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.

Don't miss an update

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.

Discover how our platform instantly optimizes your Marketing Cloud

Discover how our platform instantly optimizes your Marketing Cloud