Episode 20 | Transcript

Andrea Tarrell: Community Collaboration, Evolution of MarTech, Overcoming Challenges

Anthony Lamot: Hi, Andrea. Welcome to the show.

Andrea Tarrell: Thanks for having me. 

Anthony: It’s such a pleasure, especially given our ongoing collaboration. I think it will be really interesting for the audience to get an idea of who Andrea is. Would you mind walking us through your journey so far in your career?

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely. So, it’s been kind of a winding road to get here. In school, I studied political science and Spanish literature, originally had aspirations of working for the government or working in politics or something like that, but decided to get into marketing communications right out of school. So, I started out kind of as more of a content marketer, marketing generalist, but stumbled into the Salesforce ecosystem when one of our VPS of sales came to me and said “we have this thing called Salesforce. Some guys put it on his credit card. Now, we have 30 licenses all of a sudden, like we really need to just figure out what this is and what we can do with it, and we’ll send you to Dreamforce if you can learn it, get trained on it, figure out like how to make this work for our business. Are you willing to try to that?” And at the time, I didn’t know what Salesforce was either, but I heard free trip to San Francisco, but I’ve never been to California. So I was like, “yeah, sign me up!” I will be our new Salesforce admin, and just totally like during the cool, at that Dreamforce, I learned about marketing automation for the first time. So Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot, we’re all sponsors of that Dreamforce. So I became familiar with their products. And then… I’ve never looked back basically. So I came back implemented Salesforce. We had Hubspot at the time and we implemented Pardot. In addition to that, the two tools at the time were not as similar as they are today. But yeah, that was kind of how I got my start in the ecosystem.

Anthony: Well, it’s interesting too that back then Hubspot and Marketo are still, so, you know, represented that at Dreamforce. I’m guessing was this before the acquisition of ExactTarget, which later became Marketing Cloud?

Andrea: Yes. Yeah. It was like two, two years before that actually.

Anthony: Yeah, it was a very different world back then, so that’s super interesting. And could you tell us how that experience led you to founding Sercante?

Andrea: Yeah. So in that role, I became really in tune with what sales users needed, what marketing teams needed at the time. I was the only marketer but grew that to a team of, I think it was four or five people when I left… and just kinda got in touch with sort of like, the revenue operations needs. And then from there, I went to go work at a digital marketing agency for a bit and worked at a Salesforce consultancy for a bit. And I just realized that like the services that I needed when I was client side in that kind of rev ops space, I just couldn’t find a partner that brought that to the table. Marketing agencies brought creative, they brought strategy, but oftentimes like as soon as we started talking about Salesforce and what happened when a lead converted to an opportunity that just wasn’t really their wheelhouse to consult around. And then tech consultants, like other Salesforce shops, had the opposite challenge where like they could talk process tech all day, but when we started saying: “well, what types of nurture program should we run? Or how does this integrate with our like ads in social campaigns?”  That just wasn’t really their specialty either. And, it felt like the market was underestimating the marketing tools on the Salesforce platform. So Pardot and Marketing Cloud, I would say. So I basically started Sercante to be what I couldn’t find when I was client side. So strategy, creative, technical execution, analytics and everything that you need really to execute on rev ops types of campaigns.

Anthony: That’s great because even today I recommend and my clients who are looking for a consulting partner, or an implementation partner rather to find someone who has that combined experience of actually running campaigns. I know what it’s like to press the send button, but also having, the actual integration experience to make sure the architecture and the flows and whatever the data model that those things are set up. And I’ll admit that and is definitely one of those implementation partners I have in mind when I get that kind of advice that’s great. Well, what do you see as the biggest challenge for customers starting with Marketing Cloud, Andrea?

Andrea: I think one of the toughest challenges for anyone getting started with marketing automation in general is, you want the tech to come in and solve the problem for you. But there’s usually so much business process and change management that has to happen to really make it successful. And I think, you find that like post implementation when you’re standing at your first journeys and you’re saying, okay, this is the segment that I want to target and this is the content that I want to send them. And here’s how I want to share those results with the team. And like right away, you notice like breaks in the chain. Like, okay, we want to target customers in this section, but we don’t have any data on that. So that’s a project and we want to send them a nurture series, but we don’t have any of that content written. So like that’s the next thing to tackle and then even just thinking about like where to share information with users, like all of the different pieces of that process. So, I think that the biggest challenge is just there’s a lot of heavy lifting to get the ball rolling in the beginning. Of course, if companies are a bit more established and they’re migrating from another platform, it’s a little bit of a different story. But I think that the business process and how to get your team enrolled in the process is often the biggest challenge.

Anthony: Right. So, I’m hearing that what clients maybe underestimate is just that they need to be ready to, for the implementation. It’s gonna be a lot of change management. They need to have their processes clear. Well, maybe to build further on that. When you think about implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud or part, what expertise and experience as your team bring, how can you help clients most?

 

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Andrea: Yeah. I mean, I think, we bring just sort of a been there, done that expertise… because I mean there there are two types of knowledge that come in really handy during implementations. One is like the day-to-day like pressing the send button as you reference like day in and day out like how are you gonna be using the platform? And then there’s like the upfront configuration work. So, how to migrate data over, how to structure, like what fields on what objects, how to set up your campaign hierarchy? And I will say that some like one-time setup stuff, you may only get exposure if your client side, you may only get exposure to that like one two, three times in the span of your career. So whereas being a consultant, like we do that hundreds of times a year. So, I, we bring kind of both categories of expertise like we’ve walked in your shoes as a day-to-day user, but also like we’ve been through the implementation and best practice decisions during that process many times.

Anthony: I love that. And I think it’s just a great to point out that for some of these things, you definitely need the expert of the third party just because on the client’s side, you get only a few chances throughout your whole career, maybe to do actually in implementation. So it’s very hard to keep up with the tech, know, what works, what doesn’t I don’t follow this up with maybe a little bit more of a cheeky question, Andrea, if you don’t mind, but how do you decide what kind of organization makes it good or bad client?

Andrea: That’s a tough question. You know, I think I would say the vast majority of our past clients, we’ve been blessed that they fall into the good client camp where we have a really good report and like we get through the like even really tough projects we get through together and come out the other side with everybody feeling good and successful outcomes, in the bad client camp or the bad outcome camp. I guess I would say it’s really important to be realistic about what it’s gonna take to do a big complicated project. So, where I do see projects going south or folks being unhappy is if they walk in thinking this is gonna be a piece of cake. This is gonna take two to four weeks to implement.

And then they not really being willing to accept like, okay, this is actually a much bigger elephant than we virtually anticipated. So I’d say that realism is a very important aspect and also just maintaining open communication with your provider. So like trusting some of the things that they’re telling you, sharing as much information as you can to kind of inform the overall project plan. Those I would say are, the two biggest things.

Anthony: Yeah, we listen, realism and having good expectations, I think, is good on the client side, managing expectations. Also a skill that I remember was very available back in my consulting days.

Andrea: Yes.

Anthony: Right. I wonder, you know, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce, in general, the ecosystem develops so fast. There’s so many new features. And of course, the ecosystem as a whole mark like as a whole develops super fast. What are you to do up to date with the latest features updates? And I guess it will be interesting to know how you think about that for your team, for your organization? But I’m also curious, so to see, how do you do that personally?

Andrea: Okay. So in terms of like how to stay on top of updates, what I found is, I mean Salesforce always includes release notes with any new changes that they’re putting out. But that’s always like the like 10 percent of the story. Like, you have to really get hands on and try it and like hear from others that are using it to really get a sense of like, okay, this is gonna be super valuable or this is buggy, not really ready for public consumption yet. And so I find different user communities very helpful. So in the Pardot side of things, “Pardashians” is a Slack community that has amazing dialogue about what is and what isn’t working and How To SFMC on the Marketing Cloud side, great places to get ideas, and hear what’s new. LinkedIn, I have mixed feelings about LinkedIn. There’s some really good content out there, but it’s gotten kind of noisy. But there’s some good content out there that from time to time. But then in terms of like staying in touch like CEO level, like what’s changing in the broader ecosystem, like trends in business. I’m a member of two groups, one called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), and one called YPO, Young Presidents Organization. And then also like I said CEO Round Table of a few other Salesforce companies. And, I find that just like peer-to-peer sharing, like what are you seeing? What are you hearing is like similarly like, you read headlines about, okay, here’s, what’s happening in the business world and sometimes they match, what your experience is as a CEO. And sometimes it’s like, yeah, I’m not really seeing that we saw that a bit last year with all the doom and gloom talk about the state of tech and the economy and like, our clients were thriving. And so like comparing notes with other CEOS and just saying like, okay, what are you seeing? Is this painting out this way for you or are you having a different experience is really helpful to just kind of gut check like what’s going on in the world?

Anthony: Tons of good advice. Just being more on the Marketing Cloud side, I would definitely second How To SFMC as a community and just the people behind are really nice. We had some of the people behind on the show already. And yeah, getting peer-to-peer network around yourself regardless of your role, definitely as a CEO to super helpful. Although I also agree that you have to be careful when you’re comparing notes benchmarks, or like benchmarks. And in the end, it’s what’s happening right in front of you and your business. That of course, is the real truth.

Andrea: Yeah. And, I feel like, in all of these spaces like you also have to be careful to find people who are gonna tell you the truth because a lot of times, I don’t know there’s definitely a persona of person who wants to look like they always have it together that the world is always perfect, that nothing bad is happening. And like to me, I find those people kind of exhausting. Like I really appreciate people who are willing to say like this is super hard or this isn’t working the way that I thought or like I’m having this issue with a client. And I’ve seen that happen in How To SFMC, same thing in Pardashians. So like finding a group of people that will be open and vulnerable and honest is super critical.

Anthony: Yeah, it makes total sense. Love how you said that when you think about… the future, of Salesforce for marketers, I’ll put it this way because I know you guys are working across different clouds. How do you think that the platform is going to evolve to meet the change needs of your clients?

Andrea: So, I’m super excited about, the vision for the Marketing Cloud road map like where things are gonna go in the future. And I see it being driven a lot by, the frenzy that was AI last year… like, the pitch that was painted at Dreamforce, and the pitch that many others are painting of, okay, you’re going to log into this marketing tool. It’s gonna tell you like this is the ideal customer for you to reach out to. It’s. Going to know like the next best product to suggest to them. It’s gonna use gen AI to like write your subject line and your campaign brief in your e-mail and it’s going to send it out and it’s gonna like notify customer service and it’s going to notify sales and analyze everything for you. And it’s all automated. I’ve been looking at stories like that and just thinking like whose data is that? Like whose systems are really that integrated to make a story like that possible? And so, what kind of, the latest news from Salesforce about Marketing Cloud growth in the idea of like building parts of Marketing Cloud on the core Salesforce platform. I really think that like connected vision is what’s driving it. So having shared infrastructure with the same tools that sales service commerce are using. It feels like the future direction, of the whole platform. And I’m really optimistic about it because, I would love to see our customers able to take full advantage of all that AI and some of these new advanced sets can do. But I think getting data connected is sort of the missing link to make all of that possible.

Anthony: I am also super excited about Marketing Cloud growth, the fact that it will finally be on Core and tapping into, you know, newer features such as those offered by Data Cloud. If you think about, it is something that was always lacking ever since the… ExactTarget and Pardot acquisition that became Marketing Cloud. And while to my knowledge that those acquisitions are still the best performing acquisitions for Salesforce, I saw that in the investor notes, I think last year… it’s also true that, you know, it comes with a lot of legacy and tons of integration work and it makes it harder to tap into the rest of the power of Salesforce too. So really exciting what Salesforce doing there? I think there’s a very interesting vision. What do you think will that mean for the customer base? Because they’re positioning it as B2B SMB. But we’ve all seen the price tag too. And then, you know, they already have a few products as well that do marketing. I know we’re getting a little bit on thin ice and it’s very speculative. But what are your thoughts on that if you care to share?

Andrea: Yeah. I think the two biggest hurdles that Salesforce is going to have with Marketing Cloud growth is one figuring out how to adopt the pricing model, and two figuring out how to roll their existing customer base like into the future of the platform. The pricing model, I don’t envy them that challenge because I mean, something that they have to think about is like right now they are competing in the B2B SMB space. So they have like other competitors there to benchmark against. But they are also giving customers access to data cloud which can come with like very heavy like actual consumption costs to Salesforce and they kind of need to balance like, all right, they got a price so that they can actually get into customers but not price so low that like they’re totally like getting their entire like value eaten by like actual Data Cloud consumption. So that’ll be kind of see how that evolves as they move up market and where they land with that pricing model because, I mean, we’ve also seen Data Cloud’s pricing model change several times already, in the short lifespan of that product is just a really hard challenge. And then with regards to like the existing customer base, I do think there’s gonna be confusion for a while on, okay, Marketing Cloud engagement, Marketing Cloud account engagement as Marketing Cloud Growth, like which of these three tools is right for me? And for existing customers, what I’ve heard is that their plan is to basically like as new features are released in growth, they’re giving existing customers access to those features. So the decision is less like when do I switch tools? And more like, okay, I’m grandfathered into these like cool new features. Is this something I’m ready to experiment with or not versus like having to redo contracts, change skews kind of thing.

Anthony: Yeah, definitely interesting challenges related to pricing. I know first hand for “tech heads”, it’s really interesting, really have to find out which parts of your product really provide value and then build your pricing around that. I do think you have a really good point when you say Marketing Cloud Growth because I mean I’m reading between the lines essentially you’re saying Marketing Cloud Growth might have somewhat of a higher pricing than competitors, but you’re getting so much more because you can tap into Data Cloud and that’s super powerful. And I think that is, you know, rightfully a competitive advantage that Salesforce has there. So we’ve talked a little bit about, the future of Salesforce. What about the future of Sercante? What do you envision for the future of your company as it continues to help others implement optimized Marketing Cloud, Pardot, and I’m assuming soon Marketing Cloud Growth as well?

Andrea: Yes. Yeah. So I don’t know if you saw that our website got a face lift last week and, we wrote figure out all the copy on the site, totally new brand, look and feel. And I think that kind of the next phase of our evolution is to date, we’ve been really focused on the needs of the marketer. So all things for marketers on a Salesforce platform. But what we’re increasingly seeing is that marketers, it’s no longer just like the marketing department that they influence and are responsible for. They’re getting into, okay, how does this influence sales? How does, our customers experience post-sale like factor into how we should be thinking about marketing? Are we doing customer advisory boards? How are we like building longterm loyal relationships? And so we’ve changed our messaging slightly to focus on like delivering seamless digital experiences for customers, recognizing that marketing is now sales marketing, customer service. And that’s the whole umbrella that marketers get involved in touching?

Anthony: Makes sense, if you look at, you know, from scale-ups to post IPO companies, a vast amount of revenue is. So in some cases half of revenue in a new year is basically expansion into existing accounts. I’m talking mainly from the B2B space, but you have similar trends in B2C. So just maintain the customer relationship is just a huge revenue driver and also more capital efficient typically. So I love the shift. It makes total sense. And I actually also saw the announcement that you guys wrote. You wrote a very thoughtful piece on what is behind the brand identity. So I’ll make sure to add that link, in the description of this of the show of this episode. Awesome. Andrea. Another thing that I’ve noticed on your background is that you’d like to give back and you’ve been heavily involved in the community. Can you tell a little bit more about that?

Andrea: Yeah, that’s a huge, I guess part of who I am and also something I think we built in to second culturally. One of our core values is generosity and we actively encourage our whole team being involved in the Salesforce community, but also like, the actual life communities where they live and work. And I guess like a few ways, that I get back. So like I think earlier in my career when I was just learning things or just figuring things out, like I would just reach out to ran of people on LinkedIn and say, like, hey, do you have time to grab coffee or can I pick your brain about xyz? And probably about 20 percent of those like they just said, yeah, sure. Like let’s do it. And so when I’m on the flip side of that, like when people reach out to me, I probably not 100 percent but pretty close to 100 percent of the time I say, okay, yeah, let’s chat. Let me see if I can put you in the right direction. So I guess that’s one way and then also getting involved in supporting other entrepreneurs. So, I think I mentioned EO, Entrepreneurs Organization. They have an accelerator program for businesses that are like just getting started and trying to scale up. So I’m entering other aspiring business leaders through there. And then also just again folks in the Salesforce community that a, that are starting their journey as an entrepreneur.

Anthony: Nice, really nice. I personally also like mentoring because I find that it helps crystallise my own thinking. So there’s definitely just, it feels good. It’s a good thing to do, to mentor, but there’s it’s also interesting at least to me that… it helps you see things more clearly because you just have to rephrase it in a way that makes sense. Is that something you recognize?

Andrea: 100 percent agree. It’s it’s fascinating to me how people process the same information in such different ways. So I…It’s also just great. Like, I feel like I get a lot of learning at in venturing others also because like you see how they’re seeing the worlds, the questions that they’re asking. And sometimes it’s just, it reminds you where, you have blindspots of your own.

Anthony: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, it’s very interesting. Well, we’re almost coming up on time here, but could you give us a sneak peek into some of the exciting plans you guys have for this year? Events? Anything else?

Andrea: We’ll definitely be at Connections. So, we always throw a big party there. So we’ll definitely be at that. Definitely looking forward to Dreamforce and our team will be at a lot of Dreamin’ events, World Tours, kind of ongoing things over the next few months. And then MarDreamin’, of course, is I always got to plug that, but that’s not gonna be until November. So, we got some time there. 

Anthony: MarDreamin’ is definitely a great plug, So glad you pointed that out. as for the World Tour events, and Connections and whatnot, I will just second that it’s a great party, the Sercante party, we will definitely be there as well. Andrea, it’s just been fantastic. I really appreciate your time on a Sunday by the way. I hope to see you soon.

Andrea: Thank you!

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Episode 19 | Transcript

Jyothsna "JB" Bitra: Marketing Cloud Learning Camp, Golden Hoodies, & Adaptability

Anthony Lamot: Hi, JB. Welcome to the show.

Jyothsna Bitra (JB): Hi, Anthony. So happy to be here.

Anthony Lamot: It’s great, having you, I believe it the first time that I am having someone on the show who’s at the moment of the interview based in India.

Jyothsna Bitra: Yeah. As of now, as we are speaking in India, so business as usual, it just goes the same way that I am in that I was in us.

Anthony Lamot: For sure for sure. And you do have a beautiful set up behind you by the way. I love the whole branding there?

Jyothsna Bitra: Thank you.

Anthony Lamot: So, JB for those who don’t know you yet, could you tell a bit about your background and what led you to start consulting?

Jyothsna Bitra: Where should I start? So to start with how I entered into the Salesforce? I still feel it’s those magical moments. So I was working as a configuration and release manager and it was kind of monotonous work. And out of my interest and curiosity, I was helping out other teams, the center of excellence team who were trying to integrate Jira with Salesforce at the time. I have no idea what Salesforce is. So I happened to know about Salesforce. I help them with the integration. And out of my curiosity, I wanted to learn further and there was an immediate meet on a project where I volunteered to be on the team so that’s how I got introduced to the Salesforce. I can say I was an accidental admin and the same way it happened to me that I bounced upon the Marketing Cloud. So there was a project and I was the go to person and there was a team already. So they were, they were all there to help me. I learned from them and I had the hands on or so it’s been like six less years in the Marketing Cloud world. So I’m really glad that I found Marketing Cloud and, I like the work that I do. So I enjoy my work every day.

Anthony Lamot: Interesting. And so, you actually came from a release management side. So if I understood correctly, you were working mostly with Jira doing releases but not so much into Salesforce itself. And then gradually developed into more Marketing Cloud work. So I’m kinda curious what you think about and if you don’t work related to release management specifically for Salesforce, Marketing Cloud itself because it’s this tricky thing, right? Where people who come from Salesforce CRM, they’re used to having sandboxes, test environments, release sets, deployments, et cetera. These are all things that aren’t really there in Marketing Cloud. So, so what are your thoughts about that?

Jyothsna Bitra: So when I worked as a configuration and release manager, I used to, I worked on different tools. So ClearCase was one of them. So it has very good branching mechanisms and then many ways that we can maintain the developer or so it’s very easy to identify the work and merge the work. So it’s very strategy and it’s very robust. So when I started working on the Salesforce, and I learned about the sandboxes, it’s not as robust as the release environment that I have seen before. But still, from the times that I started working on Salesforce to where… it is. Now, I see a lot of advancements in there and all on the Marketing Cloud, I know it’s something which is lacking and I see this in the day to day activities as well when a new team member joins and they don’t know, they don’t remember to take a backup of the existing e-mail and they directly go and edit on the emails that’s something which bothers me, which reminds me the need for having a source control system like that.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, yeah. That makes sense. And constantly backing up mail e-mail templates, definitely a good idea because those things can really get out of control. And, and I think people really under estimate just how complex programming emails is because they have so many different clients and not just different providers but even the different versions of those providers, like different versions of Microsoft Outlook just to name one. But I think, yeah, I think people from the Salesforce CRM ecosystem, they’re used to having release sets because it’s one of the things that made Salesforce such a good enterprise CRM, the fact that you could have released as well supporting those and of users. But I think, and so the notion of deployments and release management is a little bit more well known amongst CRM providers but not definitely, not all of them. But Salesforce is sort of outstanding there. But then all those EESPS and marketing automation platforms including ExactTarget one that was acquired. They, I don’t think they’ve ever heard of the notion of release set. And I, and I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure MailChimp Hubspot, Marketo, don’t have release as part certainly doesn’t have release sets. So I wonder if it has something to do with that’s just like, the legacy of these platforms.

 

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Jyothsna Bitra: Hoping to see advancements on that front.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, yeah. And I’m sure we’ll see a lot more and especially with so much effort in the Marketing Cloud space of Salesforce going towards the Data Cloud which sits more on their… the same platform. The CRM sits. I’m sure we’ll have more capabilities there too. So, hey, JB, you’re wearing this very awesome hoodie, those in the ecosystem will know as, the Golden Hoodie. So, can you tell a little bit more about how did you earn this illustrious Salesforce Golden Hoodie?

Jyothsna Bitra: So… there is no secret recipe for this Anthony. To my knowledge, nobody knows who is going to get, who will get, but my understanding is that someone who has shown who has been outgoing, helping out people, has shown their leadership capabilities and learning capabilities. I think they are the ones who can be identified as the Golden Hoodie recipe recipient. But as I have heard from people just like contrary to the MVP MVP, we have some set standards like generosity expertise and leadership and so on. But for the Golden Hoodie, I think it’s for the people who go out and help people and who have been leaving an example of a Trailblazer.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, I think that makes sense. And we’ve had a few other Golden Hoodies on the show including people like Kaelan Moss, who do a lot of things. I would say educational, right? They put out a lot of content on how to, you know, how to learn to work with Marketing Cloud. On that notice. I also notice that you are the founder of the Marketing Cloud Learning Camp. Do you think that has something to do with the Golden Hoodie maybe?

JB: Maybe. So a few years ago, I started helping out the women Trailblazers, the even the Trailblazers-like women who were in a break or who haven’t started their carrier. So those are the people who I knew through my community neighborhoods. So I found a need for the women to get together, have a support system. So that’s how it’s all started. So. And then, I extended it and introduced Salesforce. And I have continuously done some sessions every weekend where I introduced to the head and we did some modules together. I help them clear the certifications. And it makes me very proud to see the success of the people who never thought they can go out and they can explore the world of opportunities. So whatever progress that they make, whatever success they have achieved, it feels so great to feel that I’m also a little part of it. So that, that’s one thing which I think which qualifies me for the Golden Hoodie and that deal continued so with the Marketing Cloud. And as you rightly said, MC Learning Camp. So I started it to help the people learn the Marketing Cloud. So when I started it, it’s like three years ago, there were not many resources for somebody who wants to learn Marketing Cloud. So from that time on, I’ve been continuously doing some boot camps and the various topics. So the journey is continuing and, it makes me feel very glad so that the purpose of my life, whatever I think that it’s a purpose for live purpose driven life. So seeing the success of the people, like I see some posts on the LinkedIn or people reaching out to me saying that they have cleared the certification or they are venturing, they’re starting their learning in the Marketing Cloud and they go to place, is the YouTube videos that I have been posting or the MC learning camp sessions that I’ve been doing. So it’s ultimate satisfaction for me. So all the efforts that I have spent, I feel like it’s worth spending.

Anthony Lamot: That’s fantastic. There’s a few things actually there you said are really interesting in word exploring more, maybe we can start by on the women Trailblazer group that you refer to. Can you just for the audience they’re say, explain a little bit more what that group is about? And what I would personally be really interested to know is obviously, most people working in tech or male, right? I think even at Salesforce, and they’re above industry standard. There’s about 34 percent women at my company. It’s about one third which again, is pretty good concern considering the industry as a whole, but of course, it’s still a far cry from being truly equal, in the sense of being 50 50 split between male and female. So, as a, you know, as a founder and executive, I would also be personally interested in learning what strategies you found to be successful in getting women more excited about a tech, or just making women successful, in a tech role?

Jyothsna Bitra: So when I got the thought of starting a group, I have seen the troubles and the hardships faced up by people who have integrated to the U.S. and also someone who is dependent for everything, at least if they wanna go outside of if they want to purchase something, they are coming into a new country and also having language barriers and also cultural differences. It’s hard to go out and do anything of their, on their own. So, I have seen many sad stories. So, the intention of starting the group, I was initially to provide a support system, so to gather at least once in a week, give a friendly support that’s how it started. So. And then it started with knowledge sharing some sessions. And then I thought why not Salesforce because I was working on the Salesforce core at that time. No, I was working on the Marketing Cloud, but I was helping out different people on the Salesforce. So I thought why not introduce them? They’re very, there’s a long way to go for them to actually think of taking a job. But then I thought why not introduce, and then people who are interested who can spend some time, they can pursue that. So I started spending some time, I see a lot of interest. And, I also observed that the people who weren’t break and people who were trying to come out of their situation, so they have more passion they were, they will be ready to do any kind of hard work. So I have seen that personally and the women that I have helped, they have spent days and nights even without taking a break in between spending 19 hours a day investing on the head modules, learning and clearing the certifications. So I was very much in admiration for them what the hardware they have been putting. So I believe in that, the Karma philosophy, right? So if we put in the hard work, the results will eventually come. So they have done their hard work and the situation came that at my work position I was… I found some opportunities open opportunities and I help them join us the interns. And then they were working now in IBM and some great companies. So it’s…

Anthony Lamot: They started as interns?

Jyothsna Bitra: The, they started as a Salesforce developers and then they’re not working in good companies. So what I have seen different with this group of people is the passion and the commitment and the hard work. So they really and especially with the women. The more dedicated, I wouldn’t classify the women and the man. But what I have seen in my personal experience is they’re ready to go out to break the sale glass ceiling and then spending extra time and effort to achieve what they plan for.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, it’s almost as if, the women who consciously and intentionally do that are… maybe you can be at an advantage compared to their male counterpart just because there’s so much more driven, and they do a purpose and with intent and they know also what they’re up against. So they’re kind of better braised for the battle so to speak, if that makes sense to you.

Jyothsna Bitra: That, that exactly makes sense Anthony.

Anthony Lamot: I also like how you mentioned working away with interns. It, it just caught my attention because when we were still a start up initially and we were a bootstrap company for a while, so we had absolutely zero money. It even took a long time before I started paying myself a salary. We DESelect, and we started working with interns initially as well because in Europe, there’s a great program call called the Erasmus program and it’s for 10 interns to go abroad. I did it too when I was a student. So that might Co-Founder, Jonathan. And so we thought this could be a funny way. And actually that was one of the things that really accelerated us as a company to start even though obviously had to train them a lot. And for some of them, it was the first time working in a company. It was so cool, to get a sense of all these people, you know, are learning, they’re growing in their roles, are growing as people. It’s, very satisfying. And on that note, you in passing alluded to purpose early kinda curious. What is your purpose? Because it sounds like you are definitely a woman with purpose. You mentioned getting great satisfaction out of seeing people learn and so on. So, would you say you have a specified purpose or how do you think about that?

Jyothsna Bitra: I would say in my family especially my dad used to give a lot of stress importance to education. So always used to say that of all, the things that you give to the people to share with the people knowledge is the is of utmost valuable because it is not something which will be spoiled or it is not something which we give it to somebody who is not worthy of it. So, I invested so much in the education and also helping out. And initially when I just started out my job and I just started my little earnings, I used to help out students who were having some difficulties in the finances. So I used to give the money and later I was helping in different ways in the, I was part of various nonprofits and, years. So was I was helping on different ways, different platforms but not really like going ahead and teaching someone. But then as I’m already in the Salesforce ecosystem then I thought why not teach somebody? Why not help people make their careers? Because it’s like it’s like helping them changing their life. So from where I started to how it’s changed, I pivoted to helping people more with the Salesforce and running the sessions. So I see the direct results as well. So if giving money, they may use it or not use it or they may be more, they may be dedicated or not. But with the Salesforce and these sessions, I can easily make out who is really interested. And if I’m really spending time on the worthy people or not. And, and also seeing directly the results of what my efforts have been link.

Anthony Lamot: Of course, of course. And, and… I think there’s something very candid what you said about people wary, of the knowledge and teaching because it’s so much more energy giving working with people just absorb everything like a sponge and are really driven to learn. Whereas if you’re talking with people who are just not motivated to learn, that can be very draining and this kind of the opposite of what you want. But now also understanding your motivation for education and knowing how much importance you attach to this kind of explains probably why you have, I think 16 Salesforce certificates. Is that right?

Jyothsna Bitra: I think it’s 19?

Anthony Lamot: Okay. Yeah. Then I think then because I saw it on your LinkedIn profile, but I think you’ve been scoring a few more than since you had.

Jyothsna Bitra: Yeah, I updated. So I think all almost all of the places just say 16.

Anthony Lamot: Sure. Okay. So this is the first time that the audience knows that you actually have 19 already. Do, do you have already have an idea what will be your twentieth certificate? Because I assume you’re not going to stop?

Jyothsna Bitra: I’m planning to give one by this year end. So I have one month, not even one month. So, I hope I can clear it. So I have the date scheduled. So I have to see.

Anthony Lamot: Okay. And which one is it?

Jyothsna Bitra: Integration architect.

Anthony Lamot: Integration architect. All right. Well, I wish you good luck. I hope that I don’t know if you take a holiday break, but I hope you’ll find some time, to study for it.

Jyothsna Bitra: Thank you. So I’m just banking on the holiday time, so I get some free time at that time.

Anthony Lamot: Great. Yeah, there’s a way to do it. So moving from education to your actual project work throughout your career. What would you say was, your most interesting, maybe your most fun project specifically for Marketing Cloud that you’ve done so far?

Jyothsna Bitra: It’s hard to say which one is the, because I see each project comes its own challenges. So I can say the projects which I worked on the healthcare because given the security and… safety that we need to follow. So that’s one thing which I found challenging. And also some of the projects that I worked on the data and the tools, the complexity of the tools that are being used, and the number of marketing tools that are being used. As we see here in marketing landscape, we have like 13,000 plus marketing tools available. I have come across a client ones using 300 plus marketing tools and at least some of them, at least 10 of them were integrated with the Marketing Cloud. So they wanted to even they were frustrated about so many tools. And if somebody on board the need for the new person to get a client to get trained on all these tools is also go ahead. So they were also frustrated with the number of tools used and the number of places they have to go to get some information. So they were planning to optimize the usage of the Marketing Cloud. So that’s when I was on that project helping them find out which one they can get rid of and which one is the optimum that can stay. So that’s something. Because while working as a consultant, different projects, different tools, and also the migration from different tools. When we’re migrating from a different tool, we need to understand that tool as well. Besides working on the Marketing Cloud. And if that is a mature organization, if they have invested so much, they have already performing so much of sense. I using the marketing tool, it’s very hard to switch to migrate as well considering all the data, all the tracking information, and all the campaigns getting migrated. And also making sure that the live sense are not impacted. So they have to go as planned as scheduled. So that’s something which I felt challenging and any more just to talk a few the migration projects I feel are somewhat challenging.

Anthony Lamot: For sure, for sure. And so this one project that you alluded to, I think was really interesting if I understood correctly, you have one client that had more than a whopping 300 more tech tools in house. And was the goal of that project to get rid of some of those tools, and migrate functionality and campaigns to the Marketing Cloud. Was that the idea?

Jyothsna Bitra: Yes, kind of, so they were having or they were having Marketing Cloud and for SMS, they were using something else and were advertising, they were using something else and for analytics unit. So, some of the external tool. So it’s like multiple places. I, it’s hard just to think about it. I’m going to multiple places. It’s it’s hard to envision that as well. So the plan was to get rid of some of the ones optimize the usage of the Marketing Cloud.

Anthony Lamot: And could you help us understand a little bit like how do you, how do you approach such a project? Could you walk me through like the different phases and some of the biggest challenges, in those phases that, you came across, you already mentioned when you have to migrate away from one tool to the next, you also have to kind of have to know what that tool does, but just affect that. They had so many different tools in house doing so many different things. How did you? Yeah, how did you tackle such a project?

Jyothsna Bitra: It involved a lot of discussions, a lot of meetings. And also you may have experienced this while working on different projects. When people are working as a team, so many stakeholders will be involved and it will be hard to get a buy in from everyone. So some people will be for it and some people will be against it and pulling all the people together and convincing them and explaining them the benefits of moving over from one tool to another tool. One thing which I have faced big challenge is people don’t want to migrate, they get used to some one tool. And even though they know the advantages of migrating to, the advanced tool, they’ll be hesitation or they will be, there will be a lack of resistance. I mean, like they’ll be resistance to move to the other tools. So that’s one thing which I have seen so with a lot of discussions and then proper planning ahead of the meetings, what kinds of information that we need. And also for me, it was challenging as I mentioned before to learn, I learned a lot of tools, marketing tools. It’s like a high level knowledge of what each tool does and how integrated with the Marketing Cloud and how that data is all flowing through from one system to another system. So that background work and I have spent some time to research and what each tool does and in the companies context and how they’re utilizing it and what feature they’re actually using it. It’s not necessary that they’re using all the features of a specific tool even though they have it’s like they have budget and they purchase the tool but they’re not using all the benefits of what the tool can do. So they were using only a few features of the tool. So what features are being used? What data is being used? That’s also something which I have analyzed and then putting together everything and comparing giving them the pros and cons of a specific tool, what can stay? What cannot need not stay? And it also required some effort on convincing different teams. So multiple meetings, I say again, so different teams were involved and convincing them and explaining them. So finally we were able to provide some recommendations and some were taken and some as I said, resistance were there. So maybe in the future they may finally choose to migrate again.

Anthony Lamot: Super interesting. Yeah. Some of the things you said were super recognizable. I think one of the first things you mentioned in getting people around the table having meetings and getting alignment, I would say getting they’re buying one great consultant that I once used once worked for, sorry, he used to phrase “coalition building” especially in the larger enterprise organization where you would try to identify one or two people who really want to get align with the project. And then from there a few other people, a few other people. So that by the time he actually got to the big meeting, everyone was actually already on the same page. The coalition had already been built and, they didn’t have to be convinced them or within the meeting. I thought that was really insightful. It was almost like probably a good course on how to be a politician. The, the other thing, that you said to is people get used to tools. There’s just massive resistance to change. So was that something was that strong in that project? To the want to 300 something tools where people are just very attached to their old tools. 

Jyothsna Bitra: What I noticed was there was only one particular team which do not want to move, but all the other teams involved. Now five other teams. They were pro for it and they were actually supporting, they were actually pushing it to get the buy in. But for that one specific team, they do not want to because they were already frustrated that they had to learn so many tools. And now that they learned one specific tool, they got used to it. And now they have to go and learn the other tool. And under the Marketing Cloud, the common challenge that people face that what I heard frequently is that the UI marketing cloud has, it makes it difficult for people to learn if let’s say Pardot or any other app that sits on the Salesforce, if they’re used to work on the Salesforce, it’s easy for them. The knowledge is not too much, but for somebody who is starting with Marketing Cloud, the UI is completely different and the process as well is different. So they have some hard time learning and that’s where I felt the teams do not want to start using Marketing Cloud.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah. Also something that I have experienced at a project working in the past, and still something we control with DESelect. Obviously because, we replace one of the most technical parts, with some of our solutions and we make it a little easier, to understand. But I think, you know, this is just a kind of trade off you have in a platform as powerful as Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It is a Ferrari and you can do so many things with it, but you have to learn how to drive it. Otherwise, yeah, you’re not going to be able to, and I think, yeah, that’s just the downside of having such a powerful platform.

Jyothsna Bitra: Yeah. And, and we have a distributed marketing. So we went that route and we provided them the options and the capabilities of distributed marketing and the flexibility of using that within the Salesforce UI itself. So it worked out. So… for one client, we proposed distributed marketing and, that was taken, and for another client, so they have the similar issue. So they have a big team. What we have done for them is they wanted some other advanced capabilities more than what distributed marketing can do. So they wanted to create emails. They wanted to have the flexibility to choose between different journeys, the multi step journeys, and also add the campaign members from everything within the Salesforce. So what I marketing can do plus lot more. So that is all done as customization on the Salesforce with a lot of communication happening between the Marketing Cloud and Salesforce and for the SMS they were using and the tool. So it’s like Salesforce is the data source and Marketing Cloud is only used as the sending engine. And on the customization, they were able to do from within the Salesforce itself. And they don’t even need to log into the marketing cloud for the distributed marketing. Some admin has to be there in the Marketing Cloud, and they have to set up the journeys. They have to create the e-mail with some dynamic content. So the people on the Salesforce, they can go and choose between different elements. But with the customization in the Salesforce, there’s more flexibility on those parts.

Anthony Lamot: Yes, for sure. I’ve seen that setup to happen before where the maybe not necessarily master data management but at least, the master of record and the core data is kept in the CRM. And, a lot more automation can be built in the CRM. Obviously then in Marketing Cloud. And then Marketing Cloud is almost like an execution channel as there may be other channels too, for communication. To… now, one thing that I started to wonder about JB while we were talking is kind of, how does your brain work to dissect a new market tool? Because I’m here, I’m thinking well, you have 19 certifications. You’ve done many of these projects where they had many… there are tools before Marketing Cloud to which you sometimes have to migrate. And as you mentioned, you do have to kind of understand what these tools do. So given the fact that you’ve been exposed and had to investigate so many tools. I wonder if you have some kind of methodology or some method I’m basically trying to figure out like how does your brain work? If I, you know, show you a new tool tomorrow? How do you approach that? And, and this is something other people can learn, and use, for their own project work?

Jyothsna Bitra: There’s no secret formula, Anthony. I would say YouTube. So if I want on high level overview, I would just go and watch some videos. So it depends on the type of integration the tool has with the Marketing Cloud. So earlier, I was working on migration of the campaigns from responses to the Marketing Cloud.

I needed an indepth, understanding of how everything is organized within responses, how everything works in the responses. So I have to go a step further and see more videos and try it for myself in the responses system or, and… have to figure out what just like the way we have different data extensions and e-mail at one place and the journey in a different place and the responses as well. The data is all scattered. So it’s not that easy to navigate there and understand the things. But by the end of the project, I got a good handle that that’s what I believe I learned some new tool. If I were to start creating some emails and the responses or do some sequel or set something up in the responses, I can say, I can do, I can start with. So my go to place will be YouTube and any other tool specific learning content also is there. So I would go and check that.

Anthony Lamot: Okay, great. Yeah, I think it makes all sense by the way. But sometimes, the most simple solutions are the best. So thanks for sharing that, we have one other thing except for, you know, doing Marketing Cloud projects. We have one other thing in common that is that we are about Salesforce user group leaders and I believe you’re the Phoenix Salesforce user group leaders. So I was kinda curious what’s been your most fun get together or your most, your favorite memory of, you know, being a group leader?

Jyothsna Bitra: There are many actually. But the inaugural event is always the most memorable and also the inaugural boot camp. So I started doing the administrator boot camp. I think it’s in 2019 or 2020. So when I started, it was my first time handling that such a big event, it was like a 12 days session happening every alternate day. And then when I started with, I got 100 registrations and in just one day, it reached 300 or 400. And I was, I started wearing at that time. So, I am that kind of person who do not want to say no for somebody who wants to learn who are passionate to learn. So that made me worry that I had to say no to the people who wants to attend the boot camp. So it was like in 24 hours, it was like the thing I continuously kept, it kept receiving the messages notifications that registrations are happening and this much of count is happening. So the end of the day, it made me worried. So, I did not, at that time, I did not know, how to say no to the people?

So, Linda was there for my support and she helped me out with the first boot camp. So I was very nervous at that time handling so many. Such a big audience also was, it made me a bit nervous. So Linda was there for each and every session and she provided a lot of support. So it was the most memorable. And the other boot camps, it’s just the same way they follow this week.

Anthony Lamot: All right. And, and in the end, how many people actually took the boot camp of all those registered people?

Jyothsna Bitra: The first station, I saw a lot of attendance and, by the time we reached the last day of the boot camp, I see the attendance decline. But the first one is-

Anthony Lamot: Normal, of course.

Jyothsna Bitra: Yeah, 75 percent admins or something.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. Well, I didn’t realize you guys, it’s such a big boot camps link to the user group. Was there a special occasion for that? Or was that, where did the idea come from?

Jyothsna Bitra: So I took the admin certification at that time, Marketing Cloud Administrator. And then I, I’m already leading the group and I thought that why not have a session for people who wants to give the certification? Maybe I can share some tips. So it was a joint meeting with Atlanta user group on my group. So I gave a session that was just one hour. Then I thought one hour isn’t just enough to cover the whole aspect of the Marketing Cloud. So the, no, I thought why not take complete full-fledged boot camp that can be helpful for people who wants to learn Marketing Cloud as well. So administrator is something which a beginner also can start with. If they want to learn Marketing Cloud, they can start with the administration concepts. So that can be helpful for both for the beginners and for the people who wants to clear the certifications. So that started like that. So that, the initial idea was to do one session and it turned out to be 12 sessions.

Anthony Lamot: That’s amazing. So it just game very organically and then it kinda started to live of its own. It seems well, very, I mean, very impressive. Great job on that. I’m kinda curious, on a somewhat different note, you, you’ve alluded to having to work with SQL before and you’ve seen marketers work on different projects with Marketing Cloud, you know, at different companies, are there some uncommon use cases where you’ve seen marketers successfully use unique segmentation strategies or a different way to as it is, you know, have you seen very interesting targeting or segmentation being built at customers? It’s it’s a subject that, you know, for us at DESelect, where we have a segmentation solution on the Appexchange. It’s it’s a topic that interests us a lot that’s us a lot.

Jyothsna Bitra: Yeah. As we are talking about that, I like my, Segment and the Engage as well. How the tool has been helping. I have seen some clients use the Engage and Segment. And I myself use Search to find out data extensions. It is as I have to say, and this is, this tool is like savior when I want to find some data extensions and there were a large number of data extensions out there on a complicated folder structure. So apart from that, I have seen clients, it varies from client to client, but I have seen clients using segmentation on a granular level to identify the people. So I have seen a client who sends out the e-mail or who do their service based on, the conditions and based on the type of insurance or the type of vehicle they have. So, in such scenarios, segmenting on the location and on the weather depending on the weather. And also based on their licenses based on their subscription level. And also the kind of a it’s something that makes it complicated. And I have the invalid, apart from, DESelect Search… I found the tools within in the Marketing Cloud. The features also help for the segmentation features. Apart from the Salesforce, the SQL, the engagement split to analyze opens and clicks, and also the Einstein features that are available out there. And for clients who have integrations with the person, MCP, the personalization, I have seen, they have effectively used the segmentation in the personalization and then get that data integrated into the Marketing Cloud and run the journeys from the Marketing Cloud.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah. Interesting. I like how you first off, thank you for the compliment for our products, much appreciated. But then, yeah, there are some of these interesting features in Marketing Cloud that you kinda can also use for segmentation. Like within like an engagement split is one way of doing it. The other thing you mentioned briefly is Einstein that’s a great. Let’s say bridge to the next question. There’s been so much a I innovation within Salesforce, but obviously also outside of it with open a, I really leading the efforts, but other companies like Google and Microsoft quickly catching up or following, you know, pursuing the same thing? This is a hard question but I don’t think anyone can really have the answer. But how do you think marketing will change? Or how will marketing teams look like maybe a year to three years from now with everything that’s happening in AI.

Jyothsna Bitra: I’m very hopeful of what comes in the future with all the advancements already happening in Marketing Cloud. All these features being added so quickly. I’m hopeful that many more changes are to come. And I’m hoping for something like a I driven automation with streamlines the entire marketing operations. So just like the way we have the journey templates provided within the Marketing Cloud, I am envisioning something like a whole end to end process, right? From starting a campaign to all the steps that goes within the campaign, the e-mail creation, the AB testing, the Journey creation, the analytics and all the steps that goes in between. So I am hoping some process will be there so easily. Even if begin a, we do not have much knowledge. We’ll be able to set up the code is taken care, the e-mail bills not taken care. So that, that’s what I am envisioning. So even I am excited to see and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Anthony Lamot: So, so an end to end process for a campaign. So I wonder what that feature would look like? Would it be something like a prompt where I would say, so for instance, if I wanted to use this kind of automation for my own company? And for instance, we recently just announced, our MOP. So I could just say something like, hey, Marketing Cloud, build me a campaign for our MOP, and this is what it’s about and maybe give a description. And then Marketing Cloud would maybe make a journey with seven emails, and select audience and everything. Is that how you envision it, or do you imagine something different?

Jyothsna Bitra: Something similar to that, Anthony. So just like the way we have journey templates for someone who not have…, a basic plan of the journey structure, how it should like, look like they can start with the template and see what they can include, what they can update the same way for a campaign. It could be something like the whole process listed and the end user can select what steps they want and what steps they can eliminate. And also just like an in ap guidance, it can provide some assistance saying this will be helpful. And this feature is something which can optimize the campaign effectiveness. I’m thinking something on those lines.

Anthony Lamot: Sounds very interesting. Yeah. We’ve also been thinking a lot about overall campaign planning especially, with DESelect Engage which now has a big campaign planning feature. It will be kinda cool to have a like a button that so could kind of reorganize their whole campaign planning too. So. And then if you could combine those two ideas, you can get this and state where maybe the whole end to end process of a campaign, is AI generated. I don’t doubt it would still be human involved to QA to make sure that the best potential answers images are taken and there’s no like kind of hallocinations, in what the AI is providing. But then once you have those things and, you multiply the number of times and you also need to have the constant overview and so having some AI driven capabilities that could completely reorganize your planning so that you get the highest amount of conversions because campaigns are nicely spread out and people are not over such rate. I think that’s super exciting. I think that’s really going to be, it’s going to allow us to turn people in marketing operations into, you know, marketing, super heros because it’s going to be, you know, tremendous power.

Jyothsna Bitra: Yeah. So people need not spend much time learning Marketing Cloud. They just need to learn some of the main places where they can go and customize

Anthony Lamot: All that’s left then is just being a great marketer. That will be, that will be fantastic. Maybe a last question before, we round up the interview. So because we have been eluding a bit of and talking quite a bit about the technical side of things. But while people in marketing operations, marketing automation are more typically maybe associated with the technical side of things, the soft skills that they need to be successful, the leadership skills that they need to be successful or also super important. What do you think are these skills? Soft skills, leadership skills that you need to drive in these kinds of roles?

Jyothsna Bitra: I would say as a marketer, it’s very important to be empathetic, resilient and also very important to be at adaptive. So we have seen the pandemic, and we have learned so many lessons from that to be to encourage option, be flexible and creative. So that, I feel as a marketer, it’s very important to be creative and adaptive and flexible enough and be able to pivot whatever the situation is.

Anthony Lamot: So, I heard being adaptive super important and I really like that you also start your answer by saying being empathetic. I think that’s really great parting advice. So, JB, thank you so much for making the time and coming on to show. Has been a pleasure talking with you and just learning more about your background and what you’ve seen in the industry. So, thanks for your time.

Anthony Lamot: Happy to be here, Anthony. Thanks for having me.

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Episode 18 | Transcript

Aaron Beatty: Email Personalization, AI for SFMC, and Future of Data Cloud

Anthony Lamot: Hey, Aaron, welcome to the show.

Aaron Beatty: Hey, super happy to be here. Thanks for having.

Anthony Lamot: It’s absolutely a pleasure. It’s been a few months now, a few weeks now since we started or a Dreamforce. I was very happy to have been able to meet you face to face. And I’m very excited to have you here today. For our audience, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and ultimately what led you to found Engage Evolution?

Aaron Beatty: Sure. Yeah. So I’m gonna do my best to give the cliff notes otherwise, you know, I don’t know how much time we have, for the podcast, but I have a tendency to go in the way too much detail. So… I will give you, the quick background which is that I started in aerospace engineering. I worked for Northrop Grumman on the C-17 Globe Master 3 aircraft for a while then I switched into professional theater which you know, is a natural jump for most people to go from aerospace engineering to professional theater. But right doing that though I was a master sent Carpenter and a house manager. And then I did some time in retail. I worked for Apple for about eight years. And… once I was ready to start a family, it was time to find something that was a little more friendly to that. And that’s when I started learning about Exact Target and later Salesforce Marketing Cloud. And so that was, in 2012. And so over a decade now, I think I get to say I’ve been working on that and learning it and, you know, I kinda went through the ropes of that. So building emails, and testing, and campaign management, and support, and documentation, and all the other things that are part, of that ecosystem and just kinda been working my way up the ladder for a while. And my last position was as a director, of a group of a Salesforce Marketing Cloud practice. And, and ultimately, I would say frustrated that sometimes it feels like the larger an organization gets, the more it stops listening to their people start stops listening to their customers and it starts to feel like a herculean effort to try to get anything done or to try to get things changed from how they always were. And so ultimately, those frustrations, let me to feel like I had no other choice but to start my own Salesforce Marketing Cloud practice. And so that’s what happened in February of this year. And so I’ve been doing that ever since and, not a huge length of time there. But things seem to be going well, and I really enjoyed it.

Anthony Lamot: What a background I would ever explore what you’re currently doing, but there are a few things at that were interesting. So it continues to amaze me how much of a variation there is amongst marketing information professionals. In fact, a few interviews ago, I interviewed one of our own, Eduardo, who leads our customer success team, and he originally started his career programming satellites.

Aaron Beatty: Wow.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah. So the, I almost think also that having that variety for sure. The real life experience helps, I think for any marketing experience, sometimes just having worked in these very technical industries can definitely set you on the right track to deal with marketing automation because it’s so complex.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. It, it is, and definitely can be. I think for me, my background, you know, I can look at every job that I’ve had and pick out little things you know, that I picked up, you know, while I was in engineering, little things I picked up when I was in retail, and sales, and a bunch of things while I was at apple. And that’s impacted, how I run my own company. It’s impacted how I treat customers and colleagues, and, it ultimately changes what I look for in a Salesforce Marketing Cloud employee too. Like, what am I looking for from people that I want to join my company as we grow? It’s all influenced by that background. But yeah, everybody’s there’s not a, I mean, there probably is now a digital marketing or marketing automation degree, but yeah, I didn’t go through anything even close to that.

Anthony Lamot: Are you ever able to tap into your experience as a master scenic Carpenter when you’re back working for?

Aaron Beatty: You know, I suppose, if I really wanted to, I, you know, my parents at one point wanted to me to be an architect and I was never really that interested in that. And then I got into building sets and stuff like that and being a master scenic Carpenter and, you know, what you do there? I’m not necessarily coming up with what the sets gonna look like. There’s a designer for that, but then they give you some crazy thing to build and you’ve got to figure out, you know, the structures that are maybe behind the scenes and, you know, how it’s all gonna fit together and still manage to support an actor’s weight or, you know, not hurt somebody when they’re on stage, you know, lost in their character, and not paying attention to how fragile that set piece may or may not be. So there’s I suppose some of that and that’s you know, in my job now it’s the same kind of thing, you know, a designer or a client will come and say here’s. The finished thing that I want, but we have no idea how to get there. And so much like an architect or a scenic, you know, Carpenter, you’re kind of figuring out the behind the scenes elements, and, the data architecture and the data structures that are supporting that end piece. So, and hopefully when you’re done, it’s not fragile and it’s sustainable and it’s scaleable. Just like you would want from, you know, a scenic piece in a theater.

Anthony Lamot: I love how you meticulously broke that down, and the abstraction layer, that provide some similarity between something as varied as being a carpenter in a theater industry marketing.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. There’s I mean, the only difference is I’m not using any trig or anything like that that’s just reserved for when I’m helping my 13 year old with your homework, but everything else, you know, I haven’t had to touch that kind of stuff as part of the, there’s very little math although, you know, starting to get into AI, and language models. And, and there’s a ton of math and calculations involved in that. So who knows, I may have to start picking that up too.

Anthony Lamot: It’s it’s interesting that you mentioned that because I was gonna ask for Engage Evolution, the company you started relatively recently. Do you already have a sense of this is going to be our focus? Whether it’s functionally what you wanna do in Marketing Cloud, or maybe you focus in terms of types of customer you want to serve. Do you have an idea already what your ICP is and so on?

Aaron Beatty: So, yeah, I mean, we are founded as a Salesforce Marketing Cloud partner and really focused in, on that whole suite of software. So, you know, that will, I’m sure change and, you know, if we leave it up to Salesforce, I’m sure it will change names another three or four times just in the next year. But, but, you know, so that’s you know, what used to be Pardot, what used to be ExactTarget, you know, and Data Cloud and all the other pieces that are part of quote unquote Marketing Cloud is where we focus. And, and as far as verticals, I got a lot of advice when I started that I really needed to focus in on a vertical like, pick your lane, and I felt like that was good advice and also really difficult advice to follow because I have a lot of friends working in a lot of different industries and I’d like to be able to help them out kind of wherever they are. And if they’re using Marketing Cloud as are, I have some kind of insight or best practices and at least what I think they should be doing with their platform. And so, you know, right out of the gate I had, you know, financial services clients, I had nonprofit, I had some commercial and… you know, as long as you can speak the language of those different verticals, the solution and can have a lot of similarities. It’s just, the kind of code-switching you’re using in your language to discuss it. So are you talking about subscribers or are you talking about constituents? Are you talking about fundraising or you’re talking about development or you’re talking about sales. And there’s a ton of overlap on all those different kinds of code words that those different industries use. But at the end of the day, you know, the solutions in Marketing Cloud are going to be largely, you know, based on the same structures and platform capabilities that you have on any vertical. So… that’s a long winded way to say no. I haven’t really landed on a single vertical and, you know, as a start up, it’s you know, it’s gonna be hard for me to say no if somebody wants my help because they’re in, you know, not my core vertical or whatever. So that’s how it’s played out so far.

Anthony Lamot: And vertical could have been part of SEP, but I also know there are some who have an affinity for a certain segment like enterprise mid market. So that’s also…

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, that too. Yeah. And, and you know, it tends to be, I guess smaller, and more mid market, but, you know, we have a couple of, pretty large clients with some pretty complex setups… and, you know, a lot of times the solutions are still kinda the same. I mean, the focus, you know, is always going to be in terms of at least in terms of Marketing Cloud. Like how do you set this thing up in such a way that the, you know, perhaps just a marketer like a business user is able to get in there and get what they need without needing to be able to write SQL or, you know, do other things, that is not in most marketers bag of tricks. And so, you know, there’s as, you know, there’s a variety of products out there that help, with those kinds of things and services that help with that kind of thing. But it’s also from how you use structure in architect. The entire solution has to be, I think from that point of view first, how do you make it easy to use because of the inherent complexity, in the platform?

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, absolutely. Although I will say, I’m grateful for that complexity if not for it in our company will probably not exist, right? Yeah, it jokes aside, we have, I mean, I really resonated when you said there are code words for certain industries. So, for instance, when we talk with insurance companies, I’ll be more, you know, more likely to be talking about whether it’s a direct model across all of policies. Whereas if you talk with maybe higher education, we’re talking about advancement programs. But ultimately, what we do for instance, is a horizontal and it’s just finding those code words and relate into it. And I almost feel sometimes that and this might be interesting for those who are listening who are considering or already parting with Salesforce, when you’re parting with Salesforce, they’re all of guidance on being vertical specific. However, I feel that’s more because that suits Salesforce very well because they’re at this scale. If they want a significant capture time, they have to have that whole super vertical focus specific narrative. And that sometimes doesn’t make sense for other companies who are truly horizontal or, you know, aren’t even at a scale to have a strong vertical specific motion.

Aaron Beatty: Right. Yeah. It’s I mean, yeah, I think in some ways it’s partly due to just how Salesforce is structured. You know, their account execs and, you know, the people that work there. They have, you know, different verticals that they work in different size and scales that they work in and it’s helpful that way. And then, I think clients and customers also kind of force the conversation into that as well for better. And I think sometimes for worse because, you know, if I let’s say I work for a nonprofit and I’m looking for a tool to do forms, for example, I am in my, you know, looking at like seo type stuff and I’m looking for a product that does that. I’m not gonna look for the best form product out there. I’m gonna look for a nonprofit focused form. And so, I think that’s probably unnecessarily limiting in some ways because you’re looking, you know, specifically for your vertical under the assumption that it needs to be specific to your vertical or might have different tools or functionality. And, and I think too that clients want, they kinda want to know that you have a solution that’s just for them. And so saying well, you know, sales is pretty close to a nonprofit that’s trying to get donations, you know, or something like that. There, there is a lot of similarity in that. Just like there’s a lot of…

Anthony Lamot: The same idea that way.

Aaron Beatty: Well, exactly. No, they don’t, and higher-ed is the same like thinking of higher-ed and the context of sales. And in the context of trying to convince potential students to come to your college or university. I mean, that is, it is sales that, you know, they don’t want to think of it that way. But so there’s a lot of cross vertical and cross industry expertise that I think is going to waste maybe a little bit or not paid attention to just because it’s not specific to that vertical. And, and so, yeah, I mean, part of, you know, working on, the consulting side of it is learning to do the code switching so that when you speak to those things, you can translate it into their language. And then, they hear those code words and they go okay, they understand what we do. And then, and then you can have a meaningful conversation from there.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, it certainly is a great way to build a report, Aaron, you’ve as we mentioned, have had about a decade of experience with Marketing Cloud. If you think back of the many projects you’ve done, can you think back of what was your favorite, or one of your favorite projects?

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. There’s a few that come to mind. I’m trying not to let like a recency effect here impact my answer because I just found some exciting solutions, for a client that was a lot of fun, but I think overall.

 

Well, I’ll go with, I worked with Teespring a while ago and they, they’ve kind of marked their business since I worked with them, but at the time they really were just kind of a custom teacher print shop. And, and now actually they’ve changed names. I think they’re just Spring now. But anyway, their request was they wanted an e-mail that could go out that would be personalized for people. And so what we ended up doing is writing a lot of AMPscript which is as, you know, the, you know, native one of the native languages for Marketing Cloud. And then I think there was some sequel involved behind the scenes. But basically it was an e-mail that sent each person their own unique e-mail and it would populate the e-mail with the top selling T-shirts of the different categories from which they had most often purchased. And so each person that received an e-mail was gonna get their own unique e-mail not even like based on a segment, it was really kind of a one to one thing just based on having access to the catalog and then having access to purchase data and then having access to the, you know, most popular shirts that were selling. So that was really that was a really fun one. And one of those that was like lots of late nights trying to get the e-mail to do the thing. And then finally like four in the morning, you get the thing, to populate correctly. And it’s just, you know, it’s amazing when you get to show the client the next day kind of a thing. So that was really fun. And really most of the really fun projects that I’ve had have been along those lines in kind of figuring out, how to increase segmentation and get closer to having a one to one experience on the e-mail versus saying you are one of, you know, 200,000 people in the segment to really treat each person as an individual based on their data. And that’s been kind of the holy grail, in e-mail marketing. And also something that’s been ridiculously difficult to do.

Anthony Lamot: I can imagine. And by the way I can confirm that that Teespring has been renamed Spring. I just looked it up but, it’s a cool brand, and it sounded like you’re really, you reached or at least approximated very closely at one to one communication. I suppose maybe people, who did similar, you know, purchases and similar product categories with that brand, they might have still gotten somewhat similar recommendations if not the same, but share with us like, why were the all mites necessary? So, what were the bottleneck in getting to that one on one communication?

Aaron Beatty: I think it’s probably part of that is just my, you know, I feel like there’s probably a bit of impostor syndrome there and that when I go to develop or build something, I feel like, well, you know, I’m like a junior developer, like a junior engineer, like, I can get by, I can make it work but it tends to be a lot of trial and error like, you know, you write the code, and it comes close, it almost does it or it just gives you error after error and you just can’t get to the point where it’s actually… you know, making it all the way through and displaying a preview properly. So, so I think it’s I think for me, it’s a lot of that, and who knows, you know, maybe your most experienced engineers and developers are exactly the same way. But, I envision somebody in my mind’s eye like a really experienced developer just sitting down and just from their brain directly, into the code. And they just write the exact code and then they hit, you know, send and it’s perfect. Like that’s. In my brain that’s how somebody that really knows what they’re doing would do it. And for me, it’s lots and lots of trial and error. And so, that ends up being late nights working on stuff.

And by the way, not working late because it’s there’s like a deadline that needs to be hit, but mostly because I’m like in the zone, you know, like I’m making progress. I’m really close to getting it and I’m having fun doing it. And so I lose track of time. And then I look up and I’m going, it’s time for my daughter to wake up and get on the bus or, you know, so, it’s more from that. Just like being like really focused in on something, until you crack it.

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Anthony Lamot: No, I definitely recognize that feeling. I don’t do any coding anymore these days.

But in the early days for DESelect, even I did and it, it’s definitely a good medium to enter that state of flow as psychologists would call it. And I do think by the way as it as a, you know, a little side, no, I do think even the best engineers have to do this kind of trial art or something to that works organic. I don’t think anyone can just, you know, A to Z type out a whole piece of functional code that will be probably like a freak of a person. Yes. But what I’ve always found helpful is to, rather than just starting to come up with a good architecture breakdown functionality into modules and then work my way through those modules. And, and when you de, structured like that, then… there’s a lot less frustration, and iterations afterwards.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, yeah. I would agree with that. I, I’m not always as good at doing that, but I definitely have a smoother workflow, when I have a properly documented plan with requirements and, you know, goals and, you know, pseudo code prior to just kinda hopping in. And then, you know, saving early and often and saving iterations, of codes so that I can go back a step or two if I need to or if I break something, I’m just not always as good at being that organized. And sometimes I just want to hop in and get my hands dirty.

Anthony Lamot: Sure. Well, I still have to stay with this example of this project a little bit long because I’m kinda curious what kind of, what do the data architecture look like? Because I’m trying to sort of imagine what do you need to do a communication like that? So presumably, you need to store per customer their most favorite product categories. So that is based on purchase data, maybe with some sequel updates into a table. But then you want to personalize based on layer product. So do you load a product catalog and does that, is that linked to a content?

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. So I mean, I think you, I think you kinda talked it out there. So it’s largely that. So, the main thing that you need, is a product catalog and, you know, if that catalog has, you know, predefined categories. So like, in their implementation, I think they had like, you know, there’s like patriotic tee shirts, there are like music T-shirts. There are tee shirts by like keywords. So like, you know, if you search for teacher, you might get a, you know, a bunch of T-shirts for what it’s like to be a teacher. And if it’s if you search for engineer, then you might get a bunch of different kinds of funny shirts for engineer. So it was a lot of like keyword based products in a product catalog. And then they always had an image that they would show on their website for all the T-shirts. So I had access as to all of that. So between that and, the transactional data that’s really it. And then, and then the sequel is just looking for each person, their last X purchases and then looking at the categories of T-shirts that they purchased, and then trying to kind of discern their top, you know, however many categories based on whatever it is that we’re trying to do. So sometimes you can just use that… implicit preference based on what they’re purchasing. I have had some situations that are kinda similar to that where we’ve been able to combine the transactional… data along with the preference data from their like preference center, and then combine that with their viewing data based on like the things that they’re looking at on the website and then trying to kind of combine all of that through a series of SQL queries, or what have you to try to kinda guess the top things that somebody might be interested in. And usually, you know, the longer ago that they did that the less impact it’s going to have on your final scores and that kind of stuff. So you can make it as complicated as you want to. But it’s usually some semblance, of those pieces of data that you re-combine into an e-mail…

Anthony Lamot: It’s also interesting that you can combine implicit and explicit preferences. And I would wonder then what actually makes more impact if you would, afterwards, if you would like  AB test it and see if people respond more to their explicit or implicit preferences. I’m gonna guess implicit.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, probably, yeah, because I think, you know, it’s hard to get really granular when you’re doing explicit because, you know, you can, you only want to show so many options on your page like you wouldn’t want, like if we go back to the Teespring example and let’s say they’ve got a 1,000 categories of T-shirts, you know, you’re not going to have them sift through all 1,000 categories and say, yeah, I like cowboy merchandise and my wife’s a teacher. So I like teacher stuff or, you know, like that’s gonna be really hard to find but you might be like, well, they like T-shirts versus hats. So like you might be able to combine the more broad categories with their implicit… either browsing behavior or abandoned shopping cart type stuff plus the stuff that they actually bought. And, and I think the thing that’s hard with that to really get right, which probably nobody does is like when is somebody gonna buy something one time for a specific use versus that’s the thing that they like to buy? You know, like if I’m on if I’m on the home shopping page and I bought a set of sheets or something like that, that’s probably not going to be something I’m gonna buy all the time. It doesn’t mean I just love buying sheets. It means I needed to set of sheets. I bought them. Now, I’m done with that. I don’t wanna keep getting emails about my next favorite sheets because I just bought them. So like it’s hard to, sometimes it’s hard, to square those edges and figure out… what’s actually gonna make sense in the ultimate e-mail and that’s it’s probably impossible to get right right now, but you can, you know, kinda take a stab at it.

Anthony Lamot: Now for Teespring, they probably constantly have new content available. So how do you make sure that you can actually show the last category winners, to those customers? Is it integrate with some kind of external CMS or is there like a process of constantly updating the latest image for the coolest new shirts? How does that work?

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. I think… this has been, it’s been a hot second. So I don’t remember all the details for them specifically, but generally speaking, you know, if we’re looking at top products, you know, it’s likely not going to include anything that’s brand new because there needs to be data to support that. It’s a hot product meaning enough purchase history or whatever to say. Okay, this is a thing that people like. And so it ends up just being, you know, in Marketing Cloud parlance, it ends up being a data extension that’s getting updated every, you know, probably a day or two with the current most popular items of the different categories. And then you take it from there. So that’s at least how that one worked to my recollection.

Anthony Lamot: All right. Thanks for sharing. We’ll talk about hot products. Let’s shift the conversation a bit to all the stuff we heard at Dreamforce. Salesforce has and continues to make major investments in their data cloud. That’s the name of their CDP, formerly known as genie, formerly known as Salesforce CDP, formerly known as Salesforce 360. But where do you ultimately see Data Cloud going? What do you think about that product category? And what do you see in the market?

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. I mean bringing it to specifically Data Cloud or Data Cloud for marketing. I think it’s definitely where they are wanting to bring the product. I mean, it certainly seems like they’re making a lot of investment into that tool and… I hate to say at the expense of, a, like marketing cloud engagement or something like that, but it does kinda seem like a lot of the energy and, you know, the new AI based tools and, you know, marketing GPT and all that it, you would expect it, I think to be in Marketing Cloud engagement or Marketing Cloud account engagement. And instead it’s in Data Cloud. So definitely they’re making a push to make that platform really attractive. And, you know, announcing that you can now get what amounts to a free trial, of the Data Cloud and kind of taking a look at it basically giving people, you know, their first taste is free for that. You know, the downside of that product right now is that it’s not an inexpensive license and it, it’s at current is really, it seems to me like it’s mostly a way, to solve for how difficult it can be in Marketing Cloud to get segments. And so, it’s a way for Salesforce to sell a product to make that part, of another one of their products a little easier to use. But they are, you know, rapidly advancing, the capability of that tool and I think, the kind of end user… the way that it’s being framed is more, you know, you’ve got your CRM data, but your CRM data is and everything you’ve also got data on the web and you’ve got data based on your social networks, and you’ve got data from all of your advertising. And so you’ve got all these pieces of data in addition to CRM and that, that’s a place where you can bring it all together and create profiles and kind of flatten the data and then activate it through journeys or through… let’s see what it’s called now Marketing Cloud personalization… or back into CRM and so… I don’t know. I’m really torn on it. I think it’s gonna grow into a thing that’s gonna be really attractive for folks, but it’s a little bit of a hard sell at the moment for at least most of the smaller organizations. It’s you know, it’s a pretty big lift.

Anthony Lamot: That’s fair. I think. And for those more well-versed in the Salesforce ecosystem, we all know that Salesforce platform really consist of often different infrastructure, different databases because of the acquisitions it has done over the years. What I do find exciting is that there’s going to be, well, hopefully you’ll become a common ground for all these platforms which will make integration a lot easier if not just completely unnecessary in case of certain capabilities. But I think there’s still some where, you know, there’s still some road to be travel before we get there.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, yeah, I think so. I think, for those of us that rely on this ecosystem for our livelihood, it’s still an open question for where we should be investing our time and effort and, you know, training and, you know, certifications and all that kind of stuff like where are things headed? It definitely, you know, just based on the things that Salesforce has been saying, it definitely feels like data cloud is one of those areas where, you know, to your point, it’s a common ground for development and, you know, the newer stuff is all coming out of, that same platform. So, I think that’s where things are headed. But man, there’s just so much existing technical structure and depth in all of these other tools that for Salesforce as a company, I don’t know how they begin to bring all that stuff together… but yeah, I think that’s going to be an important part of, their strategy.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. Another thing we heard a little about a Dreamforce is AI, it was kinda hard to escape that phrase. You already alluded to the phrase earlier to start a conversation although maybe were you were rather referring to your personal use of AI, I’m not sure.

Aaron Beatty: I mean, it’s definitely right now, it’s definitely the buzz word dire, right? And, you know, my standing joke was walk around and go, who’s AI? Why does everybody keep talking about AI? But yeah, I mean, yeah, it’s inescapable, it’s definitely blown up obviously in the last year with chat GPT and then all the other tools, that have come around as a result. I am of the opinion, that it’s I think it will get us to a place where we can really do that one-to-one marketing engagement. And I think it’s really gonna expedite… that transition like I, you know, I referred earlier is the kind of, the holy grail of art marketing is to be able to have, a marketing segment of one and not have to group people together into these giant groups. And so the scale of data processing, and thinking and I use that term either in the, you know, the sense of a human doing it in the sense of an artificial intelligence doing it. But the, with all the tools and capability we’ve had so far, you just, you don’t have the time and resources, to have a segment of one. So it’s a short hand that you create segments and put people that are similar together under the assumption that they’re going to behave roughly similarly. And yeah, I think we’re just going to be able to get to the point where it’s literally, just this is marketing, for Aaron bad. And it’s based on what we know about Aaron bad and what we know triggers him. And whether he’s on his phone on TikTok or Facebook, or whether he’s on e-mail and we know he’s taken these steps in these actions and what’s gonna be the next action that’s going to be most likely to get him closer to our goal. And so, I think we’re gonna get there pretty quick and that’ll be, really great from a marketing perspective and as a consumer perspective, really scary because… as good as marketers are and as good as algorithms are at pushing our buttons, it’s just gonna get better or worse depending on how you.

So, yeah, that’s gonna be that’s gonna be really interesting, to see that happen. And, and from the marketing perspective be part of making that happen.

Anthony Lamot: Have you also personally doubled a lot with trying out AI tools or tricks with chat?

Aaron Beatty: I mean, I definitely, you know, I alluded earlier to being kind of like, you know, probably imposter syndrome, but just kind of feeling like a junior engineer in, some cases. And, and having a tool that can help me proof read that can help me write code faster than I can on my own or faster than I can with a quick stack exchange, search or Google search. It’s it’s really beneficial from that perspective. And then being, a very small company and then having all the responsibilities of, you know, building a website, having support tools, doing, you know, accounting and all the other things that are really just a function of owning a business. There’s a lot of help that I can get, from tools for copy, writing, for image creation, for writing outlines, for presentations. I mean, on and on, there’s a ton, of benefit to those tools. And then, you know, even on the project management side, we use internally a tool called motion that uses some AI tricks to basically manage and organize the tasks that you have do and putting them on, your calendar based on the time that you have available. So there’s some internal like uses of tools like that are really helpful for time management. And then I’m currently taking a class at MIT remote… for large language models and AI and kind of how to build your own. And, and one of the things that I’d like to do is to start to build some tools based on all of the documentation that I have, all of our kind of internal wiki, best practices and things like that and seeing if we can build something either for internal use or something we could share with, our client partners, and offer them something that can, where they can look at our kind of database of best practices and pull out the information that they need via one of those tools.

Anthony Lamot: Amazing! like some kind of marketing cloud knowledge base with which you can interact through natural language?

Aaron Beatty: Yes. Yeah. So I feel like that’s kind of, the first phase of that. I feel like longer term. I think there is going to be a need to have some tools that will do kind of what I was referring to with the one to one marketing. And, you know, if you take that thought out to its logical conclusion… where I have some kind of database data warehouse data, lake, I get lost in all the terminology, but you have a bunch of data somewhere and then you have some AI tools that sit on top of that to help you to figure out this cookie was when he went to this website. And this, you know, transaction was also Aaron because that’s tied to his credit card number. And, you know, some kind of AI that’s making sense of the data. And then maybe an additional layer of AI that sits on that to kinda analyze it from a, almost a psychological perspective like, a human behavior perspective, plus marketing. This is like they did these things. Now. They’re most likely, you know, kind of getting into generative or predictive AI like this is their next most likely thing that either we want them to do to increase profits or we want them to do to donate to our calls, or we want them to do to go to our university or, you know, whatever the use case is and then to send them a message through whatever channel makes the most sense to try to move them, you know, one step closer to that goal. And if you’ve got a system that can do that, then you don’t really need much in the way of an AI. You don’t really need much in the way of like a preplanned journey or automation. It’s really just the system kind of looking at each person and seeing if there’s any communication we can send to them that will increase the odds of them doing what we want them to do. So.

Anthony Lamot: It actually ties in to some stuff we do as well. We are already integrating a bunch of AI capabilities, you know, into our product. In fact, for this segment, we are already in alpha with people using natural language to create segments and not just that generates the SQL but it’s actually, you know, visible in our EDI. So also non technical users can really understand what’s going on. So it’s kinda cool because we just want to integrate speech to text so soon you’ll be able to just shout at your laptop to build a segment. I can, to do that.

Aaron Beatty: Right. I already do that. Actually, it just doesn’t listen. It’ll so that’ll be great. I’ll be like hang it, do this thing. It’ll be like, okay, it’s done. I’d be like great. That was.

Anthony Lamot: I can see, I can see you go“why don’t’ you listen?” and then it tries to explain very meticulously why it’s not listening.

But one one thing that, that’s also interesting to me is doing more campaign planning and optimization that’s what we’re doing with Engage two people using it now to plan their campaigns, making sure the segments are not being over-engaged with or over-saturated, right? Marketing frequency. But we’re now also introducing not generative but predictive either to allow people to still set rules but to also let the system come up with an ideal send volume per contact. And then even beyond that, thinking about maybe the marketer opens the platform and we can just go hey grade up on all those campaigns. But did you know this specific audience is under served? And then once this, these are the commonalities. And then two, these are recommendations, that we would give to you to do campaigns around like to do a campaign around this product category, probably have this kind of response. So we’re not there yet, but I do think that’s a really exciting vision to work towards. And I think that’s a bit the future of marketing. You wanna offer this… mission control center to marketing operations folks so they can much faster make decisions, and work out your planning. I think that’s really interesting.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, yeah, no, I think we’re just at, the beginning, of what’s going to be available there. Because if you take, you know, what you just mentioned out as a kind of natural next step, you know, there’s already, you know, chat GPT, and other tools like, you know, Midjourney, and others that can start to create content given a specific tone. And so if you have, a brand tone or a language that your brand uses, but also you wanna make your language unique to the segment that you’re speaking with, you know, it’s almost like earlier when you’re talking about code-switching, for different verticals. It’s kinda the same idea you could do that, for your segments too and still maintain a brand voice, but have it match who you’re trying to talk to. And so you could certainly ask a copywriter to do that. And I’m sure the results would be fabulous. The challenges is the volume of requests and the quantity of segments that you might end up having. And so if you have a tool that can assist with that, even if it’s a first draft, to do that, and kind of go the rest of the way or maybe 80 percent of the way to generating the actual content and then rely on the human being for the last 20 percent to make sure that, you know, there’s not a crazy, you know, third arm or sixth finger… on image and you know, that kind of stuff. And that’ll get better with time too. So, yeah, I think it’s gonna be amazing.

Anthony Lamot: You mentioned that because what I recently did is so, in our team now, I’m still doing a little of enablement and a lot of product knowledge still sits with me. So one of the things, I enjoy doing too is sort of educating our own team. And since we also want to better speak to those codes, to use that same terminology, right? So to have more specific language, I started a little project where I was verticalizing some of our internal documentation. So we have very extensive internal documentation on our products, they use cases and then how that goes into benefits. And I CP, and all that good stuff. But I didn’t have any industry specific knowledge. So what I did was I opened a new session, I pay for the subscription have or significantly better point then I just, yeah, and I just went to our website and I did copy paste all dumped it into like, hey, this is what we do. Read the website and it just reads it. And then I said, okay, now try to think of typical use cases for marketing operations in insurance. And so then, okay, and I do a little bit of fact check like does it make sense? As I understand at I’m, trying to do, okay, now merge what we’re trying to do and explain me in insurance language, what we’re trying to achieve, right? And then I still edited a little bit, but I made that part of our internal documentation. And I’m just going through our, I started with insurance because that’s one of our typical verticals but there’s a number of verticals we serve. So now I’m doing that one by one. So I thought it was a really good use case to use something. Yeah.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, that’s cool. I mean, and otherwise, it’s overwhelming with the amount of, you know, if you were gonna take that information and create like one pagers, for conferences or take that information and create an e-mail or have a, you know, a subsection or landing page of 

Aaron Beatty: And so if you have a tool that can help kind of, you know, I like the thought of maybe, you know, you put in the first 10 percent, the AI handles the middle 80 percent and then you handle the last 10 percent. Like I like that, it’s like a weird version of the Pareto principle, but, you’ve, got the chat GPT doing like the middle 80 percent of the work and that’s a huge time saver and it’s generally pretty good like, you know, with the proper questions and the right language and the right information the results, are pretty good and you can give it really detailed, you know, requests for what you wanna do.

Anthony Lamot: I did something similar for our page and kind of coming up with target personas and customer avatars and things like that for our business. And, you know, it was telling me that marketing Mike, is looking for help with XYZ and we call the persona “Marketing Mary”. I got Marketing Mary out of chat GPT, and, but like you can dig into, you know, what are, so for this personas, what’s there? What’s their greatest fear? What’s the, what are the things that they’re terrified about? Why? What are the things that they’re that are driving them to make decisions? And so you can start asking it some really interesting questions about what might be driving some of the psychological behavior and like motivations of somebody making a purchase. And, you know, it’s hard to know whether the results are accurate or whether they’re you know, true to somebody’s like psychological needs. But when I read it, I’m like, okay, yeah, I mean, that sounds right? Like I can see myself in that person’s shoes and think, yeah, I’m scared to fall behind in technology or I’m scared with joining with a partner that, that’s gonna just take my money and run or they’re gonna, you know, they’re not gonna give me the service that they promised upfront. And, and so, you know, it’ll lay all that stuff out which you can then turn into marketing and kind of target those behaviors and those thoughts with, you know, we’re gonna solve those problems and not just here’s our product here’s what it does because, you know, most people don’t buy stuff that way. So, yeah, it’s cool. It’s an amazing tool.

Anthony Lamot: You also mentioned Midjourney, I’ve heard several people mentioned I haven’t had looked at it yet, is it significantly better to write content? Because I do find GPT to content it generates can be a little bit generic and dry.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah. So mid journey is more of an image creation tool. It’s and it is, yeah.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah. You referred earlier to some other tool then? My mistake.

Aaron Beatty: Yeah, I can, I did refer to Midjourney but I’m thinking of it more in the context of, you know, if you’re going to build an e-mail or a blog or whatever, and you need both to generate an outline or some content. And then generally speaking, you’re going to have some kind of imagery to go with it. And so Midjourney is a really great tool for that. The weird thing about it though is that it runs through disco. And so it’s a little weird that you have to download like a effectively a chat client and discord, and then install the Midjourney bought. And then you can ask it to do things but, it does a phenomenal job and it, and it’s it craves details. So you can tell it. In fact, you can use ChatGPT to generate a prompt for Midjourney and in get it’s help to get exactly what you’re looking for it to create. So it’s great. But yeah, for me, those are the primary two tools that I use. I know there’s probably, you know, millions of other options out there at this point, but I’m like you, I paid, for, the fancy, your access and, you know, to have API access and I have ChatCPT for and it’s so good. I haven’t really needed, to try any of the other tools yet.

Anthony Lamot: Awesome. Well before we round up, I was wondering Aaron if you have any parting advice you worked with so many customers. You’re taking on new customers? What is something a new Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers should be aware of? Or something like what some good advice you can give to avoid some common pitfalls?

Aaron Beatty: I think, the thing that I see happen all the time… is that… a lot of times a client, a customer will be looking to replace their CRM and build out marketing cloud and do all that kind of all at the same time like they get a nice big budget or grant or whatever to go build this thing out. And what I see happen all the time that drives me a little bit crazy is a ton of time effort and resources will be put into the CRM side of that equation. And then the after thought is, well, what are we gonna do with that information? Once we get it all centralized? And so, you know, inevitably, you know, marketing cloud or some kind of outbound communication thing is one of the systems that will utilize that CRM data. And so as somebody that works in that space, it’s always frustrating when, you know, let’s say a company has a 1,000,000 dollar budget. You know, they’re gonna want to spend as close to a 1,000,000 dollars as they can on the CRM. And then they go, yeah, we also want to be able to send emails and so that ends up being the 10,000 dollar project to the 990,000 dollar CRM project. And it, you know, not to say they should be 50 50, but they’re definitely should be a lot more investment in the, what are you gonna do with the data? And in addition to that, I think it’s important to consider what are you gonna do with the data first? And, and for a lot of these setups it’s last, it’s, the initial investment and time and resources, is spent in what data do we have? Where is it? And how do we structure and organize it so that it’s all in the same place that’s effectively what you’re doing with the CRM, but they’re not thinking about what are we gonna do with it from there? How are we gonna use it? You know, what are our use cases? And, and so I feel like a lot of places get that backwards. They need to, they need to do that first, and then go work on.

Anthony Lamot: I think that’s very sound advice. I would also second that by saying that marketing cloud ultimately is a data driven product. And so you do have to start thinking about the data first. And then all the good stuff can follow. If you start with that, Aaron, it’s been a pleasure. It’s again a great pleasure, to speak with you. I feel there’s so much more we can explore but our time.

Aaron Beatty: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me. It was great.

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Episode 17 | Transcript

Timo Kovala: Dealing With Change Management, Marketing Attribution & AI

Anthony Lamot: Timo, welcome to the show.

Timo Kovala: Thanks, thanks, Anthony. Happy to be here.

AL: Absolutely. It’s a pleasure to have you. It’s been a while since I’ve had a fellow European on the show.

TK: Yeah, I’ve noticed it as well that the Salesforce ecosystem can be a bit American or Anglo-centric. So it’s nice to be part of the wider audience, so to speak.

AL: For sure. Yeah. And we do love to mix it up. I guess recently a lot of participants on the show were American because I’m based in the US, but it was great to run into you at Dreamforce. For our guests on the show today, can you tell us a bit about your background and what you currently do at Capgemini?

TK: Yeah. So currently, I’m a marketing architect at Capgemini, meaning that I work with clients, and try to help them build or design a roadmap forward in data-driven marketing and sales alignment. But before my time in Capgemini, I worked in Salesforce consultancy. Before that, I worked in marketing consulting. And prior to that, I was in-house. So I have both in-house and consulting background.

AL: So, you made the switch as well from working in-house within the industry to consultancy. What was that like?

TK: I’ve been a hiring manager before in my current role. So I basically hired all my teammates from an in-house background. And at least in marketing, I see that’s the way to go. You get the best professionals. And this is not disrespect to people who have been fully born and bred consultants. But I myself prefer having this practical expertise because that’s the one thing that you cannot train by going to training and doing consultancy work. You get the perspective of being in-house, and that makes you position in a special way to accommodate the customer and go to their shoes.

AL: I can totally relate to that. In fact, I’ve often observed in the ecosystem that amongst code system integrators, there are sometimes those who do purely consultancy and they are really good at integration projects. And then there are a number of marketing agencies who know all about campaigns, but I wouldn’t let them do an implementation. Frankly, it is rare to see that mix. 

One of the things I like about partnering with Capgemini is that Capgemini has this mix of practical hands-on experience as marketers within their team. But they also have the more typical consulting IT integration background so they can actually get the system up and running in a way that has a good architecture, but also practically enough so that marketers can get campaigns out of the door very easily.

TK: Yeah, definitely.

AL: I also noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you are now a “top marketing analytics voice.” Can you tell us a bit about that? Like just first of all, what does that mean? And how can someone become a top voice on LinkedIn?

TK: Yeah. I mean, that was a surprise to me as well. It’s a recent addition. LinkedIn used to have the influencer tags, but those were reserved for real influencers with 50,000 followers and for, I don’t know, Forbes or Bloomberg and stuff like that. So it’s nice that they added this midway step, which is the “top voice”. And that’s basically for anybody who is active on LinkedIn, sharing their thoughts, and engaging in discussions. 

There are AI-generated articles. They use GPT to create these mock-up articles that have sections. So it’s always a post written by AI and divided into sections. And then one day I got a LinkedIn notification that, hey, you have been selected to write for one of these articles. “Okay. What is this?” And then I went to check, and it was something about marketing attribution. “Okay, I can write about that”. And then I started writing about it. I wrote some other articles. So basically, it’s written articles, and then you comment on the sections so you can challenge the AI-generated stuff and provide real-life examples. So I think it’s a really innovative way of using AI and structuring thoughts and getting the community engaged.

AL: I actually have been getting emails from them for months, but I’ve just been ignoring them because I wasn’t sure what they were about. And I was also wondering if it would be too generic. But now I can see there’s a clear benefit to filling in those ends.

TK: You can actually click it and check the other articles. And I mean, for sure, you could do, you could like, for example, segmentation and personalization and these kinds of areas. But yeah.

AL: I’ll definitely look at it. Yeah, I’ve been, I guess, nominated to write or answer on marketing automation topics and then a variety of other topics. So I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. That’s cool.

Well, let’s bring the conversation back from LinkedIn to Marketing Cloud. You’ve been in that field for a while. What was your most interesting project so far?

TK: Well, I’ve been working with both the OG Marketing Cloud and Account Engagement, which is Pardot for OG players like myself. This is also for people who work at Salesforce, maybe not the specific account executives who deal with these. But they sometimes say Pardot is for B2B and Marketing Cloud is for B2C. And that’s not really the case. I’ve worked with Pardot users who are like consumer companies or selling direct to consumer. And the other way around, and that’s actually one of the interesting cases for me was working with one of these multinational manufacturing companies that was using Marketing Cloud. So you’re selling like 100,000 multi-million-dollar projects, you have lead management and you have a complex sales process, but you’re still using Marketing Cloud. So what’s the idea here? Their business was quite transactional. They were using multiple channels. They were using Marketing Cloud, advertising to a great degree. And so, they were getting the benefits. And really, I see also that the Marketing Cloud really plays well if you, if you’re really heavily invested in service. In my mind, it actually works better with Service Cloud than Sales Cloud because you can create the case as you can do interactive emails that update case statuses and whatnot. So Journey Builder and Service Cloud are really nice pals, so to speak. So I think that was really interesting case. And well, what made it also a bit interesting was that they weren’t satisfied with what was available out of the box. So they wanted to set up their own lead scoring with Marketing Cloud which was quite interesting like that’s. That’s one of the things that isn’t that easy to set up with Marketing Cloud by default.

AL: Did their lead scoring in Marketing Cloud include website data? Because that’s where usually I find there’s a bottleneck, you typically don’t want to store your web tracking data in Marketing Cloud because it will make your data extension explode.

TK: Yeah. I mean definitely, I mean if you Data Cloud, it’s a different story. You can use calculated insights for that. And it’s perfectly viable for doing lead scoring, but I really don’t recommend doing complex lead scoring. And also, I challenge the idea of lead scoring altogether. I mean, it’s basically boiling down very complex behavior into a single score and it’s the exact same reason why I hate NPS for that matter. So trying to use a single score to explain a multitude of behaviors and actions is it’s I think it’s the wrong way to go. And what you can do with data extensions is actually to take key events from the website, key milestones that you’ve identified when doing a customer journey map, that these are the points where you have to do something like a service person needs to contact them proactively or a salesperson needs to jump on the wagon, and contact the customer. So that’s I would say it’s a much more effective way. And based on feedback I’ve received then customers who’ve used lead scoring, the usual case is that the sales is quite satisfied with leads that come through contact forms, but not that satisfied with lead scoring leads because, you know, it doesn’t mean anything anymore. If there are like 50 activities that are totally unconnected to each other. What does it mean anymore? Like if you have a 500 score or a 600 score? 

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AL: Well, that’s an interesting topic because it’s actually something we have implemented in our business as well. I have heard very few success stories from companies regardless of their tech tac introducing lead scoring. I think there are a few thoughts I have on this subject. It can be useful especially B2B context to come up with some kind of account scoring to help prioritize activities for sales, but more for the outbound motion, not even necessarily for the inbound motion just to have an idea of what’s happening at a certain account. But in our case, I can tell a bit about how we have configured lead scoring because we see in our business other than referrals via partners and then the  AppExchange and Salesforce, and just doing outbound ourselves. We do, of course, have a number of inbound. In fact, it’s a very important channel for us and we get through E-books,  webinars, and of course,  DESelect search application, the free app to search stuff in Marketing Cloud. But what we have to learn is that if we get leads from some of these channels like E-books or DESelect search, we call them soft leads as opposed to hard leads or leads, people who really ask for reaction like a contact form. Like the soft leads are often ready to be nurtured. And sometimes we would prefer sales to focus on a certain target list that we have rather than those soft leads. So that’s where we introduce a lead score. But I think, the main thing with the lead score is it’s super abstract.

So in our case, I think our model was implemented six months ago. Now is really the time to look back and see if it’s been useful… but I would agree it’s challenging to pull off. And there’s another thing-  lead scoring is a way to prioritize which leads you should reach out to. I think most companies don’t have the luxury of having too many leads to reach out to.

TK: No, and there’s actually a better way to do that. And that’s also taking a page out of the Pardot data model. I don’t know if you know, but Pardot also has this thing called “grading” and “profile”. So grading, that’s a similar topic. Instead of customer actions deciding who is engaged and who is not, grading is about you as a company representative, defining what is the ideal customer, what is to grade a customer and what is not. It’s a great way to focus salespeople’s time on the right people, right? No customer either wants to get contacted unnecessarily. So if they are not the target customer for your product, then it’s a waste of both parties’ time.

AL: Yeah, absolutely. And this is exactly what we as a B2B company have done. So, we do an ICP refresh. So for those who don’t know, it’s an ideal customer profile. So that’s an account level in our case.

TK: That’s really fancy. Though a lot of customers or companies don’t do that kind of thing.

AL: But we have to pick our battles. I mean, we want to be hyper-focused and we know that our, ICP, obviously, it’s people use Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It can be upper mid-market or enterprise, lower mid-market SMB, you don’t even really have an SFMC but… and then there’s a few industries that […]

TK: Well, unless you’re a nonprofit, well, but that’s not an SMB but a smaller organization. 

AL: And we do serve nonprofits, but those are typically much larger ones. I wouldn’t necessarily call them our ICP today, although we do serve a number of united logos there, but our ICPS will be more like insurance, banking, telecommunications… We see a growing number in RCG and then a really good one for us is automotive. A really interesting one is higher education. I’m always surprised by how many higher education clients we have. We did a press release with Cornell a while ago. 

So anyway, I don’t want to babble too much about our stuff, but I just like that you pointed out the grading system and part of it because I do think that being really clear about your ICP is really important. And then now we can go back to your database and indicate what we did is, we call those accounts target accounts and pretty much all our outbound focus sits with those… now going back, to your project. So you said the interesting thing about this customer was it was a manufacturing company, but they were B2B. And regardless of that, they were using Marketing Cloud plus Service Cloud. What other things in that project stood out? you said something about them doing a lot of custom work?

TK: Well, not that much. I mean, this was just to answer your question. Honestly, it’s been a couple of years. So since I worked with that customer, so I don’t know what direction they have gone to, but, nowadays, if I were to recommend a solution, I would definitely see them as a top candidate, for Data Cloud given the complexity of the process, and all the custom metrics they were using. So like building the what they’re called customer lifetime value scores and so on. I think that’s really helpful too, I think you also talked about like providing personalization and providing data other than what you use for segmentation. So I think those kinds of tidbits of insight and data, are really helpful when you’re doing super-targeted or hyper-targeted advertising and marketing. 

AL: Yeah, for sure. I think it makes a difference. And it’s also much more especially in today’s market. Today’s market is all capital efficient and sustainable. 

TK: It’s not only about money. It’s about burning through your subscriber list also.

AL: Absolutely. And not just unsubscribed because it’s my experience working with clients at the majority of clients. I don’t really have unsubscribed issues anymore. Most unsubscribe rates seem to be between one and two percent. And I think that’s because it’s been such a shift towards… only doing content-based marketing which is a great positive trend for consumers all like, and I’m happy it’s happening. But the other thing that now I see people are really underestimating is, what we call unengaged subscribers. So that is to say subscribers were just never opening. And so marketers sometimes get very happy about really what the vanity metrics like “we’ve done a 1,000,000 sends”. Yeah, but I mean, are people actually engaging? So a lot of our work, and product roadmap is more geared towards audience health than just avoiding unsubscribes, but you’re totally right.

TK: And that’s even worse in B2B, I would say if the mail drops to your business e-mail even though if you subscribe to get like some kind of content like, I don’t know, attending a webinar or a white paper, you’re probably not gonna be engaged with that company for after a few months.

People don’t even care enough to click the unsubscribe button. So they will just use automated rules on the mailbox to send it to junk or something like that.

AL: That also happens. Yeah. I’m in that category. I hit the spam button very fast. This you have more in the U.S. than in Europe: the moment you’re at a certain event or they find your e-mail does they put you on mailing lists without an opt-in. For me? That’s an instant spam notification.

TK: Thank God for GDPR.

AL: Yeah, exactly. So you’ve also worked in pre-sales support. I take it this is maybe a bit more of a tricky question. But in your experience […]

TK: Depending on what you mean by “pre-sales support”, but yeah.

AL: Well, let me put it this way. If you position Marketing Cloud to a customer, how do you try to make a case for ROI? How do you think about convincing stakeholders who were considering buying Salesforce Marketing Cloud that the ROI will be significant?

TK: That’s actually a really good, difficult question when I think about the sales cases I’ve been involved in with customers thinking, for example, between different options. They have a budget in mind. So we never actually or very rarely do we get the numbers from the customer they’re expecting for the client. They’re expecting us to provide some kind of a… solution and proposal. And what would be the benefits versus costs? How do I like  to go about it? Is actually discussing  cost of doing nothing versus fixing the issues with Marketing Cloud. So first identifying what is wrong with the current setup and what are the sort of things that Marketing Cloud could help you with.

 I think this exercise is also a really important sanity check because if there are no problems with the existing setup, don’t go with Marketing Cloud. It is a very mature tool. It has a very steep learning curve. That said, it’s also one of the most customizable and extendable products. But I mean, you’re not gonna hear that about from Salesforce because they’re the vendor, but as a consultant, I have to be there to implement it to support the customer. So I want to make sure that they’re getting the product that is the right fit for them as well.

AL: That’s absolutely true. And you’re there, of course, to act as that trusted party who can offer some objectivity. And especially because you’ve been in marketing that’s where you talk about the cost of doing nothing. And then the strength of Marketing Cloud being highly customizable, which, by the way, I totally agree. I think that’s the wonderful thing about the platform. Are there patterns that you see amongst customers that have a cost of doing nothing for certain cases where Marketing Cloud can bring added value?

TK: I think it’s all about multi-channel, or omnichannel, whichever you prefer. I think that’s the main issue. Mainly it’s about good advertising. Usually if we talk about enterprise-level customers, they almost always get Marketing Cloud Advertising included because I think it’s one of the better components of Marketing Cloud. And also like SMS mobile applications. All of these chat platforms, especially SMS. 

We sometimes underestimate the power of text messages, but it’s really powerful especially in those kinds of industries that you mentioned: insurance, telecom, entertainment industry, and media, just to mention a few. And Marketing Cloud has some really good industry-specific applications and add-ons that are really great for eCommerce and also telecom and media companies. At least if you work in these certain industries, you can see that if you use any other generic multi-channel marketing platform, you’re not getting these benefits. 

AL: That’s really interesting. I love Europe but I will say, now living in the U.S., I noticed that the marketing maturity in this country is very high. One of the things you see a lot here is SMS campaigns. I feel that’s really something that in Europe marketers can pick up and learn from.

TK: And I think the trust is much higher in the SMS channel, I mean, and also the engagement. This goes back to analytics which also we touch upon but you don’t get as much data, from sending SMS, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work and you have to be more creative about getting the data points. Like for example, using dedicated links. Like how to do marketing attribution, like old school style.

 There was this guy called Claude Hopkins who invented marketing attribution, in the U. S, I guess. And, he had different billboards or versions of billboards with different phone numbers. So you’d call a different, phone number and they were able to pick up which advertisements were more effective. And I think these kinds of guerilla tactics work really well with the SMS attribution, but you have to be more creative, that’s true. But if you can measure the effectiveness of SMS campaigns, for sure you should go for it. I think people use it too sparsely. That doesn’t mean that you want to go overboard but it’s definitely one of those special weapons in your arsenal that you should put to use.

AL: And e-mail metrics are getting less accurate with Apple restricting the information that we get back.

TK: I mean, the iOS method of basically logging everything that’s opened is causing havoc on open rates. So I wouldn’t use that as a metric anymore.

AL: Absolutely. The other thing that came to mind is that I do think attribution can be very challenging and misleading at worst. And I think it can be both in B2C or B2B. But say B2B, we may, for instance, have someone come to our website via Google. I mean, you may say this is natural search, right? But maybe in effect, what happened was that we have a great relationship with a partner like yourself and maybe you mentioned our product to a customer at a conference, and then they googled us.

 But now, you know, the effort of building a relationship with a trusted partner is not being recognized. But if you just magnify that event across many different occurrences, you might think “natural search is the thing we have to double down on”. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t as a company double down on natural search. I think that’s a great channel, but I think you get the point. So, what are your thoughts on there? What are the limitations of attribution?

TK: I think you just opened Pandora’s box. Marketing attribution is one of my favorite topics. I think people sometimes have a very limited way of looking at attribution. And a lot of companies think of it as a sort of… “this or that” kind of conversation. So you have to use one or the other model. My advice? Use them all. 

But there’s a perspective difference. So if you use several attribution models side by side, you get a board where you can actually sort campaigns based on key lenses. And you can use this attribution model as a way to amplify their effect  in the stages of the customer life cycle, or the lead pipeline. So, for example, if you use “first touch”, you amplify the channels or the campaigns that are very good at converting or getting people to sign up for something and creating subscribers for your day, for marketing club and vice versa. If you use a model called last touch attribution, what you get is amplification on presales campaigns or campaigns that are really good at getting those last closing arguments before the sale. And once you have this a dashboard that includes them all and you name them prescriptively or descriptively, as a marketer, you can easily identify which campaigns are really good at what. And, when you have these different lenses, you get a more holistic picture. So, I like that kind of approach where you have several different attribution models working side by side.

AL: Well, and then when you do get rid of the intelligence and you’re starting to think about your next program, campaign planning. It’s more about “What are the channels that need to optimize at which step of the journey” as opposed to “What channel do I need to optimize?” It’s more about what different steps it takes to convert a customer.

TK: But it’s good to think of the different roles for the different channels. So you’re not accidentally trying to achieve something from the website that it’s not meant for. And it’s also good to validate those roles because sometimes we -and a lot of times even marketers-  say that we’re masters of customer insight. But there was this one case actually in real time real life, I was working with this glazing company. They basically sold glazing to patios and apartments and so on. And what they found out was that people behave very weirdly, they don’t follow the real model for their purchase. So what they usually did, at least in Finland, was they went straight to the pricing page. That was the first thing that they went to check and qualify.  So they didn’t care about “inspirational content” or comparison to competitors. They wanted to validate the price first and see if it fit their budget. 

AL: Yeah, you’re thinking about models like either or top of funnel, mid-funnel, bottom of funnel. But in reality follow that the track, right?

TK: So if you use one of those, it’s perfectly fine. And it’s a great way to model the different sorts of activities along the customer journey. But please validate it first. And it makes much more sense to use a custom model that actually follows what your customers are actually doing and it’s not impossible to do. I mean this wasn’t like a super mature company. They were doing the right kind of things but they were still maturing in certain other aspects. So if they can do it, I think you can do it as well.

AL: Well, enable, maybe those models are better suited to think about your overall campaign strategy and content strategy a little bit less. So for systems, this is something that, I actually start marketing information with Pardot. I should have mentioned that earlier, not with Marketing Cloud. So I remember doing part of the implementation where people had this kind of model in mind. But, you, I think as a consultant, you don’t have to pop the bubble and make the customer aware that well, in reality, your customers are not going to float through this funnel. Logically people will jump straight to a contact form. People will go immediately to the pricing page before the “inspirational content” as you’ve put it.

Super interesting. Maybe one other thing that I was wondering about if you’ve already tried it a Dreamforce and many other of the recent Salesforce conferences, there’s a lot of talk about what app and their partnership. What set up? This is one of the things that’s less common in the U.S. or I think the U.S. can actually learn from Europe, but WhatsApp is huge in most of the world. Have you already looked into the functionality for Marketing Cloud by any chance?

TK: I don’t know, this is one of the aspects where I’m probably a bit conservative or old-fashioned, but It’s a very interpersonal channel. I haven’t ever received any advertisement for from WhatsApp, and this is actually different from their competitors. I don’t know why it is, but it’s like it has basically replaced text messages. At least in the Nordics, a lot of people have  family group chats there. And, I feel that that’s one of the places where advertisement would be a bit out of place, but I’d love to see how that actually works, if it can be monetized.

AL: I feel also that text message advertising and text messaging is still very intrusive. I may be projecting my own sentiment here, but I don’t mind getting notifications about, I don’t know doctor reminders via text message. And with WhatsApp, the only use case I’ve seen so far is I use wise for my banking because I still travel a lot.

AL: Another thing that I was wondering about maybe while we’re talking about new stuff that we see at Dream Force, AI is constantly being flung around right now. What do you think about Salesforce? And what does it mean to you personally?

TK: Well, personally, I can start with that. I mean, it’s brought a lot of stuff to learn because customers are asking about it constantly if there’s an RFP. So request for proposals and information coming in quotations and stuff that I’m working on related to specially generative, AI, this is something I wanna say like basically puffing my own company or employer about it that Capgemini actually has been working with generative AI for past eight years. So that’s actually made it a lot easier for me. There’s good material available.

AL: Tell us more about that because you see Capgemini has already been working with AI for eight years.

TK: Yeah. We have this business area called “data and insights”. So those guys have been actually setting up these generative AI models based on foundational models available. And also using company-specific data. And that’s been going on, for a lot longer than what’s ChatGPT and everything that came out like a year ago. So we’ve been doing that for a lot of companies. And basically, there’s been generative AI, incorporated in different kinds of platforms and companies have been using it in-house but it’s not been broad common knowledge before chat GPT entered the market. So we were basically those kinds of hipsters. So we were in the market even before it was cool, so to speak. But coming back to your original question, how it impacts the overall ecosystem, and how it impacts people’s daily life? Do you know Amara’s law?

AL: Yeah, absolutely.

TK: Yeah. So we tend to over estimate the short term effects of technology and underestimate the effect in the long run. So I think that is the key point here. So most likely we won’t notice it in our daily life because it happens very gradually. But if we take a snapshot of how work is today, and come back to it like 10 years after afterwards, it might be something similar to thinking back like 10 years ago, like we were using websites, they were not responsive.

 So I think most likely… we’ll see a T shaped model in marketing organizations. So we’ll see these AI specialists very similar to what we have with analytics. It’s basically a new specialization. 

We’ll have AI marketers enter the job market, but everybody should learn the basics. And by basics, I mean, similar to everybody knowing the basics of marketing analytics, marketing attribution, data, privacy and data protection. So also the basics of how generative AI models function, what is generative AI versus other sorts of machine learning models. How are they different? How do you use different AI methods? And so on. They don’t have to know how to build one, but, you need to know what they’re meant for, how they’re using the data, and what you can expect in terms of use cases.

AL:I think it was in a McKinsey study where I read that people will not necessarily lose jobs directly to AI, but people who don’t have AI skills will be losing jobs to people who do have AI skills, and that’s going to be a challenge.

TK: Yeah. I’m going to be a bit harsher here. I’m will point out that there are certain kinds of, I would say, work mentalities that are at risk. So if you’re doing repetitive work, you’re not providing insight, and you’re not challenging the work order that you’re presented with, those are really at the risk of losing their jobs, not necessarily to AI but maybe even some process automation.

AL:Well, and I keep discovering by myself jobs that I didn’t even consider being at risk at first, or at least partially at risk. So for instance, just the other day, I asked ChatGPT to put together a new training schedule, where in the past I might have gone to a trainer or dietitian to help with stuff like that. It’s interesting how we keep finding new ways where this changes. 

Speaking of change, I wanted to talk about change management. I’m sure in your consulting work, you’ve dealt with plenty of that. You’ve been on both sides. I’d love to hear from you. What are your most common change management topics that arise? And how do you mitigate them?

TK: That is something that you never hear as a consultant: “how would you approach this change management problem?” That never happens. So it’s one of those things that as a consultant, you have to develop a sense for that. We’re not talking about data issues. We’re not talking about process issues or tech issues a lot of the times. 

And this comes back to the very first question about ROI. So that might actually be the root cause of not being able to use the technology that there’s simply miscommunication between, for example, IT and marketing. IT seen as a bottleneck where you have to get approval for using data, or maybe you need specialists from IT to actually use the data. It’s too difficult to utilize. This is where DESelect comes along, empowering marketers to use data by themselves. 

I think that’s really at the core of change management. I think empowering people to do their jobs better and basically framing change. It’s corny to say that “change is a possibility”, but every change really is a possibility. It’s not a threat, but you really have to put yourself in that other person’s shoes, identify what are the pain points in their current process, and think how the change could actually improve that. 

But also, you cannot look at the change that you’re trying to implement as purely a positive change. It’s good to be realistic. And I think especially in the rough times that we live in, people losing their jobs, being laid off and everything, it’s very important to show compassion when doing these kinds of projects and really be honest that this might actually cause some issues, and there might be some nasty consequences with this change, but we’re trying to deal with them and we’re trying to involve people to mitigate those kinds of things.

AL: Which is interesting because it seems like customers realize change will be happening but they don’t make it a topic to be addressed. Whereas the, a big part of dealing with change is actually acknowledging the challenges that will happen, and dealing with them. Would you agree with that?

TK: Yeah. I mean, for some reason, I don’t know if it’s a local peculiarity, but at least here, it seems that it’s easier to find money for tech projects than a new strategy or a change project.

AL: And what is interesting is that I’ve seen studies that most IT projects fail because of either lack of executive buying or lack of user adoption. So if you think about how companies spend millions on digital transformation, but then they don’t invest anything or very little in training and change management and organizational restructure, you kinda scratch your head and wonder “come on, this should be avoidable”. I keep saying (and this is coming from someone in tech) that the biggest issues in marketing and operations are usually organizational. They’re not technology-based.

TK: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what we keep saying, and sometimes it works, and usually that’s even a winning strategy. 

 So we want to stress that change is difficult and needs to be taken head-on as a challenge, but we also want to stress that change is possible. So sometimes as consultants, we focus on the negative and focus on the challenges too much. And I think that’s where you identify the professional and expert consultant who can challenge you and identify the root issues that are really causing the problem, but also to present solid solutions.

AL: I think that is very sound advice about the role that a consultant can play in managing change, while making customers aware of the opportunity it can present. If I can ask you for some other parting advice- typically I ask  guests on the show for advice to newcomers to the Marketing Cloud ecosystem, but, with your architect background, I would ask a slightly different question. What would be your advice to people interested in becoming an architect eventually?

TK: Wow. That’s a difficult question, since I’m pretty new to architecture myself. But I would say… exploring different roles. I mean, the best architects I’ve met have a very generalist background and I think curiosity is really important in that area. So, if possible and whenever possible, try sales, try developer work, try front end work, try designer work, do service design workshops, do trainings, do mentoring. Whatever “new thing” you can figure out and try and see how that works, it all helps when you’re an architect because architects are all generalists in some way. Explore, be curious and spread out, become a generalist. That’s really helpful when you actually work as an architect.

AL: I think that is wonderful advice to become an architect. I think that’s just also great life advice. Timo, thank you so much for your time today. It was a pleasure talking with you.

TK: Yeah, thanks, Anthony. And if you ever want to chat about these topics again, I’m here for you. Feel free to reach out whenever.

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Episode 16 | Transcript

William McMahon: Being a Techonology-Agnostic SI, Odoo vs SFMC & AI tips

Anthony Lamot: Hey, William. Welcome to the show.

William McMahon: It’s a great to be here.

Anthony Lamot: It’s an absolute pleasure having you over. I know we’ve been collaborating a bit over the past time, so, I feel, this visit to the show was long overdue.

William McMahon: Good, good to meet the master and the creator is.

Anthony Lamot: Appreciate it well for our audience sake. William, could you tell us a bit about your background? What led you to found Gravitai?

William McMahon: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been in the IT game since I was about 16 or even before then I first started programming on a Commodore 64. When I was, I think about six to eight. So I pretty much had my career mapped out for me. Started learning to code when I was very young when I was 17 in secondary school, started up my own kind of web design business. One an entrepreneurial award in Ireland for that just went into the IT career and self-taught myself business as well as it grew through many different roles from everything from engineering in coding, customer services, you name it. I kind of tried it out and it kinda kept my career going of just wanting to learn appetite to figure things out. And then one day somebody put a label on me as a solution architect and it stuck. I thought it was, a great title. So kinda went landed in my feet with ExactTarget in, I think it was 2013 or around then and it kind of switched from building websites and databases to now doing marketing and really fell in love with the power of automation, the power of marketing and have kind of started, my further career there. And really just saw when I was at ExactTarget just saw a real opportunity where clients were buying all of these expensive pieces of kit and really struggling to get the full capabilities out of them. So they were, I usually describe it as a rocket ship. They’ve bought the rocket ship to fly through the moon. They sit behind the control panel and they don’t know what buttons to press. A. So I started up Gravitai 10 years ago with that focus of being “vendor agnostic”, first off. So it didn’t really matter what technology you had. I could come in on understand your business, your processes, the systems show you how to use it, show you how to get the most out of the system and, get you launched and get you flying. And what started as me as one individual as a contractor as I first thought I was going to build a business, it became a pretty big success. We were, we got to the height of about 84 consultants working full time with us. Shrunk back down now in the current economic climate, but we’re still I think about 48 people. So it’s, kept us in the business for a few years at least and kept me, I kept me entertained as well. A lot of good projects, a lot of great clients.

Anthony Lamot: Great. Thank you for sharing. I have so many questions about that. But first off, just to be a bit of a no at all, I saw in your profile. It’s actually since 2011 that you’ve been working at ExactTarget. So time certainly flies.

William McMahon: It certainly did. It was thanks to Lego that it got me a job in ExactTarget. I went in to do an interview and I’m a massive Lego fan been collecting Lego since I was four and I went in with a little Lego figuring to the ExactTarget office to do an interview and never did marketing in my life, but I thought let’s be unique and I put the little Lego figuring down on the table and I ran the entire interview portraying to be this little lego figuring all of its characteristics, how great this Lego figurine was.

And at the end of the interview, wished, you know, thanks and, you know, best look kind of thing for this and great opportunity. And I turned to the interviewer and said, well, I want to leave the little Lego man here with me so that if I don’t get a job, at least a little bit of me is left insid  the company. I got call next morning just going  “When, when can you start?” And yeah, absolutely just fell into it. ExactTarget was a great company to work with which is now Salesforce Marketing Cloud, of course, but it had a great culture. It was again new business start up. And I think that also gave me the ambition and drive, to really start something with Gravitai because I was very entrepreneurial. You’re you’re pretty much hired for your entrepreneurial flare.

Anthony Lamot: Now help me understand a little bit. So I’m a huge Lego fan too. I used to have that black T-Rex if, you know what I’m talking about?

William McMahon: Yes.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, that was amazing. But there’s probably a link between people liking to build stuff at young ages, and then ending up in marketing automation. There’s a lot of similarities I feel, but talk about ExactTarget and I won’t do all too long here because by now it is of course, Marketing Cloud engagement, even not even SMC any more officially, most people know ExactTarget as an Indianapolis based company, mostly a footprint in us. And I believe even at the time of the acquisition by Salesforce back in 2014, if I’m not wrong.

William McMahon: Yep.

Anthony Lamot: The, the footprint in Europe was somewhat limited. So, so how was that? Back then? Was it mostly UK? What kind of, yeah, what did it feel like?

William McMahon: Yeah, it was definitely like I was working pretty much on enterprise clients. So I was doing both presales and solution architecture. So going in helping the sales person sell it for stuff, a lot of them were UK and, it did, you get the odd european country after that, but it was primarily UK based clients. They could have been international clients but again headquartered primarily here in London. So, there were big deals. You know, you could be working on an opportunity for several months before it would come about and then the design and implementation. They’re usually huge large scale implementation. So your projects could last, you know, six months or even two years to go through… it. It’s since changed. Of course, you’ve now got marketing global marketing, every country, it goes through it. Every every country has their own businesses as well that are big businesses in local markets but probably not known as international companies. So everybody has seen the power of marketing the, what I can deliver and they latched onto it and they kept growing. So you could see the growth from ExactTarget coming first over to London. When I started. The London office had just pretty much opened. So you could see how it was just spreading across the globe at the time and it’s even gone further now.

Anthony Lamot: For sure. And so across your vast experience, what would you say was your most interesting project or one of your most interesting projects?

William McMahon: God, it’s a difficult question that because I suppose there’s so many. I’ve been involved with quite a considerable number of projects and they all vary. So if I narrow it down a little bit into particularly Marketing Cloud tools, we’ve done one for has recruitment. We’ve been partnered with has recruitment for number of years now and like that went in to has recruitment as an individual contractor. And highlighted to them is that they didn’t need just me as a solution architect. They needed a whole professional to be able to implement the technology at scale. So we went in as Gravitai. Yeah, convinced them, you know, that it wasn’t just me. We went in and implemented. I think it was about 33 countries markets that were all operating out of Marketing Cloud, all multi lingual. We had a bespoke integration with their own CRM recruitment tool that was taking in all of that data, hundreds of hundreds and millions of records of job applicants, candidates, job advertisers, you name it. It was all in there and then started using Marketing Cloud to start personalizing the campaigns so that it was job recommendations based on your interests, your career path… quite a vast set scale implementation. Lots of other integrations with chat bots before AI GPT. They were doing these kinds of chat bot… emails that were able to respond out, to candidates… then did their sales cloud implementation off the back of that as well. So they expanded quite large their technology kit. So that was pretty, that was probably a really interesting one in terms of scale. But I think other clients we’ve done stuff with every single one of them have a unique… case of use case. We’ve been working with men united for the last number of years as well. They have some really cool marketing campaigns and again cut us to the marketing team there because they’re always looking at innovative ways of, you know, using marketing in sport or even just digital communications in sport. So they have things like match prediction emails or campaigns. They have podcast emails that go out.

Anthony Lamot: As table about the match prediction campaigns, what’s that about?

William McMahon: Yeah. So you can pretty much like a fantasy football league effectively, you can… it’s not betting but it is effectively trying to predict your score. So you have a lead table on your predictions on any upcoming games, and then it emails you out weekly of your results, where you are on the leader table, how you, how you’re progressing through the league. So it’s really cool stuff. And again using all out of box kind of Marketing Cloud capability.

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Anthony Lamot: So that all based on match outcomes are actually stored inside Marketing Cloud. And then I guess using some SQL or server side JavaScript you’re trying to, you know… Yeah, that sounds familiar to me. And talking about, hey, you were talking mostly about Marketing to actual candidates. Were any campaigns set up there for, you know, Marketing to has customers themselves like more B to B campaigns because, I would sort of suspect that that’s part of the complexity of doing implementation for a company in the recruitment industry.

William McMahon: Absolutely like you’ve got so many different profiles, to target with. So candidates is the obvious one, you know, who’s applying for jobs. But obviously, you would also have B to B Marketing. So you’re always looking for the companies who are going to be advertising a job or who have a recruitment need. So you also have strategic accounts on that because you’ll have let’s say international companies that would be having a role, it could be set in Boston, but they could be happy for somebody to work in London. So you’ve got huge complexity with it. Even on the candidate stage. I think the candidate stages inside is a lot more complex because which blends in with the B to B side or the organization side because you don’t want to retarget a candidate who is just taking a job for one of your clients, you know, so you have to learn how to both promote job opportunities, but also make sure candidates aren’t just being continuously targeted and poached for, the next Cherry that’s dangled in front of them.

Anthony Lamot: Right. Got it. And you mentioned scale in what sense? It’s scaling, send volume, just sheer database, the amount of SQL that’s running and it may be impacting performance or when you say scale, what are you referring to?

William McMahon: The just the enormity of Gravitai scale of the enormity of data that is involved like that in jobs, job, advertisements and candidates. It’s a pretty big, you can say data architecture that drives it all behind it. Automation wise. Yeah, a lot of it is run through run through automation studio and SQL filter down in, excuse me into segmented audiences for then to use inside Journey Builder. And then within Journey Builder, you’ve got further complexities and integrations with third party apps as well. API triggers that go out from Journey Builder to gain update website personalization notifications as well.

Anthony Lamot: Very cool. The last client I ever worked for as a contractor, you know, doing a Marketing Cloud implementation. They had, it sounded a bit similar in terms of market size. At least they had 30 markets and they had two brands and then they used, you know, they had both separate business units. So for those who don’t know who are listening in business unit, Marketing Cloud, essentially a separate environment here, you can have your own data and permissions and what not. So. And they had a separate business unit or BU per transactional and commercial sense. So you had 30 markets times two brands, times two types of sending. So we end up and plus a few extra for staging and testing. So we had about like 160 business units that we had to deal with. So it was kinda cool that’s something I like, I love to geek go.

William McMahon: Who’s got the most amount of units?

Anthony Lamot: Well, you know, it was definitely not us. I have spoken with one media company, one that connections and it’s an American media company that just has many brands and they have, I believe over 900 business units that’s the record I’ve heard of.

William McMahon: It, it has always been the first question or the first architectural decision you make when you do Marketing Cloud is how you structure your business units. And again, it can go down through different brands. It can go down to country levels. It really falls down to who you want to have access to, what data can the data be shared? And if you are sharing within the same business unit, you then pulls the risk that Germany sends accidentally to your Spanish segment. So segregation into different business units comes in a lot handier. But it also comes at a lot more cost because it’s not only additional license on a business unit, it’s also additional implementation on the business unit.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah. And one of the big limitations there for me still is that in Contact Builder, you can’t limit the access to data. But contact builder is a much more feature-rich way to manipulate your data even on a one-by-one record basis. So, yeah, this is a funny one for me.

William McMahon: You can see the evolution of the system like certainly from the ExactTarget days. I remember before Journey Builder was even released. We had, the problem statement from clients of how do I do you know, kind of a multi-stage campaign based on whether somebody’s opened previous e-mail and, it was a real headache because you’d have to do a lot of automations and a lot of SQL queries to make decisions on the data that has happened. And I remember when they announced Journey Builder on its first release and iteration and it was okay but filled with kind of bugs and as you get in the base or release, but you could see it how now it’s the whole platform has evolved over the years to where it’s become now and it’s still not perfect. There’s still a lot that you wish the platform could do better but, you know, you can see that it is still being invested into it’s. Still got its roadmap. You just wanted to get there a little bit quicker.

Anthony Lamot: For sure. Actually it’s funny that you mentioned that because just very recently I started a little bit of a discussion on LinkedIn mentioning that the Marketing Cloud roadmap is somewhat limited as they announced it at Dreamforce, although I do think there are very exciting features that were shared regarding mostly generative, generated images although from what I gather you still need a type form integration I believe for those.

William McMahon: Yeah, it’s definitely where it’s going as an industry is a I, it’s going to be everywhere. So if you’re not using it, your business is going to struggle. So it’s jumping onto it now and using it responsively and wisely, but there’s a lot of use cases for it certainly in customer services and Marketing customer services like that. Help and support can be all driven through AI at the moment or it even has been, it’s all as kind of labeled. They, they just keep putting another label on it. And it’s now gone from Einstein to instead AI, but it’s evolved Marketing.

Anthony Lamot: It’s actually even Einstein one data Cloud that’s, the new label, they, you know, pull on top of it. I think it’s so funny because they’ve done this before with people might remember Salesforce1:  Hyper Force. And, and now they also have Marketing GPT that’s also another brand they kinda released genie. Apparently genie got pulled, this might be hearsay in a rumor. So please don’t quote me on this. But apparently genie got pulled because they got into a lawsuit in Japan over IP and that’s why they’re not using that brand anymore.

William McMahon: I heard very similar rumors.

William McMahon: You know, it’s the one thing and you’ve even heard it already on this podcast so far is we keep referring it to his ExactTarget because it’s the traditional and even Pardot you’ll still refer to it as Pardot because that’s what it was or what it’s become. So when the names keep changing, it’s so frustrating. Like Interaction Studio is one that it’s changed its name so often and it gets very confusing for clients as well because you then don’t know what you actually need to buy.

Anthony Lamot: sure, I mean there, there, there’s an obvious product Marketing benefit to constantly changing a name because it feels like you’re constantly pushing something entirely new. So that can probably help capture exact mind share at a large conference, but it, it’s such a hassle for the system integrators to have to explain to your customers. Notice is just the same thing as before.

William McMahon: Exactly. The, the beauty thing of Marketing Cloud as well. You can do a lot with just Marketing Cloud, you know, with it has its engine. So a scripting. I remember when I first started Gravitai, I was one of our first customers. It was Just Eat and they wanted to do a restaurant recommendation. So every time you eat from one restaurant who would recommend to you either the next week, the same restaurant or it might give you a variety of restaurants. And we went solutioning it with Salesforce at the time and that they were looking forget what tool it was. But it was again a recent acquisition that they had for personalization of content. So it was one of their, I think it was an ExactTarget acquisition actually not a Salesforce acquisition but I go digital that’s what it was. I go digital is a forget what they renamed it to. But we went solutioning it with that. And what I couldn’t do at the time was Geo radius targeting, of a pulse code and we were stomped and we couldn’t use any of the technologies that it was there. So we ended up building it all in a script and we had this huge recommendations engine that could recommend to you another restaurant in your area based on your pulse code, based on the cuisine, dishes and interests and types that you had. And there are lots of other different factors.

It was a lot of AMPscript but it was just able to use, the, you could say the under hood power of what was in it was in the system, but that’s what I really liked about Marketing Cloud is that, you know, you would find use cases or clients asking for something that would really push the system that little bit further. So, I’ve never done it before but we will figure out a way to do it because it’s got all of the underlying functions that you would otherwise need.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. Now, William, one, one thing that’s interesting about your pad to is that Gravitai also provides do consulting and that you are in fact “technology agnostic”. Can you tell us a bit about that? Because that’s quite interesting. It’s quite unique too in your offering, I believe.

William McMahon: Thank you. Yes, it’s we certainly do. We are like I said vendor agnostic. And that has just allowed us to be able to help clients assess their technology stack but also compare what are the technologies there and what’s more suited for them. And a few years ago, like a small business start up as we were, we could never afford the Salesforce, roles, rice technology stack for our business. We were helping our clients implement it. But as a small business, we just couldn’t afford the full stack in capability. So we had kind of settled for as a new business, would, you know, excel documents for invoices and then zero and then suite CRM, so whole myriad of tools and it became such a headache for me as a CEO then that I had no in house capabilities. We were always servicing, our clients on their technologies and we had neglected our own. So I went off looking for the holy grail and all in one system that I could just put everything into and found do just by complete chance and looked at do could do a CMS website. I do CRM Marketing automation, event management, accounting, the whole shebang. And I was like this is pretty cool and took a bit of a leap of faith with us. Implemented it for ourselves, migrated our words, WordPress, words, website over to us and then CRM and eventually migrated our entire operation just running off od and being techs, we self implemented it. It’s like, well, if you’re going to you’re going to want to learn it, you might as well do it for yourself. And just saw that how beneficial it has been to us. It saved me about 40 hours a month of my own time managing a business and just thought, okay, well, other clients could benefit.

So we became an ad partner about two years ago. We’re now the fastest growing a partner in the UK and Ireland. Where, yeah, it’s I love it. It’s it’s, I have a newsletter called Drinking the Purple Juice. This is what I say to people is if you, once you drink the juice, you see the power of these capabilities. Phenomenal. So doing some talks in Sheffield tomorrow in London on Thursday, going to Galway in a couple of weeks. And then we have the Dreamforce equivalent of do it’s called the do experience. Have that in November. So we’ve kind of really landed in the community. It’s it’s an open source platform.

So you have a much wider community of developers globally who have used do since it’s been around for about 20. Years, I think so. It’s got a good community. It’s still growing but it’s nowhere near the scale of. Salesforce. Clients are certainly the kind of enterprise level clients. Do, clients are usually around, the small medium business startups?

Anthony Lamot: Gotcha. And so, in what case would you recommend a customer to during the purple juice or I suppose the orange juice? So that is to say, when would you recommend ad or Marketing Cloud? And you cannot start your answer with it depends.

William McMahon: It’s a great question. Basically, if you look at each of the Salesforce clouds of commerce, cloud, Marketing Cloud service cloud, you know, every Salesforce cloud do is one application that gives you all of that and more, it has its own accounting application that’s the equivalent of zero. So it does depend on what you’re trying to solve. If you’re coming at it for a single use case where you’re happy with the rest of your technology stack and you’re not intending on replacing anything, then an individual stack like Salesforce Marketing Cloud is ideal if you’re considering certainly a wider use case with do like in manufacturing, it’s got its own ERP or it is an ERP system. So it manages the whole manufacturing process, of your business. So it’s got a lot wider use cases and it’s certainly a cost effective solution. You know, it’s still there’s still a license price to it. So, but it depends, it really depends that’s why you come to Gravitai.

What we end up doing is like that is coming into the business, understanding, what are you trying to solve, what do you have already? And a lot of the time through our assessments, you will find out actually you’re paying for this capability and feature in a platform you already have? Why don’t you utilize that? And if it’s a case then of their desire not to utilize it for cost or whether it’s, a just too unusable too technical, then we’re able to compare what are the other tool kits out on market and make the best recommendation really for them. Because for us, od was the right choice for us. We, we’ve heavily invested into it. We’ve got our entire operations running from one application and that’s really what I wanted. I couldn’t keep maintaining. I think it’s about 15 different applications is what I had running Gravitai at the time. So I just consolidated it all into one built a team that then understood that one application do that could then maintain it and expand it that way.

Anthony Lamot: Interesting. And what I really liked about your answer is that you actually start with a use case based answer. Not so much. You know, if you’re a larger company, you go for Marketing Cloud. If you’re a smaller company, you automatically go for do because that’s a bit. How for instance, in the past part and Marketing Cloud were position almost for B to B or almost for B to C. And to a large extent, that was maybe true. But I know B to B companies who definitely need Marketing Cloud and vice versa.

William McMahon: Yeah. I’ve seen, the very same is that sometimes they’ve been sold the wrong product and you have to kinda go in and reset the whole thing, reset the relationship and you try to make best use out of what you have. But then when they start hitting that ceiling, it is a bit of a sit down and have that conversation with, you know, the better application is an alternative application and just to guide them really, you know, being agnostic, you have to be a trusted advisor. You really have to kinda be on the client side, not on a sales side. You don’t want to be selling something for a commission. You really want to kinda show them that the best application is, you know, suited for them because they, it’s going to, they’re going to have to use it for the next five to 10 to 15 years. You don’t want them to be stripping it out every three years. Yeah.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. One of my first Marketing Cloud projects was also by far my most painful one one because… the customer had essentially bought predictive intelligence, which is a module. I don’t even know if it, if it’s still actively being positioned, but I think it’s renamed some.

I mean, I still around it’s, definitely been renamed, but I haven’t even come across it in any other shape or form because essentially what it was it was predictive, a, I generated personalization for your website based on a product catalog that you had to upload in Marketing Cloud one and you required professional services to actually get it running. And so here’s where it went wrong, the customer expected rule based personalization instead of predictive, they actually sort of imagined or expected some kind of full website personalization module, which it really isn’t and then the second thing is that nobody knew, not even on the person who sold it, they realized that professional services were required. And so they actually Salesforce actually had to go out and hire someone to support us who was new to the product himself. So that was a very difficult one in terms of managing expectation that it’s known in consultancy.

William McMahon: Predictive intelligence was that tool people said would not go digital. The very same thing was said, if you ever remember, about  Audience Builder.

Anthony Lamot: For sure, you know, we mean Audience Builder is sunsetting. It’s still around there’s a few 100 companies, maybe a bit less that still have it. It’s one, it’s one of our it’s a very common use case for us, to replace Audience Builder these days.

William McMahon: Yeah.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, we’ve actually recently done one of, the larger Audience Builder implementation that we replaced. It was a customer that had… only their customer data was, I mean their customer records were 170,000,000 records and the one data extension with. I mean, they still have it. I’m not saying this is a good practice by the way, but they store six years worth of transactional data in it and it has one point 2,000,000,000 records. But, but we manage, to query the thing with a little bit of a bit of custom setup for them. But, we actually manage to use DESelect, to help in segment. And so they’re no longer depending on Audience Builder, which was a good tool once you got it up and running, but it’s very expensive to get it up and running and maintain because you rely on Salesforce professional services.

William McMahon: Exactly that. And I think the, you know, the excitement that marketers get when they get new tools and certainly with data is let’s put all our data into this, you know, let’s like you said, it’s the resetting of expectation of kinda go okay, tell us what you have, tell us what you want to use it for, and we’ll guide you in how to do it. And a lot of that time is just bringing over the right amount of data that you need because that will save you a lot of other technical complexities in the long run and probably get you out of a lot of hot water when you get an order as to why you have all of this data in another system?

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, absolutely. William. We’ve been talking a bit about being technology agnostic. One of the cool things of Salesforce is obviously the AppExchange is basically the B2B app store. What’s your point of view on that? And, and especially what’s interesting as you come from the ExactTarget era. I even forgot what the original ExactTarget “AppExchange” was called Hub Exchange, yes, that was it. 

William McMahon: I think it’s a very useful marketplace, for integrations and third party apps. It certainly has grown over the years. It’s useful for when you let’s say, have, a third party that builds a good application integration. I think for the sales cloud service or core, we’ll say there’s a lot more apps, useful apps there for it. But for Marketing Cloud, there’s a select few and, you know, DESelect is one of, the good ones that are there that really benefit really Bill and fit the users in the marketers. I think trying to keep Marketing Cloud open or even the Salesforce tool kits open so that people can build and adapt onto the platform is a hugely beneficial thing whether it’s a premium app or whether it’s a full licensed app. You do find, you know, useful use cases for it. Like I said, I remember the days years ago when even DESelect wasn’t around and you, I often thought like, why haven’t Salesforce or even ExactTarget at the time? Why haven’t, they solved this problem of just being able to just easily segment. Because as a marketer who doesn’t know SQL and I’m going in trying to teach them all these wonderful, you know, predictive personalization campaigns and you’re trying to teach them amscript and you’re trying to teach them SQL and they’re looking at you just going. But I’m a marketer, I look at the strategic. So having the tools on like DESelect, you know, it’s able to fill the gap, solve the problem that the vendor hasn’t solved themselves. And, you know, I think, you know, maybe one day Salesforce do acquire DESelect and bring it all into platform. That would be one.

Anthony Lamot: Well, I think my might because I get this question a lot obviously. But I think  become a generalist and you’re trying to cover many use cases across a variety of capabilities and even different products and platforms in themselves. And so, and a lot of your focus is also on security trust scalability enterprise. So necessarily you cannot be best in class for every single thing. So for those companies who do seek the best segmentation solution, the best way to do frequency capping, you name it. That’s why, they reach out to us because Salesforce will get you far but for many, not far enough. And, and that’s okay because it is providing you infrastructure scalability send volumes that no other platform can those kinds of things. So especially for enterprise, I think it’s I mean a wonderful platform and more for mid market definitely as well and more even for smaller companies. So I think that’s interesting. I love how you mentioned premium along the way there. We are actually experimenting with that ourselves. So we’re very well known for our free app, the search app that anyone can get. But now, yeah the now, for DESelect segments. So which was just originally known as DESelect. Now that’s split up into, you know, just one of the modules we have, we actually have it for free on the AppExchange although of course, you know, it’s premium. So it’s you know, limited usage. And then, if you really like it, you can still consider purchase. I think purchasing it. Maybe as we start slowly winding up this conversation, I do wanna dig into something that you mentioned along the road and we can’t escape it these days. It’s a I, I’d love to hear. We can talk about a I in Marketing Cloud. But I’m also just very curious personally how have you? I’m just assuming you found some use cases for generative ai GPTor maybe any other app. So I’d love to hear that.

William McMahon: It’s a hot topic. It’s as soon as I saw it come out last November, I got straight onto it and started looking at use cases and it has immediately solved so much for me. So, a lot of our time that we spend with lions is around writing a statement of work. You know, before we even… start a project, we put into a really detailed statement of work. And these statements of work or even a response to an RFP could take like a response to one RFP. Before would take me about seven days if not two weeks to respond. We can now get it down to about eight hours, 10 hours work through GPT. So it has a huge use case for us. It doesn’t necessarily replace anyone because you still have to be able to compose… your scripts. You need to be able to validate what it’s asking the same with development. I’ve seen the very same situations where as a developer myself in the background, you’d be spending hours programming and going to Google looking up, you know, solutions and code and workarounds. Again eliminated so much of that. So it doesn’t necessarily eliminate you as a developer. It just changes. It’s another tool kit that you’ve been given. That just really benefits and it makes it a lot more efficient. Only last week, I’ve been training my voice on AI. So we’re what we’re looking at as well as  AI videos. So demonstration videos, training videos, that kind of stuff. And like that we’ve been looking at, you know, the voice of, the videos and, the bottleneck if it was let’s say one person, you’ve always got one bottle neck or do you do multiple people? So we’ve been exploring AI, for that use case. I’ve been looking at AI in Marketing. I think you touched on it earlier as well about images and content and personalization, in your emails. So it’s going to be a lot more personalized to you than ever before. Certainly when you talk video. So a I video generation is absolutely crazy. Scary at the moment is that you would be hard pushed to know whether you’re speaking to an  AI or whether you’re actually speaking to a real person?

Anthony Lamot: Or even that a 16 year old kid could actually produce a movie, the movie really cool.

William McMahon: Yeah. It, it’s got its use case like, it has to be treated with a lot of care, a lot of respect, but like with everything, it has a lot more benefits that, you know, if you know how to leverage it and you’re leveraging it for good, you can do a lot of great things with it. And, I don’t think it should be feared. It should be respected for sure and just putting it too good because it was a bit like a Marketing Automation back in the day when we got Journey Builder and… you basically can automate it. You can, you can reduce down the amount of time it has taken for somebody, to do a job and they can spend that time then analyzing reflecting, adapting, putting more strategic thinking into it rather than actually having to build it. And it’s definitely, the future. I absolutely love it. I’m pretty much signed up to it at the moment.

Anthony Lamot: And I, my best use case for ChatGPT just does remain synthesis. So summarizing for instance transcriptions. So for instance, if this interview, I would like to get the takeaways, I could probably just get the transcription out of Zoom in this case and dump it into ChatGPT. One thing that I have struggled with though is to use it for creative writing. So I’m gonna confess I’ve actually used ChatGPT for my last article on my Founders’ Trail blog on LinkedIn about the founder journey, but I’ve also used it at some point for a few LinkedIn posts and it’s interesting because what, I mean, it was a fun experiment. What I did was I copy-pasted like my last 30 LinkedIn posts that had good engagement, dumped them into ChatGPT instructed ChatGPT to reproduce my writing style my, you know, my voice and my tone. Yeah, and my tone and then basically generate new posts for me. And then, you know, I did go in and tweak them a little bit to make them, you know, more personalized or, you know, more reflective of my current thoughts. But it was interesting to see how ChatGPT could take, you know, my past content and then kind of spin it into new content that was still relevant and engaging for my audience. So that was a really interesting experiment for sure.

And, and it summarized it well. But then I tried to, I ask you to write post and they’re okay. For instance, I can just copy-paste success story from our website and dump it into GPT and say, rewrite this in my style for a LinkedIn post and it does it, but it’s always a little bit below a standard. And then I kinda notice this is the most interesting bit. The more I repeat it, it’s like it deteriorates again.

William McMahon: Yeah.

Anthony Lamot: Even though I’m in the same session. So it should really be remember. And even if I ask it, what was my style again?

William McMahon: It caps.

Anthony Lamot: It, well, yeah, but there’s something missing there in the creative riding aspect.

William McMahon: There, there is in ChatGPTunder the new release settings that you can give it certain profile information that it will remember about you. So you can tell it about, your style. But it is, it’s an art form. It’s almost another job to become a script writer for ChatGPT because…

Anthony Lamot: Prompt engineer.

William McMahon: That yeah, because, it is exactly like that you can ask it or you feeding information to get back and when you read the responses, it can be well written but you do have to re, prompt it or you have to kinda shape it into how you want it. Like that. I’ve had hidden miss, you know, at the beginning, when you’re trying it out, you’re getting various results and responses back. But as you get better with your prompts and, you know, how to craft them, you do get a lot of good replies back from it. But even if it’s just for chatting companies, sometimes you ask it some test questions, see what he would come back with. There was one use case I tried last year or so. It didn’t work out but do has certifications like Salesforce certifications, but not as strictly monitored. So as you’re taking your multiple choice question, I thought let’s see how well the ChatGPT answers these and ChatGPT fails like that. Every every answer I gave to the multiple-choice, I would say this is the answer. This is the reason why you’d read it and you got it’s. A fair. It’s a fair believable reply. You know, you wouldn’t question it but, you know, the, I just didn’t pass the audio certification for me.

Anthony Lamot: It’s funny that’s hilarious. Yeah. One other cool trick before we move on that I heard is whenever you make a prompt, the last bit of your prompt should be. And actually I should do this more often myself is okay. After your answer also tell me, how, could I have written a better prompt? So the machine instruct you too, and I think that’s also really?

William McMahon: I’m just asking it to confirm any. It, does it have any questions? I’ve not had a few times? And so if you ask, you have to tell it what you want, but then tell it to ask you any questions and it will come back. And then you can evolve that. It does really help it.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. William, before we round up, do you have any parting advice for those who are new to the Marketing Cloud space?

William McMahon: It’s a great space to be in maybe bad economic climate to be in, but it is one that it’s a fun career. You certainly want to have both a creative streak and a bit of, a geeky technology streak to succeed in it. Keep looking at technology, keep looking like on chatGPT and AI, you know, what are, the new tools that are out there? Don’t be afraid to learn, just really roll up your sleeves, start thinking of new concepts and ideas and trying to, wanting to solve how to solve them in Marketing Cloud or whatever the technology tool kid is. That is the only way you will learn. And once you’ve got that appetite, like I said, it’s like drinking the purple juice. Once you’ve got the appetite, you can see, it becomes a fun job. You know, you actually enjoy analyzing data, seeing what works, what behaviors results in certain up, takes it. It is, really fun stuff.

Anthony Lamot: It’s great advice. Well, thank you William for taking the time to be in the show. Has been a pleasure speaking with you.

William McMahon: Absolutely. And thanks for your time as well and arranging this.

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Episode 15 | Transcript

Arthur Backouche: Artificial Intelligence, AMPScript, SSJS vs SQL

Anthony Lamot: Hi, and welcome to Heroes of Marketing Cloud. The show where we talk with Salesforce Marketing Cloud experts. My name is Anthony Lamot. I’m the CEO and co-founder of DESelect. And I’ll be your host for today. And today, we’ll be talking with Arthur Backouche. Archer is a senior Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultant at Skie and we have a very engaging conversation about AI and all things technical in Marketing Cloud: SQL, AMPScript and also SSGS as well as other trends going on in the marketing automation space. So, welcome to the show. Hi, Arthur, welcome to the show.

Arthur Backouche: Hi, Anthony. How are you?

AL: I’m doing very well, opposite sides of the world that I appreciate you making time on an early Saturday morning for you.

AB: Yeah, it’s great to meet you. Actually, your name seems to be French. I was wondering, are you from France and a lot of people from your team are in Switzerland? 

AL: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. So, I’m a, I’m not French although I speak some French or at least I like to think that I speak some French but I’m Belgian. 

AB: That’s nice, it must be great to live in Texas.

AL: Right. And I know you’re based in Sydney, but you don’t particularly have an Australian accent. 

AB: Yeah. I arrived in Sydney like five years ago now. Yeah, it’s really good. I think so far it’s like one of the best city I’ve lived in like you have like the outdoor activity and the lifestyle is really great, but I guess Texas must be nice as well. This is where there is a Tesla headquarters as well.

AL: Yeah, that’s right. Elon lives about 30 minutes from where I’m currently sitting.

AB: Really? Do, do you grab your coffee in the same cafe sometimes?

AL: Well, or we’re not grabbing drinks, we’re not on the first meeting basis just yet, but who knows, he likes to hang out with podcasters. 

AB: That’s that’s fine. Yeah, but yeah, no, winter is amazing here. I mean, Australia gets hot too, but right now, it’s been over 40 degrees Celsius over 100 Fahrenheit for like two months, but I love it. I’m glad to, you know, be in this hot climate. How did you come up to choose Texas?

AL: That’s that’s a long story… and I want to go into too much detail now because maybe, you know, some people hear more about Marketing Cloud. But the majority of our market is in the U.S.. We serve large enterprise companies, and mid-market, there’s a huge market for us in Europe. There’s also a huge market for us in Australia and APAC, the majority of big companies obviously are in the us. So we want to open office here and Austin is a very vibrant city with a lot of new tech talent. It’s centrally located and it has a, yeah, you know, it’s just a great city. So that’s why we chose Austin, Texas specifically.

AB: Okay. That’s nice. And, and you started your journey with Marketing Cloud. I hear that you went on holiday for a few weeks to learn how to code in order to build DESelect. Yeah. I mean, like maybe you read that, in a blog or something. That’s really a great story.

AL: I appreciate that. Yeah, kind of. So at some point I wanted to get better programming. So I took a sabbatical went to Bali lifter for three months while I rented my home back in Belgium out on Airbnb just to cover for costs and… I won’t say that lead directly, to say, but at least I had to technological know-how, to see a solution to think of a solution. So I don’t regret it. Yeah.

AB: Yeah. And were you a user of Marketing Cloud before?

AL: Yeah, I was already doing Marketing Cloud projects for. Yeah. And what about your background Arthur? Yeah. What is it like? You can see a bit about what your background is? And, and what is that you do these days?

AB: Yeah. So I used to, I used to study computer science. So I did a school called Epitech and the it’s like school where you only learn by practice. You know, there is no theory.

So like you have it’s like it’s exactly like working in like an agency. So you have always project to deliver with group of people, and you have no theory knowledge. So you no the record knowledge. So it’s like you deliver project. So it was great to learn that. But I didn’t really like language like, deep technology language. I was more interested in digital marketing or to drive customer to drive conversion to a website to optimize a website. So I started to do a lot of like in township like and work in digital marketing at first… and that, so I’ve learned like the digital marketing in general. And I worked like maybe five, six years as a digital marketer. And then when I came back to Australia, I realized that like working as a digital market, digital marketing is not great. But I don’t have like a good visa. For example, you don’t have like good salary as well. Like because there is no benchmark or digital marketer, you don’t know if like the, this guy is better than that guy. Like there is no one, to say like where with Salesforce certification, like you have an industry and you have like a benchmark between like the different consultants I guess. And then yeah, I started learning like about it about Salesforce more specifically because I already had like this it background. And yes. So I’ve learned about Salesforce. And then I started working as a consultant and it grew because Marketing Cloud specifically requires you to know about like it like you need to code in like SQL, JavaScript, and Script language. And also you need to have the knowledge into digital marketing such as like having conversations that make sense with the customer for example on what they can achieve, what are like the nurturing journey with at the segment. And I think it was the best of both worlds for me because like I had like there’s two… segments there’s two addons that I’ve learned over my life. And then I end up working as a self, as a Marketing Cloud consultant. 

AL: It sounds like a good, yeah, it sounds like a good marriage between your it background and your marketing agency background. I think just as an aside, I think it’s interesting what you said about how salaries for marketing clock consultants are better in, for agencies. I think scarcity in the job market is perhaps a part of it, but you’re probably right that certification helps because with an agency, it’s very hard to have objective measures, of the work, I suppose.

AB: Yeah. And, and I think from what I saw is like if you work as a generic digital marketer, like there is plenty of digital marketer in the world, I guess. And, and it’s more like the like if you work in marketing, you are the one searching for a job where if you are a consultant in Marketing Cloud, the company are searching for you as a skip. So there is like it’s totally different like, the balance between the supplier and the yeah.

AL: Exactly. So what’s the coolest marketing clap project you’ve done so far Arthur?

AB: I’ve worked on like plenty of interesting projects. I think like project that I like is where there is technical challenge with the platform. I think one that was quite interesting that we just delivered is an integration with hardware, for the BBC. So they created like a photo booth system. So, you know, like where people take photos and, we integrate it with Marketing Cloud. So for that, we are using like we are using different API, for example, content builder API to re, like, the files and the files were like MP four and like give you so, you know, it’s like more it’s quite interesting to learn how to encode like a video, for example, and pass it to content builder. And then we were sending like a journey, we were triggering a journey that sent an e-mail that includes this content to the user. So, so, so this one was maybe not the most complex one but as there is an integration to aware and to a product that is that you can touch or that you can interact with in the real life, I think it was pretty cool. I think.

AL: Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, I’ve had a number of great guests on the show and I think you’re the first person ever gave an example, of someone integrating between hardware and Marketing Cloud. Could you, maybe we have a mixed audience of technical and nontechnical users? So with that in mind, could you highlight some of, the challenges you ran into or how you went about that solution? Because I think it’s kind of interesting.

AB: Yes. So, so I think like… so there is a different type of challenge. There is a technical challenge and there is a process like, we had challenge with the process and I think something that we really improve is like the QA testing. So, so, so we work with someone of our team that runs the test properly, like, to see if there is any bug in the solution. And I think this, we add some challenges at the beginning where, we were delivering like the first… had some issue and someone of our team called Christian run like the QA test and find out there is some issue for example, with… you know, like when you deliver like promo code because when, we are sending the e-mail to people, we were giving some promo code like discount code, 20 percent of 100 percent of. And what we realize is that there is an issue when Johnny is delivering, the discount code. Sometimes I will deliver the same code, to different people even though like you have like a system that should make them deliver only one code per person.

AL: All right. So it sounds like it was like randomly generated but maybe not unique. Is that what you’re saying?

AB: No, they were stored into data extension, but still like I think like when the journey delivers the e-mail, it goes too fast, and sometimes like the journey doesn’t have the capability to say, okay, this concord has been already delivered now. I’m going to the next one now, I’m going to the next one. So we had to use a function for that. I don’t remember the name of the function, but one part of the function was raised, and it basically… stop not the system but switch to another contact in the system. If there is a, if this happened. So, so, so we find out the solution. Yeah.

AL: Yeah. So I just wanted to actually know a little bit about the race error thing and I know it’s going pretty technical here for the audience, but there’s a function call race error that if my understanding is correct, it can just cancel a specific e-mail being sent for whatever reason. It’s like a catch-all or if something goes wrong.

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AB: Yeah. And you have two choices basically. So you have like either which I can sell the overall process. So no contact will receive any e-mail anymore or it’s just one contact that stopped receiving the e-mail and then they continue to switch to the other one in the process, right? Yeah. So this was one of the challenges that we discovered, we fixed it. So it was good… and we also improve a lot the way we work as a team with like the process like the testing part is very important, and I think it’s something that you learn and that is different with each team. So, so, so, you know, it’s not like if you are like a JavaScript developer and, you have like a proper framework that exists, I feel it’s up to each organization to build their own testing framework with Marketing Cloud. And, and I think we have learned a lot to build out in order to deliver products that are perfect for the customer.

AL: Cool. Yeah. I know as many people have actually commented on the show that quality assurance, and not having an actual sandbox is a typical challenge. So it sounds like an interesting way, to deal with that. Another functionality that’s been more discussed recently and obviously we run into as we have launched a new product call Engage is frequency capping. It was kinda curious if you’ve ever worked with Einstein frequency capping, if you’ve seen use cases, and how it turns out.

AB: Yes. So, I think frequency is very interesting in terms of what we call audience fatigue. So, it’s like you make sure you don’t deliver too much content to your contact in order to keep him like interested in your product, like you don’t struggle with like all your e-mail… if we use it. Yes, I think we use it, but differently, like for example, at this stage, we set up some fields… in Sales Cloud for example. And when we pull like the Salesforce data, we will do a filter on this particular filled in Sales Cloud just to make sure that we are not sending like… before 30 days, for example, like, the e-mail so, we haven’t used in a lot of projects like Einstein frequency cap. But I think I have a good understanding of what it is, and how we can… use it. You, from your point of view, why people are using Engage like your new product?

AL: Yeah, a great question. Thank you. Well, first off, there’s limitations with Einstein frequency capping. It’s a cool feature because it’s out of the box and you don’t need to do a lot to set up, but you need to be us, you need, to use the out of the box subscription model. And very few customers really use that because almost everyone ends up building a custom subscription center or something like that. And, and once you do that, you already can’t use it anymore. But I would say even, if you have that, there’s another issue with it, which is just a comfort that marketers have because it’s a black box. They don’t know, if Einstein says, you know, this person is saturated or not are not gonna send an e-mail or not. It doesn’t say why that is. So… as we spoke with our customers, and more than the context of DESelect Segment, it was require need a requirement for frequency capping, that is rule based, meaning marketers can define the rule. So I would say, for Engage to actually answer your questions. I think the main reasons why people get engaged are they need rule-based frequency campaign. They, they’re not only concerned about over-engagement but also under-engagement. So they also want to see, hey, who is my audience? Can I engage more with? And then, and this is also interesting. Actually, I didn’t think the product would turn out to be that way initially, but we ended up building this whole calendar where people can manage all their sense, all their campaigns if you prefer. Yeah. And then they can also manage priorities of campaigns in case our conflicts, like, if we can predict an audience is going to be over-saturated or, you know, they will hit their frequency cap.

AB: Yes. The way you describe Engage like your new product makes me think about the Einstein recipe in Interaction Studio. Have you heard about that? It’s like basically, it’s like, yeah, it’s like from what I understand is like Engage, you can have different ingredients like you can have different settings in order to build your own… what you define as a good frequency in a way?

AL: Right. But, okay. So you’re referring to Marketing Cloud Interaction Studio formerly known as Evergage.

AB: Yeah. And now it’s Personalization.

AL: Now, it’s Personalization, right? Yes. Thank you for reminding me. Oops, it’s different though, but here’s a problem with the constant renaming of the products. If, if we can be very candid and I feel on this show we can… the phrase “Marketing Cloud personalization” is a little bit misleading because you really have to ask what kind of personalization and ultimately Marketing Cloud personalization is really a digital solution, meaning it’s meant to personalize websites. Yes, there is a way to integrate with Marketing Cloud engagement. These a, so, the good all real Marketing Cloud. So I target and so, you could technically steer e-mail communications as well. But the driver of that is normally your digital interactions, the digital activities on your website, which there’s a whole subject in itself and effect is many people don’t have these two solutions. I mean, the companies or they’re not always completely integrated because they’re actually using different stacks. So… that’s not to say that there aren’t really interesting use cases in terms of driving e-mail personalization, by web interaction. I totally think there are it’s just that would not really be a solution for the problem we encounter with our customers who really just, yeah because they’re just our customers were just really worried about not being annoying and not spamming their customer.

AB: Yeah, yeah. I think it makes total sense. I think it’s a people need that and I think people want to see like a transparent solution where they understand each parameter of it like they want to know what will happen. And maybe that’s an issue that is happening with the current like feature of Marketing Cloud in frequency. And, and I think this can link us to the other question that is related to artificial intelligence, what’s the future of artificial intelligence with Marketing Cloud? And I think people really want control and transparency on what will happen. And I think this is a risk or like the part, but like it will be a challenge with generative artificial intelligence. I don’t think people want yet like a machine to write the e-mail copywriting that will be sent to the customer, they want to… they want to control that part mostly like the big organization because they are already like perfection is on the message that they deliver to their customer. And I think as well, what will be interesting with artificial intelligence? It will be on the insight and insights… and analytics. I think that’s the main area of development that I think will help. How, how about you, how do you see… artificial intelligence coming into Marketing Cloud?

AL: Yeah, great question. I mean, I, we’re gonna be able to talk a lot about this. I will take a step back first before even talking about Marketing Cloud specifically. We like we totally embraced it as a company. I personally use it. It’s like one of my new bookmarks. I have the paid version of GPT, and we actively encourage people in the company to use it for other lines of business. And we have a marketing team, right? So if I look at my own marketing team, we are already using it heavily for content creation. And if I work for instance, at a more strategic level, but whether it’s company’s strategy or… marketing strategy specifically, it’s a really interesting tool just for brainstorming. I find structure on your thoughts. I don’t know if you’ve tried that before.

AB: I do use it. I never use it to brainstorm… but yeah, I do use it like not every day, but, I think, yeah, like it saves me time, and I think he, you know, like I would be scared, if I was like a company such as Grammarly, you know, Grammarly, like the Chrome extension that fix your typo. I think like I tend to prefer using ChatGPT and like Grammarly for example.

AL: I don’t know. So this is, you say is because if I actually recently used ChatGPT, to help me write an article? Plus, I was plus I was doing, I was also doing an interesting experiment, on LinkedIn because I’m a very voracious poster on LinkedIn, people who follow the show, they probably know. And so I did a series of experiments where I had ChatGPT, right? LinkedIn posts. And the big thing I noticed is that one, that the posts are much more generic, but I can tell a little bit more about my strategy and I’ll make it less generic. But secondly, a Grammarly still finds grammatical suggestions in what ChatGPT says.

AB: Really? Yeah. And that’s why do you think?

AL: Because I don’t think GPT is optimized for having beautiful grammar, it’s optimized for giving synthesis, like for summarizing large quantities of natural language information and then providing suggestions while also tapping into the whole internet as a database essentially 

AB: Yeah. That’s true. Yeah. And, and I think Grammarly will always provide different options maybe as like there is not one way of writing a sentence correctly, sure. So I don’t know. But yeah, I think it’s a great to like ChatGPT is nice. I think I’m quite excited about like I seen they started to develop some apps like you can integrate with external system. I think this would be like, I haven’t tried. I don’t know if it’s available on the market, but it’s basically, you can pull the data from other system. It’s it’s a bit like see it. Okay.

AL: I mean, we are doing this for our product… actually just this week. So today, I mean for those who are listening, it’s August 18, 2023. Just five days ago, we went live with DeeDeeAI. 

And so, we called our generative AI capabilities DeeDeeAI a little bit similar to Einstein AI, I suppose. And what it does is that this is for our Segment product. So, for those who don’t know Segment is essentially a drag-and-drop solution to great SQL in Marketing Cloud to do very refined Segmentation duplication whatever. And so now people can just say, hey, did I want this segment from, you know, my last orders in Australia and France with volume of this and a value of this. And, and based on the natural language, we can translate that into a configured segment in DESelect which is not just SQL but actually for people who don’t know SQL, it’s actually a visual representation in our UC. And, and then people can still iterate and that’s just step one. We have a lot more ideas there to go further.

AB: You are using a ChatGPT API for that?

AL: Yeah, that’s right. So this is, we’re integrating with OpenAI for that. So, which is it’s a paid service, right? Because I have a solution for companies and we’re using some, we have integrate with some other APIs essentially. But then on our site, we need to add a layer to, you know, train the model, and help them understand, okay, this is how we, you know, this is what our data looks like and how we visualize it. And I mean, I need to add some guard rails, and stuff like that. So yeah, we do that.

AB: Is there like any plan to… get rid of OpenAI in the future to build your own fully full system?

AL: No, and yes. So, no, we don’t plan to get rid of OpenAI. And, and here’s a thing like, so as a side note, but an important one, I think… integrating generative AI capabilities into your product will typically rely on one of the big providers which for the time being will mainly be OpenAI, but we’re gonna see other providers as well. Obviously, the other tech companies are trying to catch up real fast and they will probably, I mean not catch up but they will deliver good solutions too. But what I’m trying to say is that this will become ubiquitous. And what I mean with that is like today, if you would start assessed company, gonna do it in a Cloud, right? Unless you maybe some very fringe niche financial on-premise product for security, which also happens but, you know, except for that, like very rare situation you would by default do in the Cloud. So, my prediction is that maybe a year from now every new SaaS company by default will have generative AI capabilities integrated into its solution because customers will expect it because they will expect that level of performance.

AB: Yeah. Maybe I saw a lot of… a lot of… yeah, most of the us now are using already like… some artificial intelligence integration I think is not all of them are really well integrated. I feel like sometimes to me, it doesn’t make sense that like it’s more here to, for the sake of being here. I think it’s really interesting to find what’s the usage that really provide value to the customer. And that’s a challenge because in some cases, in some cases like I think it’s still early to find like the real value of it. But, but yeah, like that would be interesting. Like, I think like people will enjoy like a lot of… people that are not technical or even people that are technical could enjoy using like a DeeDeeAI, I think.

AL: Well, I mean, if I can lift a little bit more of the… (spoiler alert), but so I mean we, we’re getting really positive feedback, on the initial feature. So the initial feature I described is essentially what we call copilot, right? You tell DeeDee like, hey, this is what I want to do and it’s segments for you, right? So that’s copilot. So that’s already live with a few customers, but we have already have a big waiting list and if people who are interested go over to DeeDeeAI and you can sign up for it. But, but we’re gonna go further and the next main capability that we’re already looking into. And then by the way, we also need to talk about just because we sidetracked on the ChatGPT. I just remember, we do talk about native ML as well. But, you know, just to stick with you, the other thing I wanna do is… what we call tribal knowledge. So, so Arthur, you know, you’ve been, you know, working with customers, you know, how in every organization, there’s just one guy or girl who knows the data, right? And whenever someone needs to create a segment or isn’t sure about a filter, they go to Frank or Suzie’s desk and they go, hey, Frank or Suzie, what filter should I use? What, what criteria should I use? And so, typically, this person, this kind of person is very proud of their work but it’s also not ideal for them that people come and pull their sleeve every five minutes, right? So, so there’s a bit of annoyance there from the point of view from the organization. However there’s like a massive risk if Frank or Suzie gets hit by a bus tomorrow, like who will know the data? So here’s, the idea for the tribal knowledge. The idea is that as people are segmenting, in DESelect with did or not like even manually, we quietly listen, and try to figure out or rather quietly tries to figure out how are people segmenting and why? So that when a new person joins that, they can just say, hey, did you know, I’m new in this company, tell me how people segment and it will just spit out all the typical segments. And then you can go build me one of these segments. Yeah. And I put, it will do that. But the, and then I think that here is a really important ones in a really interesting use case. You will be able to ask, can you tell me something about that filter? Why did you use this value in not the order? And that’s where it gets really interesting because now Frank and I, are certainly scaled, right?

AB: Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. I think we need that we also need like things to write documentation easily. Have you, have you heard about Scribe? So it’s…

AL: I think I heard of, I haven’t used to it.

AB: I haven’t used it neither, but it’s like something that basically as long as you create the process like let’s say you set up your segment in Marketing Cloud, Scribe will take some screenshots and they will build the documentation for you automatically, which is like very impressive. I think this is like the type of artificial intelligence usage that are very interesting compared to generating a small text on like another platform like for example, I saw Elementor they propose like something, do you know, element say propose of generative? Yeah, I mean you an, of, this platform… but like the way they integrated artificial intelligence is not that great like things. They just propose you to generate, the text, on the text widget. So, you know, like it depends, of the company. But yeah, it’s interesting.

AL: Yeah. In fact, I think we still use Elementor for our own website but, I might be wrong. It’s been a while since I had to go into the Admin Panel myself, but about Scribe, I mean, I just have a quick look at the website. Looks super interesting. I mean, look, I don’t know the product. I’m not endorsing this, is on affiliate marketing thing. I will say, I really believe in the value of good documentation. I think it’s one of those things. It’s interesting. Like one of the last… guests on the show was, Genna Matson from HowtoSFMC. And she also like underlying the value of good documentation. Now, obviously, we were talking specifically about Marketing Cloud. I think this is important for everything. In fact, just before I swear, just before this meeting, I spent the last two hours updating some of our own internal documentation which is like very specific business knowledge. I will make sure it’s like downloaded from my brain and available for the whole company. So, I mean, yeah, seeing something like this, is pretty cool. So thank you for the recommendation.

AB: And, there is two things. There is the documentation. And there, I don’t know how you call that in English but like in French, we call that, the “norme”. So it’s like structure of, yeah, it’s like the norm of your code. The way you write code is also very important, I think because…

AL: Or like a convention, maybe “coding convention”?

AB: Yeah, exactly. Code convention. I think this is so important because… like a code that is well written in Marketing Cloud, it’s so much easier to understand. So, I like this is something that we are working a lot in our team, to make sure that people write, the correct way. And also like there is some choice to be made to be made because for example, you can choose between AMPScript and SSGS… and some people will write like a full page in AMPScript when sometimes you should using be using more like SSGS for like a cloud page and AMPScript for small script only. So, so this is like an open discussion. What’s your view on that? Like what do you think? Do you have like a coding convention, for example, a DESelect and how do people make choice when they choose, the language to write?

AL: Cool, man. Let me interrupt that one. So, yes, the short answer is yes, of course, we have code conventions… before I jump in there. One thing that came to mind as you were as we were talking is, I know some people have used ChatGPT for reformatting of code. So reformatting it very quickly for those who don’t know like if you write code in a certain way in an overtime, keep adding and adding and adding. At some point, there’s sometimes ways to do it more efficiently if you can start from scratch, but that’s like typically the thing no developer wants to do because it’s more time consuming and you’re not really adding new functionality, just making code more efficient. But it’s super important because if you don’t you’re creating technical depth and sooner or later, it’s gonna hurt in a bad way. So I actually suggest a engineering done to try that. Now we tried it with BT to let files be re formatted or re factored and it didn’t quite work it as we want. And I think it’s partially because… but you’ll be able to explain better to me but I’m guessing it’s partially because it cannot adhere to our specific coding conventions, right? So, if there was a way to, and I’m sure we can give some instructions to ChatGPT, it’s just that I know from my own practice that you can provide instructions to ChatGPT and it listens to it kind of for a while and then it starts doing its own thing. Again. So if you could just say, “hey, ChatGPT, these are the rules” and then reformat that will be super powerful. So that’s probably a company in itself.

AB: Yeah.

AL: You could start for that use case… to your question of… just a little bit how we think about our code. Now, our code by the way, I mean our own solution is in a JavaScript. It’s for those who know front end is react back in those notes. So I honestly don’t know at these days what we’re using. I used a quote four years ago when we started this thing that it’s been a four, five years ago, time flies. So I’m past that point, but… what we do of course generate SQL and all the SQL, we create is already optimize as much as we can because we want to make sure there’s no, there’s none of those infamous time outs in Marketing Cloud. Yeah. But, we have other ways around that too. I’m sorry, I feel like making a say on a side here. But aside from just having as optimal optimized code as we can to make sure that we don’t have time out, we also have other ways to work around that. And I don’t think I have to go into too much detail right now. But so far as to say one of our customers, has a huge database and when is a huge database? I mean, they have 170,000,000 contacts and they have one data extension that has 1.2 billion records.

It’s a huge customer not just from ours but, from Marketing Cloud. Pretty cool. Unfortunately, I can’t mention their name just yet, but yeah. So we can handle that stuff. So, and then maybe my last thought on what you said is I guess the question is also like when do you use AMPScript versus SSDS?

 AB: Yeah.

AL: I’m gonna be really honest. I’m not a super expert in either, like I know how to write in JavaScript  and AMPScript. I think what you said makes sense. I think the reason why, so what you said was AMPScript for small stuff, SSGS for more complex stuff. And that intuitively makes sense to me because as us is JavaScript which is way more powerful than AMPScript, which is very specific language to Marketing Cloud. I think why they drop into AMPScript is that because most people start using Marketing Cloud even if they want to learn the technical stuff, JavaScript is its own language, right? So you really need to be a developer to understand what’s going on.

AB: Yeah, but I think also like it’s like in most of the case like as soon as you build like complex solution, you have to use both and you merge like both language into the same… piece of code. And because there is things that are easier to do with AMPScript because I think it’s like, a new version like it’s more recent than SSGS. I think SSGS is an old version of JavaScript basically. But yeah, yeah. After like it depends but I think it’s really interesting is if as an organization you define when to use what and also like you try to standardize and a naming convention for pretty much like everything. Because like if you do this effort as the beginning, then you will have like a clean Marketing Cloud instance and everyone will benefit from its event.

AL: Clean Marketing Cloud instance. Now, you’re just talking nonsense, let’s get real. But, but I mean, there’s also a few use cases. I remember that SSGS can solve specifically, that AMPScript just can’t and I think one of the use cases is if, when you wanna deal with rows in an e-mail, so a concrete example, you’re a retailer, someone makes a purchase with three items being able to show those three items in the e-mail I believe can only be done with SSGS. Not really with AMPScript in a good scalable way.

AB: Yeah. I’m not sure about this one.

AL: Well, I mean someone can maybe check fact checkme. You like hopefully maybe one of the NPS is listening to comment, in the comments on the video that’ll be it’ll be pretty well.

AB: And, and just yes, like DESelect is… I was wondering like DESelect is the organisation on the AppExchange for Marketing Cloud. That, that is one of the, you guys are one of the most popular apps basically on the AppExchange for Marketing Cloud, no?

AL: I believe so. I believe we have more reviews than any other provider.

AB: Okay. Yeah, that’s a huge… what you created over the time.

AL: Thanks you’re very kind. Well, I feel we’re still only getting started there’s so so much more we can do, and so many more customers to serve and so much more stuff to build. But I’m pretty happy where we got so far. I think it’s something to be proud of you.

AL: Do you think like from your point of view, there is a stage where you would like to integrate DESelect with the other Marketing Cloud marketing platform, for example, like Adobe or I don’t know Marketo or like, you know, like or even DESelect becoming like your own platform. That could, what’s the future plan for DESelect from your point of view?

AL: It’s a great question. I think about every investor asks me about it and every single one who works for us asks me to. So first of, I will say we are really already a platform in our own right. What I can in with that is we have multiple capabilities and we actually run our own infrastructure, right? So, our solution like Engage is built on Google Cloud platform actually, which is massively scalable. It can filter… 1.2M messages per hour for a given customer, which is huge… and I can probably scale it up infinitely by the way. But so it’s its own platform. But to answer your question, when, and if we support our platforms, I will just say stay tuned to.

AB: All ready… that we at like we wanted to know, but yeah, that would be interesting. Like I think it would be exciting like in the future like, but yeah, but if you say stay tuned, I will not push.

AL: I’ll leave the audience with a cliffhanger there. Yeah. Hey, coming back to if we can geek out a little bit longer about code principles. There’s actually another sort of design principle customers can make not just between SSGS or AMPScript, but also flow between AMPScript and SQL. Now, let me interrupt that. So AMPScript is more of a front end language. Typically you use it to personalize your emails. SQL is a backend language using query your database. So what’s the link? Well, we see. And this is something that we didn’t really think about when we start out to be honest, but we saw a very smart customers use DESelect to create queries, where essentially they did all a personalization already in the data. And so when they write the e-mail and afterwards, they can use drag and drop personalization fields and they don’t need developers time anymore to create those front end e-mail templates or at least much less. So, I think that’s another interesting design choice you can make as a company.

AB: So if I understand correctly, it’s like, you link AMPscript with your e-mail template. No, with like the SQL basic?

AL: You don’t even need AMPscript. I mean, there are personalization fields. I know there’s script personalization fields too, but I think there are some drag-and-drop functions too to just get field names. So say, your first name, right? Like a very simple one. So what people can do? I, so I’ll give one example say, you have a use case where you want to send an e-mail to a person and you want to… refer to their last purchase like, you know, you got a pair of sneakers, you wanna say, hey, Arthur about your sneakers, whatever. So there’s two ways of doing that. Essentially, you could do something like in AMPScript, say, I’m gonna create a lookup to the table or purchases and then the last item and then whatever, or you can say, well, I’m gonna write a SQL query that merges contacts with their last purchase. And so I, the data I have it. Now, if you don’t have any other options, these options are kind of equal, right? It just really depends where do you want to manage your code? But if you want nontechnical marketers to use the e-mail itself without relying on developers, it’s probably better that you do the coding in the back end in the, excuse me, in the a, in the data in the data. So our customers who have these like segments, they figure this out, and they do all the personalization as much as they can at the level of the data which they can do with non technical users too because it’s an intuitive drag -and-drop in. Yeah. And then in the e-mail, they hardly have to write every any AMPScript anymore.

AB: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But I think from what I see, we have a lot of customers who that would benefit from DESelect, I think that’s impressive like the number of Marketing Cloud users who don’t have like technical knowledge, and I think, and I think Salesforce is not pushing like Marketing Cloud to be a product that is accessible for everyone. Because, I think that they see themselves as an industry more than a company, and this industry also rely on partners. So, so, so I think like the fact that there is complexity is not… is that 100 percent an issue, you know, like they don’t need to make the product as easy as possible for everyone. And I think where DESelect bring value is like, in this challenge that people without technical knowledge can start using the platform. Is that what you see as well?

AL: I mean, yeah, first off, thank you for the kind of words. Look here’s. The thing, I think there’s I think Marketing Cloud is a super performance platform and it is very flexible. Now, the downside of I of that is it’s technical, but the people who originally started ExactTarget, I think they knew what they were doing. I think they were specifically catering to a very technical audience to a very technical user base. Just like Pardot. There’s a very interesting interview with Adam Blitzer, you can find on YouTube where he talks about his journey with part and he says they made the design shows to do the opposite thing, right? They, they went for super easy but less. And I think there’s a customer base for all now. So you need to really understand it because that’s really the history and the legacy, of Marketing Cloud. And I think it’s hard to get rid of without losing some of the value of the flexibility. So it does unfortunately mean that… some customers they may be buy Marketing Cloud thinking it might be more, you know, end-user friendly if I can call it that way. But yeah, that’s often where we come in, that’s often where we come.

AB: Yeah. I don’t know. But I think it’s a great platform in or the case like, yeah, like I remember like the first time I opened in Marketing Cloud was a bit shocked by the design of it, like the UX design of it because it was…

AL: What are you talking about? I have no idea what you’re saying.

AB: I used to work with like started products. So more like may seem, you know, like this kind of small… polished products. And then when I opened Marketing Cloud, I was really, is that the platform that I will work every day with. And at the end of the day, once O, I think you need maybe one, one or two weeks of practice, you know, like to get used, to the interface. And once you start using it, you understand that there is no limit to what you want to achieve with the platform like more or less like everything you want to achieve is doable because you can cut in the platform. Yeah, I think it’s yeah, that you think, is that as well?

AL: Yeah. I mean that’s why it’s so powerful. But Arthur, let me because I really appreciate your candor. Let me ask you this question. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the Marketing Cloud community today? That nobody is talking about?

AB: There is, there is a challenge with the sandbox. I think like… there is a challenge where people cannot learn Marketing Cloud without purchasing the product. So it’s really difficult if you are like, a Trailblazer to learn about Marketing Cloud because you don’t have access to the platform. So all you learn is like theorical knowledge is like learning how to drive on GTA for example, like.

AL: I’m a gamer, I know what you’re talking about.

AB: This is a challenge and also, yeah, like the customer cannot. Yeah, there is friction at this stage, to upskill like, the new wave of like of Marketing Cloud like specialist or consultants. I think this would be interesting to have like a proper sandbox where people can sign up, and use, and also like customer… like the entry ticket for Marketing Cloud is quite expensive. So, so, so, so like… so customer cannot really try it without, you know, like it would be nice if customer could try the platform before signing it.

AL: Yeah. And that’s what we are doing now too. We, we also start with a free version of  DESelect Segment so people can try it out and they can install it themselves. But, I see we’re kind of coming up at time soon and I feel we can probably go keep going on for a few hours, but still let me maybe end with this question. Then if I may, because you start talking about, the challenges in learning it. So I’d like to end these interviews typically with the question. What advice would you give to Marketing Cloud, newbies or marketers? Maybe coming from marketing agencies like yourself. We’re trying to transition to Marketing Cloud. What would be your advice to them?

AB: Google is your friend. I will say that because a lot of the answer are already on the internet, like on the Stack Exchange, on YouTube, on the article. So, so, so the more you read every time you have a challenge, like say should read and find the answer on the internet because it’s available. And they are not the first one who face this challenge like me personally. Like there is for most of the things that I build, I have to search on internet. Like, I don’t know, from the top of my directly. So, so it’s like I don’t have like, yeah, like storage, you know, like I a, I just search the information, and I think by doing that, it’s you will work and it’s not about knowing already. It’s about being able to search the information. I think this is a real skill of that. It’s like Marketing Cloud. But I think it’s everything else that is like in our industry, like how do you search the information? How fast, you find the right answer? And, and, yeah, that’s my advice.

AL: It’s funny that you say that I used to say that consulting is just being able to use Google, very well. Oversimplifying, but there’s a lot of truth to that, so.

Thank you for, again for your flexibility for making time. You’ve been a very engaging guest here. So, yeah, I hope to see more of you in the future.

AB: Thank you! Goodbye.

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Discover how our platform instantly optimizes your Marketing Cloud

Episode 13 | Transcript

Jackie Mennie: Salesforce Marketing Champion, Financial Services Data

Anthony Lamot: Hey, Jackie, welcome to Heroes of Marketing Cloud.

Jackie Mennie: Hey, Anthony, thank you for having me.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah. It’s an absolute pleasure. I can’t state how excited I am. You’ve been doing so many interesting things across your career, and I thought that might be a good point to start for our audience today. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you give us a high-level overview of your career up to where you ended up today, at Media.Monks? 

Jackie Mennie: Sure. So I might be dating myself here, but in 2010 I completed my master’s degree at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) in International Business. The job market was pretty bad at the time, and my first salary job was actually working for a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual. So I kind of started in the financial services industry by accident, I would say.

I got to do a wide range of stuff there like insurance, underwriting and client servicing, marketing, and eventually, I became certified to handle investments as well. I was also part of a pilot team for a new CRM at Northwestern Mutual, which somehow launched me into my first Salesforce job in 2014, then I switched over to healthcare, and I spent a year working for a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group building out “Salesforce core”, as some may call it. After about a year I was recruited back to the financial services industry to work on another Salesforce core implementation at U.S. Bank, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I was there for about 5 years, and at some point I took over the Marketing Cloud email program for the wealth management group, which was my first Marketing Cloud role.

In 2019, I switched over to the agency side, or the Salesforce Partner side of the ecosystem, and was working as a senior marketing automation consultant on Marketing Cloud and Pardot implementations.

In March of this year, I took the next step in my career as a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Architect at Media.Monks. It’s been fantastic. I love my team and Media.Monks has just been a really cool company to be a part of. I’m still pinching myself that somehow I convinced them to hire me!

Anthony Lamot: Congratulations! What does your day-to-day at Media.Monks look like?

Jackie Mennie: Most mornings I join stand-up calls for scrum check-ins for whatever clients I’m assigned to at the time. My day pretty much varies after that. Lately, it’s been a lot of working with data architecture and how we’re going to line up implementations for clients. 

I just got my Data Cloud accreditation, so I spend a lot of time researching new Salesforce Products and getting up to speed on them, and then enabling the rest of our team members to use them. And then for a little bit of my day, I get to do Salesforce Marketing Champions work like this interview.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, that’s great! That’s how we met each other, thanks to the Salesforce Marketing Champions program, which is fantastic. Moving on, you’ve done some very interesting transitions in your career, from financial advisor all the way to an architect, which is quite a technical role. I’m curious if you have any tips, or maybe even words of caution about what people can expect if they want to transition from a job in the industry to a system integrator job, whether it’s a consulting job or an agency job. Do you have any insights there for us?

Jackie Mennie: It’s not for everyone. I think that working for a company like a bank or a healthcare company and doing Salesforce has a lot of pros, but also has some drawbacks. 

On the consulting side, the same thing is true. It’s something different every single day. The pace is extreme on some days, but on others it can just come to a screeching halt, and you might have a week where you get to just focus on studying and working on research.

That’s been a really cool thing for me, I don’t mind the ebbs and flows of the schedule. It’s always worked out in my favor, but I think that some folks may not enjoy that. My word of advice is: if you’re someone who is considering a move to the partner side, I would talk to some people who have maybe experienced both sides and ask them questions like “What do you like about each one? Why did you switch? And do you ever want to switch back?”

Anthony Lamot: Right. Do you like the variety of your daily activities?

Jackie Mennie: I do, I really like being a consultant. I like getting to work on different accounts, and I think it’s given me a lot of opportunities in my career that I didn’t necessarily see as options in my previous roles.

Anthony Lamot: That’s so cool. So out of all those Marketing Cloud projects you’ve done so far, which one stood out? 

Jackie Mennie: Well, that’s not fair. I think they’re all interesting!  This story in particular might not sound very interesting to folks, because it wasn’t necessarily super technical, but I worked with a tile company that had set up some partnerships with a couple of big Instagram and TikTok influencers, and I mean BIG- like, Grammy-winning big. We came in as part of their “swipe up” campaign. We set up Cloud Page, and we also set up Facebook lead capture integration with Marketing Cloud. And then we were able to use Journey Builder to kick off an email series. We also used that to actually push the leads into Sales Cloud, which is not normally something you would do, but we had a limitation with the Salesforce team who was at capacity and didn’t have the bandwidth to create a different process.

For me, it was just really exciting to see all of those fundamental capabilities of Marketing Cloud being used, I think, in their truest form, and getting to see just that whole circular process from end to end: watching the leads get created, then get worked and go into different stages of the journey. Plus, TikTok is fun.

Anthony Lamot: Was there some kind of TikTok integration there, or was that more on the brand side?

Jackie Mennie: It wasn’t really on my team’s side, that was handled prior to us getting involved. We were just there to create the landing pages and create any of the data capturing that needed to be done.

Anthony Lamot: Got it. I recall that during Salesforce Connections there was a TikTok booth, which was kind of interesting.

By the way, I think with our audience today, we can definitely go into some technicalities at any point, if you like. For instance, you alluded to saving leads in Sales Cloud. I would be curious to hear what was the idea behind that. 

In that same vein, you’ve had exposure to Marketing Cloud, but also to Core. I find that this usually gives people a wider view, and they’re more informed when it comes to making architectural decisions. So if you have some insight there, whether it’s the specific setup at this customer where the leads went into core in Sales Cloud, or in general, some things you’ve learned working cross-cloud, I’d love to hear it.

Jackie Mennie: So, a couple of things. When we were capturing the emails directly in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, sending a triggered email, and then using Journey Builder to actually force the lead to get created in Sales Cloud… I would say that’s not always the best way to do it for two reasons.

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Number one, when you send that triggered email out, you don’t have the Salesforce core subscriber key, which I like to keep the system pretty clean. So effectively, we’re creating intentional duplicates which you have to create a back-end process to get that all cleaned up at the end of the day. So that was something that we recognized in advance, and we were willing to take that on because we also were aware of the volume of leads. 

The second thing is, If you’re going to use Journey Builder to push a bunch of data into Sales Cloud, that can really blow up some of your API limits. So it’s not always a great solution because that can hurt you on the Sales Cloud side. But again, because we were very comfortable with the volume, we knew what it was going to be. We knew what our limits were. We felt that it was either this and then clean up the dupes on the back end, or not use the technology at all because there was just no option at that moment on the Sales Cloud side. There just wasn’t any bandwidth. So we wanted to make sure that the marketing team could still hit their goals.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, that’s very interesting what you say because I think there are some default best practices, but ultimately architectural decisions are driven by certain business needs. It sounds like in this case, it was more important to get leads into Marketing Cloud right away because then you can do triggered sends, and that allows you to do immediate responses, and then maybe for the audience. For those in the audience who don’t know, normally you would send the leads to Sales Cloud and send them over to Marketing Cloud Connect, but that takes about 7 to 8 min. Was that the primary driver? Am I guessing right? 

Jackie Mennie: In our situation, it was going to be even longer of a lag.  Since the use case involved people requesting a coupon, we deemed it necessary for them to receive it instantly, within 2 minutes or less. That’s the expectation when requesting something online—immediate responses.

Anthony Lamot: I want to go back to something you mentioned earlier. I didn’t realize that Journey builder and contact “creations” counted toward your API limits. We created a component for DESelect Engage which sends an API call from Marketing Cloud, but it doesn’t account for the limits. So, does it count towards the Marketing Cloud API limits when doing contact updates or contact creations in Journey Builder?

Jackie Mennie: Don’t quote me on that because this was years ago. So, I know at the time, it was something we needed to consider. We felt that the volume that was coming in was not going to affect anything. Again, this was a long time ago, so I would have to do some research to give you an updated answer.

Anthony Lamot: Now that you mention it, I believe there was a change. For the readers: Marketing Cloud wasn’t Salesforce from the get-go. It used to be something else called ExactTarget. And so it took a while for Salesforce to become more and more integrated, which is, I would say, an ongoing process even still today.

But you’re right, API calls even going to Salesforce counted towards your limits initially, so that might have driven the decision. Fascinating how that kind of stuff has changed. 

Changing topics here, you’ve been an interesting Salesforce Marketing Champion content creator on the web, and a little birdie at Connections told me that one of your most successful blogs is about Marketing Cloud permissions. Can you educate us a bit on what people should know about Marketing Cloud permissions and where they can find the blog?

Jackie Mennie: The blog is on a prior company I worked for named Horizontal Digital. It’s on their website and called “Marketing Cloud Permissions, Part 1.” I still get emails from people asking when Part 2 is coming out, and if you must know, it’s because my workload got over capacity, and in late 2021, I had a baby, went on maternity leave, and life happened. Part 2 is still on my mind because I have more thoughts on custom permissions, and how to layer smaller permission features instead of trying to recreate an entire massive one, which, by permissions, I mean roles in Marketing Cloud. People can find it on Horizontal’s website.

Anthony Lamot: Yeah, so there are some tips and tricks that someone who is newer to Marketing Cloud should keep in mind. What’s the essence of the article?

Jackie Mennie: Well, the hardest thing for me was coming from a Salesforce background. I was used to Salesforce Sales Cloud permission sets, and you could combine every permission set in Sales Cloud, and all they will ever do is possibly add on to the amount of permissions that the user has.

With Marketing Cloud, it took me a minute to figure out that this was not how the roles worked, and the blog helps people differentiate between which of these roles they need to keep an eye out for, because many roles have small areas where they deny permissions. When a deny permission combines with an allow permission, Marketing Cloud tends to be the opposite of Sales Cloud, favoring the most restrictive permission.

In my experience training people on Marketing Cloud, they often request admin and Marketing Cloud admin roles. However, freely handing out roles labeled as administrator and Marketing Cloud administrator can lead to issues.

While it’s one of the fastest options, it’s essential to be cautious. I’ve had colleagues lock themselves out by adding roles without understanding the impact. My advice is to keep it simple when assigning roles to avoid unintended consequences.

Another tip is to be careful when editing roles in Marketing Cloud. Approximately half of them can be edited, referring to the default roles that come with signing up. Avoid messing around with default roles too much because Marketing Cloud makes automatic updates with each release to ensure features are enabled. Trying to clone existing roles might not be the best plan as it’s not protected for future releases.

Anthony Lamot: Having the article when starting with Marketing Cloud would have been helpful, as similar issues were encountered. We will make sure to add a link to your blog.

Moving on, your experience is centered around financial services. Are there unique considerations when collecting subscriber data in that industry?

Jackie Mennie: The financial industry is highly regulated, comparable to healthcare, and sometimes even stricter. I emphasize that less is more when capturing subscriber data. Marketers often desire all data, but we have to consider how much data we can effectively manage. The more data we collect, the more data we need to keep track of. You should go into projects knowing your goal and how to measure it. Simplicity is key.

Anthony Lamot: People often treat Marketing Cloud as a data warehouse, but it’s better to have a well-conceived subset of data. Have you encountered instances where certain data collected was never useful?

Jackie Mennie: Yes, often people create placeholders for data they think they need, but without a clear plan for how it gets populated and maintained. Fields and data extensions are created, but the data isn’t refreshed regularly, leading to outdated and incomplete information.

Anthony Lamot: Regarding maintenance, what processes or automations do you recommend for keeping data up-to-date?

Jackie Mennie: An example is a campaign where we collected 8 different data points but only used one data point for that specific campaign. We set it up as an attribute in the contact model, but it was never used again, leading to unnecessary complexity.

The key is to think beyond the immediate campaign and assess whether the data point will be used in the future on a larger scale. This consideration should influence how the data point is set up in the campaign.

Anthony Lamot: So, the data point was set up, but you personally didn’t see the need for it. Is that correct?

Jackie Mennie: Correct. I didn’t see the need for it, and it ended up being used only in that one campaign.

Anthony Lamot: It’s interesting how sometimes data points are collected for specific campaigns, and their usage doesn’t extend beyond that context. That’s the beauty of Marketing Cloud, the ability to create temporary data extensions and have that flexibility.

Now, let’s shift our focus to another member of the Salesforce family and discuss the Salesforce Data Cloud, formerly known as Salesforce CDP. What are your thoughts on Data Cloud, especially concerning the industries you have experience in?

Jackie Mennie: Data Cloud seems well-suited for industries like financial services. In my experience working with a banking and investment institution, there are distinct legal and regulatory differences between these services. Data Cloud appears designed to address the complexities of such industries.

The financial services industry, especially dealing with both banking and investments, involves navigating different legal bodies, each with its own set of regulations. Data Cloud is positioned to accommodate these complexities.

Anthony Lamot: Given your experience, how do you see Data Cloud being beneficial for these industries?

Jackie Mennie: Data Cloud can help financial institutions manage and leverage data more effectively, ensuring compliance with industry-specific regulations. The ability to navigate distinct legal requirements for banking and investments is crucial.

Anthony Lamot: In summary, Data Cloud’s adaptability and functionality make it a valuable tool for managing complex data scenarios in industries like financial services.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. It’s about providing the necessary tools to handle industry-specific challenges and regulatory requirements. In the financial services industry, there are numerous systems where various actions are performed for different services like loans, mortgages, credit cards, retirement savings accounts, etc. Teams work in multiple systems throughout the day, leading to inconsistencies in data entry.

An example is when an insurance application and a retirement account system may have different entries for the same person, creating issues when consolidating data in the CRM. This challenge is prevalent in financial services due to the diverse range of transactions and product lines.

The problem is exacerbated by variations in how data is entered, such as having numbers or other details added to names. When merging data from different systems, it often results in multiple versions of the same person in the CRM.

Data Cloud, in my view, addresses this problem. In financial services, where teams work in various tools and different laws apply to different product lines, Data Cloud offers a solution to harmonize and create a unified profile.

Financial institutions deal with different systems for banking and investments, each with its own set of regulations. Data Cloud provides the ability to harmonize data from these disparate sources into a unified profile, helping manage the complexities of the industry.

Anthony Lamot: So, Data Cloud acts as a unifying force for data coming from various systems, especially in industries like financial services where distinct legal requirements for different services exist.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. Data Cloud’s role is to harmonize data from different sources into a unified profile, helping organizations navigate the challenges posed by varied systems and legal requirements.

Anthony Lamot: Let’s take a step back for a moment. For those who might not be familiar with Data Cloud, how would you describe it in simple terms? Additionally, how does it fit into the challenges you’ve described, especially in financial services with multiple applications?

Jackie Mennie: In simple terms, Data Cloud allows you to ingest data from various sources into a Salesforce core account, whether within your primary Salesforce account or a separate one dedicated to Data Cloud. It provides an interface to map and connect data from different sources to create a unified profile.

However, it’s crucial to note that Data Cloud doesn’t automatically deduplicate bad data in source systems. It offers an interface to tie data together and create a unified profile within Salesforce, but it doesn’t modify or remove data in the source systems. This clarity is important for expectations around data deduplication.

Anthony Lamot: So, Data Cloud facilitates the creation of a unified profile within Salesforce by connecting data from various sources, but it doesn’t alter the source systems. It’s more about providing a consolidated view and not deduplicating data at the source.

Jackie Mennie: Exactly. It’s about creating a unified profile within Salesforce to better manage and leverage data, especially in industries with diverse data sources and regulatory requirements.

Jackie Mennie: Once you’ve created a unified profile within Data Cloud by collecting attributes from various sources, there are several things you can do with that data. One option is to use the segmentation feature within the tool, leverage insights, and create sophisticated formulas to generate insights for marketing campaigns.

A valuable use case, especially in financial services, involves integrating Data Cloud with the Consent Management object in Salesforce. This allows organizations to link the unified profile with consent records, ensuring compliance with subscriber preferences and privacy regulations.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely, and I think the Salesforce folks will appreciate the explanation. Thank you for clarifying that. It’s essential for people to understand how Data Cloud can be used to create segments and integrate with consent management for privacy compliance.

While discussing Data Cloud, I’d like to touch on another aspect. In some industries, such as healthcare or life sciences, organizations may have sender policies or limitations on the number of emails they can send within a specific period. Have you encountered similar policies, especially in financial services?

Jackie Mennie: It’s been a few years since I dealt with sender policies specifically. However, in financial services, the limitations on email communications are often determined by the individual firm or company rather than an overarching law.

Each firm may have its own policies based on what customers agreed to when providing their information and the options provided for changing communication preferences. I’m not aware of a specific time limitation for sending emails imposed by a universal law.

Anthony Lamot: It sounds like the policies are more company-specific, and compliance depends on what customers have agreed to and the individual policies of each firm.

Jackie Mennie: Exactly. Compliance often varies between firms, and it’s crucial to align with what customers expect and what the firm has communicated in terms of email communication.

Anthony Lamot: In a scenario where different lines of business or marketing teams within the same organization are sending emails, it can be challenging to track and manage the frequency of communication. Have you encountered this challenge, and how did you address it?

Jackie Mennie: While I haven’t directly addressed this challenge, I’ve been exposed to situations where different lines of business share a Marketing Cloud org. Each line of business may have its marketing team, creating the need for coordination in weekly meetings to discuss audiences and prioritize campaigns based on policies.

In situations where decisions needed to be made about campaign prioritization, I would advocate for my business line, presenting our needs, and let higher-ups make the final decision.

Anthony Lamot: How does the prioritization process work when different marketing teams or lines of business within the same organization are vying for attention? Is it based on revenue potential, or are there other factors?

Jackie Mennie: Generally, it often comes down to the revenue potential and the margin associated with each campaign. The team that can demonstrate the potential to generate the most revenue tends to win the prioritization argument.

Anthony Lamot: It sounds like there’s a competitive aspect to it, where each team needs to make a compelling case for their campaign’s revenue impact.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. It becomes a matter of which campaign has the potential to contribute the most to the organization’s bottom line.

Anthony Lamot: Shifting gears a bit, you mentioned “distributed marketing” as a significant challenge, especially in financial services. Could you elaborate on what “distributed marketing” is, and why it poses challenges?

Jackie Mennie: Distributed marketing is a feature that resides in Sales Cloud and is an add-on product to Marketing Cloud. It enables marketing teams to create emails in Marketing Cloud, set up journeys, and then allows Salesforce users to operate within Sales Cloud to add leads and contacts, build campaigns, and send emails, all in one tool.

Financial services, especially in wealth management, find distributed marketing valuable. Advisors can reach out to clients and leads using pre-approved content to comply with regulatory requirements.

Anthony Lamot: So, it’s a way for individual representatives to send marketing emails while ensuring compliance with regulations and using pre-approved content.

Jackie Mennie: Exactly. It allows organizations to maintain control over the content being sent out, ensuring that it aligns with compliance standards and is pre-approved by the marketing team.

Anthony Lamot: This is particularly crucial in industries like financial services, where compliance and regulatory requirements play a significant role in communication.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. Distributed marketing streamlines the process, ensuring that the right content is sent out in a compliant manner, and it leverages Salesforce tools to maintain preferences and compliance standards.

Anthony Lamot: When using distributed marketing, does it allow for customization of content by individual users, such as sales reps or local marketing teams? Can they edit banners, for instance, or make changes?

Jackie Mennie: Yes, one of the key features of distributed marketing is its flexibility. The marketing team creates templates and content variations in Marketing Cloud. The end users in Sales Cloud can then use these templates, mix and match content, and even customize certain elements.

Anthony Lamot: So, there’s a balance between providing flexibility for local teams or sales reps and maintaining control over the brand and compliance.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. While the flexibility is highlighted, certain industries like financial services, especially due to compliance, may not extensively use the open text boxes and full customization options.

Anthony Lamot: Compliance plays a significant role in shaping how organizations leverage the flexibility of tools like distributed marketing.

Jackie Mennie: That’s correct. Compliance requirements often limit the extent to which users can customize content, ensuring that pre-approved materials are used to comply with regulations.

Anthony Lamot: Shifting our focus a bit, let’s talk about the collaboration between the more creative marketers and the technical marketing or automation team. What are some best practices for fostering collaboration between these two groups?

Jackie Mennie: Collaboration between creative marketers and technical teams starts with mutual respect and understanding of each other’s roles. Transparency about goals, priorities, and potential obstacles helps build trust. Being empathetic and flexible, especially in a consulting environment, is crucial.

Flexibility involves breaking down goals into smaller parts and finding alternative approaches to make progress. While everyone aims for the ideal solution, sometimes a phased approach or temporary solutions may be necessary.

Anthony Lamot: It sounds like effective collaboration involves open communication, understanding each team’s goals, and finding pragmatic solutions to move forward.

Jackie Mennie: Exactly. It’s about being understanding of each other’s challenges, working together to find solutions, and being creative in problem-solving, especially when faced with obstacles.

Anthony Lamot: Collaboration in marketing often requires a blend of creativity and technical expertise. It’s about finding common ground to achieve shared objectives.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. Trust and effective communication are key elements in successful collaboration between creative and technical teams.

Anthony Lamot: Jackie, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you here. Your insights and advice are invaluable. Thank you for being a part of this conversation.

Jackie Mennie: Thank you, Anthony. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’ve enjoyed our discussion. It’s always great to connect with the Salesforce and marketing community.

Before we wrap up, I want to highlight the importance of community engagement, especially for those starting their Salesforce journey. I met someone a couple of years ago who reached out to every Salesforce Marketing Champion, including me, for career advice. This person’s proactive approach and engagement eventually led to a job opportunity. So, my advice is to leverage the Salesforce community, connect with experts, and don’t hesitate to ask for guidance. We’re here to help.

Anthony Lamot: That’s an inspiring story and great advice. The Salesforce community is indeed a valuable resource. It’s all about building connections and seeking support. Thanks for sharing that, Jackie.

Jackie Mennie: Absolutely. The community has played a significant role in my career, and I’m passionate about paying it forward. I encourage everyone to actively participate and make the most of this supportive network.

Anthony Lamot: It’s wonderful to hear how the community has made a positive impact on your journey. Engagement and collaboration are key ingredients for success. We appreciate your time, Jackie, and your dedication to the Salesforce ecosystem. Looking forward to more exciting conversations in the future.

Jackie Mennie: Thank you, Anthony. I’m always here to contribute and learn from this amazing community. Wishing everyone success on their Salesforce and marketing endeavors.

Discover how our platform instantly optimizes your Marketing Cloud

Discover how our platform instantly optimizes your Marketing Cloud

Episode 10 | Transcript

Eric Stahl: Campaign Attribution, Digital Innovation, and Adaptability

Anthony Lamot: Hi, Eric. Welcome to the series.

Erich Stahl: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

AL: We’re very happy to help you. Thank you for making the time. So I’m sure that many other viewers have actually already seen your post on LinkedIn because you tend to share a lot of interesting Marketing Cloud content. But, but just to be sure, could you please give us a quick intro to your viewers?

ES: Sure. So, I’m Eric Stahl I run digital here at Salesforce. I’ve been here for almost 13 years, which is kind of incredible to see Salesforce grow from just a few 1,000 people to the company it is today. I’ve had a lot of different roles. I started off at a relational database software company. I worked in at a middleware software company, and then I came to Salesforcet. I’ve worked on our platform, I’ve worked on our Marketing Cloud, our Commerce Cloud. I helped with Mulesoft for a while getting them onboarded. When they joined the company. I was over in London for a couple of years running our product marketing team. So I’ve had a lot of different roles. And for the last year, little more than a year, I have been re, thinking our whole digital strategy and re thinking the platform and the, or kind of how we operate and how that’s all going to manifest in a completely different and really exciting new digital experience.

AL: All right. I’d love to dig in deeper there, but there was one thing that you mentioned which was, you know, Salesforce wasn’t the company that it is today when you joined 13 years ago. What was it that got you interested in joining them?

ES: It’s a great question because it was very specific, I remember. So, I worked in on-premise enterprise software back in the late nineties mid to late nineties so you would get a server and you’d have an operating system and you would load up all these, the whole software stack, on your local on-premise hardware. And back then I was working for Informix Software which was a database like Oracle. And the big players in tech were like HP and Pyramid and, you know, SGI, like these big hardware players that was the center of the universe. And, and yeah, there was software and companies like Oracle, but, you know, you don’t hear about any of that these days. And so I worked for onpremise software vendors, then middleware, a company called BEA systems. You might have heard of Tuxedo, or Web Logic… and, you know, Java and J2EE came along and I just saw the cost and the complexity of… buying, installing and configuring a whole software stack. And then all of your custom code on top of that. And just what a complete dark art. It was to get all that working properly. How, you know, very few people or very few companies could do that, right? Maybe big banks or big government institutions, but like this is not that long ago, this is in the late nineties and coming into the early 2000 Salesforce came along and they were like, don’t worry about any of that stuff. We will host the CRM. And at the time it was just sales Salesforce automation. We’ll host it for you. You just, you just log in and don’t worry about the back end. And I was like, wow, that’s a totally different approach and, you know, for big enterprise applications, that was a novel concept back. And Mark B said, why can’t enterprise software be like Amazon? Com? Or you just go to Amazon and you just buy stuff. And, you know, why can’t enterprise software be that easy? And I was like, my gosh, it is enterprise software as a nightmare to manage and run and configure and… do what you wanted to do. That is a really big idea. And so I looked at a keynote and Marlk Benioff was doing this keynote about the platform and how you can not only use the Salesforce applications, but you could build custom applications on top of the Salesforce platform. Not only could you do that, you could do it with clicks code, just kind of point and click, create a custom objects, move some things around on the UI and boom, a non developer could create an application, deploy it and 100,000 people could use it the next day and I was like my gosh, that is unbelievable.

And I just remember thinking that is a big deal. And it was before the term cloud computing was popular. Like it is today, it was before, you know, all, the kind of workday and all the other applications came along. And I was like that’s unbelievable. So I joined the company and I’ve been here ever since.

AL: It is interesting that at that point that game changer attracted you. It’s also a philosophy we felt we needed to adopt. So we also made our own software reach plugs into Salesforce. Obviously plug and play and drag and drop so completely aligned with that. Now, a large part of your career has actually centered one way or another around Marketing Cloud. How did that began specifically?

ES: So, in my different jobs at Salesforce, I remember, I was in London and I came back to the states and I worked on our website back in, I think it was 11 and we had a Marketing Cloud at the time, but it was just too small acquisitions company called Radian6, which was social listening and analytics, and a company called Buddy Media.

AL: I remember. Yeah, I remember the acquisitions.

ES: They were like, hey, well, you work on Marketing Cloud, which was kind of a new concept at the time. And I said, sure. And I came over and I was like, wow, these are two very interesting products. And by the way, we have some amazing leaders at Salesforce to this day who came from those acquisitions. So they’ve had incredible value on this company, but they are very narrow in terms of the full scope of like a Marketing Cloud like marketing spans a lot of things we had to, you know, social media kind of tools. And then one day in June of 13, we announced the acquisition of ExactTarget. And ExactTarget was the, you know, huge player in e-mail marketing. And they had also acquired part, which was a B2B marketing automation company. And at the time, it was our largest acquisition ever was like a to gosh, I can’t even remember.

AL: I think it was a 2.3.

ES: Something like that. People are like, that is crazy that you guys are spending that much money on this company. And boy, that was really truly one of the most successful acquisitions this company has ever made.

AL: double digit growth since I believe.

ES: Yeah. I mean more than double like very healthy growth. And it took us a long time as a publicly traded company with thousands of employees and thousands of customers. But, you know, it really pushed us in two dimensions. One, it made more credible player in marketing because e-mail marketing as we all know is, you know, the work course of digital marketing and the ExactTarget was deep in, very large complex accounts with, you know, very deep capabilities in scale. And so that was good. And then it also pulled Salesforce towards consumer kind of the consumer universe. The past our earliest days, we did primarily sales automation, sales reps selling to other companies and they needed a place to keep track of their accounts and contacts and leads and opportunities and cases and very well ExactTarget. And then some of our subsequent acquisitions really pull in the direction of consumer marketing. And so that has also had a profound impact on the company. And the bigger we’ve gotten over the years, the more we’ve realized that most companies of size do both and you need to have all the right tools in the tools to be able to Engage customers the right way, whether it’s a, you know, an account of contact and an opportunity, or whether it’s a, you know, a consumer who needs, you know, kind of a transactional e-mail or an e-mail newsletter. So, so anyway, back to your question, that was the ExactTarget. And then we acquired data and crops and lots of other companies. And so I was very close to that for many years and after I left the Marketing Cloud to take on the digital team and kind of restart to rethink our own digital stock team methodology and experience.

AL: That actually brings me to my next question because I saw that recently you were promoted to SVP and GM of Digital Experience. So congratulations on that first. But could you tell us a bit more about the goals that come with that new title?

ES: Thank you. I am just a small cog in a very big machine here at Salesforce. And I truly humbled to lead this team. We have an incredible team. We’re going to do some incredible things together. We have some big ideas that we’re excited to work on. A couple of things have happened over the last year for one. And it kind of leads into this idea of a general manager. For one. I think Salesforce is like a lot of companies. We had digital marketing capabilities spread out across many different teams, an e-mail team in one or an analytics team and another or a social team over in a different or a web team in a different or a development team and a different or like things were just kind of all over the place. And I’m sure it’s like this in many companies. So, one thing we’ve done recently is consolidate not all of that but a lot of that into one organization where I now have, the architects, the product managers, and the developers who are building the platform and experience… as well as the production teams that are using the platform and experience to run the business, whether it’s the website or e-mail or some other areas. And so we’ve consolidated a large part of the organization to give us, a common it’s a mom and Salesforce language, but a common vision and values and methods and, you know, budget and all the things that come along with that.

AL: Yeah, I’ve read Trailblazer, I’m familiar with the terminology, but maybe for the audience will put it in the link of the video.

ES: Great. There’s also a Trail on Trailhead about that, the other thing we’re doing is there’s a big mantra that we’re gonna build our digital experience like we build our products, right? Salesforce knows a thing or two about building software, right?

AL: I’m sure.

ES: And so it was like we have teams building the Sales Cloud and the Service Cloud and platform and Marketing Cloud over here. And then we have teams building our digital experience over here in a very different way. And basically what we’ve concluded is let’s adopt all of the roles tools and methodologies that we used to build our products to build our digital experience. And that’s been a really simple but powerful guiding principle for us in terms of how we’re organizing scrum agile teams. It’s an important concept for us in terms of the tools that, we use an internal tool called gust for building our products. We’re gonna use us for building our digital experience. And it goes all the way down into a, you know, the, or the org structure, the roles, the role names, the role definitions, how we manage the road map, how we manage sprints, you know, we are fully adopting all of the Salesforce product team methodologies wherever we can. We will make exceptions if we absolutely have to. But that more has really helped shift the mindset for how we’re approaching our digital experiences. And by the way it’s not just marketing experience. It’s marketing, it’s commerce, it’s support is help and training. It’s how we integrate with trail head, its, how we integrate with the AppExchange. We have a really big vision for how all these things are going to come together. A much more integrated and dynamic and personalized way versus what you see out there today.

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AL: It, I find this like a great shift and in an interesting way, it somehow reminds me at Toyota where I’ve seen similar shifts to all these used to be siloed activities being grouped under what they call customer experience. And similarly, just like you guys can learn it a lot internally from software making. They’re applying techniques such as skin and continuous improvements, which obviously also influenced Benioff’s thinking.

ES: Yeah, I think digital is moving into the front, you know, the, especially during COVID… you know, we’re in a time where there’s never been a better time to work on digital because in-person events are not possible. In-person meetings are not possible. Flying around is not possible. Taking your customers. Golfing is not possible. The only thing really truly possible in 2020 is what we’re doing right now which is a, you know, a virtual experience through recording, but that should extend to all of digital. And, you know, I’m optimistic that things are going to turn and get better soon, but it’s really made digital the focus and Salesforce, you know, deeply committed to not impose our org chart on our customers, which we do in many ways today. But we’re really investing to rethink all of it, the stack, the data strategy and the front end experience in ways that are centered around the customer and not around our org chart.

AL: You did touch upon COVID-19. I wanted to ask actually how that has impacted the way you personally organize your work.

ES: Well, welcome to my home office. Used to go, I live in San Francisco and I, you know, I used to go downtown to the Salesforce tower every day. And so we like everybody have been working from home. Salesforce has had a very conservative approach. We, I haven’t been to the office since February and I don’t think we’re going to open our offices until the vaccine, is very widely distributed on and again, hopeful that will be sooner, than later. But, we had to rethink a lot of things. We’ve gone through a lot of change. One of the interesting things for Salesforce was the recognition very early on that the world has changed and we need to change and I’ll never forget because Mark Benioff is so actively in so much of our every aspect of the business. You know, he uses the word relevance. If, if we’re out talking about our products and we’re not talking about COVID, any shelter in place and quarantine, then we’re not relevant. We can’t pretend life is normal. Life is not normal right now. And so, you know, we’ve adopted our business in many ways and we’ve adopted our message in many ways and, you know, to be relevant in 2020, you have to be thinking about the impact of COVID and quarantine… some of our industries, the industries we sell into are impacted profoundly in, you know, if you’re an airline or you’re a hotel right now, really, you know, thinking about a new CRM system. But if you are a, you know, a government rolling out, you know, public services, whether it’s you know, relief or health care services or other, you know, vaccines. We can help them with that. And lots of other businesses, are investing in digital right now. And that does give us an opportunity, in certain other areas. So, it’s been a big year of change. We have adapted the, or we’ve adopted our strategy and so far so good. So… we look forward to better days and hopefully they’re not too far out. But it’s been impressive to see how Salesforce not only adopted our products but, the company itself to kind of recognize that, this is, a new reality that is not going to, you know, we’re probably never going to go back to, the prior world. I’ll just one one other example, you know, when we look at how well people adapted to working remotely… I think that’s gonna have a very profound impact on… office space… remote work, our ability to recruit in places other than San Francisco, and how we’re going. To think about, you know, a distributed workforce forever vaccine or not. I think that is going to really stay with us.

AL: I agree. I think some of these changes are going to stay for better or worse. I do think that now many companies are forced to think more digitally, they’re going to rethink the way they Engage with their own teams or customers. And overall, I hope it leads to more efficiency that extends into the future. Are there like some tips and tricks of things that you found helpful? Like you mentioned earlier, you can’t take your customers golfing anymore. So other alternative ways of engaging with your customers or even your own team that you found particularly helpful?

ES: You know, that’s a tough one. I have people on my team who are constantly, you know, trying to find good ways to re-engage the team, keep them motivated, keep them connected. A person on my team just constantly organizes get together that have nothing to do with work whether it’s cocktail making or something. Gosh, she’s done so many. I can’t even think of them all. But, you know, really trying to keep the team connected. She also does a wonderful job sending out physical, you know, pages so that people kind of, you know, feel, a connection we are really gathering as a, you know, as a by-policy now and so I think anything we can do, we’re also working very hard to set expectations that… we need to take care of ourselves and we need to take care of our families as our number one priority. And that should always be the case but it’s never been more important during COVID. I tell my team all the time we’re working very hard but COVID is impacting us each differently.

I don’t have kids. I don’t have a sick parent. So I’ve got a lot of flexibility in my life right now. I work with people who have very small children crawling all over them during meetings, I have, or with very sick parents who they’re trying to take care of whether it’s COVID or something else. And so… I think job one is wellness and us being mindful of each other. And, you know, I always tell people don’t wait for me or someone else to look out for your wellness. You have to set your own boundaries of what you are capable of doing during this very difficult time. Especially people with children who are, you know, home schooling, et cetera. Set your own boundaries and we will flex and adapt around that. And if you can help someone else who’s in a more difficult situation, you know, that’s great too. But I think, you know, if we can’t maintain… wellness and by wellness, I mean, mental health and kind of physical health, I personally prioritize exercise, very highly. I have it on my calendar. I do it and you know, if Stephanie our CMO or Mark Benioff show up on something I’ll cancel my work out, but it kind of has to come from that altitude for me to forego what I consider to be a personal priority. Sure. It helps me not just physically but helps me psychologically get through such a crazy time.

AL: And if you stay well, you’ll perform well anyway. If you stay well and take good care of yourself, you’ll perform much better.

ES: Yeah, absolutely. And for those are in California, we’ve had COVID, we’ve had crazy politics. We’ve had fires in California that darkened the sky with smoke and ash everywhere.

And then we all have our own personal things going on. And so, you know, it’s a, it was a challenging year and people need to… be well above all else. And we as a company need to make sure that is the priority beyond that we can work out kind of what we’re we prioritize what we can get done, what we can get done. But that’s been another really key theme for 2020.

AL: Think that’s a great message. Eric. I’d like to switch back now for a moment, to the software itself because since throughout your career, you’ve been involved with different Salesforce products as you already mentioned, I was kind of wondering, is there something that sets Marketing Cloud apart for you?

ES: So I was new. So Marketing Cloud first of all is a broad umbrella of products including the DMP and Datorama, and lots of things. So that’s the first thing I think, you know, Marketing Cloud is not a specific thing. It’s a broad portfolio of products… specific to a, are you asking about kind of the e-mail part of marketing cloud? Or are you asking about the whole portfolio? Well, I…

AL: Your answer in itself interesting because I think when most customers think marketing cloud, they are thinking about E-mail Studio, whereas of course, there’s Datorama, of course, there’s a Social Studio, that can connect into it, but we can focus on E-mail Studio here.

ES: Okay. So e-mail studio which is part of Marketing Cloud and by far the biggest part of Marketing Cloud. And it’s really laying down the foundation for the CDP strategy that is cross channel e-mail SMS, push notifications… custom audiences that we can advertise to et cetera. Et cetera. All of that comes from our friends in Indianapolis and ExactTarget. And I learned a lot when we acquired ExactTarget. I learned a lot about e-mail marketing. I was not in that space before. I thought well, it’s e-mail marketing. How complicated could it be? And it turns out there’s a lot to it.

AL: Yeah.

ES: It is hard and, the power of e-mail studio formerly known as ExactTarget is, you know, is in the ability to set up a relational data model to do very powerful scripting for personalization, and to be able to do all the kind of Deliverability things that you need to do to get an e-mail into someone’s inbox. And I didn’t really appreciate that prior to ExactTarget. But, you know, if you’re a smaller org and you want to send out an e-mail newsletter to, your people, it’s not the right product for you, its way to complex for, you know, a very small business who wants to do very simple things where the product shines is high and higher complexity, data-driven personalized e-mail at scale. And, that is the sweet spot for the product nicely into our broader concept of CRM where, you know, through the magic of E-mail Studio, we can embed lots of data within an e-mail from the system or other places. We can include personalized content. We can include product recommendations. We can do all kinds of interesting things. So there’s still work to do on that product to bring it closer into the core kind of Salesforce stack. There’s work to do to make that product easier to use. There’s work to do to make it smarter and more AI driven around, you know, some time optimization or, you know, multi channel journeys, et cetera. But it’s a very powerful product. It’s been very successful. It’s got a huge following and we’re just excited to, keep that investment going.

AL: And so are we, because we build on top of it since as most of our viewers will know, we at least like we offer segmentation solution for Marketing Cloud. And we’re very happy in fact to be able to build on such a strong platform as Salesforce and be listed on the AppExchange by the way. So, here’s, my next question being an independent software vendor or is as it’s known from the digital point of view, what role do you see the AppExchange and actually is partners in particular play in the years to come?

ES: So, the, you know, the partner ecosystem and the sensibility of Salesforce product has always been incredibly core to who we are. As a company, we provide a base platform. We provide a base of applications. And then we have literally thousands of partners who customize or extend, the platform and solutions. We will never be able to do it all. And so we invest in facilitating that kind of partner ecosystem. We want to drive awareness and, you know, drive help you be successful in your business. And we want to help our customers find the solutions that help them be successful and what they’re trying to solve for. So, it’s always been near and dear to us. All of our partners are on the AppExchange which is like our kind of the equivalent to like our App Store. And that team is, very busy working on, a big vision for how to kind of continue to make a change better for both partners and the people buying products from it. And so, yeah, Salesforce is also tripling down on our industry strategy and, you know, every permanentation of every industry solution across sales, service, marketing, commerce, et cetera. It’s just something we will never attempt to do ourselves and partners like you guys are critical for us to be able to help our customers succeed in what they’re trying.

AL: Maybe a funny side story here like today, I’m onboarding someone new in my team and he’s new to the ecosystem. So he’s asking, so, why do you guys exist? Actually? Well, I’m telling him, well, Salesforce is counting on us, to fill this little niche needs? Because I think that’s the beauty of the whole AppExchange platform. You guys can solve for so many different needs in collaboration with them, right? So by looking at your own offering and especially at the digital offering, what are the solutions that currently excite you the most that you’re very excited about?

ES: So, Salesforce is very focused on this idea of Customer 360 and it’s been around forever. But no one has ever really truly successfully solved it… in terms of a package solution that companies can buy and actually deliver on. And by Customer 360, we mean an actual single source of truth for every prospect and customer that a company has that drives a more personalized experience on the front end across sales, service, marketing, commerce, custom apps, as well as better insights and engagement on the back end with your support teams, your marketers, et cetera. And so… that is our strategy as a company to really build out this kind of core data model that allows you as a company to build a single view of your customers to build better experiences and better engagement. And so we in Salesforce digital are working on exactly that. We’re saying, okay, where is our single source of truth? How are we stitching together lots of different back end systems into this kind of golden record that we can use to personalize the website, personalize emails, personalize our page media as well as personalized, you know, hey here’s, some training that might be right for you. Here’s, a community group that might be right for you. Here’s. An, is that might be great for you. So we’re our vision within Salesforce digital is put the customer in the center of everything we’re doing, break down these walls that we currently have today, and to really understand who you are, who you are, where you are, what industry you’re in what segment you’re in what role you’re in. And instead of you having to find a trail on trail head or a community group on the community or an is in the exchange or an article on our blog? What if we could just all that to you to our website, push that you through e-mail, and in other places, that is what is exciting today. And we are working on that as we speak to build the truth profile to and our content and taxonomy internally to stand up our personalization engine based on another Marketing Cloud product called Interaction Studio. And then to surface all that through kind of multi channel experiences. And so that’s my work cut out for me for the next couple of years and we’ll see how this all plays out. But that is what I get out of bed thinking about every day.

AL: It sounds like you’ll keep busy indeed for the next few years. I’m just trying, to paint a picture here though. So if I’m a customer, as you mentioned, I might be working multichannel, some of my activities might still be a silo. So for instance, to be more concrete, I may be using paid ads on Adwords, I may be using Facebook ads. Are these also things that would be integrated into this CDP?

ES: So, CDP is really kind of, the data layer. We want to be able to create audiences. We want to be able to activate those audiences across channels. And those channels include paid media. So, yes, 100 percent, it could also include e-mail. It can also include the website. And so, yes, we want to be able to create experiences that include the website, e-mail, paid media… as well as other channels as they come up.

AL: Of course. Yeah, I mean, it’s always been a struggle even in our own company today to be honest, but I’ve seen that many clients when I was still a consultant of getting the complete full picture of a customer. Sure you can maybe see like the lead source of someone coming in on lead form. If you’re a little bit better, you can even do a bit of tracking on the website. But what you want to know in the end is let’s say if you’re a SaaS vendor for each dollar, I earn, how much… like how much did paid ads contribute? How much do sales contribute? That’s that’s so hard? I really it’s tricky.

ES: So, multi-touch attribution is a, very difficult problem. We, as a practitioner, I think about this a lot. We, we have certain capabilities internally. We have some big gaps and I think we can close some of the gaps. I think, the frustrating thing with marketing is there are some things that are just not quantifiable and you just have to kind of live with that reality as a marketer. If someone comes to your website and then calls a sales rep, it’s very hard to attribute that back to the website. Some of the digital things where you can kind of associate a campaign and track that all the way through are more trackable. So, I hear you. I think, you know, marketing is both art and science and we want to get the science part. You know, we believe in science, we believe in data, we believe in data science and all the things we can do around that. But there will always be a part of marketing that you can’t measure as much as you want and more subjective part of marketing as well.

AL: It’s very interesting. You’re the second person today to call art and science. Although the other person he’s actually CEO of a very large well established is as well. And he said when he was talking about sales, it’s art and science. You can have as much KPI’S and metrics but there’s a certain art to the profession in this case sales. But on the marketing side, yes, I had the same discussion today with my co-founder like should we invest more in brand awareness? How do we measure that? Well? That’s hard.

ES: Yeah, we have those conversations every day at Salesforce. Okay. Well, that’s…

AL: It’s a relief though to hear that you’re facing the same challenges. It’s not just us.

ES: Yeah. I mean, I’m on the practitioners side, so we have lots of challenges. We’ve we’ve managed to be very successful over time but… there are a lot of things that we do not. We’re not able to measure as well as we would like to in a perfect world that said, I think you just have to move on from some of that. And, you know, we can attribute how much traffic comes to the site where that traffic is coming from. Is it paid? Is it organic? How much of that traffic converts to a lead? How many, you know, we have core offers like free trial view, demo, contact me and oncall chat like we have a lot of metrics around those core offers. We can then look at things like lead to opportunity conversion rate by offer type and trace those from, you know, down the stages, of the sales cycle down to a, which is our booking metric. So, you know, some days, I think my gosh it’s so hard to really deeply understand all this. On the other hand, I think we have a, you know, a wealth of data and, we can optimize for that full funnel which I don’t think was really possible 10 or 15 years ago. And so, you know, on other days, I’m very thankful for all the incredible metrics we have, and just, you know, let’s use that and we can AB, test and optimize that forward. And we’ve been really successful in doing that. So, it just depends on which side of bet I get out of each day to shape my thinking on that. It can always be better. We can always do better. It’s never done, but I’m also thankful for all the hard work the team does to provide us the insights and the analytics that we get.

AL: And maybe it depends on depending on which time of the day it is, which side of your brains on whether I, do you want to have better branding, positioning, color schemes like even to that level or do I want to jump into the lake of data, and metrics we have right there’s. One specific question I would be very interested in knowing more about personally that has to do with paid ads. Because at least in my experience, what I hear from other people who run SaaS businesses, it’s sometimes tricky to get a immediate return on paid ads especially if you’re doing B2B enterprise SaaS, but, it seems to help especially with retargeting and so on. But, it comes back into the whole campaign attribution multi touch issue we just spoke about. Is there a way that you gauge the effectiveness of paid ads yourself?

ES: So we spend a lot of money, on what we call paid media. And it’s a critical part of our marketing motion to track… traffic to the site that we attribute back to paid. And then we can track it all the way back to leads pipeline ACV. And so… yes, we, on one hand, we measure it very closely because we spend many millions of dollars on paid media. On the other hand, there’s always an argument from the paid media team that paid media… has a larger benefit than what we can measure in direct attribution that, they feel. And I understand this argument that a paid impression or many paid impressions could lead to someone just typing going to their browser and typing www.Salesforce.com in their browser. And all of a sudden they show up in our organic metrics. And I totally get that. And so we’re currently having a lot of discussion about this and we said, well let’s run some experiments and see if we can quantify some of this where we kind of turn certain things up and down and look at the downstream effects of things that we can’t do direct attribution on because we are literally spending tens of millions of dollars, in certain places. It’s important that we have kind of directional understanding of these things or we’re you know, just guessing and so…

AL: It’s literally worth finding out. I would say.

ES: It’s worth finding out. It’s a lot of money. And so, you know, we’ve debated some of these things for years and it’s like, well, let’s do some tests and let’s accept the fact that, you know, a test might impact the business in the very short term, but that might give us an insight that will help us do the right thing for the long term. And so, we are literally in the middle of a large discussion about some of that right now and we are seeing up some tests and we’re going to kind of look at causality which is really hard to do because how long you run it, how, you know, how can we interpret the data? But we have some very smart people looking at this and we’ll see what we’ll see what happens.

AL: Sounds super interesting. I can honestly say that, but as we round up, would you have any closing thoughts that you would like to share with our audience?

ES: No, I would just like to, you know, thank you for the opportunity to share our story. I’m gonna be really, my goal is to be really transparent about our digital transformation in Salesforce. I’m happy to share what we’re doing. I’m gonna try to share what’s working and what’s not working. I’m gonna try to share some of the things we’ve learned about the organization, the methodology, the tech, Stack, the design, I want to try to be radically transparent in our own kind of journey is gonna be a multiyear journey. So if you have any questions or if you’d like me to post on a specific topic, I’m happy to answer.

AL: Okay, fantastic for our audience? Is there any place that should follow you? I know you’re very active on LinkedIn. Any other thing we should know about?

ES: No, not really. I am, I know I should invest more time and I’m pushing my team on this to, instead of just cranking out a quick post on LinkedIn to actually do what I should do as a digital marketer, which is write a blog post that goes on our blog that drives traffic to our site that potentially converts to leads and opportunities to drive our business. And so I’ll say that giving myself a hard time that like it’s just easy for me to open up in something out and not have to really think about it. But that is where I want to go. I want to start actually logging out more formal communications about these things, but I haven’t started yet.

AL: All right. Well, shout out to the audience. If you have any questions for Eric, feel free to comment on YouTube or LinkedIn or wherever you’re following. And then, Eric, the pleasure was absolutely mine. Thank you for being on this episode and thank you so much for your time.

ES: You bet. Thank you.

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Episode 09 | Transcript

Dror Meir: Customer Journeys, Marketing Enablement, and Geotargeting

Anthony Lamot: Hey, there, I’m Anthony from DESelect in today’s interview. I talk with Dror Meir, founder of WEKU Solutions. He shares the kind of insights you get from working with Marketing Cloud for as long as 11 years and explains how new SMP products as well as the app exchange play a role in we strategy. Now, if you have any questions for Dror, like usual, just leave them in the comments. Meanwhile, relax, sit back and enjoy. Hi, Dror. Welcome to the series.

Dror Meir: Hi. Thank you for having me.

AL: It’s a, it’s a pleasure. You know, we’ve been talking a bit over the last few months. So I think it was well overdue that we’d have you, but I would like to jump straight into the topic of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. What was the most interesting project you delivered so far? Related to SFMC?

DM: Well, we did many projects with many sectors, but I think that if I can think about one that we found very interesting is usually the one that challenges us. We had a project that combined many sources of data. Some of them were on-premise and some of them were completely offline, some such as a POS, or even real delivery mail. And this combination of data architecture that you have to think about that was quite a nice challenge, the ability to understand when someone is you in the shop and someone visit your website and he called the support and he saw your first time on YouTube all heard about you from some kind of a PR announcement. So the ability to understand that this is the same person that’s seeing you and understanding his behavior, combining all these tooling, and the source of the data that was quite a nice challenge. And yeah, I, you know, that’s what makes everything much more interesting. The harder it gets, the more interesting it gets, that’s my slogan.

AL: I agree. And from that point of view, I can say it’s been very interesting for me too. But what industry was this about?

DM: So, this one, was a very famous bank. And, you know, in the bank, you have the ATMs that you’ve been using, for some cash or you go in face to the rep or you call in the support, or there is a ticket, a credit card on your way home. So there is entire communication until you get it. So if you take all of these all of these touch points, when the clients actually meet the bank, if it’s offline or online and to understand how to talk to that person. So to have the same conversation. So, when he called support, for example, the support knows that he actually went, to the ATM yesterday and asked for a mortgage two months ago. And so, the ability, to give the representatives all the information that’s something that upscale first, the way that the bank talking to their clients. And more than that gives the person a sense of someone know him, you know, someone talk to him. And there is a lot of let’s say, psychological elements in it. When you talk to something like a bank which a lot of people can be very scary, all of it, you have depth. And so, so it’s always that a positive conversation you expect to have. But the fact that it feels like you’ve talked to someone that knows you understand your needs, understand, your action, understand the way that you behave. I think that was quite a challenge more for data architecture, technical perspective, to bring this thing on the table, for the bank representatives, in all different departments. So, of course, departments as we…

AL: Very interesting talking about these departments? Of course, marketing is of our peculiar interests. So what do you think that marketers struggle the most with when it comes to the platform?

DM: Well, I will say that there was a kind of a revolution started maybe six, seven years ago. I’ve been doing it for the last 11 years. So I actually felt that in the change of the role of the market here. So even in the past, let’s say the average market needed to handle a more marketing aspect. So like really hardcore marketing aspects such as creative content, how to bring our, how to bring a call to action. And, and these things change massively because today we are all in the end all of us available in different types of channels and digital channels, I mean. And, and that basically create needed to create a new generation of marketers when they can understand the data and how to analyze the data to understand the behavior of their clients or their leads… and understand what the technology can give them and what a technology with the technology they have in house, the lack of the features that they might have. So I will say, in a much larger perspective that the marketeers should, until this day we’re still seeing it should upgrade, their game and to be… more technical and more understand data processes and data architecture. So they can really… let’s say efficient their entire marketing activity. So, you know, they can live up to this login that they want, to do to live in which is the right message to the right person in the right channel in the right time. And that’s not happening from just having a CSV with a list of emails and one big image that you want to send to everyone. And that’s something that in general marketers are challenging. I can say that from my experience, also CMOS, or anyone that actually touching any type of communication between the company, their clients or their leads have to go to that direction of understanding better data technology alongside with of course the marketing elements.

AL: Very interesting. So embracing the data, not being scared to get a little bit more technical. If, if we would take that lesson to Marketing Cloud itself, do you think there’s things that could be optimized in Marketing Cloud?

DM: Well, I think it’s going to that direction anyway. Salesforce as a vendor which is a vendor that I really believe that they took the right direction. And that’s why I chose to be focused on those tooling is that in the end, so put in the middle… the person itself that you want to communicate with. So the client or the lead itself in the middle and they look at it and they’re trying to make their systems around that person, looking at the company and not the other way around. So it’s not how should manage their operations. It is how a person looks at the company and from that point they’re starting. And that thing that’s a very good starting point. And that basically led to many… features, and more sources of data and channels that you communicate that you can collect some in one place, to make your communication much better. So, things that happen in today such as… the last acquisition the sales for had with every gauge that gives the ability to now communicate also in the web based environment, and combine with other elements, which is why you have in your service and your sales and you all your media channels. So the combination of all of those, it’s something that I think that’s already happening. And, and now, of course, with that just joined as well to the, one of the channels that the Salesforce Marketing Cloud can work with. So I will say that it’s already been taken that direction. And the more flexibility the Marketing Cloud will give, to professional people that know the tool, the tool will be optimized to the client’s needs.

AL: Indeed, I think it’s very interesting points that you’re touching upon it. It’s clear that Salesforce is a very good strategy here in taking a more central role when it comes to data and giving that central view of the customer which is of course completely aligned with their DNA as a CRM provider. But I feel that with, for instance, the announcements of the average acquisition, the C360 launch, it’s all even speeding up a bit more. It’s very interesting times for I think people like you and me to live in.

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DM: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. We, we really enjoy by this approach of Salesforce. And I think that there is a reason why, they are taking the world with them with that philosophy because first it really works and second they have really good players. I will give ourselves a complement as people who want to take these technologies and really build things for the best of all their clients. So the entire perspective of one hand taking care of everything in terms of technology and the tooling and data architecture, and sources of data and channels, combining with how they handling partner relationships, how they think about market and the fact that they’re giving the end toolings to people like me that we really can customize and it’s not just off the shelf so, and which remind me, you know, that, if six, seven years ago I did only see for Marketing Cloud itself today, with our company, we are providing such a much larger set of tooling. So we are analyzing all the marketing activities, and of course going, with the Marketing Cloud as well. We have the average, we mentioned before, the audience, the 360 and of course the commerce. So everything relates to the communication between Salesforce and the end client is, and the fact that you can customize it along with people like us that’s a, I think gives really amazing solutions, to the clients and especially the ones that really wants to have, you know, a very precise message for each person they talk to and so on. Like the bank example that I gave before. And I think this is, the direction it’s been taken. And yeah, we definitely joined the fact that we can, we are lucky enough to have toolings that we can actually build what we think would be the best for their clients. And that’s quite an amazing time. I would say for both of us in that respect.

AL: I would agree. And as we’ve shifted gears to talking about I solutions, your company has an impressive customer base in Israel which I noted, how would you describe this region’s usage of Salesforce? Are there like any differences between other parts of the world?

DM: Yeah, that’s a very good question. Actually, I will say that Israel is in general, and I’m Israeli myself even though I’ve been doing most of my work, from Amsterdam… we recognize the opportunity in Israel, to basically penetrate the market. And today we are serving most 80 percent of the clients that have been using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, all the toolings around it. And that basically gave us a kind of understanding how Israel is, I think. And you know, everybody, I mean, Israel, we’re familiar with the fact that they are the startup nation, and you can feel that also with when we are, when we are talking to our clients and the way that we work with them, they tend to be more tech, I would say than the average clients that we are familiar with. They want to learn more about the codes. They want to learn more about the data architecture. They understand better the advantages, of those toolings today because they also understand that you can customize it as I mentioned before. And, and I think this is something that maybe it’s a bit different in the way that the Israelis approach this kind of solutions. It’s it’s true about Cloud solutions, but it’s also true about any other solutions that.

AL: Right. It sounds like they set the bar high.

DM: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. But that’s basically a very good thing because in the end, when, you know, sometimes when you talk to marketers, they not all CMOS, yeah, or directors that they wanna take their companies to that direction. They can’t always understand, you know, all the way to what you can actually do for them. And they don’t really understand always how the technology behind it should work. So they see something like, you know, like a process someone did. Nike, for example, but they don’t understand that there is an entire team that building infrastructure around it and data architecture, and so on. And, and when you approach, the average Israeli company, they are there with, you. Do I understand the effort that you put in, they appreciate how your, the way that you want to basically help them to customize the solution that’s good for them. And I will say this is, the main difference. Let’s say in terms of this type of solution for yourself, you have, you know, some Israelis, they will be more tech-focused. 

AL: Exactly. It’s good to be prepared, right? Well. And now, of course, you have clients outside of Israel as well across all of ME and beyond. Now, I was kind of curious since most side have certain focuses or capabilities, other types of clients that are really good matches for you and are there some kind of clients that are probably not a good match for WEKU?

DM: Well, I, yeah, definitely. I, we are not, we are lucky enough to, we have good reference, a good reputation. So we actually never face, the situation where I need to actually impress someone, with my ability. So that’s always a good starting point. But in the end, I think that there, I will divide this one to two main let’s say elements if the company is first willing to invest, you know, I will take it, you know, I will be very transparent. You need to have… the right budget to invest in such a tooling. And in… such a solution, you bringing everything to the cloud over there, Salesforce solutions, are extremely advanced and you can build whatever you have in mind in 99 percent of the cases around it. But that comes with also, the ability to put, to have the right budget for it and which my perspective, is extremely important for every company of course. And I would say something that it’s even more important than that is the mindset and the vision. So when we are talking… to some clients, that show interest in these type of solutions, we learning well, most of all, they need to come with some kind of understanding that they want to improve massively the entire communications, with their clients or with their leads. So they need to understand or let’s say they need to have the will to basically have a much better e-mail marketing and an SMS. And that in Facebook, people see the commercial on tiktok, on LinkedIn, the right commercial to the right person at the right time and, they need to have the will to upgrade their entire way that they look at the way that they communicate with their clients and not that all of them, is going in that direction.

AL: A willingness to increase our marketing maturity as some would call it.

DM: Exactly. Well, said, yes, definitely.

AL: Well, it definitely helps working with clients that wanna get ahead of course now.

DM: You want your client in the end… to challenge, you want them to come with first for I will say for your own personal challenge, you know, it’s nice to have something that you haven’t faced before or that you really increase the level of your technical knowledge. And so you want the client to have a very strong vision and you want them to have a much better communication, and that they would know how to basically how they want to present themselves from the outside. And, and those are the types of clients that we really like to work with. Yeah, the more the merrier as we.

AL: Now something that might be of interest to potential clients who are marketers and are listening to this show. You recently went through a rebranding process at WEKU. So what trigger the change? What considerations did you have to make there?

DM: Well, I have to be very honest about this one. It wasn’t planned properly. You know, sometimes as an agency, you focus so much on your work and your clients that when I started when I established the company and I had already so many clients or potential clients, and leads and so on that wanted, to use, my knowledge and my health. So I didn’t dive into any of that in the beginning. You know, I built a website by myself from scratches very quickly. I just put some kind of a logo and I chose a name just on my way to registration, of the company. So I can’t say it was really planned. But with time we learned that now we can have a much better of course, a way to present ourselves and to brand ourselves and to differentiate ourselves from other let’s say, agencies, competitors, but also to actually really bring ourselves to the front of the things that we’re really good at and not to put masks on things that we are less good at. And so… we chose to have this kind of a rebranding, that basically it’s bring rebranding about everything that we are presenting and everything that we are doing. It’s starting from the logo and the name. But it continues also with how we are different. So the fact for example that sometimes our competitors on the tables are huge corporates, you know, 200,000 employees worldwide and we are mostly winning against them. And that’s because, we are taking the more the commander approach, you know, very professionalized and well experienced more than others. Usually, you know, 11 years of experience in this market is a lot. And so we come with that knowledge. We come with that approach and dedicated team and of course, with more flexibility around the pricing and administrative thing. So you can just call straight away, the developer on what’s up. For example, you don’t have to start schedule a meeting with the project manager that will organize an internal resources and also the agency of being let’s say more like boutique in that respect that’s something that we wanted to present. So we chose to change everything around how we wrap ourselves as an agency.

AL: Just this little idea of having what sub groups to communicate directly with devs, I think is very interesting because it takes away so much friction.

DM: Yes, definitely. No, we, I mean, we all many years in the ones that many years in this market know that when you talk to an elephant, as we say, that elephant has many things that you have to deal with, you know, like a very high budgets and high demands for the managers or the manager or the managers and so on. And they have targets that they have to face. And, and here we are coming from a different perspective saying, well, first we put service is the most important. So the minute we have a client, that client, and everyone, all the people that work with us from the client and have direct communications to myself, the solution architect, tech architect. So any one of the people that involved in the projects and everything is, can be quicker. And if in the past, let’s say five years ago, it would be very hard for us, to find the, you know, enterprise organizations to work with us today. It becomes more legit because they’re saying, okay, we have this very small group of people we can work with. They are more dedicated usually because they’re a small company. They really wants to improve themselves and they have more to more let’s say, more enthusiastic spirit to bring their service much better. So, yeah, in general, you’re absolutely, right. It, it become more focused about again the client and not about how I run my processes in house and so on. 

AL: One more thinking about the branding. I saw that your logo now features a certain face, what’s the story behind that?

DM: So it’s actually come from old habit of mine. I’m reading a lot of philosophy and mathematics and I’m an accountant, in my dark days. One of the things that I started to read about when I established the company is what I’m actually doing. I started asking myself very philosophical questions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. And during that process, I came across a person called Heron of Alexandria which was a very for the people that are familiar with that, with that history, very interesting investor. And what he created is basically kind of an, the first automatic machine. So the first machine that continued working after initial start and initial trigger. So basically create kind of an iron ball, and close and from that iron balls, you have two pipes going to opposite directions and he put some Wood inside and he boiled it. And what happened is that the smoke inside put out of air pressure and that’s basically create this ball from start grown in round and continue as long as the burn is working. That’s by the way… is how a steam engine is working until today when it burns something. And the pressure, of the smoke that’s coming out of it. So I found it very nice story. And something that I want to bring, to our company first is to understand that in the end that person thought outside the box and that’s really wants to everyone in our company to think not to be as everyone else but to actually find to think beyond and to understand beyond what you’re doing and not just doing it because you need to. And I found this kind, of approach to life in general much more interesting. And that’s the type of let’s say five I want to bring, to my company and that’s why we chose, that character.

AL: Very inspiring. So to so to let you let your employees essentially think outside of the box, let them find new interesting ways to do things. And it’s not just to draw it in the lines but or do things as they’re supposed to do but really like for the best new solutions.

DM: Exactly. Well said. Yeah.

AL: Okay. Maybe one last thing about how you run your practice, of course, topic close to my heart. To what extent is AppExchange a part of WEKU’s strategy?

DM: Well, I think it’s something that in Salesforce Marketing Cloud is getting better. I must say, you know, regardless of this conversation, thanks to you guys… I think we haven’t faced enough good apps that’s built by third side companies as yours. And, and first time we came across, your product, it was very fresh because it was for us the first time that the company actually took something that was really a pain point, for marketers or for users, in the system and to make it more approachable, easy to use. And in the end, you know, when I come with such a project, to such a product, to our clients, they can basically run things much faster. And today, when you are talking about how efficient you can be as a marketeer in terms of the communication and the speed of communication. So you don’t have to wait through now your it department to start building, some scripts or SQL’s or JavaScript around creating some kind of content segmentation. This thing should be much more approachable. And… I must say, and it’s not because we are talking now, you know what I think about the product that in the end, the product of DESelect, is something that we are really missing. And, I hope in general that more and more tooling is like, that improving the experience of a daytoday usage and make it more efficient. That’s something that we would like to use more and more as a service provider as well.

AL: I’m very glad to hear that because I can already tell you we will not stop at the current DESelect segmentation offering. We were also looking further. I think there’s many opportunities to do more marketing enablement in general, to give them tools there, on the one hand, you have to train marketers and make them understand they have to embrace the data as we already established. On the other hand, you also want to give them better tools, easier tools. And I think when those two can meet halfway as one is basically this is job right? And the other one is an is job. And then you can have real, really powerful things in Marketing Cloud and for marketing jobs in general.

DM: Definitely, definitely. As we said before, the more the merrier the more options we have, but the quality is something, that I think, was improving recently because I think that six, seven years ago you couldn’t find really good tools, in the AppExchange and it’s getting better. And as I mentioned, the more the merrier because it will give more options to the end clients in the end, to use in a much efficient way.

AL: Super now as we’re about to slowly wrap up, I’d like to touch base with giving some advice to some of our listeners. So for instance, many of our listeners are early Marketing Cloud practitioners, and is there some kind of advice that you who has 11 years of experience in this industry could share with them?

DM: Sure. Good question because I’ve been hearing that a lot from also other, all other beginners that just jumping into this world. All people that actually been doing it for the last three, four years and they’re asking me okay today that you are 11 years has been doing that. What can you, what can you share? So, I can definitely say that you need to treat, the, this type of tooling is I can talk especially of course about the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is that you have to take the time and the understanding that is a real profession by itself. It is for some, it might it seems as a niche which is okay depends on what, the agency has been doing, all you as a market has been doing. But if you wanna be really professional in it, there is nothing like, you know, like we said make your hands dirty like try things. When I started. You can imagine that 11 years ago, there was no real documentation. It was called ExactTarget. I learned everything by myself and it’s not that I’m kind of a genius or anything like that. I think it’s just, when I started to find this thing very exciting to learn something new and to face a new challenge. So I just started to send myself in emails and send myself a SMS, and see what happening with the data and changing the data. You know, I always try to do things alongside with the fact that then clients started to come and, to challenge me, with their custom solution. So that require me to actually again upgrade my understanding and to really dive into the codes and the commendations and features and combining with other features and other third side tooling. And so, so I would say, for those of you that listen to this, and I understand where I’m going with it is that in the end, you can learn now two years on the surface Marketing Cloud and it will not be enough because in the end, what you mostly need is two things one the excitement to learn something new and second to deal with things by yourself and facing, the heart challenges. And that comes with experience. And I would say in a much philosophical educational perspective, in the end, I believe that you learn the best by doing and… you need, I believe three-four years to be a really good senior solution architect that can actually provide a much deeper understanding. Your role is more than just creating an e-mail or making a unsubscribed process is to understand the client in front of you and how he manages his operation and the level of the knowledge they have continue with what they want to achieve and what their target is, understanding their data needs and combining with the data architecture that you can build within the Marketing Cloud or the tools in around it. And, and also in the end, to make everything more efficient in the way that the client is going to use it. So, there are so many aspects here that there is no magic here. It’s all based on experience and make, your hands dirty. And so if you go in that direction, you’re choosing the right career for yourself, but be aware that in as many other things, you have to be patient and you have to yeah face the challenges. 

AL: All right. Well, I think there’s actually some excellent advice to completely wrap up with. So I want to thank you for today. It was really a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much for your time.

DM: Thank you very much. Really appreciate that.

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Episode 07 | Transcript

Danielle Laffey: Community Leadership and SFMC Best Practices for the Insurance Sector

Anthony Lamot: Hey, there, I’m Anthony from DESelect and in today’s interview, I will be talking with Danielle Laffey, principal of insurance solutions at Silverline. We had an in-depth conversation that I really enjoyed about some insurance use cases and how they can be best implemented in Marketing Cloud. There’s a lot of practical take always here and inspiration for your own journeys. So if you have a question for Danielle, just put them into comments like always. And in the meantime, just sit back, relax and enjoy. Hi, Danielle. Welcome to this series.

Danielle Laffey: Hello. Thank you so much for having me today.

AL: It’s it’s our pleasure. And as we were just discussing it’s great to see you showed up in appropriate attire.

DL: Yes, absolutely. I’ve got my code on this is the Trailblazer community because I’m a group leader, have been for a long time and I’m drinking out of my community yet. And I got all sorts of Salesforce swag.

AL: That’s awesome. Could you actually give us a quick intro for our audience?

DL: Yeah, absolutely. So, excuse me, my name is Danielle and I work as an industry principal focused on insurance at Silverline, who is a Salesforce partner, implementation partner, and consulting partner. So I’m at a director level there where I work with clients in the insurance space specifically and kind of help them as, through advisor engagements all the way through their implementation, and then even some additional supporting after the fact… they use kind of the whole suite of Salesforce. My background is a solution architect. Originally, I’ve been in the ecosystem since three and Marketing Cloud, ExactTarget from back in the day has been a big part of my life. That was my first job out of school technically. So I have… extensive work on Marketing Cloud. Obviously, that was ExactTarget was purchased by marketing Salesforce and got turned into Marketing Cloud back in the day. And I also work pretty heavily with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Financial Services Cloud especially as it relates to the insurance space, and tying all of those together. And then recently just picked up velocity too. So.

AL: So you’re at the intersection of mostly Marketing Cloud, but I hear you’re also specialized in other Clouds, but I think mostly Marketing Cloud, right? And insurance. So, how did that come to be?

DL: Actually, I just kind of fell into it. So… I worked for a consulting partner prior to this and quite a few of our clients that I was getting assigned to were really large insurance companies. Right after the acquisition, Salesforce started purchasing a Marketing Cloud and using it for customer engagement and broker engagement. And so I knowing ExactTarget Marketing Cloud so well from back in the day. I also had the lack of being able to be the team, that wrote the original connector between Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud from back in the day as well. And so I knew how that works kind of inside and out and got attached to these particular clients who were in the insurance world and help them come out with e-mail campaigns and journeys. And then eventually, you know, some of the other digital, and those things got involved into marketing as well. I knew the people who created those because they were all in, most of them were in Indianapolis originally at the time, which is where I’m from originally.

It was, it was very convenient. Yeah, that’s kinda how, you know, growing up in Indiana and having Indianapolis that’s where I started out the ExactTarget, you know, right out of school because it was easy and really big at the time and pretty much everyone knew everyone back in the day. Now, obviously, it’s not the same and I’m no longer in Indianapolis anymore, but so, yeah, I just helped them figure out the information that they needed to have in their CRM and how we would bring that over into Marketing Cloud and what we would be able to use to segment out and, you know, create personalized customer engagement experiences. So, I’ve kind of been with the companies especially as they’ve grown over the years, you know, from a hey, I’m going to market and advertise to you. And that’s what I’m gonna use e-mail for to, you know, full on engagement, transactional information, you know, obviously that personalization and segmentation, and then just here in the last few years starting to go into some of those other channels as marketing to.

AL: Right? It’s it’s not just outbound e-mail campaigns anymore, right? It’s a full customer experience, multi-channel strategy that you can execute a Marketing Cloud.

DL: Yep. Absolutely.

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AL: And by the way, congratulations on being nominated, as a Salesforce Marketing Champion in 2020. What, what does that title mean to you?

DL: Thank you. I have been an advocate around marketing. And again, when we say marketing really, it is that customer engagement component and the customer experience and the communications that you’re having in and around that and messaging in and around that. And I kind of, I assume that most other marketing club folks probably feel this why I’ve had a lot of conversations with others about it. You kind of feel like we’re the ugly stepchild of the Salesforce world. You know, no one really wants to blur Marketing Cloud in the Salesforce ecosystem because it’s different than some of the other components or pieces. So when Salesforce came out with this with the program for the champions for marketing specifically, it was, I, long time coming. I felt and just wonderful to be able to elevate some of the people who really make the experience that all of the consumers are having, so great, right? They’re they’re the way that you can actually keep up with those Google, and things of the world. And if you didn’t have them on your staff and you didn’t have the Marketing Cloud suite available to you, then, you know, you’re going to have some issues. So, so it was wonderful to actually be nominated, and put into that class. It was the first class and it was just awesome to finally get some recognition for the hard work that all of the Marketing Cloud people are doing out there in the world and hard on it as well. I don’t want to say that it’s you know, completely Marketing Cloud because.

AL: Pardot is maybe the stepchild of this, maybe the step child for the ExactTargeters.

DL: Be careful of that one, sir. I don’t know who’s listening right now, but you could get, some angry people on that one. But yeah.

AL: I saw an interview with Adam Blitzer not to not too long ago. And apparently the Pardot, they had the nickname, they had a very strong culture apparently.

DL: They do, they do, and it’s also a really great tool, right? You, you, I think that there’s room for both of them actually, in the implementation. I’ve actually used it for use both of them in implementations in the past with that. I’ve done so.

AL: Yeah, don’t get me wrong. It was actually part of that got me on rolling into Marketing Cloud later. So, I started from Pardot.

DL: There you go. There you go.

AL: And since you were, you are a community leader in Indie, right? So, what was it like to be the community leader for Marketing Cloud, where Marketing Cloud was headquartered?

DL: Pretty awesome. Actually. So I originally… got put into the leadership role. I actually was handed Salesforce and they said, “hey go make this work”. And I was like, how on Earth am I gonna do that? I was like do of training for me and they’re like, of course, not, no. And, and my boss had actually told me to go find a user group or start a user group. And I said, I don’t even know what a user group is. And I called Salesforce and low and behold, there were four user groups globally at the time. So I connected with the Minneapolis one and kind of got their formatting and things in place and applied for Salesforce and became the fifth user group globally. And, we had, it took a little bit to get at first I had a core group of people who came really frequently… in the organization, you know, it was a handful of people at the time and it took a couple of years for me to actually build it up, but we ended up having over goodness, it was over a 1,000 users who were part of the group overall.

And we consistently we’re getting somewhere between 50 and 75 people who would come every single month or every other month depending on whatever it is that we held the meetings. So that was really awesome. And the community and sharing, even job jumping if you will. And it’s it was a really, wonderful experience to actually watch it grow over time as I go to Dreamforce and things now and they have information for, you know, information sessions for user group leaders. They always have people who’ve been around for a long time, you know, the last one standing kind of thing and it’s really fun to be like one of the only last one standing. The community is really blown up over the last year or two, which is awesome. Just a lot of connections and… it’s been fantastic. So, I led that group in Indianapolis for up until I actually now live in Tampa and moved here about a year and a half ago. And so I continued kind of, my last year term there last year. So, I led that for about 13 years in total.

And then I just recently took over the insurance group by we still talk about Marketing Cloud actually, and I have people who come in and talk about the marketing and customer engagement and obviously in the insurance world. How are you not just talking to your end consumers? But the big deal right now is agents and brokers and how you can Engage them, right? Especially the independent ones and all the different use cases that I’ve been able to use on there. So, it’s been awesome. And I definitely had some amazing people who helped me along the way to get to the place where I am, I would not have been able to do it with, I had a co leader, Mike Martin at the time. He did it with me for several years and he was one of that core group who originally came and I would not, we would not have been as successful without some key people putting it into the, what it’s all about.

AL: I’d love to jump in a bit more in those insurance use cases actually. But before we get there, you mentioned you now lead, the insurance user group and it’s a global group.

DL: It is, yes. So every now and then we have some people who hop in from the, from you, where you are located or I have a couple of Australia who come in every now and then.

AL: Yeah, there’s a surprising amount of SFMC users in Australia. We can tell from the leadership and so on.

DL: Yeah. So it’s great to have them, you know, I normally do them around noon Eastern Time and it’s awesome to have people like joining in at two o’clock in the morning, their time just to like listen to a really cool topic. You know, you know, you’ve nailed the topic down and you’ve got people coming in at two o’clock in the morning.

AL: Wow. Yeah. They’re, very fanatic. Actually since it’s a global group, does that mean there’s a lot of commonalities in insurance across the globe or are the differences?

DL: I do think that there are some differences. I will say, you know, depending on the lines that you’re looking at… insurance, as I would say globally… a little bit more similarity than like health as an example, health here in the United States, obviously very different than it is in the you and some of the other countries where, the government system is a little bit different than the United States. So… so working through that and figuring out their policy admin system, and who’s buying insurance and who’s responsible for it. And, you know, all the different policy holder information and how do you communicate and you and our family together or household? How do you household all those people together? And that is a challenge that is definitely seen more. So I think in the United States and the other places just from the way that we do the health insurance, but we also have third party for, you know, the life insurance and some of the annuities and things as well that are a little bit more, I guess traditional… in that sense.

AL: Right. And, and yeah, the way the governments organized definitely different though, I think the world has been watching very closely for the last season when where there was the elections, in the U.S..

DL: Yeah… I am. I’m glad that election season is finally over. We’ll see if it actually is completely done at this point or not. There’s definitely some fighting still going on over here about who gets to be elected and who’s not elected, but.

AL: So, so… so here, and what was it about, the household thing that you mentioned in, is in the way you want to address the people of a household and what kind of communication you can send them? Or could you clarify that?

AL: A little bit of all of it actually. So the concept of house holding has come up, in the Salesforce CRM specifically in the Health Cloud and in Financial Services Cloud. And you can actually take that information, and very easily pull it over into Marketing Cloud to make sure that you’re communicating to the appropriate people in the household. But it’s really the thought of Danielle and Dan are married and if they’re married and they have children under them, where they have a sister under them, how are they tied together in that household? And if they have, you know, there’s a lot of split families these days. So there might be a household where a child, is sitting there or beneficiary in the insurance world that we’re dependent, in the health side of things. You know, how are you tying it to that person? Is it a secondary? Do they actually get to be on certain policies? What kind of information? Can you talk to them from a segmentation perspective to actually onboard them? Or, you know, try and sell information to them? Being able to understand if they have, you know, multiple people in their family, you know, the demographics behind it as you’re trying to target out and segment your personalization for selling or up selling opportunities is definitely something that is new newer, I would say, to the marketing world because we’re now just finally getting to the point in the last couple of years where we can actually do house holding and be able to get a true picture of what that actually looks like so that you can message them appropriately through all the fence.

AL: Interesting. Yeah, because households are not selfevident anymore these days. I can imagine in Dutch, we even have a specific phrase for this. This goes something along like newly composed families for like let’s say, to a husband and a spouse, I had former marriages, they get to bring the kids together. So that would be like a newly composed family.

DL: Yes, yes. And that is kind of, it’s just the reality of the world now, right? It’s there is no longer a mom and a dad, two and a half kids and a half of the dog or whatever it was, that we used to have. From an average family perspective.

It’s it’s just changed. It’s different and being able to make sure that you’re communicating to those people appropriately and understanding who your consumers are, so that you can actually take the back end of some of that segmentation as well and understand how you need to improve your customer service or how you need to improve your products that you’re selling into those consumers.

AL: Yeah, absolutely. And you’ve mentioned the word segmentation a few times which obviously is a topic close to my heart. It, it strikes me when talking with different industries that insurance segmentation is of particular interest. It’s it’s probably because cross-sell is just so key to how the whole business model operates. I think so. It makes sense to make segments to see if, okay, this customer already has health insurance but not yet a whatever you name it. Car insurance. Is that also how you see it? And what kind of segmentation do you see happening?

DL: So, there’s really well depending on the insurance vertical that you’re in, you know, whether you’d be in, health insurance, providing actual health information to people, or if you’re you know, attempting to try and do bundles around and car insurance, and home insurance.

AL: Sorry, could you just maybe clarify, the phrase PMC? Not everyone on, of the audience may be familiar with it.

DL: Yeah. So, it’s your basic commercial insurance specifically like personal liability insurance around, your home, your… I liabilities for… tangible items if you will. Yeah. So there’s a couple of different audiences now that the insurance company is going after. So as an example, I had a really large… insurance client that was selling, they had auto insurance, home insurance, renters insurance. And so being able segment out and understand, hey, this person has car insurance with us. We know what their address is. We know that they are in based on the research that you can do from an address perspective, you can understand if they’re in a complex or a home or not. And then you can actually segment out messaging to say, hey, we have runners insurance and you can get a discount on this or we’ve got home insurance and you can get a discount on this as well. I mean, that’s very rudimentary basic, but that’s kind of where some of the segmentation goes into… on the agent and broker side is really where kind of fun.

AL: I was gonna ask, yes.

DL: I actually created this was for a fairly large insurance carrier. They were looking for a way to take all of their independent brokers and make them more successful. So as you were on boarded onto the company as a new agent, day one, you started to get into a marketing journey and the journey ended up being a year long and there was about 75 touch points that were built into the journey.

AL: Is, is that a single journey? Because I think the thing will just crash or?

DL: Well, when, I, when we originally did it, yes, it was since then, we, you know, they’ve broken it apart and ones, but in… the original launch of, it was one great big huge journey… where it would look at several different areas which is where kind of some of your… segmentation not just from the contact information that’s in Journey Builder, but also being able to pull information in from your policy admin system so that you can know and understand how much this information has been sent to certain people. They, they were able to roll up information to help an agent understand from like what they’re selling, what they could be selling, what additional people they could be offering to other customers. You know, your consumers, are purchasing this. We’ve seen like thing that do this. You should offer them this based on who their people are, who have policies that are associated to that particular agent that was out there, which really is the ability to basically find the leads for them, right? And so you’re just putting money in their pocket at that point, but obviously, it’s helping the carrier at the end of the day as well. So, there was a ton of… different personalizations around some of the emails or texts that were being sent out just to kind of help them through the journey of, hey, did you know this particular tool out there and available? I’ve noticed that you haven’t used it all the way through. You know, some of the other things that I mentioned around, hey, you have these people and you should be selling them, this and this, or have you thought about doing this instead? Where it’s really coaching that through? And it was a year long cycle. It obviously, I took a little bit of time to get it through the entire cycle. And again, that’s when they started to break it apart, but they had some amazing insights their, of other independent brokers and it actually created more independent brokers because people wanted that they heard about it from, you know, additional people in, the industry and ended up being able to bring on some more agents because they wanted something some help as well, right? From a recruiting standpoint, and then continue to retain them as well as, you know, obviously adding on products and end up selling all of their individual policy holders to. So it was kind of a win for everyone and a really cool way, to use segmentation and personalization with marketing cloud in the industry space… again.

AL: It was a, or sorry, it was a journey that good that it actually impacted the job mark.

DL: It actually fully impacted, I mean, not just a little but there was some major impacts. Yeah. So it was really cool.

AL: All right. I think the first time I hear a journey that big over a whole year, but I, I’m sure that it help to break it up. I remember journeys with even a few 12 steps where things get start getting pretty slow.

DL: Yeah. Well, and I think Journey Builder at this point has been, you know, rebuilt four times now, three or four times now in the back end. So, it definitely hit some switches along the way, but yeah, it was, that was a really cool one that I got to work on.

AL: And it’s very powerful though. So definitely one of the stronger points of Marketing Cloud. I think most people really like the capability. Yeah, other use cases that I’ve heard and again, in an insurance in particular, and then in particular, on the B2B side are things like… actually this one was from a national insurance company, in the U.S.. So they had a few larger agencies. And then they had several products and then opened this complex matrix where depending on a new sometimes even legally necessary communication that needed to happen, they had to prioritize who could get which communication exactly in a certain order. And then I opened and it’s kind of waterfall segmentation scheme. So like these people, yes. And then of the leftover people sent them your communication, of these leftover people sent them your communication, and so on.

DL: Yeah, that’s actually been a new over, the orchestration. I don’t remember what the name of that one is called. Actually, I remember the partner that actually does it now, it’s Thunder Head. And now they’ve renamed the cloud specifically for the orchestration of that.

AL: Interaction studio. But now it’s no longer Thunder Head. It’s it was the acquisition of Evergage that actually the name of the Salesforce product has remained, which is Interaction Studio, but the underlying tech has actually.

DL: Okay.

AL: Yeah. Well, that can do that can do it. I mean, for sure. Evergage is definitely positioned often in insurance especially on the personalization, but that’s on the website side, it’s, on the back that’s all we know. Of course, it’s on the back end side that you need some kind of segmentation on your first party data. So that’s where we sometimes come in. And then we see the waterfall segmentation use cases.

DL: Very cool. Yeah, I know that there’s a lot of our consumers now because again, if you sign up for something, it seems like the over communication that you get from companies sometimes is a little much. There is a specific retail company that I can think of that I’m pretty sure I get at least four messages from them every day… about coming to buy a sweater or pages and it’s a lot, right? So you kind of to it at that point. So, I think the orchestration of determining which messages are most relevant. I absolutely love it and it’s something that I continually see people like, hey, we want to hit them on these couple of things but I don’t want it to be a frequency thing originally in Marketing Cloud. It was, you know, I can hit pay you five times and then I’m gonna stop emailing you. What is that? Six emails? Most important? E-mail?

AL: Exactly. All.

DL: Times, what if it means that, yeah. So, so and having, the customer as I’m working with them, my customer client, having them be able to tell me what those rules are and what messages are most important versus not has been an interesting challenge actually because they don’t really know they’re like why I want them all, I want them to see everything. So kind of coaching them through how to segment them a little bit better. Is, is something that I’ve worked with them a lot of.

AL: It’s tricky because for a while people were pushing preference centers very hard, and they still play a useful role, I think. But I also recall a study, that looked into these preference centers and how often people would actually update their preferences. And it turns out it’s not that often whereas people would yeah where companies would actually invest a lot of money into building preference centers.

DL: Yeah, we do custom preference centers a lot.

AL: Yeah, yeah. It makes sense at the surface, but I think you also need to evaluate like you said, some customers really want all the communications and will customers actually manage their preferences? I’m not decided yet. I don’t know if you have a certain opinion on this point.

DL: I think it depends on the industry and I think that it depends on the options that you have in your preferences. I’ve seen some people who have, you know, frequency… versus specific topics. And I would say that the frequency ones are not really used as much. I want to know what’s relevant to me and my preferences or topics that are relevant to me. I, if the topic isn’t relevant to me, I don’t want, I don’t care if you’re sending it to me once a month once a week or every other hour. I still don’t want it because it’s not relevant.

AL: Exactly. And, and besides this actually tied into something you mentioned earlier. Like on many projects I did for a long time, there was a trend of introducing marketing pressure or avoiding marketing fatigue or saturation or whatever term was used. So the idea of not sending too many comes but it’s like you said, what if the sixth e-mail is the most important one? How are you going to know? I haven’t seen any good implementations of that actually work.

DL: Yeah. I, so I’ve been in the insurance vertical, but I also did a decent amount of… financial services in general and there was a credit card company that I was working with and they were very adamant about the fact that they were only sending five emails a week. And once they hit five emails, they were done. And I said, well, what is that? Six e-mail is that, you know, my credit card has been reached? I personally as the end consumer want to know that right has information in and around that, and I get that there’s the thought between transactional versus, you know, marketing emails that definitely into play a little bit. But there are some messages that, you know, I think that, are more relevant and understanding what really that is when you’re putting together your communication strategy and the types of messaging that you’re pushing out there is pretty important also, you know, there’s a lot of things that I don’t want to get the e-mail I want to get it on my phone, right? So you need to be sending me text messages on it or maybe that’s something that’s more relevant for a push message that comes in the app that we’re using to collect data because I’m actually in the app at that point in time where I’m trying to get you to come into the app and interact with it, those kinds of things. So.

AL: And this distinction between you said you call it marketing emails and transactional emails. I think some people also call it commercial communication versus transactional communication, whatever it may be. Is it the distinction you’ve used a lot on projects at clients?

DL: Yeah, absolutely. I would say the majority of people… again going back to that customer engagement and me being a kind of a proponent for it and knowing and understanding what the best customer experience is. I would say the majority of customers when they are buying Marketing Cloud, it’s because they think I’m gonna send them emails and sell them more stuff. And they don’t really think on the back end all of the different use cases that you can use marketing or for in order to, you know, from a customer service perspective from sending out surveys from, you know, if you go and buy something or update something or especially in insurance world, policy data, when you update or update beneficiary information, any of that kind of stuff is considered transactional and can be sent and tracked and be able to be put onto. Especially with the connector people that you put onto a contact record where you can actually see all of the communications. How wonderful is it for somebody sitting in a call center, when Daniel calls in to ask about her policy information, that she knows the exact emails that I’m referring to and she can see them. And I mean, that’s where, you know, text messages or whatever the messages that I’ve received the ability to actually see that information on the spot, know that it was just sent. So, you know, what offer they’ve been given or the transaction that just happened?

AL: That’s what a CRM should do, right?

DL: Right. Yes. And, and I would say that there’s definitely some additional education of the use cases around what you use for it’s way above and beyond. Hey, let me sell you my product.

AL: Well, we’ve been discussing the integrity of Marketing Cloud projects a lot. And as long as I love as much as I love geeking out about it, given your role at Silverline, I was actually kind of curious about how are you at Silverline tackle Marketing Cloud projects?

DL: How I tackle them?

AL: Yeah. Is there something particular about the Silverline way?

DL: Silverline way, well, I would say, we rarely ever do a Marketing Cloud project as a standalone project. Most of the time. It’s a implementation that has a connection with… either the Salesforce CRM portion of things whether that be the health cloud or in serve. So, at Silverline, we kind of to say that we don’t do any other projects, right? But we specialize in the industries of health care and financial services. So, on the financial services side, we’re doing banking, wealth management, et cetera… coming in and really understanding the use cases around how you want your user experience to be from an end consumer perspective. And the information that you’re trying to get from there really actually helps build the backbone for what data you’re going to be putting into your CRM and how you’re building that out. And I would say that I’ve worked with other clients before and, with other consulting firms and not to say that that’s… not key. But I feel like we, in the specific industries that we sit in kind of have best practices or, hey, this is what we recommend that you, the information that you do put in here or these particular features, or data sets that you do use. So that we don’t have to start from scratch every time, which I will say a pretty big plus when it comes to approach for our Marketing Cloud. And, you know, just customer engagement in general with when you are.

AL: I do agree that like the internal knowledge and methodology you build up in a consulting firm can make all the difference. Like some consulting firms really would have to start from scratch when they would get a certain project.

DL: Yeah. I think the most frequent question that I have when we’re going through discovery from my clients is, well, what do your other clients do… and being able, to have a repository of all that information, for our people to be able to go and pull from? Is really key in being able, to implement with great success because let’s be honest. Most of us learn the best when we fall. I actually, I had a boss once said I need you to push so hard that you follow in your face and I will be here to pick you up. But that means that we’re moving at a pace that’s you know, really amazing. And, and… I do believe that you learn just as much if not more from your mistakes. And so being able to understand, hey, we’ve got, you know, 15 years, of knowledge across seven different consultants. Just think of all that wealth of oops and gotcha. And I broke that and won’t do that again, you know, kind of saying that you can have when approaching projects.

AL: Exactly. And actually in your space, we had a client like that. We, we just recently, I think this morning or yesterday morning, we published a success story, video testimonial of a brand which is an insurance firm in Denmark and they a, they’ve been one of the longest Marketing Cloud customers, in Denmark as far as I know. Cool, not nearly as long as any customer in the U.S. though mind you ExactTarget market share only grew in, I think since the acquisition really in Europe that is. But they also went through many motions of trying for instance, Audience Builder, SQL queries, they had their architects full-time supporting marketers, which is not really, you know, an architect’s job is typically not marketing ops tried Query Studio. And well, I think you can guess where they ended up with. So… I think, yeah, there’s definitely a learning curve. And then especially, if you’re consulting firm that is just specialized in this one, nice, there’s one problem, that accumulates for sure.

DL: Yeah. I would say you another thing that’s a little bit. I don’t want to say different, but maybe, I found it to be a little bit different in the way that Silverline approaches it versus some of the other maybe larger partners that are out there is the way that we try and set our customers up for them to be able to administer things when we leave. And, you know, DESelect I think is one of the tools that most clients don’t have somebody on staff who can sit there and write SQL query. And I will definitely say that it’s not in the marketing world, right? Like, when you walk into their marketing operations, they’ve got, you know, creative web designer, and people who make beautiful emails and people, who are writing a text message, you know, messaging and those kinds of things. But when it comes to, hey, I need you to go into the database and write out so that I can send this specific thing. You know, they’re deer and headlights and are like, how on earth are we going to support this going forward and, we do have the ability to support them should they choose to. And they, and they don’t want to go and hire for it. But, but being able to help them get the tools and the process put in place so that they can actually administer it when we leave. That’s I would say something that’s a little bit unique… for us at this point too.

AL: And by the way, before I forget, also for the people who are listening, we’ll make sure we add some urls to Silverline and some other things we’ve been talking about like the, in the group and so on, in the comments and in the description of the YouTube video, or LinkedIn, wherever you may be watching from. Danielle, let’s take a step back again. Talking about Marketing Cloud in general. Are there some things that really stand out for you in the platform that you really like? What are your favorite things of it?

DL: Mean, I would say Journey Builder is pretty amazing. And maybe that’s because it’s near and dear to my heart. And I was one of the first people to use it and back in the day.

AL: Is that right?

DL: One of the companies that they’re consulting firm that I worked for, actually we built Journey Builder as part of a target right before it got acquired. And so I got to play with it a lot and just the ease of use of it and it’s gotten a million times better over the last, you know, over the last few years. And even over the last year and a half, sometimes I go in there and I’m like wait, what did this come about? But I think, the ease of use of being able to drag and drop, and really see and understand what your engagement looks like on the page I think, is really powerful. So I would say that Journey Builder probably my favorite tool to play with.

AL: Do you also have a least favourite one? Or let’s say a less favourite one that might be more politically correct?

DL: You know, I don’t know if it’s still protected or not. But I did try and learn Audience Builder on me specifically learning it and I ran into a lot of challenges with it. I think that I’m not a coder and I think that, I definitely appreciate the ability to do quick, you know, quick configuration and those kinds of things versus having to go in, and re-code and try and figure out if your query is working, right? Or, or what’s wrong with the particular audiences that you have. And when you’re getting loads and loads of data in there, I would say that is probably my least favorite one. At this point. I would also actually, I have one that I don’t like even more. Their surveys aren’t that great either.

Yeah. I, they do have them, but I, most of the time always tell my clients like you probably should consider a third party survey tool of some sort and, you know, just bring it in the back end with some of the, that you can throw in dates.

AL: Right. I mean surveying, is a very specialized thing anyway. So, yeah, but now I think I, but although now I think it could be interesting to use. Was it the movable ink acquisition that they did. So you now can have interactive emails. So people, can I basically the form inputs inside an e-mail so interior, you could do like very simple surveys in an e-mail, and it could be sent back straight to Marketing Cloud?

DL: I haven’t used that particular feature at this point?

AL: I haven’t used it. I only looked at it but the screenshot.

DL: I’m gonna have to pick that out. Yeah, that might actually be something that would be workable.

AL: Indeed, indeed. But like as so many things if you need something really specialized like service or whatever it may be, you’re gonna need a specialized tool. I mean, as good as the promise of a single platform for all purposes sound in reality, we do have to need, you need some specific tools.

DL: Yeah, for sure.

AL: On the Audience Builder’s side, by the way, I don’t think it’s even sold anymore until recently, I still saw it pushed a little bit, and in the EU market, but when I told this to an Australian partner of ours, they went like, is that thing still alive? So, yeah, yeah, indeed. Indeed.

DL: What do you have, a, what’s your favorite one?

AL: In Marketing Cloud? Yeah, I’m gonna be really not original here. I’m gonna go for a Journey Builder as well, I think, yeah, because it has so much flexibility. And then in the late in later years, they had, some nice features you could update back to sales for CRM or whatever core product you were using.

DL: Yeah, that’s key. Yeah.

AL: Indeed. And yeah, possibilities are endless. It’s really depends on the creativity of the marketer. I do think though like even for Journey Builder, you’re still gonna have, you still want someone involved who it’s maybe not necessarily like a data manager but a marketer at least gets data a little bit. It’ll help, but yeah, it’s interesting… from your experience. What do you think can be improved in Marketing Cloud? That, that would benefit your clients or you?

DL: My goodness. I’m gonna go back to data again, right? I think there’s a lot of people who don’t necessarily understand how to easily… move data segment data out, be able to create this. The wonderful thing about Marketing Cloud is that it’s so flexible that you can throw all these data extensions in and do all this data. And that’s also the worst thing, right? Because if you get so much flexibility, then you can get to the point where it’s over your head and you break it a little bit. So I would say if there was any improvement would be around, you know, not having it not having to go and write code if you will in order to get things out and making it so that’s a little bit more configurable to a layman person.

AL: I would think there’s an AppExchange for that…

DL: Hmm, what was that called again?

AL: No, I mean, and that’s the beauty I think of Salesforce even though there may be, some gaps, in their offering as would be for any product where it be Adobe or Marketo, or Eloqua, Salesforce ecosystem is simply the most open one. So you can, it’s easy, for other is like ourselves independent software vendors is, to build products for that, to fill that gap. And so sometimes I actually have customers, or hires ask me like, how is it possible that you guys exist? And well, you know, because Salesforce is counting on guys like us, to come in, and fix some things.

DL: Totally. Yeah. I have a lot of clients who don’t really necessarily understand that. And I will say that Salesforce has a wonderful job of selling it that anyone can do it. It’s just, you know, all you got to do is this is an you’re done and, you know, it’s… magic link is something that people talk about a lot… magic link. So, I click this thing and click this link. And all of a sudden, like the entire personalized thing opens up in a whole another place for me that’s exactly where I want it to be and it’s like, well, how did you think that link was built?

AL: All right. So, like, the Slack when you want to log in with Slack or you registered for the first time, they also call it a magic link. Yeah. Okay. Got it. I’m following. Okay. As, as we round up, I think it would make sense to ask a community leader like yourself the following, what would you recommend to people who are just starting their career with Marketing Cloud?

DL: Trailhead, Trailhead, that is definitely the first place that I would tell you to go. They, you know, they’ve done a really wonderful job with some of the content that’s out there in the Trail Mixes… and they’ve even got a little bit more creative these days. I know that there are some people, you don’t get a sandbox, unfortunately, right there’s a in some of the other items in Trailhead, you actually get like a playground where it’s a dead box and you can go and play with things. Unfortunately, Marketing Cloud doesn’t have, that feature or functionality yet. At this point. And based on a couple of the calls that I’ve recently had with the champions group, I know that that’s ever gonna necessarily be a thing that’s gonna happen. But they still have done a wonderful job with the content, the videos that they show, the training videos that are in and along with those trail head and tail me. So that is definitely a place that I would start off first. There are a couple, I would definitely get involved in. Your community group, just renamed them again. So the marketing one, I used to be like “Marketing B2C” and “marketing B2B”. And now I think it’s back to… just plain “marketing” again.

He was supposed to be Marketing Cloud and the B2B was supposed to be a, and really that, you know, you can do both, right? I can absolutely positively market, to businesses using Marketing Cloud and kind of vice versa, with Pardot, I can absolutely go to consumers. Now that wasn’t the original intent of either of the tools. But anyway, I would definitely recommend going to a group. I know that in COVID times these days, there isn’t as many people who are meeting in person, but I’ll tell you sharing stories. We’ve been going through Zooms, and go to meetings and those kinds of things in order to do this. Just, the knowledge share is a huge component to be able, to understand what you want to do. Especially if you’re just getting started, maybe you’re going and trying to become an admin or something. I’m trying to think… there is specific blogs that are out there. I can get you a list of a couple of them that are really good that are written by a couple of my fellow marketing champions that…

AL: Well, we had Gortonington the show for instance, who was promoting HowToSFMC, that, was a good one.

DL: Yeah. So I would definitely go and you can actually there’s a Marketing Champions page where you can find all hundred-ish of us out there. And when you go to that, you can see where we work. What are our specific areas of interest? Are there’s pictures of all of us? And then you can click on us and that takes you to our subsequent information. So like I think I go to the Silverline blog because I don’t have my own actual blog but there’s a lot of people who have their own blogs and things, and.

AL: I’m pretty sure that’s how in, our marketer, you know, where, how she found you. So, so we’ll make sure we link up the page. Also in the description, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a long list of resources, but that’s great… on that. On the Trailblazers side, one bonus question here, kind of curious if you have worked with, I’m digging for the name of the platform exactly, but there’s a version of Trailblazers that can be used for clients to build their own learning modules.

DL: Trailblazer.me

AL: Is this one where you can post your own trainings? Because I think there’s a paying version?

DL: Trailblazer.me. There’s yeah, you can create your own trails. So if you’re a company and you can go in and create your own content and then actually put that into your Salesforce for, and have a push it out via community and then have people go in and take those trails, know and understand what they worked on, the information that they’ve or not, you know, depending on how you set up the trail, you can say that it’s a certain amount of questions. They can get points, they can get badges, those kinds of things. And you can have a full on dashboard that goes along with it. Silverline actually did a couple of those and we have one internally that’s actually how we onboard all of our people now is we rails. And so you have to go through the Silverline trail, you meet our CEO and you meet our leadership team and you learn about all of the particular items. So yeah, they absolutely do that.

AL: Fantastic. Yeah, because we have some trail training videos online and our support portal, but we’d be very interested, to consider having like, a DESelect trail. I think that would make sense for both partners and for customers alike, and for our own internal resources as you point.

DL: Yeah, of course.

AL: Cool. Thanks for the tip. Any closing thoughts you would like to share with your audience?

DL: Give Marketing Cloud a chance.

AL: Open your heart.

DL: Your heart to the customer engagement, make sure that you’re always keeping your end consumer, whichever whoever that is, whether it be, you know, somebody out of business or if it’s somebody who is, you know, just you and the end consumer from a retail perspective. Keep their personas in mind. I think that personas are incredibly important in that user experience and what you’re communicating to them, and… just making sure that you keep all that information in mind and make sure that you’re segmenting and personalizing things out appropriately, so you’re not bombarding.

AL: Sounds like good advice. Thank you Danielle. It was a pleasure having you on this episode. Thank you so much for your time.

DL: Thank you so much for having me. It was really great to meet you.

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