Back to all articles

Lessons learned from 100+ Salesforce Marketing Cloud projects

Annemiek van den Heuvel
Annemiek van den Heuvel
Head of Marketing Automation
5 min read
14 April 2023

Owning a Porsche, but only driving a Fiat. 

This saying is well-known in the world of marketing technology. With a huge set of tools that can automate an infinite number of tasks, we see companies narrowing it to a core set of standard features.

Many marketers limit the usage of Salesforce Marketing Cloud to the most classic instruments, such as email, mobile, and social studio. But in reality, Salesforce is so much more. 

This cloud-based behemoth combines the capabilities of a dozen different solutions, such as a built-in Einstein AI module, integrated advertising studio, and personalization studio. It has become an important part of enterprise software because of its diverse high-tech features, scalability, and adaptability to individual business needs.

But going far beyond traditional CRMs, Salesforce also requires appropriate use. 

A welcome journey, an abandoned cart, and a newsletter are great ways to start. But to create a profitable, personal, and long-term relationship with your client, you need to expand the standard marketing activities and get to know your customer.

With 100+ Salesforce projects under our belt, we’ve learned some important lessons that help us build strong marketing strategies, increase sales, and improve customer service.

Lesson #1: Big loyalty programs aren’t always the most effective  

When thinking about loyalty, most teams jump to big, complex loyalty programs. But those are not always effective. Often, we see that small steps to increase loyalty go the furthest. Usually, these are personalized offers

For example, you can target different segments of your customer base, such as your most loyal customers and customers who are likely to return. By studying each segment’s marketing interactions, such as purchase history and website visits, you will be able to personalize promotional offers for each of them.

Unlike big loyalty programs, the interactions with each segment make the communication more qualitative and in-depth.

Using this approach for a leading European online travel organization Otravo, we centralized the first-party data and found insights for building audience-based communications. 

As an outcome, we generated 50% more margin than originally estimated in the first four months.

Lesson #2: You can’t retain all your customers

HBS research shows that increasing the customer retention rate by 5% can grow profits by 25% and sometimes even up to 95%. The importance of investing in retention strategy is hard to deny. 

When launching a retention strategy, your main focus should be to increase customer lifetime value. Just like with loyalty programs, it all comes down to understanding your customers, and therefore isolated data.

But you can’t retain all your customers, and you don’t have to. Instead, try to focus on the most relevant ones. 

In working with Beiersdorf, we studied the customer journey and set up a CRM. With continuous testing, we identified customers with the highest probability of churn. Then, we maximized retention campaigns related directly to them.

Altogether, this provided us with the necessary insights to ensure we were targeting the right people at the right time. The result? Churn was reduced by 10%. 

Lesson #3: Omnichannel is not a panacea

Email, advertising, chatbot, and website are all great ways to build relationships with your customers. We use to think that using them all at once is the right approach (more is better!). But is it?

Omnichannel has been celebrated as The Best Thing in marketing in recent years, but before implementing it, you need to understand whether it suits your particular case. 

The campaign goal, target audience, messaging – it all has an impact. And sometimes the best move is to use one channel as effectively as possible, gradually adding others. At DEPT®, we use a channel +1 strategy. We leverage the channels that are in place and then enrich the journey channel by channel. 

In Ralph Lauren’s case, the right solution turned out to be a chatbot. The brand came to us with a request to create a personalized method for selecting the perfect gift for the holiday season. With a single channel – a chatbot – we could provide one-to-one communication matching customer preferences with the products on the brand website. And by adding a number of creative assets for paid campaigns, we drove the necessary traffic to this bot.

This step-by-step approach worked. In the first few months after launch, the chatbot attracted more than 12,000 average monthly users with 3% showing strong purchase intent.

Cooperation as a unifying key to success

No matter what strategy and tools you choose, many things remain the same. Teamwork. 

Because journeys don’t stop in just one department. Journeys flow over marketing, sales, and service touchpoints. And your success directly depends on effective collaboration. 

With joint efforts, you can combine all customer data and develop the activation strategy. You can easily solve service issues, decide on messaging and channels, and launch cross-sell campaigns. With the right approach and proper cooperation, even the automation for scalability will become only a matter of time.

As a Salesforce Summit Partner with 47 Marketing Cloud specialists onboard, we understand the nuance of both digital marketing in the current era and Salesforce technology. Contact us if you need help shaping a seamless experience with Salesforce marketing.