Mass marketing is for marketing dinosaurs. Digital marketing is old-school. We have already stepped out of these types of marketing. We live in the era of emerging Intelligent Marketing, which is totally transforming the customer experience.
Marketing department is no more a team of people who just plan campaigns to spam people. Marketing experts are working on deploying intelligent marketing strategies which nurture potential customers and engage with the existing ones through relevant communication channels (email, SMS, push notifications, social media, etc.)
This is all of course backed by customers’ consent and preference in accordance with the GDPR. Intelligent marketing strategy also includes data source connection and data organization, audience segmentation and customer experience optimization, web and email personalization with artificial intelligence, as well as deep data analysis and reporting. All of the above and much more is supported with the help of Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) – the most powerful and transforming marketing tool ever.
Covering all the simple and complex functionalities that Marketing Cloud can handle would be worth writing a whole book or even a series of them. Here and now I would like to cover some of the most useful SFMC points from my perspective. Let’s dive in.
Keep up your IP reputation as your personal one
Billions of emails are sent out by Marketing Cloud every day. No matter how big your email campaigns are, you need to maintain a good IP reputation.
Improving your deliverability is a continuous process and not just one-time action. My suggested approach is to proactively remove hard-bounced email addresses by placing them in a suppression list, unsubscribing them or even removing them completely, otherwise it could drastically harm your reputation among ESPs.
Tip: track those hard-bounced addresses from each sent email by going in Email Studio, then Tracking, and then Sends.
Remember hygiene. Data hygiene
Marketing Cloud can help you identify inactive subscribers and you can decide whether to dive deeper to find the reason of their inactivity and try to nurture them further or consider deleting those contacts.
My suggested action: place inactive subscribers separately in a suppression list, or delete them completely to reduce the cost of All Contacts and to maintain capacity for those engaged with your brand and communication.
Tip: create a Report of Unengaged Subscribers for a List in Analytics Builder.
In case you want to see the flip side of the coin and get those most active customers whom you want to reward and target with a special marketing campaign, there is another type of report to discover. Customer Engagement is measured in Marketing Cloud by clicks and opens of the emails delivered. To get this information, simply run Subscriber Engagement Report from Analytics Builder.
Butterfly Effect in Solution Design
When managing several Business Units in Marketing Cloud, there is one important architecture consideration for Enterprise 2.0 accounts: think about unique identifiers for your subscribers in advance. Each of your subscribers, no matter in which Business Unit they are held, should have their unique specified subscriber key in the data relationship.
Imagine this situation: you have the same subscriber key (12345) for two different subscribers with different email addresses who are held in two different BUs. One time you send an email to the subscriber held in BU 1, so there is a new subscriber created in All Subscribers list with their own subscriber key. After a while, another email campaign is built in BU 2 and you send an email to another subscriber in BU 2, but with the same key as the previously mentioned subscriber. Marketing Cloud will search for the key, find the already existing one and send your email to this subscriber’s email address from BU 1. That is not the desired action, right?
My suggested action: to prevent this situation from happening, consider a unique identifier for subscribers held across all SFMC Business Units.
Add a personal touch to the emails
In Marketing Cloud, we build targeted, engaging and personalized emails. Each email is unique for every single customer: the very opposite of spamming. Here are the tools supporting smart email building (ranked from the easiest on the top to the advanced options at the bottom):
- Personalization strings
- Dynamic Content
- His Majesty – AMPscript
- Interactive Email Block – finally, yay! – live from Spring 20 Release.
- Scripting Master? Challenge yourself with GTL and SSJS
Being a reporting hero
Despite the lack of advanced custom reporting in Marketing Cloud (for now), you can still use the available reporting toolset across the platform.
If you want some standardized reporting data, check the 65 options available in Standard Reports. If you want to explore the performance of each and every email sent out, go to Email Studio, then Tracking, and then Sends. All information regarding mass, single, triggered sends, journey emails as well as the results of A/B testing are held here. Journey performance can be found in Journey Analytics Dashboard (when integrated with Google Analytics 360, you can see even more insightful integrated data!)
Do you want to dive into something more advanced? Go for it and query raw data from Data Views in the backend of Marketing Cloud. The full list of available attributes is available here.
Go above and beyond
Out of the box functionalities are great but might not meet all your business requirements. And this is where Marketing Cloud is extremely flexible again! There are many options for customization, from creating custom content blocks for Content Builder to building custom activities for Journey Builder or creating your own Marketing Cloud App that can be „iframed“ into the platform.
Tip: explore developer.salesforce.com or contact Isobar experts.
Marketing Cloud is a powerful tool that can help you understand the behavior of your customers, use artificial intelligence for personalization and engage your customers across the entire journey. The sheer quantity and broad potential of Marketing Cloud requires good knowledge of the business and a creative approach. If you are not sure that your approach can bring the desired results, feel free to engage the support of an experienced Salesforce partner. Their assistance and guidance will drive better results and help you avoid many pitfalls along the way.
Ekaterina Obolenskaya is a certified Senior Salesforce Marketing Cloud Solution Architect and Developer working and delivering in Isobar Switzerland. She has also been named as Salesforce Marketing Champion. She has acquired extensive work experience as SFDC Specialist and her current role of SFMC professional enables her to support smart digital transformation and improvements of marketing processes for a large number of international companies. She is also a long-time Trailblazer and Salesforce enthusiast who participates in and supports various Ohana events.