10 Marketing Cloud Hacks You May Not Know About

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Even if you’re an experienced Marketing Cloud professional it is always good to have some aces up your sleeve. You will still be discovering Marketing Cloud hacks this fully-loaded platform has to offer.

In this guide, I dig up 10 Marketing Cloud features that you may not have come across that can help you sail through tough times (just like Sindbad the sailor). Using standard Marketing Cloud functionality is always better than building a custom solution – any day!

1. Edit a Salesforce Entry Event (in an Active Journey)

Remember how painful it is when you have to configure the entire Salesforce Entry Event all over again because unlike everything else, it cannot be edited even after creating a new version of Journey?

After wasting hours reconfiguring the Salesforce entry sources, I finally found a trick!

  1. Before going live with any Journey which has a Salesforce Entry Event, create a copy of this Journey. The copied Journey will be used for initial testing – so store the original Journey somewhere secure.
  2. After the initial testing, you could find a few issues and need to edit the Salesforce entry event. On the actual Journey, the Salesforce Entry Criteria will be non-editable
  3. Delete/Stop the copied Journey.
  4. Now you should be able to edit the Salesforce Entry Criteria in the actual Journey.

If you are still concerned that are issues, and you might need to modify the Salesforce Entry Source again, create a copy and follow the same process.

2. Edit a Salesforce Entry Event (Without Duplicating the Journey)

The plan above is good if you are in the testing phase. However, if you follow this process after the Journey has been running for some time, then you will have two journeys with their own individual analytics.

In the future, when you need to report the journey performance, engagement data will have to be extracted from both journeys. Prevent this by following these steps:

  1. Create a new version of the running journey.
  2. Come back to the old version and stop it.
  3. Go to the new version and now you should be able to modify the Salesforce entry source.

Note: This will affect the contacts still in the journey as none of these contacts will move to the new journey version, nor will they move forward in their current journey version.

As you see both versions have their problems. At this point, you can use the workarounds I mentioned or upvote the idea on the IdeaExchange.

3. Create Data Extensions (in 3 Clicks!)

While doing SQL in Automation Studio, do you wish it creates the Data Extension automatically? Now with Query Studio, there is a workaround. However, there’s a small catch – this trick is worth using only when you need to include a lot of fields in the Data Extension.

1. Copy the SQL you are using in Automation Studio to Query Studio, and run it. I would suggest setting additional filter criteria in SQL, so it gives you only a few records.

2. When you have the records available in Query Studio, click the option, ‘Extract to Contact Builder’

3. This will create a data extension with all the required fields. Make sure to rename the data extension and remove the retention settings.

Note: currently, ‘Export to Contact Builder’ creates a Data Extension with all text fields, no matter what data type the fields in the source Data Extension is. Hopefully, Salesforce fixes this in their coming release – until then, upvote this idea on the IdeaExchange.

4. Data Relationships

It’s a mystery how this feature remains out of sight from so many people. How often do we opt for SQL because the data filter provides limited functionality? (true in some cases). However, I assure you that if you use Data Relationships effectively, you can reduce your dependency on SQL to some extent.

This feature lets you link two Data Extensions (Standard or Synchronised) together using a relationship (a field that’s common between the two). Once you have created the relationship, you can pick fields from one Data Extension when applying a data filter on another.

In the image below, you can see that at the time of setting up a filter on Contact_Salesforce Sync Data Extension I can pick any field from the data relationship we have created.

Note: when you pick a field from Data Relationship to be used as criteria, the content of this field does not get pushed into the resulting data extension. So, in our example, you will have records for those who have made more than two donations. However, you will not know how the exact value.

5. Manually Add Records to an Existing Data Extension

This feature might sound obvious to Marketing Cloud consultants, but it remains hidden from many Email Studio specialists.

This feature comes in handy when you need to add a new record, or possibly a test contact, into an existing Data Extension. Instead of having to do an import into the Data Extension with a .csv file with just a single record, you can add a record to the data extension with a few clicks via the Contact Builder user interface.

Note: You must have a primary key in data extension to be able to add records manually.

6. Retrieve Salesforce Records on a CloudPage

Consider this scenario – you are doing some tests and you need some data associated with a contact record in Salesforce, say the contact’s “Total order value”.

You log into Salesforce CRM and look for the record only to find the ‘Total order value’ field is hidden from the contact layout. Now you know reaching out to the Salesforce team to fix the permission could take some time but instead, you can do this…

Assuming your Salesforce is integrated into Marketing Cloud, you can do an Ampscript lookup on a CloudPage to get the required data.

Note: If you do not have permission to access the record in Salesforce, this feature too will not return anything.

7. Brand Builder

Brand Builder lets you customize the user interface and color scheme for parts of your Marketing Cloud account. You can customize the:

  • Marketing Cloud Login Page
  • Email Page
  • Marketing Cloud Application
  • Subscription Center

This feature certainly can give you some beautiful experiences. We used this feature to welcome one of our new Marketing hires by putting a welcome banner on the login page. That was a good day!

8. URL Expiration

One of our entertainment industry clients would send event promotion emails far in advance of the actual event date. They reported that when their customers were clicking on the CTA button, they were reaching an error page. Turns out that they had the URL expiration set to 60 days (the default) which meant all the CTA URLs expired before the actual event.

This useful feature lets you control when links in emails sent from your account will expire, however, you need to be conscious about its use, otherwise you might end up losing business without even noticing it.

9. Subscriber Filter

As you are aware, the ‘All Subscriber’ list is shared enterprise-wide. Even if you have data extensions available exclusive to each business unit, a marketer with access to the ‘All subscriber’ list can view the entire database.

Subscriber filters could be the feature you need. Once defined by the admin for each business unit, subscriber filters control access to the subscribers for child accounts. The filter selects subscribers for a business unit based on values in the subscriber attributes.

Use the below steps to define the subscriber filter:

  1. In Setup, click Business Units.
  2. Select the business unit to create the filter for.
  3. Select Define Subscriber Filter.
  4. Complete the information and add conditions and groupings.

Read more about the feature here.

10. Deep Links

Enable “Deep Links” in the configuration for Marketing Cloud Connect. Allow connected users to login directly into Marketing Cloud from Sales cloud (just like SSO).

  1. In Sales or Service Cloud, navigate to the Marketing Cloud tab.
  2. Click Configure Marketing Cloud Connector, Edit Settings.
  3. Under General, select the desired setting for Marketing Cloud Deep Link Access.

You can read more about it here

What’s Your Favorite Hack?

With this, I exit my hacking mode! I hope these hacks help you save your time and I’d love to hear from you about your favorite hacks. Feel free to share them or add some tricks/hacks of our own in the comments section below!

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