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Marketing's Love Story: AI Takes Center Stage for Unprecedented Success

Written by Lauren Noonan, VP, Marketing Cloud + AI GTM at Thunder

In the marketing world, it often feels like we’re living in a romantic comedy. The meet-cute is where a brand stumbles upon a potential customer, and sparks fly. There are the grand gestures, like those attention-grabbing ads, that sweep us off our feet. And, of course, there’s the inevitable plot twist when a well-executed campaign sends our hearts aflutter.

Around 71% of marketers say meeting customer expectations is more complicated than a year ago. But what if I told you that behind this rom-com marketing façade, there’s a not-so-secret love affair between businesses and AI technology? It is harder than ever to be a marketer.

But – plot-twist – what if I told you it’s the golden era to be a marketer? The insane pace of innovation with new AI and automation has made it easier for marketers to finally deliver the experiences their customers desire. Opportunities abound for customer engagement, personalization, and launching AI-backed, data-driven marketing initiatives that build trust and brand loyalty.

So grab your popcorn and get ready for a whirlwind marketing romance as we explore how AI is harnessing unified data to support strategic, data-driven customer segmentation, well-timed campaign execution, empowering the workplace, and enhancing customer experiences – all within a platform you can trust.

Marketing + AI Data

United Data As One Source: A Powerful Foundation For a New Golden Era

In any new relationship, there is the desire to learn everything about the other person, whether it’s combing through an online profile or playing twenty questions over drinks. Then, we use that information to identify consistencies, align common interests and abilities, and focus on improving the relationship and exceeding expectations. Gathering information from different sources and then centralizing it as a single source of truth is foundational for the relationship to grow. 

It’s the same for customer relationship management. 

Consolidating data onto a single platform, like Customer 360, offers numerous benefits that enhance efficiency and decision-making across departments. First, it promotes data integrity and accuracy by minimizing duplication and ensuring a single source of truth. This streamlines data management and reduces the risk of errors and inconsistencies. 

Secondly, a centralized platform facilitates more straightforward access to information, enabling quicker and more informed decision-making. It simplifies data retrieval and analysis, saving time and resources. 

Additionally, such a platform promotes collaboration, as teams can access, share, and work on the same data seamlessly. This fosters a more cohesive and agile working environment. 

Lastly, it enhances security and compliance efforts, as data can be more effectively monitored, protected, and audited. 

For marketers, centralized data optimizes data management, decision-making, collaboration, and security and positions the marketing team to leverage unprecedented customer data sources to gain a competitive advantage through consistent CX and brand awareness. 

Not every campaign is a hit. Sometimes, teams have to date around to find the ideal approach for nurturing a data-driven connection with potential customers. However, analyzing centralized, real-time data that points to what people are looking for in a brand and having AI-supported technology available to respond makes this an exciting time for building new and lasting relationships.

Marketing + AI segmentation

Must Like Puppies AND Long Walks on the Beach? Yes, Segmentation Matters

It’s tempting to treat every audience as a potentially perfect love connection. Still, a trip to reality town exposes the unmistakable truth: Not everybody is into you simultaneously. So when the need for a new campaign arises, how can you be sure you’re capturing, say, those who love Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain versus those who don’t? That’s the essence of AI-driven customer segmentation. 

Unprecedented Accuracy 

AI empowers businesses to customize their marketing communications for customers, enhancing their attractiveness and potential to stimulate sales and elevate customer satisfaction. 

Automation Tools Simplifies Segmentation Fast–Real Fast

By harnessing the capabilities of AI, businesses can quickly pinpoint and categorize customers according to their interests, requirements, and actions. This facilitates the more precise focus of marketing initiatives, ultimately leading to heightened customer involvement and improved sales. 

Allocates Money For The Greatest Impact

AI empowers businesses to maximize their marketing budget, which frees up resources for other vital aspects of their operations. This is attributed to AI’s capacity to enhance marketing endeavors, saving time and cost.

AI technology empowers marketing teams to leverage real-time data to create more granular and dynamic customer profiles. Now, companies can understand their customers on a deeper level, predict their behavior, and tailor marketing efforts with unparalleled precision. 

These “feel-good” moments lead to increased customer engagement with smart spending that ultimately boost sales.

Predictive Analytics: A Fancy Name for ‘I Told You So’

Now that you’ve established top-notch content and used real-time AI-based data to tailor your approach to customer preferences, it’s crucial to implement personalized touchpoints. This ensures a continuous and engaging customer experience, which, in turn, maximizes opportunities for conversion. The days of throwing spaghetti against the wall for a successful sticking point are over. Meet Einstein and the AI-powered Journey Builder. 

By courting features like Einstein Split Type and Send Time Optimization, journeys are designed based on an individual subscriber’s expected actions or persona. Einstein automatically sends content based on when a customer is more likely to open and engage. 

This facilitates direct, personalized one-on-one communication that is finely tailored for the most effective customer touchpoints and further enhances your campaigns, boosting engagement and ensuring that the most fitting message reaches the intended audience at precisely the opportune moment. 

These dynamic real-time customer journeys lead to interactions that are not only more relevant and timely but also considerably increase the chances of conversions.

Keep it All in the Family: Employee experience governs your customer experience

Around 88% of customers say that their experience with a company is more important than the product or service. But what about the internal customer? You know, the one who sings backup during those ambitious nurturing campaigns? The one whose genius wordsmith messaging serenades the most bitter of disgruntled customers? The one whose job changes with every stage of digital transformation?

In 2023, studies show that around 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model. Estimates anticipate those numbers ballooning to approximately 32.6 million by 2025. Since workplace relationships are changing, infrastructure technology must follow. 

AI can bridge gaps, enhance efficiency, and improve employee experience by providing support, personalization, and data-driven insights. The emerging innovation of GPT has many employees sliding right for AI’s ability to deliver measurable performance feedback and support, heighten productivity, and enable intelligent, data-driven collaborative platforms.


An AI-backed CRM supports a variety of internal support resources to strengthen and align your workforce. For example, Salesforce first offered the Concierge mobile-friendly application in 2015. Employees used this intranet-based resource to ask questions, request support and research the knowledge library. 

In September, Salesforce relaunched this tool as an AI-powered employee support bot, built on Slack and integrated with Service Cloud. 

“It supports employees through moments that matter throughout their career — from onboarding to benefits, and everything in between,” Nathalie Scardino, Interim Chief People Officer at Salesforce, said. 

With Ask Concierge, employees can ask questions naturally (no clunky keywords), and it will generate relevant responses specific to the employee’s country or region without employees having to cull through dozens of search results. 

“Best of all,” Scardino added, “The app learns from employee feedback to improve and personalize future responses. And since it’s built on Slack, employees don’t have to leave their productivity platform to get their questions answered.” 

When employees feel valued, they are happier and more productive. That desire to be more engaged at work positions AI to give your workplace operations a total first-date-ready makeover.

Improve productivity

Salesforce research found that 90% of companies that adopted AI are more likely to experience higher productivity levels than companies that don’t use AI. From automating routine tasks to improving data-driven, decision-making capabilities, AI can transform the workplace in at least five areas:


People who implement automation in their work routines typically report reclaiming approximately 3.6 hours per week, translating to a minimum of one month each year for every employee to dedicate to more meaningful tasks. Most employees (77%) say that if automation were possible for routine tasks like getting expense report approvals, it would improve their productivity.

Personalized Insights

Artificial intelligence provides tailored guidance and suggestions according to the employee’s work habits and preferences. This can empower them to organize their tasks better and enhance their decision-making, resulting in heightened productivity.

Automated scheduling 

These AI innovations can enhance scheduling efficiency by evaluating individual workloads, meeting schedules, and other factors. This leads to more effective time utilization and resources and fewer scheduling conflicts. 

Predictive Analysis

In many industries, AI can play a pivotal role in forecasting maintenance requirements and preventing expensive, time-wasting, money-grubbing periods of inactivity. Through continuous equipment monitoring and data analysis, AI can notify maintenance teams about potential concerns before they escalate into significant and costly issues, thus maintaining a smooth-sailing, business-as-usual cadence. 

Data Visibility

With the increasing volume of data being amassed by businesses, AI systems will have the capability to sift through this information and unearth patterns and insights that would pose a challenge for humans to discern. 

This capacity will empower businesses to enhance their decision-making, recognize emerging trends before they go mainstream, and adapt more swiftly to evolving market conditions.

Leaning In On The AI Trust Gap

Just shy of its first anniversary in November, ChatGPT, an AI-powered language model developed by OpenAI, which generates human-like text based on context and past conversations, blasted the boundaries of accessing data, content, metrics, images and disrupted almost every branch of business and sales operations. Since its launch, technology has been scrambling to build a long-term relationship. 

At Dreamforce 2023, Marc Benioff, co-founder, chairman and CEO at Salesforce, all but proposed with a red rose to generative AI with plans of being together forever on the Salesforce GPT instance. 

Einstein 1 is genius, indeed. With state-of-the-art language models, advanced text generation, code generation, sentiment analysis, and active learning capabilities, this AI technology, which combines AI models with real-time data from Data Cloud, can track things we barely know about ourselves. 

However, people have concerns about an application that laps data like a new puppy to a bowl of fresh water. Surveys show that 59% of customers don’t trust companies with their data, fearing companies will misuse this information. In some cases, those concerns are justified. And nobody is more aware of those concerns than Salesforce. 

“Due to the need for GenAI technology to be grounded in security, ethics, and human oversight, when bringing any GenAI innovations to the market, Salesforce has been thoughtful in their design,” Lucy Mazalon, a Salesforce Marketing expert and founder of The Drip, explained. “The challenge has been to keep GenAI outputs contextual to your organization’s data, without sending that data outside of your trusted boundary – whether that’s your Salesforce org, or through secure gateways with other large language model (LLM) providers your organization wishes to leverage.”

Mazalon pointed out that for Salesforce to remain compliant at every turn, they’ve built a Generative AI Gateway, which channels inputs through before going out to other LLM providers.

“When a user writes a prompt from the Salesforce UI that’s intended for an external LLM your organization has connected, it’s passed via the Connect API to the gateway. 

Here, pre-processing occurs (the Einstein Trust Layer), including PII masking so that sensitive information doesn’t leave the boundaries of your Salesforce org. Only then is the request routed to the appropriate handler,” Mazalon said. 

Combining Salesforce Service Cloud and AI is not merely a technological innovation; it represents a customer-centric paradigm shift that, when used securely, solidifies the bonds between businesses and clientele, laying the foundation for sustained success in today’s dynamic marketplace.

Almost every company (literally, 99% of those polled) understands they must take measures to use generative AI responsibly. However, most IT leaders admit their organizations aren’t prepared to deploy it yet. This is the time to consider the ideal strategy.

Marketing + AI strategy

You need an AI Strategy: We Can Help

Customers can’t resist the AI-supported front-end functionality of Einstein and Data Cloud. They seek out online 24/7 customer support via chatbots or text messaging. They are touched when they receive thoughtful, well-suited product suggestions as if their best friend or mom were behind it. They can’t resist the immediacy of shipping status updates or product availability alerts. 

Using automation and real-time data to deliver personalized service at pivotal touchpoints of the buyers’ journey is a match made in heaven for today’s marketing teams, where customer-focused initiatives build trusting relationships. Insert emphasis on trust here. 

Working with an experienced Salesforce team will ensure seamless integration with your company’s CRM, audit your system, cleanse your data, and confirm the implementation is secure. 

Together, we can establish your company’s objectives and goals for using AI-backed automation, explore new strategies to strengthen its infrastructure and prepare for growth. Then, design a customized, scalable system to support those initiatives at every stage of the journey. 

With a modern system that effectively consolidates, manages, and analyzes customer data, the stage is set for developing personalized customer experiences, encouraging meaningful engagement, and building brand awareness.  

In this exhilarating journey through AI-driven marketing, we’ve uncovered the thrilling potential of unified data in crafting strategic, data-driven customer segmentation and orchestrating perfectly timed campaign executions. We’ve seen how AI empowers workplaces, unlocking new realms of efficiency and innovation. 

With a dependable platform as our compass, we’ve embarked on a quest to enhance customer experiences, forging lasting connections. The stage is set, and the spotlight now shines on a marketing romance like no other, where AI takes the lead in a captivating love story of data and strategy, promising a future of unparalleled customer engagement and success.

Ready to fall in love with AI-driven Marketing? Contact the experts at Thunder to get started!