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Simplified: Implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization (Interaction Studio)

Implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization

In the late 1990s, renowned American marketer Seth Godin introduced the concept of permission marketing. Instead of bombarding people with advertisements, permission marketing seeks to connect with people on their terms. It is driven by mutual respect and trust. 

Personalized marketing is part of the same approach. You connect with individuals rather than megaphoning your products/services to an anonymous crowd. 

Taking a leaf out of Godin’s book again, it is important to realize that personalized is not the same as personal

Having an AI bot to remember your customer’s name is merely personalized. Interacting in real-time with the same customer on their terms, identifying their present context, and trying to resolve their issues — that’s more than personalization. 

In this blog post, we will stick to the term ‘personalization’ since it is part of the mainstream marketing lingo, albeit keeping the above distinction in mind. 

In fact, the core enginery of Marketing Cloud Interaction Studio insists on maintaining such a distinction. Marketing Cloud was not built to reinforce crude mass personalization. 

So, let’s begin.

What Is Marketing Cloud Personalization?

Marketing Cloud Personalization is Salesforce’s answer to the problem of delivering highly personalized, context-driven experiences to customers in real time. 

As customers interact with your brand, Salesforce Interaction Studio captures their behavioral patterns and responds to each customer according to their individual status quo along the sales pipeline and on their preferred channel of communication.

Salesforce has two Personalization editions, namely Growth and Premium. The Growth edition does not enable omnichannel personalization. You can learn more about it here

With the help of Marketing Cloud Personalization, you can:

Why Should Marketers Leverage Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization?

Personalization minus AI is still a widely practiced approach to connecting with customers. But, in the absence of AI, you can only group customers according to their demographics and shared interests. Not only is it increasingly outmoded, but your customers are evolved enough to recognize the difference between being treated as a person and as a persona

AI-powered personalization (hyper-personalization) enables you to treat each customer as a persona, an individual, which is what consumers are looking for today. Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization is a direct answer to that demand. 

The availability of data makes that possible as well. In their report, “Connecting with Meaning: Hyper-personalizing the Customer Experience Using Data, Analytics, and AI,” Farhad Shariff et. al. argues:

“Historically, customer data was collected across outdated and disconnected systems, and limited to call centres and point-of-sale. However, increased digitization coupled with advanced data technologies allows organizations to use their proprietary and third-party data to create detailed pictures of customers and gain a deeper understanding of their preferences and behaviours.”

The Unified Customer Profile is a data-intensive control board. It contains contextual data, demographic data, event data, cross-channel data, and real-time affinities.

Equally, a crowded digital marketing landscape is triggering extra spending in customer acquisition. In a telling contrast, Salesforce-using companies have witnessed a 28% decrease in customer acquisition costs. 

SFMC Personalization Implementation Methods

The process of implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization can be segmented into the following steps.

You need to choose the right implementation partner who is committed to helping you succeed. At the end of the project, they should provide you with an exhaustive solution document. 

Equally, all team members should be included in the knowledge-sharing sessions carried out by the implementation partner.

“It’s very important to plan your knowledge transfer process. A knowledge transfer isn’t a meeting for an hour or two, it’s the process of transferring information, history, reasoning, contacts, and dates from one individual to another. Depending on the complexity and amount of work that has been put into your Salesforce instance this could take a while,” writes Mike Gerholdt, Senior Director of Salesforce Admin Evangelism at Salesforce. 

Wrapping Up!

The word personalization has been bandied about for quite some time. Before the integration of AI into digital marketing, it only meant identifying customers by their names and their demographics. At best, it was a favored replacement for the word “customer”; at worst, it was almost mass marketing gone digital. 

But with the advent of AI and hyper-personalization via tools like Marketing Cloud, the paradigm of customer experience has changed. It is no more solely about identifying customers by their names but about participating in a nexus of individual narratives. 

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