You’ve made a big investment in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It’s an enterprise tool with deep capabilities, but requires a thoughtful implementation and platform expertise to fully harness. Here are some tips to get the most value out of your investment.
Crystallize Your Strategy
Have a clear communications plan before you start to implement Marketing Cloud. Define the communication touchpoints in your customer life cycle, cadence and criteria. Then map out your omnichannel customer journeys within the campaign. Discuss the types of data you’ll need to power your programs, and where that data resides today.
Take time to craft your data model
We’ve worked on dozens of Marketing Cloud implementations, and the most common barrier to success has been access to timely and accurate data in the platform. Engage your internal data teams to determine the best way to get clear, actionable data into the Salesforce. Are you using Sales Cloud, Commerce Cloud and other Salesforce tools? Great, you can distill your data into its most useful form, and use Marketing Cloud Connect to synchronize. Does your customer and sales data exist on external platforms? Architect a means to load that data into the platform – it could be via the API or recurring batch files.
The outcome of this exercise is an organized data model outlined in Contact Builder. Contact Builder is the Salesforce module used to organize and relate various data about your subscribers.
Clearly define your KPIs
Clearly define your KPIs. What behavior are you trying to drive? How do you know whether your plan is working? Most plans will have multiple levels of KPIs. We’re always trying to increase engagement metrics like Open and Click rate. Most campaigns are geared toward a larger goal like transacting in store or online, or registering for an event. It’s important to have a clear view of what your KPIs are and how you can measure them. It is then that you can truly gauge the efficacy of your campaigns.
Make the magic happen in Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Now that there is a clear communication plan, data model and Extract Transform Load (ETL) data architecture in place, you can start to build channel communications. Work with designers to create dynamic, flexible templates that can serve up personalized content in a number of different scenarios. Think about how your campaigns might look on a mobile device, and the desired customer engagement experience. Create a content map across all communications so that recurring content can be created once, and used in multiple communications. It’s easy to create ad hoc content for campaign after campaign, but being planful about managing your content will save you hours (and headaches) as your programs grow in the future.
Prepare a content strategy that is flexible and can scale
Your content strategy most likely includes segmented, personalized communications. Data is split into segments inside of Salesforce, using Filters and Queries. Plan the most efficient way to slice your data, and customize your content per segment. Ampscript can help to turn many versions of an email into a single deployment. If you have complex logic or business rules to code into your email, such as targeted offers, or conditional content, talk to your email development team about the best way to organize and execute it.
Use built-in solutions to optimize regularly
Once your ideas come together into a program, consider ways to optimize that program’s performance. Reference your KPIs – what are you trying to achieve, and what are some ways that you can increase the effectiveness of your communications. Use the A/B testing tool for competing subject lines and creative changes such as CTAs and layouts. Leverage Einstein Send Time Optimization to find your subscribers inbox at just the right time. Use Path Optimizer to hone in on the best cadence and message flow for a program. There are always additional ways to fine tune the performance of your campaigns.
Automate the customer experience with your brand
Everything is in place for a successful marketing program and begin to see a return on your Salesforce Marketing Cloud investment. The next step is to Automate as many of your activities as possible. Automation makes your team more efficient, helps to reduce the cost associated with your marketing efforts, and reduces the likelihood of mistakes.
Journey Builder is an easy-to-use tool
Use Journey Builder to automate and optimize your customer communications. Journey Builder provides a drag and drop canvas that can be used to layout complex customer omni-channel paths, make dynamic messaging decisions based on data input, and use built-in tools to find the optimal way to reach your customers. Best of all, it’s “always-on” – you’re building a marketing machine, and once it’s running, you simply need to drop data into the top of the funnel.
Use Automation Studio for more complex orchestrations
Automation Studio is the best way to process and prepare your data for use in a customer journey. In some cases, you may need to sort through orders to find specific matches, or join disparate pieces of data together in order to get a more complete picture of your customer. This happens with Automation Studio. Oftentimes, the last step of your automated process involves injecting certain data into a Journey Builder journey.
Once your data is processed into your journeys and the entire marketing workflow is active, use Report Builder to create and automate engagement reports directly to your inbox.
Find the right partner
Being successful with Marketing Cloud takes patience and planning. If you’re using the platform now, but don’t feel like you’re getting great results; or your internal team just doesn’t have the experience needed to drive your programs forward, drop us a line. We’re here to help you maximize the Salesforce Marketing Cloud investment you are making.