Marketing Cloud is a market leader in marketing technology. Over years of innovation and acquisition, it has become incredibly comprehensive – at the time of writing, a quick count up gives 20 modules, give or take.
One acquisition after another has worked wonders to deliver what Salesforce customers should expect from a “marketing” cloud (i.e. the technologies, the possibilities). Now, there’s a strategy to streamline and simplify this suite.
We’ll cover the reasons driving these changes, and what this will mean to the Marketing Cloud communities.
Jay Wilder, VP of Product Marketing for Marketing Cloud, addressed the Marketing Champions some weeks ahead of the confirmed roll-out. He summarized his role as being responsible for looking after messaging in order to take Marketing Cloud in a strategic direction. Jay joined Salesforce as Datorama was incorporated “into the fold” post-acquisition, he now oversees the full Marketing Cloud portfolio.
The What: Marketing Cloud Product Name Changes
The name changes are for the following add-ons/functionality:
- Messaging/Journeys/ → Marketing Cloud Engagement
- Interaction Studio → Marketing Cloud Personalization
- Datorama → Marketing Cloud Intelligence
- Salesforce CDP → Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform
- Advertising Studio → Marketing Cloud Advertising
- Pardot → Marketing Cloud Account Engagement
- Social Studio is being retired.
Some of these changes are greater than others, which may seem alarming. The justification for the changes is something I’ll go into more depth shortly – but to summarize: “Engagement” is the new umbrella for communication types, CDP goes from acronym to being spelled out, Advertising Studio drops the “Studio”, and it’s goodbye to the names “Interaction Studio” and “Datorama”.
Changes as significant as these won’t happen overnight, of course. Following the public announcement at Salesforce World Tour Sydney, Salesforce will need the second part of the year (2022) to update documentation, and conduct localization research.
What’s not affected:
- The product functionality.
- The following names: Email Studio/Journey Builder/Mobile Studio.
- Pricing & packaging (how the products are bundled).
- Features within products.
- Their SKU names (no timeline indicated).
The Why: Salesforce “Easy”
You may remember Salesforce “Easy”? Announced at Dreamforce ‘21 (after Stevie Wonder’s “Easy like Sunday morning” performance, “Easy” was the new word on all Salesforce executive’s lips, as one of the five innovation themes:
“There’s a newfound motivation for all setup, installation, and configuration on Salesforce to be as easy as possible…[the presenter stated] ‘We just add add add and we rarely simplify’”
How does this apply to Marketing Cloud?
Marketing Cloud is made up of “Studios”, “Builders”, and add-ons that have retained their original name (after being acquired by Salesforce). You only need to read our Marketing Cloud overview guide to quickly see that these modules are challenging for anyone to navigate (unless proficient in the platform).
The first step towards “MC Easy” is consistency; Salesforce acknowledged that the vocabulary they’ve used has been inconsistent (“Studios”/“Builders”/original names). Something that is easy to forget is that the whole Marketing Cloud is a result of acquisitions that have spanned over a decade.
When considering how expansive the Salesforce portfolio has become, the key is to name products in a way that can be understood by a layman.
The overarching aim is to facilitate how we talk about the products across different Salesforce “clouds” (that are used by different teams, in most organizations). As Salesforce’s marketing technologies become tighter with the core Salesforce platform, “cross-cloud” collaboration is getting ever more attention.
And it’s not only how Salesforce specialists will communicate with one another. Salesforce want Marketing Cloud features to “speak the language of the customer”. What’s conversational? How does each products’ name associate with what it should deliver?
Here’s an example: A potential Salesforce customer, evaluating Marketing Cloud, is more likely to say: “We have a personalization initiative/challenge”. You would rarely hear them say: “We have an Interaction Studio initiative/challenge”.
Another reason driving the change (although not the primary reason cited by Salesforce) is to align better with analyst reports, for example, Gartner’s magic quadrants. Over the years, Salesforce have scooped up “market leader” status in pretty much every category they play in.
Make the names consistent and immediately understandable – that’s how “Easy” is coming to the Marketing Cloud’s suite.
The Question Marks (Commentary)
These are significant changes that won’t happen overnight, especially when it comes to detangling product features and users adopting the terminology. Here are some implications this will have on the Marketing Cloud communities.
B2B vs B2C
Let’s first address the elephant in the room. For many years, Pardot was labeled the “B2B marketing automation solution”, whereas Marketing Cloud caters to B2C marketing. A handful of years ago, Salesforce attempted to lift the binary B2B/B2C split between Pardot and Marketing Cloud. As you will read in my comparison guide, Pardot is better suited for “considered” purchases. The reality is that Pardot have B2C customers (and likely SFMC have transactional B2B customers). Then there’s the non-profit space, which uses Pardot to do B2C marketing.
Renaming Pardot “Account Engagement”, seems to some people, that the split is now being reinforced.
Salesforce says that Pardot “Account Engagement” will enable us to speak “side-by-side” with SFMC. They have acknowledged that customers don’t fall neatly into the B2B or B2C boxes – their intention is not to split them, but to bring the two sides together.
Two Different Conversations
On a similar note, going through the cycle of purchasing Pardot is different to Marketing Cloud – especially on the consultancy (delivery) side. Salesforce consultancies will have Pardot experts and/or Marketing Cloud experts, as these are two separate skill sets. Consultancies will also advise clients on what to purchase.
The silver lining is that Salesforce Account Executives will now be trained to sell both, rather than having separate teams for each product.
Is Pardot considered a piece of Marketing Cloud? Over time, it’s been passed around (from Marketing Cloud, to Sales Cloud, now back to Marketing Cloud); by name, Pardot is a part of Marketing Cloud, but technically speaking, their architecture (eg. data models) are totally separate.
The Brands are Recognizable
Although not the primary reason, Salesforce did cite the wider MarTech industry as a driver for change (i.e. to align better with analyst reports). Others were quick to point out that this seems like an SEO move too, to rank for keywords marketers are searching online.
Will these name changes better guide marketers, or leave them confused? We are moving towards generic names that will leave behind brands; these brands have been useful in distinguishing functionality. While there are good intentions here, certain words are going to trip people up – the context will need explaining again. “Engagement” and “personalization” are examples of this…
The Term “Engagement”
“Engagement” is the new umbrella for communication types.
Anyone familiar with Pardot will already have heard the word “Engagement” crop up too often, by some measures. You only need to skim the Engagement History feature set to see how this term is repeated in different ways. There’s also Engagement Studio, Salesforce Engage (a Pardot add-on for Sales Cloud users), and likely other examples throughout the wider Salesforce platform.
The Term “Personalization”
“Personalization” is also at risk of being overused and muddled. How many ways can you personalize marketing assets using Marketing Cloud and Pardot? I can think of Dynamic Content, AMPScript, HML – which are the widely adopted methods. Interaction Studio ramps up real-time personalization, however, a more accurate description of this add-on would be a “trigger mechanism”.
To put this into perspective, marketers could be doing personalization in email, etc. using the first three methods I mentioned, but they won’t ever invest in Interaction Studio, as it won’t provide the ROI for their specific use case.
Let’s hope that the marketing messaging will distinguish between the standard personalization methods, and the former Interaction Studio – to make it clear that one can achieve personalization without purchasing “Marketing Cloud Personalization” (the product). Still, training new users will come with its own challenges…
Pardot and the Account Object
“Account Engagement” is puzzling to those who understand how the Pardot-Salesforce connector data sync works. Pardot works mainly with the Lead/Contact objects (a bi-directional create/update between Salesforce and Pardot), whereas the Account object is read-only.
Although there has been a smattering of “Account” based enhancements over the past few releases, Pardot is far from an account-based marketing (ABM) platform. Pardot’s relationship to the Account object still leaves much to be desired. Naturally, one would ask if there are ABM features on the product roadmap; at this time, Salesforce can’t confirm that there are.
Perhaps the product marketing teams aren’t putting “the cart before the horse”. You can lean on Salesforce to execute some ABM strategies, and perhaps product development will double-down with Salesforce as the “wind in their sails”.
Finally, back to the non-profit space, which uses Pardot to do B2C marketing. “Account” isn’t a term that appears in the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). Although a minor portion of Pardot users, in the grand scheme of things, these are concerns that could leave people confused, or alienated, at the very worst.
Another consequence of the generic names is that skill-sets now also sound generic. The concern is that the new names do not reflect the specialization in this technology, the expertise that Marketing Cloud/Pardot specialists have worked years to master. One reaction summed this up perfectly:
“I’m certified in advertising, account engagement, intelligence and personalization” sounds a LOT less prominent than how we announce these things today to our clients or colleagues. Sounds like something I could knock out in 30 minutes on LinkedIn Learning.”
A huge adjustment is going to be required from recruiters, too, more than a crash course!
Pardot Trailblazer Community
Pardot was founded in 2007 and is a name that’s become a community identity. The thriving Pardashians Slack community is a good example. Now we’re wondering: “What will we call the Pardashians going forward? Engashians?”
I’m speaking as someone who is active in the Pardot community, but I have a feeling that the Datorama community may feel the same way.
Salesforce’s hope is that we can become one big community (versus sub-communities). The “Moment Marketer” community is one way Salesforce plans for everyone to unite. The stories are that there were similar concerns when Datorama was acquired by Salesforce – apparently, it worked out ok.
Summary: A look into the future?
My aim wasn’t to come across as negative in this article – instead, I set out to report a balanced view of both the reasons behind these changes and what this will mean to the Marketing Cloud communities.
Look deeper, and you may speculate on what the future could bring. As Salesforce’s marketing technologies become tighter with the core Salesforce platform, “cross-cloud” collaboration is getting ever more attention. Pardot has made great strides in moving across, does this mean that parts of Marketing Cloud’s architecture could move too? Could more Account-Pardot functionality solidify the name change?
We’re encouraged to think about how the name change is going to pay off in the long term. I wish the Marketing Cloud marketing teams the best of luck with the major task ahead!