Challenges and opportunities in understanding customer journeys using SFMC

Video Recording: Challenges and opportunities in understanding customer journeys using SFMC

Watch the previous episode of Heroes of Marketing Cloud here.

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Transcript: Challenges and opportunities in understanding customer journeys using SFMC

Anthony: Hi Dror, welcome to this series.

Dror: Hi, thank you for having me.

Anthony: It’s a pleasure, we’ve been talking for 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 so far that you delivered in SFMC?

Dror: 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 challenged us the most. We had a project that combined many sources of data. Some of them were on premise and some of them were completely offline, such as a POS even real delivering mail and this combination of data architecture at that you have to think about that was quite a nice challenge the ability to understand when someone visits you in the shop and someone who visited website and he called the support and he saw you first time on YouTube or heard about you from some kind of  a PR announcement. So the ability to understand the same person that has seen you and understanding his behavior combining all these links and the source data was quite a nice challenge that makes it interesting. The hotter it gets the more interesting it gets. That’s my slogan.

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

Dror: This one was a very famous bank and you know, with the bank you have the ATMs that you’ve been using to withdraw some cash or you’re going face-to-face to the rep or you’ll be calling the support or there is a credit card on your way home. So you get all this communication until you get it, so if you take all of these touchpoints when the client actually meets the bank if it’s offline or online and to understand how to talk to that person, so too, when he calls the support for example, so the support knows actually that he went to the ATM yesterday and asked for the mortgage two months ago and to give the representative all this information that’s something that upscales first that the bank talking to their clients and more than that gives the person a sense of someone known him, there’s a lot of let’s say psychological elements in it when you talk to with something like a bank which for a lot of people can be scary. A lot of people have doubts and so on. It’s not always a positive conversation that you might have but the fact that it feels like you talk to someone that knows you understand your needs understands your actions and understands the way that you behave. I think that was quite a challenge for data architecture perspectives to bring these things on the table for bank representatives in all different departments, cross departments as we say.

Anthony: Very interesting, talking about these departments. Of course, marketing is of our peculiar interest. So what do you think that marketers trigger the most when it comes to the platform.

Dror: 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 and I’ve felt the change of the role of the marketer. So if in the past a regular marketers needed to handle more marketing aspects, like hard core marketing aspects such as creative content, how to bring ROI, how to bring the call to action, these things changed massively, because today we’re all available in different types of channels, digital channels I mean and that basically needed to create a new generation of marketers that can understand the data and how to analyze that data to understand the behaviour of their clients and to understand what the technology can give them and with the technology they have in house the lack of the features they might have. So I will say in the much larger perspective that the marketers, until these days we’ve seen it, should upgrade their game and should be more technical and more understanding of data processes and data architecture so they can efficiently do their entire marketing activities. They can leave up to the right message with 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 e-mails and one big image that you want to send to everyone and that’s something that in general for marketers is challenging. I can say that from my experience also CMO or anyone that is actually touching any type of communication between the company, the clients or their leads have to go to the direction of understanding better data technology alongside with of course the marketing element. 

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

Dror: Well, I think it’s going to that direction anyway, as simple as a vendor, we should really believe that we took the right direction and that’s why I chose to be focused on one of those two links. The Salesforce puts in the middle itself so the client or the lead puts himself in the middle and that is they look at it and they try to make their systems around how that person is looking at a company and not other way around, so it’s not how companies should manage their operations and so on. It’s how a person looks at a company and from that point started from that thing. That’s a good starting point and that basically led to many features and the more sources of data and channels that you can collect at one place to make your communication much better. SO things that are happening now, like the last acquisition that Salesforce had with Evergage that gives the ability to navigate and communicate in the web based environment and combining with the other elements such as having your service and your sells and you media channels so the combination of all of those is something that is already happening and now of course the WhatsApp that just joined to one of the channels that Salesforce Marketing Cloud could work. So I would say that it’s already been taken to the right direction and the more flexibility that Marketing Cloud would give to professional people who know the tools the better the tool will be optimized to the clients needs.

Anthony: Indeed, I think it’s very interesting that you’re touching up on it. It’s clear that Salesforce has a very good strategy here and taking a more central role when it comes to data and giving a central view of the customers at which of course completely aligned with their DNA as a CRM provider, but I feel it with for instance the announcements of the Evergage acquisition, 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. 

Dror: Yes, definitely we really enjoyed this approach by Salesforce and I think that there’s a reason why they are taking the world with them philosophy. First, it really works and second they have really good players, I’ll give ourselves a compliment such as me and you that want to take these technologies and really build the things for the best of their clients so from one hand taking care of everything in technology, and tools, and data architecture, and sources of data, and channels, combining with how they are handling partner relationships, how they think about Market, the fact that they give tools to the people that are able to customize and it’s not just off the shelf which remind me of, if 6, 7  years ago I only did Salesforce Marketing Cloud today with our company we provide such a larger set of tools. We are doing Datorama, which analyzes all the Marketing activities and of course going with the Marketing Cloud as well. And Evergage as we mentioned before, the Audience Builder the 360 and of course the Commerce, so everything relates to the communication between the Salesforce and the end client. The fact that we can customize it again with people like us that gives really amazing solutions to the clients and especially to ones that really want to have really precise messages for each person they talk to and so on like the bank example that I gave you before and these are the directions we’re taking. Yeah, we are definitely enjoying the fact that we actually have the tools that we can build to what would actually be the best for our clients. That is an amazing time for both of us in this respect.

Anthony: I would agree. And as we shifted gears talking about Weku 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 any differences to the other parts of the world?

Dror: Yeah, that’s a very good question actually. Israel itself, and I’m Israeli myself even though I’ve been doing most of the work from Amsterdam, we recognize the opportunity in Israel to basically penetrate the market. Today we are selling 80% of the clients using Salesforce Marketing Cloud or the tools around it that basically gave us an understanding of how Israeli think. Israel is very familiar with the startup nation and you can feel that talking to our clients that we work with them. They tend to be more techy than the average client’s wisdom. They want to learn more about the codes. They want to learn more about the data architecture. They understand better the advantages of all those tools today, because they also understand that you can customize because I mentioned before and I think this is something that maybe it’s a bit different, the Israel approach to these kinds of solutions. It’s true about the Cloud solutions but it’s true about the other solutions.

Anthony: It sounds a bit they set the bar high.

Dror: Definitely, but that’s a good thing. Because sometimes when you talk to marketers or CMOs or directors that take the companies to that direction. They can’t always understand the way to what you actually can do to them and they don’t usually understand how the technology behind should work, they see something like the process someone did at Nike, but they don’t understand that there’s a target team that built that structure, and data architecture and so on, and when you approach that in the average Israeli company they understand that. They get the effort that you put in, they appreciate basically how you want to customize the solution that will be good for them and I would say that’s the main difference in these types of solutions.

Anthony: Okay, very insightful and good to know as well.  Of course you have clients outside of Israel, all EMEA, and beyond. So I was curious, most SIs have kind of focus and capabilities. Are there the types of clients that are really good matches for you and are there some kind of clients that are not a good match for Weku?

Dror: We are lucky to have good references and good reputation. We actually never face the situation when we actually need to impress someone with my abilities so that’s the good starting point but I will divide this in two main elements. If a company is first  willing to invest, I will be very transparent, you need to have the right budget to invest in such tools in such a solution. You’re bringing everything to the Cloud overwhere to Salesforce solutions that are extremely advanced you can build whatever you have in mind in 99% of the cases around is, but that comes with the ability to have the right budget, which from my perspective is extremely important for every company of course. And I will say something that is even more important that that is the mindset and the vision. So when we are talking to some clients that are interested in this type of solution, first of all they need to come up with some kind of understanding that they want to improve massively, the entire communications with the clients or with their leads. They need to have the will that we basically have, a much better email marketing and SMS, and on 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 the entire way that they look at, the way that they communicate with their clients, and not a lot of them is going in that direction.

Anthony: A willingness to increase their marketing maturity as someone would call it.

Dror: Exactly, well said, definitely. 

Anthony: Well it definitely helps working with the clients that are getting ahead of course.

Dror: You want them in the end to challenge you, you want them to come with, first of all, for your own personal challenge, it’s nice to have someone you haven’t faced before. It really increases the level of your technical knowledge. You want your client to have a very strong vision, you want them to have a much better communication that they would know how they basically have to present themselves from the outside. Those are really types of clients that we like to work with. The more the merrier as we say.

Anthony: Something that might be an interest for potential clients or marketers that are listening to this show. You recently went through a rebranding process at Weku. What triggered the change, what considerations did you have to make there?

Dror: Well I have to be very honest about this one. It wasn’t planned properly, sometimes as an agency you focus so much on your work and your clients that… When I established the company I had so many clients and potential clients, leads and so on that wanted to use my knowledge and my help so I didn’t dive in any of that in the beginning. I built the website from scratch very quickly, I just put some kind of logo and I chose the name on my way to registration of the company, so I can’t say it was really planned, but by the time we learn we can have a much better way to learn yourselves and to brand ourselves, and to differentiate ourselves from other agencies, competitors, but also to really bring ourselves to the front of the things that we are really good at and not to put masks on the things that we are not that good at. So we chose to have this kind of rebranding that is basically everything about rebranding, everything that we are presenting and everything that we are doing, it started from the logo and the name but it continued also to how we are different. So the fact for example, that sometimes our competitors on the tables are huge corporates of two hundred thousand employees worldwide and we are almost winning against them and that is because we are taking more of a commander approach you know, very professionalized and very experienced, more than others usually, 11 years of experience in this market is a lot. So we come with that knowledge, we come with that approach, and a dedicated team of course with more flexibility around the pricing and administrative things so you can just call straight the developer on WhatsApp for example, you don’t have to schedule a meeting with a project manager that will organize any internal resources. So having an agency that is more ticking in that respect, we wanted to present so we chose to change everything around how we wrap ourselves as an agency.

Anthony: Just a little idea of having WhatsApp groups to communicate directly with customers is very interesting because it takes away so much friction.

Dror: Yes, definitely. We are all many years in this market and we know that if you talk with the elephant as we say. That elephant has many things that he has to deal with, like high budgets, very high demands for the managers or the managers of the managers and so on. And they have targets that they have to face and here we are coming from a different perspective saying. First we put the services as the most important. The minute that we have that client and that client has direct communication to myself, to solution architect, technical architect so everyone that is involved in that project and everything can be so much quicker, if in the past, let’s say 5 years ago it would be very hard for us to from the Enterprise organization to work with us. Today it becomes more legit, they say, okay this is a very small group of people we can work with, they are more dedicated, usually because they are a small company, they really want to prove themselves, and they are more enthusiastic spirit to being their service much better so, in general, it become more focused about again the client, but about how I run my processes in the house and so on. 

Anthony: One more thing about the branding of your logo, it has a certain face. What’s the story behind that?

Dror: It actually comes from an old hobby of mine. I’ve been reading about philosophy and mathematics, and I’ve been an Accountant in my dark days. One of the things that I started to read about, when I established the company what I’m actually doing I started to ask myself very philosophical questions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, and doing that process I came across the person called Heron of Alexandria, who was… for the people who are familiar with that history, was a very interesting investor, so what he invented was the first automatic machine. So the first machine that is able to work after the initial trigger. He basically created a kind of an iron ball that has two pipes, and the pipes go to the opposite directions and he put some wood inside and you boil it and what is happening, is that the smoke inside creates an air pressure and that’s basically creates this ball from start going round and round, and continues until the burn is working. That is actually how steam engines are working until today, when you burn something and the pressure of the smoke is coming out of it. So I found it a very nice story and something that I want to bring to a company first is to understand in the end that person thought outside the box, and that is what I want everyone in our company to think, not to be like everyone else but to think beyond and to understand beyond what you’re doing and not just doing it because you need to. And I find this kind of approach to life in general much more interesting and that’s the type of vibe I want to bring to my company. That’s why we chose that character.

Anthony: Very inspiring. So to let your employees essentially think outside the box, let them find new interesting days to do things that’s not just to draw within the lines but do things as they are supposed to do, but really look for the best solutions, right?

Dror: Exactly, well said.

Anthony: Maybe one last thing about how you run your business, of course a topic close to my heart. To what extent is AppExchange a part of Weku strategy?

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

Anthony: I’m very glad to hear that because I can already tell you we will not stop at the current DESelect segmentation offering, we are also looking further. I think there are many more opportunities to do more marketing enablement in general, to give them tools. On the one hand, you have to train marketers and make them understand that they have to embrace the data as we already established, on the other hand, give them better tools, give them easier tools, and I think that if those two can meet halfway, and one is basically the SIs job right and the other one is the ISVs job, and then you can have some real powerful things in Marketing Cloud and for marketing teams in general.

Dror: Definitely. As we said before, the more the merrier. The more options we have but the quality is I think is improving recently, because I think 6-7 years ago you couldn’t find really good tools in AppExchange. It’s getting better as I mentioned, the more the merrier, because it will give more options to the end clients to use it in a much more efficient way. 

Anthony: Super, now as we are about to slowly wrap up. I’d like to touch base with some advice that you can give 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 as 11 years of experience could share with them?

Dror: Good question, because I’ve been hearing that a lot from other beginners who are just jumping in this world or from people who have actually been doing that for the last three, four years. And they are asking, okay so you 11 years have been doing that, what can you share? You have to take the time and understanding that it’s a real profession by itself, for some it may be seen as a niche, which is okay, that is what agencies have been doing and marketers have been doing, but if you want to be real professional in it, there is nothing like make your hands dirty. 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, it’s not that I’m kind of genius like that, I think I found it very exciting to learn something, you want to face a new challenge, so I just started sending myself emails, sending myself SMS and see what’s happening with the data and changing the data, I always try to do things. At some point clients had to come and challenge with some of their custom solutions, so that required me again to upgrade my understanding, to really dive me in some codes, and documentations and features, and combining with other features, and some other third side tools and so on. So I would say to the ones that are listening, I understand where I’m going with it, that in the end, you can learn now two years on Salesforce 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 hard challenges, and that comes with experience and I will say in a much philosophical educational perspective, I will say that you learn the best by doing, and you need I believe 3-4 years to be a really good Senior Solution Architect that can actually provide a much deeper understanding because your role is much more than creating an email or making the unsubscribe process, it’s to understand the client in front of you, how he’s managing his operations, the level of the knowledge they have how to continue with what they want to achieve, what is their target, understanding their data needs, and combining with the data architecture that you build in the Marketing Cloud and the tools around it and also in the end to make everything more efficient in the way that 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 making your dirty. So if you’re going in that direction, you’re choosing a right career for yourself, but be aware as many other things you have to be patient and you have to face the challenges don’t be afraid of them.

Anthony: Well, I think that’s actually a great advice to completely wrap up with, Dror I really want to thank you for today it was really a pleasure to have you on the interview, thank you so much for your time.

Dror: Thanks very much, I really appreciate that.

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