Case Study: School Specialty


School Specialty Success Story

Expanding the Impact of Salesforce Data Cloud


Why School Specialty Values Detailed Segmentation

As early adopters of Salesforce Data Cloud (formerly CDP), the team at School Speciality quickly found the platform’s comprehensive data ingestion and unification essential to marketing operations.

While the platform does send segments to Marketing Cloud, the team found these too large for the tactical campaigns they rely upon. With hyper-targeted communications often centering on product type and buyer persona, the team at School Specialty found the resultant process of writing SQL queries in Automation Studio too time consuming and totally reliant upon a single technical marketer.


  • Make the most of Salesforce Data Cloud adoption with a solution that allows for more tactical segmentation for day-to-day operations


  • Easier to join data extensions with supplemental user data for maximum data enrichment
  • Segments created faster and easier, relieving pressure on the marketing ops team
  • Builds upon Salesforce Data Cloud segments to deliver highly personalized communications


DESelect Segment + Salesforce Data Cloud

As users of both DESelect Segment and Data Cloud, the School Specialty team creates highly personalized campaigns in the following ways.

  • The team sends very large master segments of customer data from Data Cloud to Marketing Cloud, then uses DESelect filters to create downstream audiences for marketing and sales teams’ operational campaigns. This process requires fewer calls and makes updates way easier if a campaign’s scope changes.
  • DESelect is used to create related attributes out of segments from Data Cloud. This process creates targeted audiences of all contacts fitting the desired criteria of the list.
  • As a result, the team does use Data Cloud to generate segments for more general campaigns, but focuses DESelect on its complex segmentation requests.

It’s simple to use, and it saves the resources of those we have on staff. With more time freed up, they can focus on things more important to our business.

Kenneth GardnerMarketing Cloud Administrator


How School Specialty uses DESelect

  1. Opportunity-based journeys allow better personalization

  2. Augmented Salesforce data unites a deal’s champion with the applicable sales rep

  3. Expanding campaign capabilities with complex joins

  4. Ability to preview data prevents errors when querying data

  5. DESelect Hypercare team created custom processes for complex ops


How DESelect Segment Makes an Impact

  • Ease of use and thorough product training
    “[The DESelect Customer Success team] was very fluid. We had different projects come to light during the process, and they were able to switch gears and dig into that next issue, and that was really helpful, because it opened my eyes on other things I could do in the platform. It was really invaluable to getting me up to speed and able to get the most out of the package that we have.”
  • Time savings and faster campaign creation
    “It is simple to use, and it saves the resources of your personnel, as in the time that they can devote to other things that are more important to your business, like planning or campaign execution.”
  • Remove the need for time-consuming SQL processes
    “Really the complex joins we run were the cause of pain. I can get by personally, but then, say, I had to hand that off to a marketing person, they weren't capable of doing that for themselves. So that's kinda what it looked like before we got DESelect…it made the process easier. It saved me a ton of time. It saved me a ton of headaches, because I'm not troubleshooting my SQL.”

Q&A with Kenn Gardner from School Specialty

  • How would you evaluate the cost versus the value? What else made you decide to go with DESelect now versus waiting for maybe a more convenient timing?

    So there was the time savings. But then there was also the fact we didn’t need to add extra resources. We are able to use who we already have.

  • Has your new audience segmentation process with Segment impacted customers, partners, stakeholders other than the marketing automation team?

    Yes, particularly with the Salesforce augmented data. So an example would be opportunity-based journeys. We were actually able to execute them more effectively because of DESelect, whereas we could only half execute them before – we just couldn't supplement the data with the additives needed to properly execute them.

    Inside Data Cloud, you couldn't accurately target a person or get them into your segment. But with DESelect, it’s really simple, because I just have to join the opportunity record onto what we call the opportunity contact role. From there I just join it to this user data.

    The end result is way cleaner than joins that I had done previously. All the necessary bits are built all by the drag-and-drop.

  • How are you tying DESelect into your personalization efforts?

    That would be like how we’re applying that to rep data. For example, I can get the proper rep assigned to this opportunity onto that email. So like, “Here's your rep, and here's his email.” I couldn't easily do that before.

    I would basically have to export that data and then get a list and hopefully be able to associate back to that list, and we'll do the lookups and a spreadsheet outside the system, because it just was not easily available for me to make that happen.

    With DESelect the process takes minutes.

  • What do you tell people DESelect is?

    I tell people it’s a segment tool that lives inside a Marketing Cloud and takes SQL building out of your hands. You don't have to be a developer to use it, and it allows you to do things that people with SQL could do with simple drag and drop.

  • What’s the benefit to technical users?

    Now, you don't have to write SQL for Marketing. You just let them do it on their own, and there's the benefit that Marketing can do things that are more complicated than what was doable before.

DESelect's Instant Impact

What Makes DESelect Stand Out?

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