What is Marketing Cloud and why do I need it?

What is Marketing Cloud and why do I need it?

Marketing Cloud is the marketing platform of Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that primarily assists small and medium enterprises (SMEs) get the most from their marketing efforts by better segmenting audiences and helping them improve engagement.

 

Arguably the world’s leading CRM tool, 83 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use Salesforce. As it continues to develop its cloud services, Marketing Cloud is gaining more traction with its clients and is rapidly becoming responsible for more of the company’s revenue. In 2015, Marketing Cloud contributed 10 per cent of Salesforce’s revenue; this figure expanded to an estimated 13.9 per cent in 2018. Between the first quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, Marketing Cloud revenue grew 56 per cent.

 

What Does Marketing Cloud do?

As with every Salesforce platform, Marketing Cloud is designed to enable SMEs to create richer customer experiences. Marketing Cloud gives users complete control over their data, allowing them to look at the attributes and behaviours of a specific customer or groups of customers, segment their customers into audience groups and receive easy-to-understand reporting.

 

Marketing Cloud, as part Salesforce, gives unprecedented power to users through:

  • A Cloud-based system that enables SMEs to access their data and change their processes or automation from anywhere in the world with the internet, on any mobile or device
  • Its reliable cloud infrastructure framework that allows for multi-tenancy, which gives SMEs and their customers a guarantee that data is secure
  • An integrated artificial intelligence (AI) system, Einstein AI, that automatically delivers insights and personalises the customer journey
  • The largest business app marketplace in the world, AppExchange, which allows SMEs to add apps to ensure their CRMs perfectly fit business requirements

 

Why Do I Need Marketing Cloud?

The level of integration that Marketing Cloud can have in your business – and the impact it can have – is unprecedented. One of its key functions is to help SMEs build and clearly understand customer journeys so they know when to engage. SMEs can seamlessly adjust customer paths and create trigger events, where certain actions deliver content or another form of engagement. That can all be overseen by rules that prioritise messages and ensure you do not have too much contact with your customers. The platform is simple enough to empower anyone within a business to be a digital marketer – a key consideration of SMEs, which have lower numbers of staff.

 

Marketing Cloud’s email studio gives SMEs customisable, easy-to-use templates to communicate with customers and design that responds to comfortably fit any mobile or device screen. The integrated AI features enable SMEs to pair the audiences developed through Marketing Cloud’s powerful analytics to the correct content, and know-how built into the platform ensures marketing emails have the greatest likelihood of making it through filters into customers’ inboxes. Detailed performance reporting allows SMEs to see what works and what does not. Pardot, a tool within the Marketing Cloud platform, also helps here by tracking closed leads back to specific campaigns, shedding light on the reasons for conversions.

 

Through Social Studio, an SME’s social media manager can post content across all social media accounts while listening across all platforms and catching content to do with the SME. The social platforms are also plugged into the CRM system, meaning that customer profiles are created or updated as people post, and service cases can begin based on social media feedback. The intelligence built into the CRM uses customer data to improve the targeting of social media advertising and work on additional conversions for new and existing customers.

 

In a similar way, Marketing Cloud uses the data stored in the CRM to effectively shape digital advertising and to build appropriate SMS and MMS messages. The platform can tell the customers that are inactive and may need contact, while it can suppress advertising to customers who are existing, so they are not bombarded. Its mobile proficiency also enables SMEs to promote their brand to customers who are entering or exiting a certain targeted area. The combined intelligence and insights available through the platform ensure Pardot can give customers personal messages with targeted offers and improve the customer experience.

 

Lastly, one of the best features of Marketing Cloud is how it can help SMEs through the confusing world of sharing data. Through the platform, SMEs can activate data partnerships with the world’s largest enterprise marketers (where appropriate), maximising their revenue and potentially securing them additional lists. The platform ensures that SMEs continue to retain complete control over who can access their data, whether it is available to many other businesses or only to trusted partners through peer-to-peer sharing. Salesforce offers access to an e-book on second-party data to help businesspeople who are unsure about the practice.

 

What Blirt Does

As a Salesforce Cloud Alliance Partner and a Salesforce Pardot Select Partner, Blirt is well-positioned to help small and medium businesses get the most out of this world-class platform. Blirt focuses on implementing CRM technology through the lens of customer experience, which helps make your business a more successful, customer-focused organisation.

 

It will take us just weeks to have you adeptly using Marketing Cloud and delivering incredible experiences to every one of your customers. To find out more, book a discovery call with us and we will show you how to get started.

Marketing Cloud Release – April 21 2018

Marketing Cloud Release – April 21 2018

At Blirt, we strive to be on the forefront of release updates for the Salesforce platform to ensure both our team and our clients are utilising the latest and greatest features to date.

We are excited to see some new integrations and productivity enhancements in latest Salesforce Marketing Cloud release that went live on April 21, 2018, especially the added ability to publish directly to Instagram from Social Studio! 

 

We have some key highlights below.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR is a challenge for all marketers but can also be an opportunity for marketers to deliver greater value, and a deeper, more trusted relationship with customers and consumers.

To navigate the GDPR, you need to balance customer-centricity, governance and compliance, you can learn more here.

 

Google Analytics 360

Google Analytics 360 has integrated with Salesforce Marketing Cloud to give your business the ability to access the analytics dashboard within Journey Builder to visualise and analyse engagement on the web and in emails coming from both Google and Salesforce, without having to leave the Marketing Cloud.

With an intuitive tag configuration tool, you can quickly and accurately align your emails with Google tags to pass more engagement data back to Google Analytics 360 to be used within the Google platform for things like website personalisation, ad optimisation, and attribution measurement.

You can learn more about this integration here.

Social Studio: Instagram Publishing

Businesses using the Salesforce Social Studio platform can now manage their Instagram account directly from Social Studio.

Now there’s no need for additional steps through mobile.

You can now target multiple accounts and publish content at scale to key Instagram accounts.

Publish images, captions, and hashtags to the feed for your Instagram followers from Social Studio desktop or mobile. You can learn more about this new feature here.

Journey Builder: Einstein Splits

Marketing Cloud has now enabled Einstein Engagement scoring behaviour predictions seamlessly within Journey Builder with the new Einstein Split flow control.

Test subject lines, content, offers, and different channels to personalise the journey for each individual.

Simply drag-and-drop onto the journey canvas and choose from pre-configured splits based on consumer likelihood to engage and guide customers down the best path. You can learn more about Einstein splits here.

Distributed Marketing: Quick Send

Salesforce Marketing Cloud can now give advisors, owners, and partners the ability to quickly personalise the send a single, on-brand email to their customers and prospects directly from the individual’s record.

You can learn more here.

 

Content Builder: Enhanced Dynamic Content

Content Builder is now a new type of dynamic content that allows a user to import a delimited file containing multiple variations of content. Marketers can use this for an email that contains multiple content blocks with numerous dynamic variations.

You can learn more about the dynamic content here.

Salesforce has also released a webinar that expands on the above key highlights and includes a insight from Salesforce experts. You can watch the new feature overview here.

Still have questions or want to expand your Marketing Cloud capabilities?

Let’s talk. Blirt is a certified partner of Salesforce and we would love to answer any questions for new or existing users of Marketing Cloud.

Talk to a Business Strategy Consultant – let us know what you need here.

10 of the Best Cloud Services for Small to Medium Businesses

Is your business booming? Are you having trouble keeping up with all the demands?

If you’re expanding your business rapidly, chances are you’re in need of tools to support your growing business. 

There are a great deal of services to choose from, whether you’re looking for email marketing services or accounting software. 

Whether you’re balling on a budget or just need some additional tools to help you expand your business, we can show you the top 10 best cloud services to help you out. 

 

10 of the Best Cloud Services

The top 10 best cloud services will give you the assistance you need while also being kind to your budget. 

Not tech-friendly?

Most of these services are perfect for those who aren’t as tech-savvy as others. 

Regardless of your business type, tech knowledge, or budget, there’s a little something for everyone here.

 

1. Salesforce

Most growing businesses think their website is their most important cloud property.  It’s not.  The most important cloud asset you can invest in is your CRM. 

Why?  The most important asset you have in your business is your customer base.  Build your customer intelligence on the most robust, trusted and expandable platform in the world – Salesforce. 

Salesforce is, at it’s core a CRM, but it is so much more than that.  It is a true customer platform.  

I often describe Salesforce like the smart phone you’re holding your hand. It is is a platform that holds all your data – some of those apps come standard, some are built by other people (or yourself) which you can download.  Additionally, everybody’s smartphone is different, yet the same.  It’s completely customised to how you like to use. 

Well, that’s kind of like Salesforce.  It’s a platform on which to build your business.  

  • Customise lead management
  • Scale deal management and understand pipeline
  • Collaborate through chatter with colleagues, customers or partners
  • Build insightful dashboards from smart reports
  • Take anywhere via your tablet or smartphone
  • Connect sales, marketing, HR, social, finance… any one of thousands of apps
  • Create your own apps so you can run your business or collaborate with your customers how you want to.
  • Add on marketing automation tools like Pardot, or build one to one personalised customer journeys through Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

That’s why Salesforce get’s our number one spot. There is nothing like it in the world.  

 

2. Xero

If you’re a growing business, it’s imperative that you have a foolproof accounting software. 

Small and medium businesses may not have the manpower nor the budget to invest in an expensive, complicated application. 

That’s why Xero is one of the top 10 best cloud services. 

With its ease of use and great price, any business owner will be able to use the system to run their payroll, invoicing and more. 

If you’re interested in seeing how Xero works, they even offer a free trial to ensure that this top 10 cloud storage service will benefit you and your business. 

We’ve even built apps to connect Xero and your Salesforce instance together.  Talk to us, if this would help you. 

 

3. Dropbox 

Dropbox Business is one of the best cloud services for collaborating with your teammates

Documents can easily be transported through the cloud.

Comments can be left on each document and synced real time so everyone will be kept up to date immediately.

Team folders give specific teammates the ability to edit and share files for specific projects.

You can also use team folders to provide access to things like team meeting information, goals, and updates.

Externally share files with individuals outside the company by creating a password.

Dropbox has added security features that keep your business’ documents safe.

Add passwords and expiration dates, and assign specific employees tasks by choosing who can access each document.

If a device is lost or stolen, you can easily erase that device remotely so no protected information is at risk.

The great part about Dropbox is its recovery feature. All records are stored for up to 120 days and can easily be retrieved.

Pricing depends on the number of users you choose to give access to. It also depends on how much storage you’ll need. 

We’ve recently integrated Dropbox into Salesforce CRM for small business clients, this puts the power of cloud files right in the middle of your CRM.

 

4. HostGator

Having a business website is a must in this digital age. 

However, finding someone to build your company’s website can be time-consuming and costly.

Web hosting sites like HostGator allow you to quickly and easily create your business’ website, even if you’re a newbie. It allows you to use a drag and drop option to create a beautiful website. 

Depending on your needs, HostGator gives you several package options that will make your wallet happy. 

The Hatchling plan starts at $10.99 USD and includes plenty of disk space and email addresses that is perfect for small businesses. 

 

5. Shopify 

Shopify E-Commerce is one of the top 10 best cloud service for several reasons.

If you’re selling any type of product online, this shopping cart is a necessity.

Not only is it cheap, it’s also super easy to use for the tech novices who don’t have much time to learn a new application.

 

6. Citrix Grasshopper

Struggling to have conference calls with your team members? Sick of racking up long distance charges in order to communicate across borders?

Check out Citrix Grasshopper as your new go-to Voice over IP (VoIP). 

Use this system to enable call routing, voicemail, or utilize the call center features. 

To up the cool factor, Grasshopper starts out at only $12.00 USD. 

 

7. Asana 

In order to run a successful business, it’s important to have an effective way for your teammates to collaborate. 

Asana is a web-based tool that ensures your team is working efficiently and allows everyone to check off projects completed. 

Ultimately, this tool allows you and your team to track your work progress and communicate through a platform aside from email. 

Interactive and user-friendly, Asana is the ultimate tool for work productivity for your team. 

 

8. SpiderOak

Keeping your business’ information as well as your clients’ information private is a must. 

SpiderOak is a top 10 cloud storage service provider that allows you to keep your and your clients’ information safe with 100% privacy. 

Depending on your data needs, SpiderOak is wallet-friendly, with 30GB costing only $7USD a month. 

 

9. Zoolz

Zoolz is a great top 10 cloud storage service that works for any business, regardless of your business size. 

There’s no limit to the amount of users or servers you can have, which makes it unlike other service providers.

Absolutely no limits on bandwidth and uploads makes this service provider the ultimate in cloud storage.

 

10. Salesforce Pardot 

Small and medium business owners don’t always have the time to do the marketing dirty work.  

That’s why marketing automation services are one of the top 10 best cloud services on this list. 

Email building, reporting, real time sales alerts, and social profile lookups are only some of the features of the Salesforce Pardot

Check out the case studies that have been done that show the proven ways Pardot has helped companies expand their marketing strategies.  

 

Ready?

The safety and efficiency of your business is your ultimate priority. However, most business owners don’t have the time or the manpower in order to ensure these priorities are met.

Using the best cloud services and efficiency tools will have your business running as smoothly as possible.

What are some other services that should be included on this list? What have your experiences been like?  

Marketing Automation: Five Pitfalls To Avoid

Marketing automation has gone from rising trend to essential strategy in a matter of a few years.

To the uninitiated it may sound like a buzzword that threatens to replace real marketers with robots, but in reality it’s a smart way to generate, nurture and qualify leads so your sales team can focus on what they’re good at: selling. 

If implemented well, it can drive up conversions and help you forge smarter, more profitable customer relationships. But if done badly? You could waste time, money and end up behind the eight-ball when it comes to responding to your customers’ cues and needs.

If you are wondering what marketing automation is, read more here.

If you’d like to unlock the many advantages marketing automation offers, here are five pitfalls to avoid when building your strategy.

 

1. Neglecting stage one of the funnel 

For a successful automation strategy to work, it’s important to be able to attract the right prospects in the first place. That means focusing on the discovery and awareness phases to attract and ‘warm up’ potential leads before pushing them into the sales funnel. 

 

2.  Focusing on the channel, not the customer

Are you starting with the statement: ‘We need marketing automation to help us with our email strategy’? Sure, it can help you with that. But the best way to make the most of the technology is to take an omni-channel approach. 

That means putting the customer first and considering all their touchpoints. If you treat each channel as a separate strategy, you could be missing out on opportunities to engage with both new and existing audiences.

 

3. Not doing your platform research

Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Pardot, Marketo, Hubspot, Act-On: you’ve probably heard the names, but which is right for you? It’s important to understand the key strengths and differences before deciding who to go with.

If your focus is on engaging and growing an existing audience using social media, EDMs and content marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has a great range of features to support this.

If you need something that focuses on generating, nurturing, tracking and converting B2B leads through marketing automation, then you should lean towards Salesforce Pardot.

Marketo is another option to throw into the mix. It’s a marketing automation platform that combines social, mobile and ad targeting to help nurture and engage potential customers.

At Blirt, we love the Salesforce platform as it enables best in class data driven marketing. 

We believe in applying the right technology to the right customer experience.

 

4.  Going it alone

As with onboarding any new strategy or software, there are bound to be hiccups along the way. That’s where talking to an expert really makes a difference. Blirt can advise you on set-up, implementation, training and goal-setting, as well as reporting on performance and using data to feed back into your sales and marketing strategy. 

 

5.  Forgetting to be human

When we talk about marketing automation, we mean using the best technology available to nurture prospects and offer them the optimal experience of your business.

We’re big advocates of using platforms such as Salesforce to help us achieve this. However, we understand marketing automation enables rather than replaces all of your existing marketing efforts. 

It takes the human touch of creativity to personalise your messaging for each different touchpoint, and a real person to determine the triggers for an EDM series or automated content delivery and campaign. And, importantly, it takes human analysis to use the learnings from customer behaviour data and feed this back into your marketing strategy. 

At Blirt, we believe people buy things from people – it’s the essence of our approach to branding.  So, when it comes to designing marketing automation within your MarTech stack it is Automation 101 to start with the customer in mind. 


Stuart Leo, Founder and MD, Blirt 

Stuart is the founder and Managing Director of Blirt – passionate marketer, brand strategist, MarTech devotee and leader of the team at Blirt.  

As one of Australia’s leading MarTech strategy groups, Blirt specialises in customer experience, marketing automation, digital communications & full funnel customer engagement to help organisations lead in the experience economy.