgame of AI-powered analytics is intended to reduce the manual complexity of time-consuming commerce activities – vastly accelerating time-to-market.

AI-Powered Innovations for Marketing and Commerce

At Salesforce Connections, presentations centered around several new AI-driven tools designed to enhance marketing and commerce operations. 

These innovations rely heavily on trusted product data to deliver their full value.

Einstein Copilot for Marketing: This AI assistant simplifies the campaign creation process by generating marketing briefs, content, and email campaigns. By using reliable product data, it ensures that marketing efforts are data-driven and aligned with customer needs. For instance, a clothing retailer can quickly create targeted campaigns based on past purchase behaviors and inventory levels, leading to more effective marketing strategies.

Einstein Copilot for Merchants: This tool streamlines commerce tasks such as storefront setup and personalized promotions. With access to accurate product data, it enhances product discoverability and provides AI-powered SEO recommendations. Merchants can optimize sales by creating detailed product pages and multilingual promotions based on real-time inventory and customer data.

Data Cloud for Commerce: This platform unifies business and customer data to deliver smart insights and personalized shopping experiences. It allows retailers to boost revenue by making data-driven decisions, such as bundling underperforming products or sending personalized promotions based on purchase history and inventory status.

Real-Time Personalization with Einstein Personalization: Einstein Personalization, a new AI-based decision engine, leverages real-time customer data from the Data Cloud to deliver highly personalized marketing campaigns. This tool automatically triggers the next best interaction based on a customer's behavior and history with a brand. For example, a bank can use Einstein Personalization to offer tailored loan options to a visitor based on their browsing history and interactions, enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction.

Becoming a Leader in the Data Era

Jill Mueller, Propel's Director of Product Marketing, attending Salesforce Connections 2024

The loudest and clearest message coming from Salesforce Connections this year is how crucial it is for product companies to get their product data ready.

Salesforce’s AI innovations will work best for companies that are the most prepared — those with connected and harmonized product data ready for “activation.”

Propel Software offers a compelling blueprint for achieving these objectives as the only Salesforce-native solution that connects data from product lifecycle management (PLM), quality management (QMS), and product information management (PIM) on a single platform.

In essence, staying ahead in product data management requires more than technology alone—it demands a strategic approach that encompasses the full lifecycle of product data. 

By following the lead of innovators like Propel, your company is not just keeping up with the times but is actively shaping the future of its industry. Embrace these tools and strategies to ensure your company remains competitive in a data-driven world.

Wondering how Propel connects, harnesses, and activates your product data better than any other solution on the market? Get a demo today.

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Post by
Jill Mueller
Director of Product Marketing, Propel

Jill has a passion for bringing brands to life to drive strategic growth. Her experience in both retail and manufacturing provides a strong balance of marketing, development, and production knowledge. Most recently, Jill worked with private-equity-backed firms to identify and execute market growth opportunities, including channel expansion, product category launches, and global supply chain improvements.

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Jill Mueller