What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Marketing team huddling in front of a computer

Companies need more than just automating the sales and service process to enable a thriving CRM ecosystem in this connected age. Today’s consumers ask for a dedicated and personalized approach from first contact to everyday service. Every customer has a different story, and the key to attaining more excellent sales and loyal customers are starting right.

marketers talking

When we say start right, the first communication that the customer receives should be the trigger point for upcoming journeys, all of which feed on the previous ones. E.g., the very first ad that comes to a viewer’s attention would be the one they receive correct when it needs to be with an offering they want. The communication should also be open and dynamic enough to consume customer behavior and define how the following communication should be. Such dynamic and well-placed communications lead to a successful transaction model with the customer. They will also impact the level of post-purchase service provided to the customer. Now the billion-dollar question is, How do you do it?.

Integrated CRM Systems

crm interface

The answer lies in building an Omni Channel Ecosystem for your customers. Companies have increasingly started realizing that ensuring omnichannel systems is the first step to enabling an actual omnichannel experience for your customers. Leaders in the CRM ecosystem have adopted the approach of “Integrated CRM.” Integrated CRM is the technology space where systems are designed to cater to various CRM modes (Marketing, Sales, Deal Management, Transactions, After Sales service, and relationship management) while being Connected all the time. The more integrated CRM systems are, the greater the maturity of the CRM value stream. And as is the case with the CRM process, the most critical aspect of enabling Integrated CRM systems for an organization also lies in “Starting right.” That’s where the World Leader in CRM, a.k.a Salesforce, stands out.

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce is the #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform globally. It brings customers and companies together and helps run an entire business with just a single platform. Through the Salesforce Customer 360 platform, they help unite every department of your business so you can better focus on your customers.

Salesforce platform

Image Source: https://sforce.co/3oxk25I

It improves productivity by helping the entire company work smarter and more efficiently. It automates processes and eliminates the manual efforts that consume time, making it easier and faster to achieve your business goals. Since it’s also a cloud-computing technology, everyone from your team can access and do the following anywhere in the world, including via mobile app, as long as they are connected to the internet:

  • Provide different services
  • Store and manage customer data
  • Oversee marketing campaigns
  • Automatically analyze insights and performance
  • Promote products across multi-channel platforms
  • Gather leads and convert them to sales
  • Communicate with customers
  • Collaborate within your departments
  • Develop custom-fit apps
  • Customize as your business grows

    What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce has built up a truly Integrated CRM system with dedicated yet tightly coupled modules for each CRM function. Salesforce also makes sure that its customers start right with a set of offerings dedicated to Marketing function with “Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC).”

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

In this day and age, personalization and intelligent marketing are essential to make sure you capture your consumers at every aspect of their journey. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud has got everything covered. It equips you with 360-degree customer knowledge and enables you to personalize your efforts across multiple channels from your social media, email, website, and other digital platforms.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud was gained by acquiring the leading Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing platform ExactTarget in 2013. Salesforce improved it and renamed it to Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC). Before the acquisition, ExactTarget was already used by major companies worldwide, including Coca-Cola, Nike, and Gap, to manage their digital marketing initiatives.

Pardot, initially acquired by ExactTarget, was also acquired by Salesforce. The first was originally developed for Business to Business (B2B) automation for Small and Medium businesses (SMBs). It supports all the needs of B2B organizations of every size. Hence, it is an excellent option for B2B based companies with a limited requirement of social media marketing. It is a lead marketing automation system that allows you to reach potential clients through several channels. In contrast, the Marketing Cloud provides digital marketing automation and analytics software and services.

SFMC is optimized for B2C customers. So if you are a B2C seller and want to explore how Salesforce Marketing Cloud can aid in increasing your sales and ensure customer satisfaction, we have got you covered. This article contains a detailed overview of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, from its components to running everyday campaigns. This will also be a good starting point if you wish to implement Marketing Cloud or run Campaigns for Customers.

How does Salesforce Marketing Cloud Works?

The reality now is that consumers have the last say. They have the upper hand in choosing what, when, and where to buy. That’s why digital marketers need to adapt also. Achieve the highest investment return by empowering your marketing with the world’s #1 CRM. Salesforce can provide you with your multi-channel needs from email marketing, digital and marketing automation, data management, and discovering top marketing insights at the touch of a button.

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a cloud-based solution that integrates multiple marketing facets from lead identification to conversion, giving brands and companies an edge over their competitors. This process includes an ecosystem of subprocess and providers focused on different aspects. At a high level, the Marketing process can be categorized in the below stages:

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Stage 1 - Know your Customer

Stage 1 is when you start understanding the target audience for your communications. This involves developing a model that begins with a thorough understanding of target preference, creates Subscriber profiles, and grooms the profiles for future communications. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has modules dedicated to attaining this by ensuring that the Marketing team access data from all relevant sources and devices. This data can be used to create Audience segments and profiles for which Customer journeys will be designed. There are modules to develop the Data management and sharing setup within your organization.

Stage 2: Personalize with Intelligence

Once you have identified the Subscriber profiles you want to target, the next step is identifying the communication points and designing Customer Journeys. Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides a “Canvas” like infrastructure to create Customer journeys that can be interrelated and dynamically triggered with real-time response. Users can design complex Campaigns and related automation with a point-and-click application and minimum coding. Another important aspect of this stage is ensuring the Marketing inventory is easily accessible for reuse.

Stage 3: Engage across Channels

Since any enterprise will be a consolidation of multiple subunits catering to various channels and entities, the supporting Marketing systems should also have the flexibility to incorporate various marketing tracks across channels with customized messaging.

What are the Different Salesforce Marketing Cloud Products?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud has modules that incorporate all the stages mentioned above to their entirety. SFMC modules are designed in the form of Studios and Builders. Each of these studios and builders caters to unique marketing asks. Based on your requirements, you can purchase individual components of these. If you are interested in Mobile Marketing, you can buy a Mobile Studio component and choose specifically SMS (Mobile Connect) if you only need SMS communication. Below is a description of how SFMC is structured:

Purpose Component What is Does?
Messaging & Automation products Email Studio Use data from every department to build smarter email—from basic marketing campaigns to sophisticated 1-to-1 messages
Mobile Studio Send consistent SMS, push, and chat app messages in real-time.
Journey Builder Deliver cross-channel personalized experiences at every step of the customer lifecycle with campaign management.
Interaction Studio Visualize, track, and manage customer experiences with real-time interaction management—driving valuable engagement at the right moment.
Data & Advertising product Advertising Studio Use CRM to securely power 1-to-1 advertising across Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Display at scale.
Audience Studio Capture data from any source and device, then unify, segment, and activate audiences to create valuable customer experiences.
Social Media Management Social Studio Listen, publish, and engage to create customer advocates. Connect social to marketing, sales, and service in one platform powered by AI.
Data Measurement & Analytics Solution Datorama Enable cross-platform marketing intelligence by unifying data sources, visualizing AI-powered insights, and creating actionable reports to drive ROI.
Google Analytics 360 Gain cross-channel insights for seamless customer journeys with Google Analytics 360 + Marketing Cloud.
Data Studio Expand your reach with a data sharing platform where publishers can share 2nd party data with marketers in a trusted and transparent way.

Messaging & Automation Products

Messaging & Automation products form the baseline of SFMC to design campaigns and communications.

SFMC Messaging & Automation

Email Studio

Salesforce Email Studio

Email Studio lets users create personalized and dynamic Email messages for all purposes, whether the promotional, transaction or responsive. Email studio allows users to define send structures, create reusable content, define subscribers and track email communications. Below are the key functionalities offered by Email studio:

  • Content: Email studios provide a point and click setup to create reusable content blocks with data formats like text, HTML, images, and dynamic content components. The content blocks, once completed, can be added to any number of email communications via a drag and drop interface. Email studio also defines folder structure to control content access and easy searchability.
  • Email Design: Email studio lets users design every aspect of the email communication right from Subject, header, core content, sender profiles, trailer links, and tracking fields. Users can also create email templates for reusability.
  • Subscriber Management: Email studio lets users define receivers for each communication. Marketers can define email/campaign-specific targets by creating Data Extensions with subscriber data specific to contact. Email studio also allows users to filter subscribers for more targeted messages. Use the subscriber key to identify your subscribers in Marketing Cloud. Create lists or data extensions to store your subscribers. Store email subscriber information in lists or data extensions, and store SMS subscriber information in data extensions only. To segment, your subscribers, create as many lists and data extensions as you need. You populate the input in the lists and data extensions when you add or import subscribers.
  • A/B Testing & Test Sends: One of the most revered features of SFMC is the ability to test messages in real-time before triggering actual campaigns. A/B testing allows marketers to create two versions of an email and send it to two sets of audiences. A/B testing enables testing of every aspect of the email: its subject line, target group, content, template, or time. You can also use the “Subscriber Preview” feature to preview email as a specified subscriber and test send it to the subscriber.
  • Email Tracking: Tracking in email studio lets users track the effectiveness of email design and send by enabling the ability to analyze parameters like Clicks and opens, sections of the email viewed, a conversion tracking for links added to the mail, and explore the actual-time performance of emails. Users can generate a report, create a list/data extension, extract results to excel, or share via email. Users can also compare the tracking results for an email with overall email rates.

How much does the Salesforce Email Studio cost?

  • Basic - Starting at $ 400 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Pro - Starting at $ 1,250 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Corporate– Starting at $ 3,750 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Enterprise – Quote based

Mobile Studio

Salesforce Mobile Studio

Mobile Studio lets users design personalized mobile messaging for different devices. The functionalities of Mobile Studio are categorized into three components.

  • Group Connect: Group Connect allows marketers to design and create messaging apps like LINE and Facebook messenger. Group Connect enables the notifications to be linked with Content Builder and Journey Builder. Users can also track messaging activities and maintain Contact subscriptions.
  • Mobile Connect: Mobile connect enable users to design targeted text and MMS messages. Mobile Connect also allows real-time response to incoming messages and track responses.
  • Mobile Push: Mobile push allows you to send mobile app notifications to customers who have installed the mobile app. And you can include these in your campaigns along with other communication channels.

Journey Builder

Salesforce Journey Builder

Journey Builder is the most powerful feature provided by Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It gives the ability to design and plan complex Campaigns right on a Canvas interface. Using Journey Builder, marketers can create Campaigns specific to different Customer journeys for a brand.

Marketing Cloud Journey Builder

  • Journey Builder Template: Users can start using a Salesforce or shared Journey template from the Template gallery in Journey Builder. Users can also select to get Best practice guidance while working on the journey.
  • Entry Sources: Each journey has an Entry source that defines the trigger point for the trip. Users can use the canvas to set entry sources: a Data extension, audience list, Salesforce event, API events from external systems, Google Analytics 360 list, or Marketing cloud event ( Contact event, Cloud pages form submission, Contact Builder event, etc.)
  • Canvas Activities: Once the entry source has been defined for a campaign, the next step is to define a step-by-step list of the activities executed. Users can drag and drop from the extensive list of actions provided.
  • Message Activities: email, SMS, LINE message, push notification, inbox messages, in-app messages, or any other form of content sent to contacts
  • Split Activities: Split activities lets users define the criteria to divide the contacts to pass along different nodes on the journey
  • Contact Update: System update on existing Contact details
  • Sales & Service Activities: If your org. Has Marketing Cloud Connect setup, users can have activities performing actions in related Sales/Service Cloud instance
  • Custom Activities: Marketers can have custom activities defined and applied with developer efforts
  • Goal Settings: Journey Builder supports defining goals for Contacts flowing through the journeys by adding Goal criteria as filters. Once the journey has been activated, the system will detect when a contact reaches the defined Goal and add it to Goal statistics

How much does the Salesforce Journey Builder cost?

  • Basic - Starting at $ 400 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Pro - Starting at $ 1,250 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Corporate– Starting at $ 3,750 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Enterprise – Quote based

Interaction Builder

Salesforce Interaction Builder

Interaction Builder lets users generate real-time insights on the following best action and orchestration of the journeys. Invoke interactions from Automation Studio to retrieve the next best decision for your email campaigns, offers, or Journey Builder journeys; synchronize keys other than contact key in data extensions, or send activity history gathered from Marketing Cloud channels or non-Marketing Cloud channels.

Data & Advertising Products

Salesforce Advertising Studio

Advertising Studio: SFMC enables users to combine their marketing goals with advertising. Advertising studio enables marketers to communicate with existing customers using Youtube, Instagram, and other social advertising channels and reach out to inactive users with advertisements. One of the key features of advertising studio is finding “Look-alike” users with existing user behavior who severe as qualified leads for new prospects.

How much does the Salesforce Advertising Studio cost?

  • Professional - Starting at $ 2,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)

Advertising Audience: Using this feature, marketers can use existing subscriber data to identify look-alike prospects, re-engage inactive subscribers and reach existing customers with personalized offerings. Marketers can target their digital advertising campaigns across Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Google Ads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Partner networks such as Salesforce DMP, LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Viant, and Neustar can be utilized.

Journey Builder Advertising: Journey Builder advertising lets users create and trigger Facebook advertisements from journey builder

Lead Capture: The lead capture feature allows users to create a Lead capture form and store results in that extension for future messaging

Social Media Products

Salesforce Social Studio

Social Studio: Social Studio enables Content Marketers to execute real-time engagements on Social media. Below is a list of social media components:

  • Admin - Manage administrative functions from one location like the user, topic profile, social account, macro, and user management. You can also manage settings for your organization. Connect existing Salesforce Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud accounts to integrate Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud.
  • Publish - Enables you to create and publish content, at scale, across channels, and in near real-time.
  • Engage - Engage allows Community Managers to moderate and join conversations started with Publish content. Use classification and workflow controls to manage any social engagement scale, enabling more complex use cases such as Social Customer Service and lead generation.
  • Analyze - To monitor multiple social accounts and topic profiles, monitor discussions from owned social reports and broader social news. Create custom dashboards. Dashboards can be printed as a PDF for hardcopy records and sharing.
  • Einstein - Use artificial intelligence to classify incoming images automatically. Einstein can organize the images by setting food, logo, scene, and object classifiers. The data returned can provide deeper insights into what is essential and discuss your brand.

How much does the Salesforce Social Studio cost?

  • Basic - Starting at $ 1,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Pro - Starting at $ 4,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Corporate– Starting at $ 12,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Enterprise – Starting at $ 40,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)

Data Measurement & Analytics Solution

Data Measurement & Analytics features are the latest additions to SFMC offerings and are designed to provide greater data visibility to marketers to run targeted Campaigns.

Salesforce Datorama

Datorama: Datorama enables Marketers to have One source of truth for all their marketing communication sources. It improves the Marketing process by providing AI-based insights on a real-time data extract from a central location and reflecting it on a connected customer journey.

How much does the Salesforce Datorama cost?

  • Starter - Starting at $ 3,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Growth - Starting at $ 10,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Plus - Quote based

Salesforce Google Analytics 360

Google Analytics 360: This feature allows users to link Marketing Cloud details with Google Analytics securely. By enabling a merge of SFMC’s deep marketing expertise with advanced Google Analytics, the integration brings up the Best of both worlds for Marketers.

Together, these modules create a one-stop-shop for all the Marketing needs, tightly coupled with downstream CRM processes in CRM world. That’s why it has a Customer Satisfaction rate of 99% (https://alternatives.financesonline.com/p/salesforce-marketing-cloud/)

Salesforce CDP

Salesforce CDP
As a marketer, you need to be data-first if you want to be relevant and engage with customers who are now digital-first. The Salesforce Customer Data Platform (CDP) unifies your data and gives you more intelligent and actionable insights. It provides marketers a single source of truth for every customer to create personalized experiences across marketing, commerce, service, sales, and more.

How much does the Salesforce CDP cost?

  • Corporate - Starting at $ 12,500 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Enterprise - Starting at $ 50,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Enterprise Plus - Starting at $ 65,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)


Salesforce Pardot

Pardot is a SaaS-based marketing automation tool offered by Salesforce which covers advanced capabilities like Email Campaigning, lead nurturing & management, website tracking, social media marketing, and others. Apart from email and campaigns management activities, Pardot offers excellent analytics capabilities like its website analytics, campaign analytics, customer behavior tracking, lead tracking, marketing ROI tracking, and others. It also provides standard reports that can be configured to reflect analytics details and pre-built dashboards to reflect campaign performance and other information visually. Read our What is Salesforce Pardot? and have in-depth knowledge about its features.

How much does the Salesforce Pardot cost?

  • Growth - Starting at $ 1,250 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Plus - Starting at $ 2,500 org/USD/month (billed yearly)
  • Advanced - Starting at $ 4,000 org/USD/month (billed yearly)

Can you integrate your data with Sales Cloud?

Salesforce provides a connector called “Marketing Cloud Connect” that helps sync sales Cloud data in Marketing Cloud. This is available as an AppExchange app that you can install in your Sales Cloud org and connect to Marketing Cloud. You can one-way sync both standard objects and custom objects data from Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud.

But if you want to send your Marketing cloud data to Sales Cloud, you have to rely on API calls. You can do simple API calls from SFMC to update Sales Cloud data.

Who uses the Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Major companies across the globe, like Amazon and Walmart, use the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. According to Apps Run The World, the Banking and Financial services are the primary users of this cloud-based solution.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud industry usage
The industry category reportedly has a 17.7% share, and Professional Service ranked second at 15.5%.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud country usage
In terms of usage by country, the United States had a significant share of 77.9%.

The Marketing Cloud benefits both enterprise-level companies to small and medium businesses. You can customize it based on your company’s specific needs.

Top Benefits of Salesforce Marketing Cloud for Marketers

The ability to eliminate manual processes that take time is the most significant benefit of having a CRM. You’ll have a unified platform for everything you need to run and monitor your marketing campaigns from start to finish. But beyond running outstanding campaigns, you can also increase your loyal fanbase and be more present. Here are more reasons why every marketer should be using Salesforce Marketing Cloud today:

Have a piece of in-depth knowledge about your customers: See the bigger picture when you connect your data from different sources and devices, giving you more information about your customer’s purchase behavior.

Personalize customer journeys with artificial intelligence: With the help of AI, you can integrate and organize your Marketing Cloud data and combine it with Einstein tools. Therefore, the platform enables you to customize your communication to every customer based on their relationship with your company.

Be present and create interest across every journey: Generate awareness that leads to conversion during the whole process and get suggestions on the best you can offer to every customer.

Get a more comprehensive analysis on the most critical data: Using artificial intelligence and Google Analytics 360, you can track and measure results from your different marketing channels in one platform.

Comparison - Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Others

Below is an analysis of the key alternatives to Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Parameters HubSpot Marketing Adobe Marketing Cloud Salesforce Marketing Cloud Marketo Mailchimp
Platform Supported Web based Web based Web based, Mobile Web based, Mobile Web based, Mobile
Suitable For Freelancers, Small & Mid size business, Enterprise Small & Mid size business, Enterprise Small & Mid size business, Enterprise Small & Mid size business, Enterprise Freelancers, Small & Mid size business
Support Phone, Online, Knowledge , Tutorial Online, Knowledge , Tutorial Phone, Online, Knowledge , Tutorial Phone, Online, Knowledge , Tutorial Phone, Online, Knowledge , Tutorial
Comms Channels Email Email, Mobile Push, SMS Email, SMS, Mobile Push, LINE Email, Mobile Email
User Experience Sample +++ ++ +++ ++ +++++
Predefined Integrations 400-450 30-50 100-120 350-400 1000+
Price Range Starts at $70 per month (Starter version) to $4480 per month (Enterprise version). Has a free version. Pricing is on a custom basis and will vary depending on the company’s size and needs Based on number of contacts and messages your organization sends using the platform. $895 per month (Basic) to $3,195 per month (Elite) A basic free version for entry level to 299$ per month.


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iTechArt Group has more than ten years of experience in delivering customer-centric and next-gen Salesforce solutions. Their team comprises 80+ certified Salesforce Consultants, Architects, and Developers who have the necessary skills to dive into your Salesforce implementation needs. They provide a full range of Salesforce consulting services from consulting on implementation, migrating the existing solution to Salesforce or integration with third-party tools, configuration and customization, audit services, custom development, staff augmentation, full support, and managed services.

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Manish Thaduri
Salesforce Technical Architect - Singapore Dev Group Leader - Blogger - SFDCFANBOY.com - Instructor - Speaker