8 Unmissable Salesforce Marketing Trends for 2018

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The MarTech news stream is saturated with ‘top trends for 2018’ posts. This post brushes past the often quoted trends, and instead compiles trends that are specific to the shifts we can expect as Marketers that use Salesforce Marketing Suites. Focused, without being blind to the wider changing landscape.

2018 will be pivotal for a number of reasons in the Salesforce MarTech space, but mainly:

  • Tighter alignment between Pardot and Sales Cloud (becoming evermore ‘native’)
  • Wider adoption of Einstein products
  • Strengthening integration between Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud
  • Increased spending on analytics add-ons.

Trend 1: From Marketing Funnel, to a Marketing… Bow?

In 2018, let’s redefine the textbook marketing ‘funnel’, into what it really is: multi-touch, non-linear and never-ending. Full credit to Campaign Monitor for this idea, whose diagram I stumbled across, and love.

Source: Campaign Monitor

There’s already too many touchpoints and journeys for marketers to manage in order to stay top of mind with customers. At danger of spreading ourselves thin, we need to remap journeys to this new funnel. I know this is easier said than done. In addition, look out for product developments and feature releases to leverage straight away in your reinvented funnel. As integrations become tighter and data models aligned over time, it will be increasingly easier to automate processes and find synergies.

One example to call upon, is the Pardot Campaign and Salesforce Campaign alignment and the Campaign Engagement Metrics component.  

Trend 2: Permission-based Marketing Reborn

The conversation on GDPR took off in the second half of 2017, once the one year until enforcement marker was passed. Although we’ve known about the new EU law on data protection for some time, we will witness a scramble to compliance in the first half of 2018, as 46% of marketers believe their business will not be compliant by the date (Source: The Direct Marketing Association (DMA)). In the same survey, 70% of marketers are ‘concerned’ about GDPR, which suggests there’s still plenty of groundwork to be done.

Salesforce are bringing us major changes to data erasure in Spring ’18, part of their ongoing commitment to compliance. Watch this space for more information coming in January.

Trend 3: Advanced Attribution & Navigable Analytics

More businesses will look at Campaign Influence as ROI reporting is demanded, as a baseline expectation. In Winter ‘18, the out-of-the-box options for multi-touch campaign influence have been extended, namely customisable campaign influence (Sales Cloud) and B2B Marketing Analytics. The ability to base influence on rules-based logic and a variety of attribution models, will push this topic mainstream.
A survey by Campaign Monitor asked: ‘Which Marketing service is the most valuable?’, with Measurement/Attribution coming out on top (Source).
Ironing out attribution and collating campaign data will lead to navigable analytics – what I mean by this, is descriptive analytics and actionable insights. It’s now all about feeding back and program optimisation. Any of the Einstein Marketing products require your data to make those calls.

Trend 4: The Dynamic Duo: ABM & AI

ABM was positioned in the trough on The DRIP’s Hype Cycle. Maybe I’m being too harsh? I did spend time switching it in and out of the trough. Based on my observations, I concluded that ABM is still wishful thinking in many organisations, who are stumped by barriers such as lack of sales team buy-in, patchy data (resulting in poor segmentation), and maintaining the process (the Lead object structure).  

Maybe AI is the answer to these woes? Bluewolf’s ‘State of Salesforce’ report advocates this, saying that the combination can “serve as a recommendation engine to engage with the right person at the right time throughout the buying cycle”. It’s possible, that in fact, AI’s predictive abilities can ‘fill in’ where ruts typically appear, especially in data completeness and trend spotting.

Trend 5: Predictive CLV

We’ve known for years that avoiding customer churn is more lucrative than lead generation, yet Marketing’s role and accompanying metrics don’t always reflect this. Marketing metrics tend to look short-term – how many leads were converted from the one campaign, how many opportunities closed? What about customer lifetime value (CLV)?

Not only does CLV fall outside of the ‘traditional’ realm of marketing, it’s harder to calculate. Number of opens, conversions, sales – these are all tangible and easy to report on.

That’s about to change.

Predictive CLV goes beyond the data you actually hold on that person or account, but instead uses machine learning to build a prediction that’s guided by your historical data in its entirety. Two great examples are Einstein Predictive Lead Score (for B2B), part of Sales Cloud Einstein, and Einstein Segmentation (B2C), part of Marketing Cloud.

Trend 6: 1:1 Content Personalisation

Staying on the topic of predictive marketing, 1:1 Content Personalisation will be coming into fruition. What kind of content personalisation can we take advantage of without AI? Pardot offers Dynamic Content and Variable Tags, and Personalisation Strings for Marketing Cloud.

These can certainly deliver email, landing page, and website personalisation; however, it is limited to past events (eg. purchases) and user-input preferences.

To stay at the peak, brands will need to consider ‘what’s next’, rather than fixating on the past. AI-engine power is required to make the match between the customer and the personalisation required for optimal conversion. One Salesforce Marketing product deserves a shout-out: Personalisation Builder, which “pairs customer profiles with machine learning algorithms to automatically show the right content to each individual”, fulfilling the need for ‘what’s next’.

Trend 7: Leveraging the Community Channel

The Spring ‘18 B2C Marketing Highlights drummed home the tightening relationship between Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud. With a captured and engaged audience, the members of your communities are ripe for marketing to.

For those who are both Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud customers, there are two main features to take advantage of: 1-to-1 journeys (customer communities) and distributed marketing (partner communities). Read more about both here.

Trend 8: Richer Content

If 2017 was the year of Video Marketing, then 2018 will be the year of widespread ‘rich’ media.

Marketing Cloud users were treated to two new updates in the October Release that will give content more pizzazz. The Image Carousel Block is a new and more engaging way to display images, available through the Content Builder. It was showcased a number of times at Dreamforce ‘17, with Salesforce betting on it as a for users to give their tired emails a fresher look. Secondly, Mobile Notifications can now include ‘rich’ media (images/video) in the notification body, to pull even more subscribers back to your offering. This is available through the MobilePush module.


Wow, you got this far! I’m sure you agree that 2018 will be pivotal in the Salesforce MarTech space.

The purpose of this post was to compile trends that are specific to the shifts we can expect as Marketers that use Salesforce Marketing Suites. I chose the 8 trends that I think are significant, narrowing the selection down from the broader MarTech news stream.

Agree with what I’ve said? Or disagree with the Salesforce Marketing trends I’ve outlined? Either way, would love to hear what you think!


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