[This post was originally published on 28th July 2020. It has been updated on 30th Aug 2022.]
If you pride yourself on being a ‘customer-centric’ organization, here’s a question you should be able to answer very easily:
1. How many customer touchpoints have you identified across your org? 1, 2, 5, 10? More?
Ready with the answer? Now ask yourself this:
2. How many customer touchpoints are you able to tap into in order to improve your customer-centricity? A few? Some? Many? All?
3. How many of these touchpoints is your organization’s corporate marketing team directly involved with, and how many are in the picture because of your network of distributors, channel partners, franchisees, etc?
Here’s why it’s important to know the answers to these inter-related questions. Today’s customers – especially those who are ‘digital natives’ – often explore and utilize many different ways to interact with brands. And they want every such interaction to be relevant, convenient, and most importantly, connected. So if you don’t know how many different ways your customers can – and do – interact with your brand, you won’t be able to serve them through those touchpoints. Can you say ‘missed opportunity’?! Do note here that simply knowing how many touchpoints are relevant to your customers is not enough! It’s also important to know the answers to questions #2 and #3. And here’s where you might face problems.
For most organizations and their corporate marketing departments, selling and marketing their products or services through a few touchpoints is a fairly manageable endeavor. But as the number of these touchpoints increases, say due to the expansion of a ‘partner network’ of franchisees, agents, resellers, etc., the added complexity can make it very challenging to deliver superlative customer-centricity, and seamless, connected and personalized consumer engagement at scale.
67% of marketing leaders say that creating ‘connected’ customer journeys is critical to their success.
—2017 Salesforce State of Marketing report (based on a Salesforce survey of 3500 marketers worldwide)
Salesforce Distributed Marketing offers a powerful solution to these challenges by making it easy for brands to deliver consistently high-quality customer experiences, not only across corporate marketing but also across their (growing) partner networks.
But what is Salesforce Distributed Marketing? How does it work?
What are the advantages/benefits of Salesforce Distributed Marketing?
And finally, what are some best practices that can enable brands to extract maximum value from Salesforce Distributed Marketing?
In this guide, we will cover all these aspects of Distributed Marketing from Salesforce (except for Salesforce Distributed Marketing pricing which is not in our scope). Leverage this powerful tool to personalize your brand’s corporate marketing campaigns across every customer touchpoint and to make every campaign more relevant to local audiences.
What is Salesforce Distributed Marketing? How does it work?
Marketing Cloud Distributed Marketing comes into the picture when most of your brand’s customer touchpoints are outside of your normal corporate marketing ‘ecosystem’. It empowers those who deal with your customers in some way but are not a part of your immediate team, say, your franchisees or vendor partners. With all the resources, tools and content they may need to deliver seamless, connected and on-brand customer experiences. For organizations with large partner networks, Distributed Marketing from Salesforce helps ensure that customers never experience a frustratingly ‘disconnected’ brand experience, i.e. an experience where they feel as though they’re engaging with two different companies.
Many such organizations and their corporate marketers already rely on Salesforce to power their sales outcomes through these partner networks. And now, with Distributed Marketing from Salesforce and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, these organizations and marketers – with the help of their Salesforce certified email specialists and Salesforce Marketing Cloud specialists – can easily build personalized customer journeys and deploy them to their partner networks. Then, the partners using Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud or Community Cloud can leverage these personalized journeys to on-board new clients, create and execute special promotions, manage their renewals, and do much more with their customer relationships than they ever did before.
Salesforce Distributed Marketing:
- Can be enabled across multiple elements of the Salesforce ecosystem including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Financial Services Cloud and Community Cloud
- Can track customer journeys across various touchpoints distributed over a multi-entity partner network
- Enables brands to deliver consistent and personalized customer experiences across a distributed sales network
- Provides rich, actionable customer insights for corporate marketers
What are the advantages/benefits of Salesforce Distributed Marketing?
1. Ensure compliance with corporate marketing standards for more ‘connected’ campaigns
Local partners often struggle to meet a brand’s corporate marketing standards and guidelines. Marketing Cloud Distributed Marketing helps bridge these gaps. Thus, one of the biggest advantages is that it empowers brands to design personalized on-brand marketing campaigns so they can deliver high-quality customer experiences, and consequently maintain an instantly recognizable brand image with their valued audience. With Distributed Marketing from Salesforce, brands find it easier to establish corporate marketing standards for the entire distributed sales network.
Through Journey Builder in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC), corporate marketers and their team of Salesforce Marketing Cloud specialists can:
- Develop best-practice consumer journeys for targeted engagement in a few simple clicks
- Activate and connect the journey with the campaign in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud or Community Cloud, and distribute those journeys to the network
- Empower partners to access these pre-built journeys that they can personalize and send to consumers
- Establish more control over what is being communicated and to whom
Thus, Marketing Cloud Distributed Marketing fills the voids that often crop up in omni-channel marketing for brands with large partner networks so they can deliver superlative in-person experiences for customers interacting with their affiliates.
2. Create personalized messages
Today’s consumers are not impressed with generic, cookie cutter approach to brand messaging. With Salesforce Distributed Marketing, a brand’s partners and corporate marketers can edit each message for individual contacts within the journey in order to deliver personalized, results-oriented communication. They can also preview each message by email address to ensure that the copy is tailored to each individual before the contacts are entered into an on-brand cross-channel journey.
At the same time, the general framework that determines how the company communicates with its customers does not change. This means that personalization and the elements that make a brand unique – colors, messaging tone, language, etc – go hand in hand to benefit both the brand and its customers.
3. Better understand customer journey ‘engagement’ with analytics
With Salesforce Distributed Marketing, brands can track each customer touchpoint and journey. After sharing suggested journeys with partners, corporate marketers can look at the engagement analytics at the aggregate journey level to gain actionable insights, say, about what kind of digital marketing (e.g. email marketing versus social media marketing) works better with their customers.
And wherever necessary, they can then change the journey to continue to deliver optimal customer experiences. Partners too can log in to the cloud they use every day (e.g. Sales Cloud) in order to access and choose all the pre-built journeys created by the corporate marketing team.
How can you leverage the power of Salesforce Distributed Marketing for your organization?
Since Salesforce Distributed Marketing supports a number of Salesforce Clouds including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Financial Services Cloud and Community Cloud, your organization can vertically integrate and extend your corporate marketing systems to your partner network. Thus, you can connect better with your consumers while ensuring that your partners comply with your corporate marketing brand standards across all communications touchpoints throughout their journey.
You can also gauge how your marketing campaigns are working, and make changes as and when required to keep consumers highly engaged with your brand. This can boost their loyalty and drastically improve Customer Lifetime Values (CLV).
Best Practices for Salesforce Distributed Marketing
Here are some best practices to help you make the most of your brand’s Salesforce Distributed Marketing deployment:
- Make sure you review the required products, licenses, permissions and any required complementary Salesforce products to determine if you can use Salesforce Distributed Marketing in your corporate marketing environment.
- Before rolling out Salesforce Distributed Marketing, have an internal ‘alignment’ meeting with important stakeholders from corporate marketing, IT and business users such as Sales or Partner Management.
- To increase your chances of success, review tasks with your technical team of Salesforce certified email specialists or Salesforce Marketing Cloud specialists, determine a timeline and roll-out strategy, and set the right expectations.
- Set up a ‘Quick Send’ workflow if you’d like to send a single, personalized email or SMS message to multiple individuals.
- When creating emails for Distributed Marketing, make sure you include the necessary sections or content to remain legally compliant in your region, e.g. unsubscribe links
- Create a ‘Campaign Send’ workflow to add contacts, leads or person accounts to single or multi-step journeys such as email drip campaigns
- Distributed Marketing uses Marketing Cloud data extensions to store information about the send (e.g. who is the sender and who is the receiver). Complete this step for any message you want to send with Distributed Marketing. Your Salesforce Marketing Cloud specialist should be able to take care of this for you.
- To extend the message personalization flow, create custom personalization interactions. Extend the payload to include more data for journey decisions, content personalization, etc.
Wrapping It Up
Salesforce Distributed Marketing provides a number of tools, workflows and experiences that can help your corporate marketing team better serve and engage with your entire book of business. We hope this guide helps you make the most of it to impress your customers and keep them on-board with your brand for a very long time.