Salesforce Marketing Cloud January 2017 Release

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This post marks the first Salesforce Marketing Cloud related post on this blog, an event reflective of the increasing number of Salesforce implementations that span both the Salesforce and Marketing Cloud platforms (or cross-cloud, a term I can’t seem to stop using). Architects working on such implementations require a solid understanding of Marketing processes and both the functional and technical composition of the Marketing Cloud platform – not to mention the various APIs, connectors and 3rd party solutions offered via the HubExchange. Such a grounding is necessary to allow business processes (that are incidentally cross-cloud) to be understood and optimally implemented. This point is key; in ideal terms marketing processes should be integral parts of wider/deeper business processes that touch upon multiple areas of the business in pursuit of better customer experience or engagement. This type of thinking is key to realising current industry trends such as “Continuous Experience” where classic organisational structures (sales, service and marketing operations) are abandoned, or diminished, in favour of delivering unified customer journeys across all touch-points. For architects tasked with delivery of such solutions, the challenge starts with marketing domain knowledge and Marketing Cloud practitioner insight. In my own recent experience both stated aspects can benefit greatly from the combination of website/blog trawling, Trailhead and certification (Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant). I completed the two required exams for this certification recently and found the experience challenging and time consuming but ultimately rewarding and definitely something I’d recommend to all Salesforce architects.

And so, on to the actual topic for this post – a review of the key features within the first of five major releases for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud scheduled for 2017.

The release notes are available here. The release is due to occur on the 27th January – this of course is subject to change.

– features are GA if not indicated otherwise

Marketing Cloud Connect – Sales & Service Cloud Activities
The ability to create Salesforce Activity records within a Journey Builder definition is now more intuitive via a new Lightning UI that abstracts the complexity of the WhatID/Who Id model for relating Activity records to Leads, Contacts and related records. Salesforce record interactions from within Journey Builder are key to blending the power of the two cloud platforms.

Content Builder – Themed Templates
Email messages can now be created from Themed Templates that encapsulate best practice for content creation. The templates provided cover Financial Services, Retail, Restaurant and Newsletter scenarios. The Themed Templates options can be found in the Define Properties step of the content creation flow.

Journey Builder – History Tab
The Contacts tab in the main Journey Builder navigation has been replaced with a History tab that displays the status of running journeys along with failure reasons to aid troubleshooting.

Marketing Cloud Mobile App
The January release brings an Android version of the mobile app and a new home dashboard for the iOS version. The Android version exhibits the same Lightning Experience UI and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. The new app version will be released 2 weeks approximately after the main release date subject to Google/Apple app review. The new home page for the iOS version of the mobile app supports daily or weekly reminders and the delivers key performance statistics plus the current status of marketing automations. Note, the reminders work as push notifications and appear as badges on the app icon (as per email, SMS messages etc.). The new version of the iOS app also supports SMS campaigns via the SMS button in the primary navigation.

Social Studio – Emoji Support
Emojis come to life in the January 2017 release. The Publish component now supports the use of social network specific emojis within social content creation via the Emoji Picker (Composer and Inspector). Emojis are also correctly rendered by Engage and can be used to infer sentiment within Analyze thereby increasing accuracy.

Social Studio – Facebook Reviews
Social Studio now provides features to manage the reputation for a local Facebook page. Facebook reviews can be organised to filter promoters from detractors, automated actions can also be triggered based on review score. For example low scores could invoke a Journey Builder journey or Service Cloud case. Powerful stuff.

Social Studio – Analyze Dashboards
The Analyze component of Social Studio receives significant enhancement in respect to dashboards. The new release supports mixed dashboards showing content across multiple social accounts or topic profiles and expanded real time date options. Advanced card configurations enable filters, custom names and custom dimensions to be applied to individual cards within a dashboard.

Web Studio – Smart Capture to Lists
Previously Smart Capture Blocks defined within Content Editor were limited to Data Extensions for data push, with the January release this is extended to Lists.