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Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an incredible powerful marketing automation tool. It allows companies to interact with their customers with the right message, at the right time. You can segment subscribers according to their preferences and personalize any part of a message that you want to send to them.
Sounds wonderful, right? Unfortunately, there is a catch. Knowing how to use your Marketing Cloud platform can be challenging. The possibilities seem endless, but where do you start? It is like buying a house, without the interior. Picking your interior can be really hard. With the help of KPMG, you can start tapping into the great potential of your Marketing Cloud platform. And we love to give you a taste of it. In this article, we provide the building blocks to set up the basics and become truly successful in the Marketing Cloud in four comprehensive steps.

Step 1: Define sucess

The first step is to define success. It is the age old story and the second rule of the Covey management classic: Start with the end in mind. This also works in Marketing Cloud: before you know how to optimize Marketing Cloud and which data you may collect, you need a general idea of your goals and KPIs. You can do so by asking yourself a couple of questions:

  • Which strategic goals have you set this year?
  • Whom do you target to achieve those goals? At what moment?
  • How do you want to interact with your (potential) customers? Which channels do you use? And when is the interaction successful?
  • What will be the general message? Why are you sending this message? Does it align with your brand and the strategic goals you have set?

By asking yourself these and other more critical questions before you start, you avoid spending time and money configuring Marketing Cloud features that are not yet needed. Moreover, you can start collecting the relevant data earlier and speed up the time between implementation and achieving a return on your investment.

Step 2: Think about data management

It all starts with proper data management. How do you identify your customers and where do you manage their data? Earlier we defined success. This is an important aspect in identifying a (potential) customer. You should know who your customer is and which data you need to interact with them. Segment your customers in logical groups and collect the relevant data in Marketing Cloud data extensions. This will create a better overview, will make the system easier to use and will make it easier to personalize messages.

From a more technical perspective, you should ask yourself the question: is there one unique identifier for each customer in your database? And: which database contains the truth? Ideally you want your customer-facing staff to see all interactions from one place, creating a 360 view of the customer. This can be done by connecting the Marketing Cloud with your own CRM system or by using the Marketing Cloud connect feature to connect it to the Salesforce Sales Cloud or Service Cloud. 

Step 3: Define your personalization strategy

Personalization is key. Customers expect to be known and understood by companies in this day and age. And they are right! Salesforce Marketing Cloud has the power to address your customers in a personal manner. As long as you collect the relevant data, you can personalize your messaging with a multitude of criteria. Think about personalizing messages based on rigid data like someone's hometown or on less rigid data like the product segments costumers are interested in.

On the most basic technical level, you can use AMPScript and refer to data in your Marketing Cloud environment through Data Extensions. Make sure that the tone of your message is in line with your brand. Knowing some customer’s first name, does not mean you need to address him in this way. That is why it is vital to define your personalization strategy. A large part of personalization is not sending your message, it is collecting data and building a relationship with your customer. Personalizing messages strengthens the relationship. The stronger the relationship, the more you are able to use the data to interact with your customer. 

Step 4: simplify the way you work

You are all set up and ready to start sending out those personalized messages to your subscribers. It is now you realize that working with the Marketing Cloud is not as easy as you imagined. Surely, all of the Marketing Cloud users have had some training. But to really get things going you need to make use of the right features within the Marketing Cloud. Marketing Cloud still has some legacy features available. This is great for Marketing Cloud customers that are still using them, but it can make things confusing for new users. Journey Builder is the tool to go for these days, making it easy to drag and drop and create different paths for your subscribers to go through.

We have talked about data extensions before. Make sure you create a decent folder structure and naming convention. Be able to identify exactly what each data extension consists of, so that you never send out the wrong email to the wrong subscribers. You should automate the way subscribers flow into your tables. Crucially, make a division between content data extensions and sendable data extensions. This will allow you to automatically engage with your customer, without spending your precious time on manually managing your data and messages. You can work more efficiently and more effectively and Marketing Cloud is used the way it should be used.

Think about the future

Following these steps you will be able to transform your Marketing Cloud from a workable chaos into a structured foundation that you can build on. Our final recommendation is to not only think about how to use the Marketing Cloud features to achieve your current business goals, but also to think about using them to innovate towards the future. Luckily, you do not have to do this by yourself. Salesforce is continuously adding and updating existing features. In addition, KPMG has a broad range of specialists who can make sure you get the most out of your Marketing Cloud. Do not hesitate to reach out for a brainstorm about your specific situation.