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Marketing Automation and Salesforce Marketing Cloud – review of the second half of 2022

Marketing has traditionally been a highly dynamic field where new innovations, technologies, trends, and regulations can rapidly change the way marketers connect with their target audiences. Sudden changes in the market or even in the world economy and politics affect customer needs and behavior and set new requirements for the engagement.

Data is one of the core topics related to marketing and martech. Most marketers are currently trying to find solutions to

  • How to unify the data and make it not only accessible but also actionable
  • How to build data strategy around 1st party data after the removal of 3rd party cookies
  • How to connect with customers in real time and use their real-time behaviour to optimize the actions and content across channels and touchpoints
  • How to take new channels into use and personalize the content and make the message cohesive across channels and touchpoints

Covid definitely changed how we interact with others and buy things through digital channels. However, the overload of content has made it harder to get customers’ attention, and even if email still has its strong position, it has become more and more saturated. This has led to the emergence of newer channels like social commerce and mobile apps with push notifications. It is still to be seen what the post-covid world will look like, but we cannot ignore the importance of still relevant offline experiences. In fact, there is an increasing need to make the integration between online and offline more natural and seamless.

Both Covid and other disruptions in the current world situation have also affected the content and message type to customers. Fostering humanity in messaging is an often overlooked aspect of personalized experience. For example, the pandemic forced companies to adapt their marketing and be more empathetic during times of challenges.

What is the future like for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and how is it connected to the prevailing trends?

Customer Data Platform and Personalisation

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is one of the fastest-growing products in the Salesforce ecosystem. How is Marketing Cloud development aligned with what we just mentioned about some prevailing trends? We have seen the platform expand remarkably in the past few years with new features and modules. Marketing Cloud Customer data platform (formerly Customer 360 Audiences) and Marketing Cloud Personalisation (formerly Interaction Studio) were introduced several years ago. Still, their product features have taken significant steps forward through the past few releases, and there is a good reason behind it. Marketers have the increasing need to make data from different sources available, accessible, unified, and actionable in real-time across channels and touchpoints. Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform and Personalisation make that happen.

More personalized connection with Mobile App users

Aligned with the increasing need to connect with customers in channels other than email, Marketing Cloud recent releases have introduced several new features on how to use mobile apps and push notifications in a more personalized way. This includes real-time journey entries based on Push and In-App behavior (e.g., when the customer opens a push notification or clicks a button in the In-App message). At the beginning of June ’22, Salesforce announced in its most prominent digital marketing and commerce-focused event, Salesforce Connections, that it will expand its strategic partnership with Google. One of the core outcomes will be the CDP and Google Ads connection (available in October 2022) which enables CDP to use overlays of Google data in segment creation and activate the created audiences in Google.

Integrated reporting

Tighter budgets and insecurities in the economy and the market are putting more pressure on marketers. Marketers are expected to provide visible results to justify their investments in marketing activities. Marketing Cloud is continuously improving its reporting capabilities to provide a faster and easier way to see the results and optimize journeys and campaigns. With the latest summer ’22 release, it became possible to combine additional customer-specific data from data extensions to Marketing Cloud reports. This could include other contact attributes or transactions connected with the message, campaign, and journey-specific data (requires an advanced version of the Marketing Cloud Engagement Intelligence reports).

Importance of collaboration

Corresponding data, automation, and collaboration are some cornerstones for successful marketing. To respond to the latter collaboration, Salesforce has constantly developed its integration between Marketing Cloud and Slack. The latest release included new features on tracking, e.g., the performance of automation, integrations, and processes and sharing the information automatically in Slack.

In addition to more enormous technical improvements, the Marketing Cloud user interface has constantly changed in a more user-friendly direction. One example is improvements to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) lightning email, and landing page builders and their functionalities.

What else happened in the second half of 2022?

The first half of 2022 has not included only news regarding new product features. One of the most significant announcements was renaming the Marketing Cloud product family at the beginning of April. With the fast expansion of the Marketing Cloud via native development and product acquisitions, it has become cumbersome to understand what elements and modules belong to Marketing Cloud and what their role is for the marketers.

To streamline and simplify the product suite, Salesforce announced new names during its World Tour event in Sydney that should better describe the product’s core features. The purpose was to make it easier to understand the product and make it more unified in thinking about the future strategy of one unified platform.

What has changed? (new product name changes)

– Marketing Cloud messaging and Journeys (email, mobile, mobile push, journey builder) became Marketing Cloud Engagement

– Interaction Studio Marketing Cloud Personalisation

– Datorama Marketing Cloud Intelligence

– Salesforce CDP Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform

– Advertising Studio Marketing Cloud Advertising

– Pardot Marketing Cloud Account Engagement

Another remarkable change was the announcement of Social Studio’s retirement at the end of 2024. It is no longer possible to buy Studio Studio or renew the existing contract after 1 August 2022. How will Social Studio capabilities then be covered? Salesforce is currently working with alternatives. Other Salesforce products will cover part of the capabilities, but it is still to be seen in the future what actions Salesforce will make to cover the whole creation. Partnership with industry-leading Social Media suite, Sprout Social also sounds like a temporary solution.