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Demystifying SFMC from an email marketer’s perspective

Demystifying Salesforce Marketing Cloud from an email marketer’s perspective

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a B2C [Business to Consumer] Marketing Automation platform provided by Salesforce. It is built on the CRM platform ̵...

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a B2C [Business to Consumer] Marketing Automation platform provided by Salesforce. It is built on the CRM platform –  Salesforce and is collectively referred to as a Customer Success platform [CSP]. CSP is a single platform that consists of all the Salesforce products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud & Commerce Cloud. 

Since Salesforce Marketing cloud is a part of Customer success platform,  it provides seamless access to all the data of the other clouds like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud & Commerce Cloud.  This helps the marketers to provide a great customer experience to their customers.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help Marketers and brands in innumerable ways. Here are some of them: 

  • Know your customers better. Connect the known and the unknown profiles of the customers to create a single profile of the customer
  • Personalize the communications with customers at scale
  • Use Einstein Artificial intelligence to gain deep insights and make every interaction with the customer relevant 
  • Keep the customer engaged across the whole customer journey by being relevant in the messaging 
  • Reach the customer on various channels like web, email, SMS, App, Digital Advertising platforms etc. 

Products Categories 

This automation platform consists of multiple products and features. These are called ‘Builder’ and ‘Studios’ in the marketing cloud terminology. These products or a combination of these products help marketers in their digital marketing efforts and provide great customer experience. 

Products or studio/builders are categorized broadly into 4 different buckets and below are details about the different buckets:

  • Marketing Cloud messaging and automation
  • Marketing Cloud data and advertising
  • Marketing Cloud social media
  • Marketing Cloud measurement and analytics

Let’s look into what matters for email marketing. 

Marketing Cloud messaging and automation: Products belonging to this category are used to create, build, deploy emails at scale. The products that come under this category are:

  • Email Studio
  • Mobile studio 
  • Journey builder
  • Interaction studio

Email Studio

Email studio is a powerful tool to create, reuse and deploy email and email templates within Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It can be used to create various reusable components called Content Block using the rich email building editor. These Content blocks are then used as building blocks for emails or email templates. This tool can be used for personalizing the email at scale.  

Marketers can send various types of emails from the Email studio covering campaigns like newsletters, single email blast, etc. They can also perform the A/B testing within Email studio to optimize the emails based on multiple factors. 

With Email studio, Marketers can send both types of email communications i.e  Transactional emails as well as Promotional emails.

Some of the benefits of using Email studio are listed below:

  • Marketers can segment the subscribers using AI
  • It can be used to creates mobile-optimized emails
  • Emails can be made more personalized with dynamic content and AI
  • You can send emails at scale to match the customer requirements.

Use cases

Below are some of the use cases or scenarios of Email studio:

  • Birthday or Anniversary emailers with coupon code to delight the subscribers
  • Send transactional emails after a purchase or password reset by the subscribers
  • Single blast emails for mass communication related to an event or a policy change

Effectively honouring opt-outs/unsubscribes is a key requirement for any email marketing tool. SFMC handles this requirement within the Email studio with the help of a feature called All Subscribe list. If a subscriber unsubscribes from any campaign with Marketing Cloud, then their status in the All Subscribe list becomes Unsubscribed.

Another important aspect of the Email studio is A/B testing. This is a standard split testing done by marketers in order to understand their subscribers better. A/B testing feature lets you send two versions of an email to two test audiences. Marketing cloud tracks the unique open rates or highest click-through rate and then sends the winner email to the remaining subscribers. 

A/B testing can be done on the following aspects of the email:

  • Subject lines 
  • Email
  • Content area
  • From Name
  • Send time
  • Pre header

Journey Builder 

Journey builder is a campaign management tool from Salesforce Marketing cloud which can help deliver 1:1 customer personalization based on the customer attributes and behaviour.

This Journey builder canvas is used to map the customer’s journey with the brand with the help of drag and drop tools. The journey can be used to configure the frequency of sends and types of communications like Email, SMS, or Advertisements.  

Marketers can configure the Journey based on a recent purchase or a subscriber opt-out. The journey can also adapt to the subscriber behaviour by redirecting the subscriber on different paths depending on the email opens or clicks.

Use case

  • Welcome journey for new subscribers
  • Thank You Email for a recent purchase 
  • Get more information about the subscribers
  • Customer surveys
  • Birthday/Anniversary mailers 
  • Abandoned cart emails

Automation studio 

Automation studio is used to do heavy lifting and shifting of the data within Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This tool can be used to segment the data or store the data in different tables. It can also be used to import or export the data in/from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Important activities in Automation studio:

  • Run batch processes for different activities 
  • Send mass emails
  • Slice & dice the data with SQL queries
  • Import external files into Marketing cloud
  • Extract the data from zipped files and store it in Marketing cloud
  • Use SSJS script to carry out complex activities

Use cases

  • Segment the subscribers based on different attributes and send emails
  • Store the subscriber data after segmentation into various data extensions or tables
  • Send anniversary/birthday emails at scale 
  • Import the data from the external system and save it within data extension or table 
  • Export the system data called Data views to view the performance of the email

Wrap up

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a really powerful tool for marketers and brands to market to their customers. Depending on the use case, products within the Marketing cloud umbrella should be chosen and implemented to maximize ROI. 

Based on the understanding of various products relevant to email marketers, their features, and use cases provided above, it will be easier for brands or marketers to understand and make the most of SFMC. 

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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