How to Set Up Progressive Profiling in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

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As marketers, we know that it’s all about data – the more data you collect, the more you get to know your prospect or customer, building a richer profile of that individual.

Progressive profiling is a great way to gather data, helping you add information to an individual’s profile over time, without overwhelming data collection methods that risk them turning away!

“Natterbox”

Here’s an important point: Progressive Profiling is an out-of-the-box feature in Pardot. What about us Marketing Cloud Consultants and Admins: how can we achieve Progressive Profiling? 

In this guide, I am going to show you how to achieve Progressive Profiling in Marketing Cloud using a custom solution in CloudPages. While I love the out-of-the-box Smart Capture Forms, it is still in the Stone Age, in my opinion. Here’s my solution I developed using SSJS and other elements – enjoy!

Note: to learn about the real basics of Progressive Profiling, here is an article I send to people starting out with this concept.

Progressive Profiling in Salesforce Marketing Cloud Use Case

Let’s first outline the use case. We have a landing page/cloud page, here is the user journey:

  • 1st visit: when a user visits our landing page, we will display a simple form with: First Name, Last Name, Email Address.
  • 2nd visit: we will display the same form but with a ‘Welcome Back’ message.
  • 3rd visit: if the prospect submits the form and visits again in the future, we will show a different form containing fields like company name and service feedback with a question: “do you like our service?”

How the Progressive Profiling Works

  • 1st visit: when a user visits our landing page, we will set a cookie.
  • 2nd visit: we will check if any existing cookie is present. If yes, then we will show the welcome message with the form.
  • 3rd visit and beyond: when a user submits the form, we will add the values into a data extension (including the cookie). Whenever the same user visits, we will check if the cookie is present in data extension. If yes, then we will show different form fields.

How to Set Up Progressive Profiling in Marketing Cloud

Step 1: Create a Data Extension

Create a data extension to store the form values:

Step 2: Create the CloudPage

Here is the code snippet:

Step 3: Test the Progressive Profiling

Here is a demo video where I am testing the use case:

 

In this particular video, I didn’t close the browser, however, it works even if you close the browser and come back after a long time. You will see a new form only when you clear all your browser history (cookies) or go to the same landing page using a different browser.

Considerations

  • GDPR and privacy: Make sure you are aware of GDPR law. Always show consent in order to place a cookie and track an individual. Also, check with your legal team if any other information is required in the disclaimer you display.
  • Check out Google Chrome Same Site Cookie change in terms of Marketing Cloud. You would just need to tweak the above code in SSJS according to this Salesforce Doc, else it will not work for Chrome version 76 or later.
  • If you clear your cache, or if you come from a different browser, then it will generate a new cookie and show up the original form.

Summary

This guide has shown you how to achieve Progressive Profiling in Marketing Cloud using a custom solution in CloudPages, developed using SSJS and other elements. Yes, you will gain the Progressive Profiling functionality but you need to have a good idea of which fields you should ask at each stage before implementing any technology. This guide on The DRIP (although for Pardot functionality) shares some ideas to get you started.

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