Bear Group’s Experience With Salesforce Marketing Cloud (ExactTarget)

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) is a leader in email automation and campaign management tools for medium and large business. Many of our clients have adopted it as their email marketing platform. We have mainly used it while doing development work for our enterprise clients, such as Electronic Arts/PopCap, CityCenter DC, WorldVision, and KCTS9.

ExactTarget was an early brand leader in enterprise email marketing, while other email companies competed for small and medium businesses, ExactTarget pursued enterprise email campaign management. Founded in 2000 and made public in 2012, Salesforce purchased ExactTarget for $2.5 Billion in 2013, and have since integrated the platform into Salesforce and rebranded it as Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This is likely the single biggest acquisition among MarTech companies. For a more in-depth review, you can read their company overview here.

Our first official Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration was for WorldVision as a method of delivering transactional emails. This was in 2014, soon after the ExactTarget and Salesforce merger, and there were still some system errors that made the development work difficult. However, since that time the API documentation has improved and integrations have been smoother.

After their acquisition of ExactTarget, Salesforce maintained some of the best features of the old system. For example, we’ve used the ExactTarget API to create custom modules that support adding leads from a Magento® conversion into an ExactTarget email pipeline, triggering automation.

The Benefits

  • Boost Your Email Marketing with a CRM: Salesforce Marketing Cloud comes tightly integrated and packaged with Salesforce, the worldwide CRM (Customer Relationship Management) leader. Using their email marketing service, the CRM tools of Salesforce can contribute directly to marketing automation campaigns.

  • Marketing Automation: Salesforce Marketing Cloud has marketing automation and analytics software for email, mobile, social and online marketing. It focuses on the automation of any repetitive, schedulable, marketing tasks commonly used in sales pipeline management, recurring campaigns, social posting, and other tasks that are often part of inbound marketing efforts.

  • Scalable Email Campaigns: Salesforce Marketing Cloud gives you the opportunity to scale your email campaign as basic or as complex as you need it to be, from using your platform as a simple email transaction system or using it as a tool to manage customer communication accounts.

  • A Great Choice for Custom Environments: Salesforce Marketing Cloud and ExactTarget provides an API integration you can use to inject dynamic content into your emails during the outbound send.

  • Develop Personalized Content: Create targeted, individualized messages that hit your customer or potential customer at just the right moment. Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers scripting that, even after specifically defining your pipelines, requires that you have a pretty strong understanding of your customer's journey. But you can build incredibly complex messaging steps, addressing your customers in the right tone at the right spot in the messaging ladder.

When Do We Recommend Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Today, Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers features similar to Marketo.Typically, businesses who use Salesforce Marketing Cloud have a larger salesforce, managing a sophisticated sales or customer management process within Salesforce already. This tends to mean a more complex website interaction is needed, and custom development is usually the plan from the outset.

Like all marketing automation efforts, one of the drawbacks can be complexity. However, for companies up for the challenge and staffed to support it, they may see big marketing breakthroughs.