Salesforce Marketing Cloud has become a pivotal investment for many organizations over the years. Like any enterprise platform investment, expectations for increased ROI, operational efficiency and scalability are at the forefront. However, organizations often assume implementing the features and functionality itself will produce results, when, in reality, it’s the upfront work (prior to even logging in) that makes all the difference.

Whether you’re implementing a new instance or migrating from an existing platform to Marketing Cloud, there are five key exercises that should be conducted to ensure a maximum ROI and long-term success.

5 Exercises to Get You Started

Assess your existing content

As a first step, businesses should conduct a content audit. According to an article by EmailonAcid, conducting an audit every few months will help marketers avoid efforts falling flat with your audience. A few things to consider when conducting each audit:

  • Accessibility – does your content meet all WCAG guidelines for global accessibility?
  • Effectiveness – are you meeting or exceeding your target KPIs or have your emails been missing the mark?
  • Deliverability – does your subject line contain spam triggers?
  • Engagement – are all links within your email getting traffic or has some content gone stale?

In addition to email, make sure you’re assessing content across all of your channels to ensure consistency. After you’ve completed your content audit, make all necessary updates prior to migrating to Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio, Mobile Studio and CloudPages to avoid re-work.

Audit your subscriber list

Have some of your subscribers gone dormant? You may want to consider doing a re-engagement campaign out of your existing platform prior to migrating to Marketing Cloud and leave unengaged subscribers behind. A good rule of thumb is to remove subscribers from your list that have not engaged with your emails in the past three to six months. For SMS and MobilePush, consider creating a more narrow window to classify the audience as engaged. It’s best practice to limit this audience to those that have interacted with these channels (i.e., a click or open) in the last 4-6 weeks.

Create a testing strategy and plan to analyze

Now that you’ve cleaned up your content as a result of your audit, consider a strategic testing strategy to analyze your engagement across your subscriber base. Focus on testing in phases, starting with one hypothesis, analyzing the results, and implementing your findings before moving on to testing a new hypothesis. This way, the results will be clear, and you’ll be able to see incremental improvements in key performance indicators (KPIs) over time. Additionally, leverage Marketing Cloud’s Einstein functionality to automate some of your testing.

Understand the roles

Success with Marketing Cloud requires more than just strong Marketing and IT teams to operationalize the platform. It requires key involvement from stakeholders across the organization who can sponsor the overall business strategy. This is why it’s important to set these stakeholders up with real-time dashboards to support their business outcome reporting and future platform and team investments.

In addition to program sponsorship, it’s important to plan around the team’s capacity to focus on ongoing platform advancement projects. Without this investment, your use of the platform can become stale as the team is solely focused on managing the marketing calendar and not the backlog.

Have a product roadmap

Having a Marketing Cloud specific roadmap has numerous benefits. It not only will align product sponsors to a budget and timeline but will help with overall goals and priorities. Depending on your organization’s structure, it ensures the platform will be given the attention it needs to stay relevant to your organization and your customers. As a reminder, your roadmap does not need to be set in stone, it should evolve over time. However, make sure all team members are aligned to the roadmap and ownership of these changes is assigned.

The Takeaway

While this list isn’t exhaustive of everything you should consider prior to sending your first campaign out of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, it should give you and your organization a place to start when planning for an upcoming implementation. It can also help you evaluate where you may need support from a partner to support your efforts. Regardless, it’s crucial to keep these 5 exercises in mind as you continue to implement and optimize your Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform within your organization.