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5 Tips for New Customers From a Marketing Cloud Specialist

5 Tips for New Customers From a Marketing Cloud Specialist

As a Marketing Cloud Specialist for the last year at Salesforce, I've noticed our most successful Marketing Cloud customers do these things. Here are five actionable tactics.

Marketing Cloud customers are among the most intrepid Trailblazers at Salesforce. The innovation and problem-solving we see from them is unyielding, and it is inspiring to support their success in my role as a Senior Success Specialist at Salesforce.

After over four years on the RFP Team writing about the possibilities of customer success with Marketing Cloud, I transitioned to consulting with them to make those possibilities a reality with Accelerators, the short term best practices engagements available to Premier customers after implementation. Here are things I’ve noticed about our most successful Marketing Cloud customers:

They create their own data model

It starts with Subscriber Key, the unique identifier within Marketing Cloud. It is essential to get the strategy around it right from the beginning. With Marketing Cloud’s highly flexible data model, the sky is the limit with how you can design your data model. It can be challenging if a previous employee or partner set up your data model, and you are tasked with figuring out what it all means. 

Our most successful customers pause to step back and look at the big picture when it comes to data. Whether you’re just starting or thinking more strategically about customer experiences, we recommend following these steps to ensure you practice due diligence: 

  • Map out your specific model (because each company’s needs are different) 
  • Document the attribute groups, data extensions, filters, and automations you will use to segment
  • Practice excellent communication among teams when it comes to ownership, cleanliness, and usefulness of your data. This will also help those who come after you.

They future-proof their digital programs 

Regularly, I see the importance of taking the Crawl, Walk, Run approach, wherein a customer starts simple and builds complexity over time. For example, one Financial Services team was entrenched in revamping their Crawl version of email welcome journeys and needed to personalize their emails based off of interest. 

Luckily, they had thought ahead and included an “interest” field on their registration form, so it was already included as a field in their journey’s entry source which saved them from having to write AMPscript or recreate the entire journey. It’s always best to ride the wave of change looking ahead to the future, rather than drift along passively, or worse, fight against the current.

They embrace change as a team 

Change is constant for all industries, but this is especially true for marketers. A nonprofit organization I worked with recently had a team diverse in skillset and experience level. They also had siloed marketing and IT teams and were seeking to better collaborate across functions. 

One of the newest team members did their best to learn along the way, and their questions around terminology opened up a wider discussion for a need for common language and goals. This discussion allowed other team members to admit they were unclear about where things were headed, and once these uncertainties were resolved they found it easier to move together as a team and share more transparent feedback on the approach.

They employ empathy for their stakeholders

If we don’t focus on the customer experience, what are we doing? The key to growing ROI over time is improving customer experiences. This requires an understanding of what customers want and need, paired with a plan to meet and exceed those expectations. 

The most recent example of this I’ve seen was a retail brand whose marketing team had been tasked with revamping multiple customer journeys. They started the project by looking at past performance, industry trends, and adopting smarter tools. Then the team took their review a step further and recruited their teenage daughters and nieces to perform an audit of their onboarding journeys and ecommerce experiences.

By doing this, they identified and documented new opportunities that the team would never otherwise have uncovered, and then built truly delightful experiences for their customers. Sometimes the best way to empathize with your customer is to ask someone who fits the profile.

They embrace a student mentality and ask for help

I started at Salesforce in the Fall of 2013, and I’ve seen our Marketing Cloud products grow. This means I’ve had to grow as well since there is always something new to learn at Salesforce. 

One of my favorite parts of being a Specialist is helping customers embrace the journey of learning Marketing Cloud. After five years, I still ask questions every day, utilize our amazing Trailblazer Community, and Help & Training. My fellow specialists also teach me something new about the product every day. The point is, even a Marketing Cloud expert uses the resources to answer questions and expects to continue learning new features over time.


What are some of your tips for new Marketing Cloud customers? Hop into the Marketing Cloud Group of the Trailblazer Community to share your knowledge and hear from other Marketing Cloud customers.

Kim Milfort

Kim Milfort is a Senior Success Specialist at Salesforce. When she's not delivering Accelerators, she's advocating for arts and education both in Indianapolis and her country of heritage, Haiti. Find her on Twitter at @kim_milfort or LinkedIn.

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