How to personalize in Salesforce Marketing Cloud with Eliot Harper (video + transcript)

On June 28th, 2019, DESelect CEO, Anthony Lamot, had the privilege of interviewing Eliot Harper, a Salesforce Marketing Cloud MVP. Eliot touches on many aspects but really emphasized on the importance of going beyond the initial implementation of Marketing Cloud. The interview contains many learning points that may prove useful in your marketing automation journey.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you want to receive content like this in the future. 



Anthony: Hey there. This is Anthony from DESelect. In today’s interview, I’ll be talking with Eliot Harper, one of the world’s leading experts and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Now amongst other things, Eliot will be talking about what it means to be a Salesforce MVP and he’ll also be explaining an add-on he’s been working on for Salesforce Marketing Cloud called Scriptly. It will allow you to make more personalized content for your e-mails or other content pieces in a very intuitive way. Now asides that, of course we talk a lot about targeting and segmentation and how to manage data in your Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

What I think is really interesting though is that he focused a lot on how we should keep evolving and experimenting beyond your initial implementation and how it also means you will sometimes make mistakes and have to learn from these. So I hope you find this piece of content valuable for you. Of course don’t forget to subscribe to our channel – in fact do it right now and then you can get similar content after that. Thanks and enjoy watching.

Anthony: Hi Eliot

Eliot: Hello

Anthony: And thank you for joining us.

Eliot: Thanks for the invite.

Anthony: I have to say I did not expect we would do this interview here in what seems to be a farm in the middle of the Netherlands. Either way, great to have you. So could you perhaps tell a bit about yourself for our viewers. What do you do and could you also elaborate a little bit on what it means to be a Salesforce MVP?

Eliot: Sure. Yes I’ve been working with Marketing Cloud for 7 years now. Today I really do a mix of things. It spans across technical architecture, development and also technical training. You know I love sharing my knowledge with others so I think that’s probably the most satisfying piece of my work. So as far as an MVP… so this Salesforce MVP stands for Most Valued Professional award given by Salesforce to recognized experts and their contribution to the community. And I’m just one of a few, I think four of us who really specialize in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. What does it mean to me? I think that it’s great to see that recognition for my contribution to the community.

Anthony: Sure and when you say four MVPs, is that in Australia where you’re from?

Eliot:  No. It’s worldwide.

Anthony: Oh wow. So that’s quite a distinguishment.

Eliot: Quite a few. It’s just the same, not so many.

Anthony: Excellent. So obviously you’ve done many Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementations, but there’s many more upcoming. What is your general advice for people who’ve just begun that journey?

Eliot: Yes I’d say that don’t stop at the implementation. I mean… so many times that I see they go through the implementation process and they go attend the training and as an organization they faild to evolve. I’m told months later they still do back send emails or still avehad the same journeys that they started with. Marketing Cloud as an enterprise level digital marketing platform is very powerful but you know… they just perhaps get in a comfort zone and fail to progress their knowledge and also how they’re using the platform.

Anthony: OK. Actually I want to go a little bit deeper into that. One model that’s often presented is like a maturity model… like our marketing organization has to evolve. Now I guess two questions here: do you also use something like that mental model and how can organizations better organize themselves and plan for that kind of stuff?

Eliot: Yes. I mean my focus is really optimization. So I do some implementation but most of my time is working with existing customers looking under the hood and seeing how they can really be using Marketing Cloud better, and so does that answer your question? Can you repeat the question again?

Anthony: Well, yeah, I think you’re saying that yeah, looking under the hood of Marketing Cloud to see what you can do with it is one way to make more use of Marketing Cloud in itself and just experimenting with it I guess is what I would take away from that. But you’re saying to that not don’t stop at the implementation?, that’s what you said, right?

Eliot: Yeah. And you really need to immerse yourself in Marketing Cloud and be ready to take risks. Put another way, a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. It’s is going to be a bumpy ride. And you should have processes in place to ensure that emails aren’t sent out to unintended audiences. Checks and balances in place. But yeah I think that you need to encourage yourself to grow and be a part of that journey.

Anthony: Okay. Just one more thing I want to add there. I like how you pointed out that, this is maybe my interpretation, but you have to be willing to feel or anticipate screw ups and I remember one story from someone at Salesforce connections of this. These guys were actually customers and they also said things like, you know you’re going to be having high bonds rates, you’re going to be emailing the wrong people initially, it’s going to happen. So it’s better to be mentally prepared for that than just assume everything will go smooth I guess.

Eliot: Yeah. And look I mean you learn Marketing Cloud by making mistakes and the biggest mistakes you make, the more you learn. That’s the truth. I’ve made many of those over the past years.

Anthony: Yes as I have. But actually one of the reasons you’re here is not just the training. You’re also promoting this great product that you’ve made and like we at DESelect. We’ve come up with the add-on for data in Marketing Cloud but you’ve actually done this for content. Can you talk more about that?

Eliot: That’s right. Yes. So it’s Scriptly. It’s a visual programming language that enables you to specify I guess, patentable content graphically rather than textually. So you’re using clicks not code in an intuitive interface that’s no similar to educational applications that’s out there such as Scratch. So yeah, I look at it’s a problem that I’ve been trying to solve for several years now in how can we empower and uses in Marketing Cloud that is marketers to actually create sophisticated content and it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on, you have to go and write code. Immerses  ESL, responses IPL, you’ve got Marketers Velocity, Marketing Cloud AMPscript and Adobe javascript. So yeah, no one has figured this out. That’s the thing that I was meaning to do.

Anthony: And so rather than doing it programmatically, which I mean that opens a little door but not everyone has access to those kind of resources, you’ve made it intuitive so marketers can do it themselves, right?

Eliot: Yes that’s the idea.

Anthony:  Yeah, interesting. So I know people who might want to use this. How do they get involved? How can they sign up for this?

Eliot: You can’t at the moment. It’s in the final stages of development of being in AppExchange shortly. So just stay tuned and it will be in AppExchange in a couple of months.

Anthony: All right. Yep. And then maybe once the update is there I’ll make sure to also post an update and put it on our YouTube channels.

Eliot: That’ll be great. Thank you.

Anthony: So another thing I want to ask is that well, except for that content data tends to be a struggle for the marketers, do you have any very concrete tips there that you can share of how to better manage that and how can marketers wrap their heads around your data more for instance?

Eliot: Not really. This is a continuing challenge and powers down that exists for marketers and I think that ultimately, you know, I don’t believe that Salesforce is ever going to bebeing able to address this easily in the platform. I think that you need to look at third party tools, you know, such as maybe using a CDTP and doing the heavy lifting outside that or even tools like DESelect. But it’s, yeah, it’s funny what I am seeing consistently is that many marketers don’t compromise their data segmentation because this is just in the ‘too hard basket’. They fall back to simple segmentation of going in, I don’t know, like filtering by city or something, some basic demographic data.

Anthony: It sounds quite familiar. I’ve seen this before. Is this the scenario you’re talking about?  Like a marketing team…, they come up with this idea for a campaign and then they realize that they have to write a query and it’s just too hard for them to write and they just can’t be bothered to do it and then they just fall back to sending a blast email.

Eliot: That’s right. There is an overreliance on I.T. teams and I’d say that’s a shortcoming with the platform today.

Anthony: Interesting. And you’re referring to the CDP. Obviously that’s one of the new big announcements of Salesforce. What should we be looking forward to there?

Eliot: So I mean CDP has a promise to: (a) recognize this problem and specifically empower marketers with data. They think of it like it’s a database platform for marketers and that they can perform data integration, data orchestration, segmentation and move towards a single customer view and really also work with voluminous or big data. That’s where you have a business in view of all that transaction history and this is something that Marketing Cloud and in fact any marketing platform simply isn’t optimized to do about relation data models. So I think that this is finally an admittance that Marketing Cloud isn’t a silver bullet and doesn’t do everything out of the box that you may think it does.

Anthony: Yeah I think that’s so true. And often there is an expectation that has being created that you get a product that solves everything. And well first of all, I don’t think anybody can do this. And even if you combine a lot I think it’s probably has a lot to do with how you organize yourself around that. But just then you’ve talked about data segmentation. Do you see targeting as a different subject, standalone, because you didn’t use the word so far. What are your thoughts on targeting?

Eliot: Yeah I say that they kind of go hand in hand. And yeah, I mean the thing with targeting is being able to do so in a timely manner. So being able to go and segment is one thing, but you know, you have to be able to do it quickly without relying on an I.T. team to finish going writing queries or otherwise it results in lost of opportunities and I’d say that’s the main thing. Again this echoes what I was saying before that the problem today is that this overreliance on IT teams lacks agility. And this is certainly a problem not only for segmentation but also targeting too and actually I think that in segmentation

Anthony: Right. Right. So I don’t want to overindulge and use too much of your time. I do appreciate getting your view on these things so on one thing I like to ask at the end of these videos is do you have any questions for me?

Eliot: I’ll be just curious to see what challenges that you’re seeing your customers face with Marketing Cloud on a regular basis.

Anthony: Oh OK. So I have not only done marketing automation in my career. I’ve done CRM and I’ve done a few other systems that you might see in architecture and it’s a bit the same thing with marketing automation but more and that is about “getting organized”. I think putting a good governance in place…, that’s really tricky. Actually it ties back to what you said earlier. You said it doesn’t stop at the implementation and I think that sometimes customers not only think of the tool as a silver bullet. They might also think of a certain partner, an implementation partner and that partner might be the best partner in the world but at some point there needs to be a hand- over, there needs to be a certain build-up of knowledge and putting proper governance in place, with delicate rules I believe, is one of the ways to mitigate that risk. 

Anthony: All right. Well, thank you so much.

Eliot: Thank you.

Anthony: And looking forward to what else you will share with us in the future.

Eliot: Looking forward to sharing too. Thanks Anthony.

Anthony: Great.


Anthony: All right. Thank you for watching. I hope you found this content very interesting and that it provided some added value for you. If it did, don’t hesitate to give us a thumbs up. And of course subscribe to our channel because that way, you can get similar interesting content later on. Also, feel free to post your questions here in the comments section. We’ll be happy to answer them. Other than that, have a great day. Bye.

Other blog posts

DESelect Blog

Salesforce Marketing Cloud best practices
and DESelect updates

Launch campaigns 20% faster
Save 50% on customer data

© 2021 DESelect bv. All rights reserved

Salesforce Marketing Cloud best practices and DESelect updates
​Get your copy of Your data and Salesforce Marketing Cloud
70+ pages of actionable content and best practices to help you ROCK Marketing Cloud once and forever…