Things You Should Consider Before Starting Out With Marketing Cloud Everything you need to know to implement your own effective marketing plan.

By Anthony Lamot

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to marketing, it can be difficult to know where to start. This is especially true for small businesses that are just starting out and who may not have the time or resources to invest in expensive software. Marketing Cloud is a great solution for these companies because it's affordable, scalable and easy to use.

It isn't necessary to pay thousands of dollars upfront for marketing tools you might never use. The information below will teach you everything you need to know about Marketing Cloud so that you can get started with your own effective marketing plan.

What is Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is an automation tool for marketing departments that gives you the tools to reach your ideal customer. You can do this through multiple channels including email, SMS, social media, browsers, mobile and much more. Whatever your marketing team needs, SFMC can do it.

Several products run in Marketing Cloud. Here's a brief look at the primary offerings:

  • Pardot: Marketing teams commonly use this program for B2B marketing. This software focuses on email marketing, landing page, form creation and lead scoring.

  • Journey Builder: For teams working in the B2C sector, this tool enables you to build marketing journeys to give customers a personal experience with your brand.

  • Email Studio: Marketers can create email content with customizable aspects using scripted language tailored for each customer in real-time.

  • Mobile Studio: Much like Email Studio, this SFMC tool helps your team craft content for mobile devices. Teams can create messages delivered via MMS, SMS and push notifications.

  • Advertising Studio: Your team can reach audiences beyond email and mobile and helps marketers deliver content for advertising platforms like Google, LinkedIn and YouTube.

  • Social Studio: With this tool, you can publish, engage with and analyze content across all the social media channels and accounts, all from one platform.

  • Loyalty Management: One of SFMC's new tools. With this program you can reward loyal customers by offering reward programs you can scale. You can do this using clicks, not code, making it even easier to use.

If you're new to Marketing Cloud, the best advice is to have a guide leading you throughout your initial implementation. Several resources can help and as Salesforce continues to grow, more resources become available.

Salesforce's core platform continues to expand every year. Quarterly earnings increase by three percent on average due to the rapid adoption of cloud-based solutions. Marketing Cloud was one of their primary offerings, launching just less than two years after Salesforce launched its core CRM program in March 1999.

Since then, Marketing Cloud has been the leading marketing cloud-based software businesses used to manage their marketing processes.

Related: Salesforce (CRM) Beats on Q2 Earnings & Revenues, Raises FY22 View

Seven things to consider before integrating Marketing Cloud

SFMC's digital marketing platform seamlessly connects to the Sales and Service platform. So if your company is already using the core CRM program, integration is more straightforward and data flows freely between them.

However, this isn't just a plug-and-play SaaS. You will want to ensure that integration doesn't cause issues for your company.

Let's review the top seven considerations you should make:

1. Internal teams will need to skill up

You're going to need to consider the skill set of your internal marketing or IT teams. Often, the assumption is that anyone can use the Marketing Cloud tools straight out of the box.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

SFMC is not as easy to use as other marketing tools like Clubhouse, Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Integration is tricky.

For example, if you want to obtain relevant data based on historical purchases to offer promotional discounts, you will need to understand AMP scripts. This is also true if you plan to display content based on geographical location.

Therefore, you must plan for comprehensive training of your internal team to optimize the Marketing Cloud experience. Otherwise, you may need to hire an expert in SFMC.

2. You will need to assign user roles

With SFMC, you can create custom roles for users within your organization and throughout your marketing team. It's essential for data protection and the preservation of your SFMC account.

Furthermore, take extra precautions with who has access to All Contacts within the Content Builder. Those outside your company with access to any SFMC business unit can see these contacts if they are not protected.

3. Marketing Cloud is not a data repository

SFMC is not a data repository, so your company won't be storing every piece of data in it. Your organization has external data sources that will need configuration for its arrival in SFMC.

For example, if your company uses Salesforce CRM, you need to understand how Marketing Cloud Connect works to know how the data is stored. That way, you don't have redundant information and you can sync only the necessary data.

Related: Salesforce Adds Big-Data Buddies to Improve Analytics Service

4. Audience segmentation has drag-and-drop capabilities

Your marketing team will need to segment the target demographic using data extensions to reach audiences effectively. This capability requires SQL queries.

Anyone who has worked with SQL queries knows that it is complex and time-consuming. Yet there are no-code segmentation add-ons available on the market. This tool is also helpful to anyone with limited knowledge of segmentation.

5. You should connect Marketing Cloud to the Salesforce core platform

If your organization uses the Salesforce core platform, you should connect Marketing Cloud using Marketing Cloud Connect. Once the data syncs, you must:

  • Check for redundant data in Salesforce core

  • Check your contact key for redundancies as well

  • Only sync contacts needed for SFMC campaigns

  • Check that only necessary or useful data is stored

6. Salesforce has partnered with Microsoft Azure

In November 2019, news hit the Cloud industry that shocked everyone. Salesforce announced their partnership with Microsoft Azure to power Marketing Cloud.

Related: It's Time to Prepare for a Multi-Cloud Future

Azure is one of the leading Cloud-based SaaS services on the market. Partnering with Azure makes Marketing Cloud an even more powerful force than before. This alliance gives your marketing team an edge above what any other marketing platform could.

7. You have access to Trailhead (for training)

Does Marketing Cloud have you concerned that you cannot manage the complexities of the software? That's completely understandable.

If you're not an IT guru or lack technical knowledge of writing SQL queries, it can seem like an advanced program that you will struggle to take full advantage of as a result.

Trailhead is your answer. What is Trailhead? It's a free training platform for all Salesforce customers to use any time they need.

Trailhead can ensure you and your marketing team are well-versed in the complex nature of any Salesforce offerings, especially their Marketing Cloud software. When onboarding new personnel, Trailhead trains them on all offerings of the Salesforce platform.

Why your business needs Salesforce Marketing Cloud software

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an excellent program. It's beneficial for small- to medium-sized business owners who cannot hire extensive IT or marketing department staff members. One or two people well-versed in the Salesforce core platform can take a company's marketing efforts to the next level.

Wavy Line
Anthony Lamot

CEO and Co-Founder of DESelect

Anthony Lamot spent over seven years in CRM and marketing automation. At Toyota Motor Europe, Lamot helped roll out SFMC to 30 markets in less than a year. Before that, he founded a startups mentoring program and a booking site for sailing trips. He holds an MSc in work psychology (MCL).

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