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A Quick Guide to ‘Business Unit’ in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

A Quick Guide to ‘Business Unit’ in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

[This post was originally published on 9th July 2020. It has been updated on 8th April 2022.]

Marketers work within Salesforce Marketing Cloud as a part of teams and sub-teams. These teams can be divided into various categories depending on the enterprise or the specific use cases. The marketing teams can be categorized based on factors like region, markets, organizational hierarchy, or any particular setup. This categorization helps the organization and its marketing teams recreate an ideal working environment within the Salesforce marketing cloud. 

This functionality is facilitated within Marketing Cloud through a feature known as Business Units. Salesforce Marketing Cloud business units help organize and control access to the information with various marketing and IT teams. Information content can be in the form of multiple artifacts, templates, and subscriber data and settings. Marketing Cloud Business Units can control all of these.  

For example, a global company with regional offices can be adapted within Business Units. You can do this by creating Salesforce Business Units representing each regional office. It means there can be multiple Business Units with a single Salesforce marketing org. This is beneficial as the marketing and IT team users working within the regional office only get to access the information and artifacts relevant to their specific region. It is also helpful in simplifying things for the users and stopping access to information between cross-regional teams. Marketing and IT teams working under the same Business Unit will have full/partial access to the information depending upon the configurations done based on the business rules.

Key aspects of the Business Unit that you must know before we move forward: 

There are four types of Tenants: 

  1. Enterprise 2.0
  2. Enterprise 1.0
  3. Core
  4. Agency

Currently, all the new Marketing Cloud orgs are provisioned with Enterprise 2.0 Tenants, and hence, can host multiple Salesforce Business Units within the Tenant.

Business Units are created in Marketing Cloud in the form of a hierarchy. The top Business Unit is called the Parent Business Unit, and Sub Business Units are called child Business Units. The Parent Business Unit and Child Business Unit hierarchy is illustrated in the below image:

There are no definitive sets of business rules guiding the creation of the hierarchy of Business Units within the Marketing cloud. Still, there are a few guidance points based on organizational structure and data requirements to decide Business Unit models within an Account. These guidelines are as follows: 

The use case for Business Units

A global retail company named X is implementing Marketing Cloud within their marketing departments across the globe. Their Marketing teams are based in different regions worldwide – North America, Europe, EMEA, and APAC. 

Based on the requirements, below are a few considerations for implementing the Business Unit’s hierarchy within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud of the company X:

Below is the pictorial representation of the Parent Business Units, which represent the headquarters and admin capabilities. Each child Business unit is represented by a regional team, namely North America, APAC, Europe, and EMEA. All the Child Business Units are fully self-sufficient companies within themselves but use the Parent Business team guidelines.

Best practices of Marketing Cloud Business Unit 

Some of the best practices that should be followed as a part of creating/using Business Units are as follows:

Wrapping It Up

Business Units are an integral part of the Marketing Cloud org as they form a key pillar of the structure. The above use case guidelines as well as marketing cloud business unit best practices should help you when designing the Business Unit structure in the beginning. You need to be super careful while doing so, as any failure might create issues later in the life cycle. Also, you must follow the best practices while designing the Business Units, as they help maximize the Salesforce Marketing Cloud benefits.

For a more detailed understanding of Business Units, you can refer to the Salesforce help documentation.

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