In 2013, Salesforce acquired the e-mail marketing platform ExactTarget and eventually turned it into Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
While there are technically 2 marketing automation platforms within the Salesforce ecosystem of products, Marketing Cloud is focused on B2C customer acquisition and nurturing across e-mail, social, and paid advertising to unify a company's data from all digital touch points. This enables companies to build real-time insight models that deliver powerful automation and campaign execution.
Over the years, Marketing Cloud has grown in complexity and offers a number of add-on products in addition to the core e-mail platform. We highlight some of the main components below before diving into the technical expertise needed to manage Marketing Cloud and continue building out functionality within it:
This lives inside of Marketing Cloud suite and is one way to plan the customer experience. This allows you to be automate follow up and customer engagement based on prior actions that customer has taken. Let's break this down more. As an example, customers may take a variety of steps and interact with your brand across various channels before ultimately buying what you are selling. The journey builder allows you to make a chart with blocks and arrows to build automated solutions that execute next actions and deliver dynamic messages to target customers. As the customer navigates landing pages, you can build a journey to nurture them through a purchasing funnel and automate touchpoints over time.
While journey builder lets you automate messaging, delivering the right message at the right time in the purchasing funnel is critical to converting new customers. Salesforce applications are great at gathering data insights about customer intent, which can be used by a Marketing Cloud Developer to craft responsive website design or dynamic HTML e-mail content unique to them. Building out dynamic content within Marketing Cloud does require specific technical knowledge.
In general, SQL queries are the best way to work with relational databases and it's an important component to Marketing Cloud, particularly in Automation Studio. Using these queries, a company is setting up how they want data to flow into and out of Marketing Cloud, what to do with the data when it arrives, and provides specific instructions and how to analyze various imports to inform on the next action in your marketing campaign.
Effective online marketing requires unique content for each channel you are utilizing, whether that's e-mail, custom landing pages, social, or paid ads. Content Builder is a content management system within Marketing Cloud that serves as a repository for a company's images, documents, and specific messaging and provides a drag-and-drop interface for Marketing teams to publish into various campaigns.
This is another core feature provided by the marketing cloud. This allows you to create and develop emails based on profile data. This being said, you can also send mass emails without leaving any customers out. For example, if you wanted to send a follow-up thank you email to customers that purchased something within the past 30 days, you can tell the email studio to only send it to those customers. If you want everyone to get your email about an exclusive promotion that is going to happen next month, you can have the email sent to everyone.
In this studio, the sky is the limit. You can make the email as attractive or bland as you'd like. It has the ability to hold photos and videos, as well as include links and hold multiple lines of text. These emails are sent as if it is a one-on-one conversation. Even though you're probably sending out a couple hundred emails. The email is going to look like it was created specifically for that one client. There is no easier way to make them feel special.
This studio is just for what you think it is - mobile marketing. These feature allows you to elevate the way you are communicating with your customers. You're able to send text messages, allow push notifications, and even chat back and forth. A helpful feature is that it allows you to see a mock up of a cell phone to demonstrate exactly how your message will be delivered to the customer. We live in a world where more and more people are able to communicate and complete tasks on their mobile devices.
Some customers may find it extremely helpful to communicate via text instead of a phone call or email. If this is the case, and you're using Mobile Studio, you are going to deliver professional text messages as part of a more robust campaign.
This feature is completely unique and allows you to manage all of your social media platforms. You're able to dive deeper into the industry you are in. For example, if people mention a certain topic that applies to you like "new roofing materials being used," you're able to see more conversations about the pros and cons of using this material. If your company is on all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc) this can be a great tool. You would be able to create social media posts to store in your content management studio and then automatically publish across social accounts for you. This is going to save you a lot of time because you won't be creating the same content over and over.
One more exciting option is the fact that Social Studio is able to monitor the performance of the post and put the data into a readable report. The goal is to see how the Marketing Cloud is able to measure this specific data. A lot of marketers want to know how many people read the post, did they click on it, did they happen to share the post and more importantly, what next actions they took after interacting with your content on social. This is a key component to cross-channel marketing attribution!
If you've never used artificial intelligence (AI) before, you surely will with this feature. AI helps you to make decisions based on the content you are creating. It has the intelligence to help you fine-tune content for the algorithms. Salesforce Marketing Cloud's AI is specifically named Einstein. It is there every step of the way to make sure you are using the feature to the best of your ability.
For example, you are presenting your customers with the next best thing, or a discount on something you offer, AI is automatically going to show them content based on past Google searches. AI is simply always analyzing the actions of customers and organizing the information in a way that you're able to maximize your business. Additionally, if you're able to define goals and key metrics, Einstein is going to give you some ideas in order to test your content before publishing it. This allows for a broader scale of analysis.
By using this feature you are going to ensure your customers are getting a one-on-one experience, like the advertisement is specifically talking to them. Not only is this feature going to give you incredible reach, but you're able to see how far it goes. You're going to be placing this ad on sites where you know your customers are and similar to Social, will allow you to track web behavior across your own properties and beyond.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an enterprise level digital marketing platform. It also includes a complete API for platform integration, SQL support for data transformation and segmentation and scriptable languages for content personalization. Developers can integrate Marketing Cloud with other internal tools within a company to gather data from disparate systems, analyze within Marking Cloud (using Einstein) to identify trends, and create dynamic content. Working on Marketing Cloud, Developers can leverage the platform's APIs for data modeling and proprietary scripting languages to tailor your messaging across various channels.
But the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform requires specialized knowledge from a Marketing Cloud Consultant or Developer.
The reason for this is because Developers are dealing heavily with the Marketing Cloud API, which is unique to this Salesforce platform, building email templates requires knowledge of scripting languages not used in other areas of Salesforce, and the data configuration during initial deployment, configuration of data extensions, process to setup analytics dashboards for reporting all function differently in Marketing Cloud than other Salesforce tools.
This is a critical distinction that many companies aren't aware of during initial implementation. Even once Marketing Cloud is deployed at your company, you will need a specialized skill set to get work done and deploy campaigns.
This is the real area where a specialized Marketing Cloud Developer comes into play.
IYou're looking for knowledge of the specific tools, analytics and reporting capabilities, and data strategy needed to successfully utilize Marketing Cloud.
The programmatic languages used within Marketing Cloud include:
AMPscript: used for email messages, landing pages, SMS messages, and push messages
Guide Template Language: a declarative syntax available to build personalized, dynamic messages
The entire value of Marketing Cloud comes from integrating it companywide.
Gathering data from customer touch points or prior interactions is the fuel for crafting the most engagement, highly personalized campaigns within Marketing Cloud. Setting up these data integrations and automated triggers is the essence of what makes Marketing Cloud valuable.
Most companies don't need a full-time Marketing Cloud Developer on staff.
There are certainly exceptions, particularly if Marketing Cloud is your primary tool for all cross-channel communication with customers and it integrates with a variety of other tools like Service Cloud or Experience Cloud. During an initial implementation of Marketing Cloud, it is common to leverage a Salesforce Consulting Partner - their expertise is on scoping initial business requirements and leading the end-t0-end implementation and integration.
But what happens after it's implemented?
The Consulting Partner has left the building and your Marketing team may not have the technical expertise to iterate on campaigns, deploy new functionality, and figure out new ways to use the tool. We recommend a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Freelancer in these instances. FoundHQ has a network of 750+ Salesforce Freelancers that are available to work on part-time or full-time projects with no upfront commitment.
If you have Marketing Cloud and you're struggling to get the most out of it, sign up for a free Company Profile to start browsing Marketing Cloud Consultants.
We have a singular focus - curating a network of world class Salesforce Freelancers. We are not a project-based Consulting Partner nor are we a Traditional Staffing Firm blindly sending resumes through a database. We are in the business of identifying talent and empowering select, dedicated Freelancers to build the career they've always envisioned.
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We spend time proactively building relationships with these Consultants and when the timing is right, we staff them on a project that launches their career as a Freelancer.
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