Marketing Cloud Audience Builder has empowered marketers to create highly detailed segmented audiences based on behavioral and demographic data. Now that it is set to retire, the key question arises: “What comes next?”

In any tool retirement scenario, finding a new solution capable of intricate segmentation becomes crucial, and fortunately, there are several options available. A recent poll indicates that only around 40% of respondents were aware of Audience Builder’s impending retirement, emphasizing the importance of planning for the future, whether you’ve been aware for some time or are just learning about it now.

What is Marketing Cloud Audience Builder?

Audience Builder in Marketing Cloud facilitates the creation of finely segmented audiences, leveraging both behavioral and demographic data.

User Interface: The Audience Builder UI provides a user-friendly alternative to SQL queries, catering to less technical marketers.

Data Volumes: Capable of handling large data volumes, Audience Builder outperforms SQL queries, which can often experience timeouts.

Integration: Fully integrated with Marketing Cloud, Audience Builder allows marketers to segment data across various dimensions.

However, Audience Builder has its drawbacks:

Setup: Initial setup requires support from Salesforce professional services, raising the price point and demanding internal efforts.

Maintenance: Adapting Audience Builder to changes in the data model may necessitate third-party support.

Database Sync: While the database offers speed advantages, syncing with Marketing Cloud occurs every 24 hours, potentially leading to the use of outdated data in certain scenarios.

“We had a client who had switched from Audience Builder to SQL queries, which were timing out. They had monstrous data extensions with dozens of millions of contacts. To manage that challenge, the data extensions and queries were broken up into chunks. We worked with them to first filter out contacts that were relevant to their segment, before applying more logic to break it up. It’s like going from cable to streaming – the legacy cable package (like Audience Builder) is very comprehensive, but it’s expensive and needs maintenance. If you are dependent on technicians to visit (professional services), it becomes less adaptable to your needs.”

Anthony Lamot, CEO & Co-Founder of DESelect

Migrating from Audience Builder: What to Expect

The aim of Audience Builder is to create complex, granular segments. When seeking an alternative, consider the following options:

  1. SQL Queries:
  2. Segment as a Service:
    • Engage a consultancy or agency to handle new segmentation requirements, albeit at an additional cost.
  3. Custom Solution:
    • Build a custom solution in-house or with external assistance, bearing in mind the maintenance challenges and potential platform changes.
  4. Salesforce Data Cloud (formerly CDP):
    • A data warehouse for housing marketing, service, customer experience, and sales data, offering unification. Salesforce Data Cloud is a viable solution.
  5. AppExchange Solution:
    • Utilize a turnkey platform from third-party app developers, providing ease of use and adaptability.

Spotlight on the AppExchange

The AppExchange, Salesforce’s app marketplace, features DESelect as a market leader in marketing data enablement for Marketing Cloud. DESelect offers strengths similar to Audience Builder but with improvements:

  • Ease of Use:
    • DESelect provides a turnkey platform that is easy to implement and adapt.
  • Efficiency:
    • Marketers can model data as needed, resulting in a 50% increase in marketing efficiency.
  • Personalization:
    • Campaigns benefit from stronger personalization and quicker time-to-market.

Salesforce Audience Studio to Retire

Choosing an alternative to Audience Builder is a critical decision, especially as hyper-personalization gains importance in competitive marketing landscapes. Avoiding team attrition and empowering marketers with efficient tools are additional reasons to invest in a robust alternative. DESelect, with its user-friendly approach and alignment with modern marketing trends, stands out as a compelling solution worth considering.

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