Inside the October 2020 Marketing Cloud Release: Your Guide to the Top Updates + Why They Matter


AllCloud Blog: Cloud Insights and Innovation

Salesforce Marketing Cloud just got more powerful.

The October 2020 release is chock full of updates designed to help marketing teams work smarter, more efficiently and more securely. With highly anticipated new features coming out of limited release, updates to help simplify and optimize how work gets done as well as important notices on deprecations of some older packages, there’s a lot to dig into with this release.

Top 6 Highlights from the October 2020 Marketing Cloud Release

With that in mind, here’s a look at the top updates coming to Marketing Cloud and our insight on why they matter.

1) Customer 360 Audiences are Widely Available

What is it? Customer 360 Audiences is coming out of limited release to be widely available. This feature offers a one-stop-shop for creating a single view of customers. While we’ve been able to stitch together similar capabilities and data through a variety of means before, Customer 360 Audiences offers a simpler and more standard way to do so through pre-built connectors for Marketing, Sales and Service Clouds and via data streams for Amazon S3.

As Salesforce describes it, this is the nirvana everyone has been looking for. “Customer 360 Audiences, [is an] enterprise-wide customer data platform solution, enabl[ing] marketers to capture, unify, segment and activate all their customer data. It provides marketers a single source of truth for customer data and makes that data available for creating personalized experiences across every touchpoint.”

Why does it matter? Marketing Cloud has always been on somewhat of an island as a result of having so many of its features sourced through acquisitions, most notably Salesforce’s ExactTarget acquisition. The Marketing Cloud Connector has never been incredibly user friendly if you are trying to pull a lot of relational data from Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, so this promise of a “single pane of glass” is a massive upgrade for organizations using multiple Salesforce clouds.

2) Interaction Studio: Triggers for Journey Builder Makes True 1-to-1 Marketing Possible

What is it? The Triggers for Journey Builder feature enables marketers to segment customers within Journey Builder in real time based on the actions they take across channels (email, mobile, website) and then trigger 1-to-1 communications based on those actions. With this update, you’re only limited by your creativity when it comes to what segments you can create and leverage in a journey.

Why does it matter? The ability to trigger a journey for anything that Interaction Studio tracks is a real game changer. True, 1-to-1 contextual marketing has always been what all teams aspire to achieve, but that “right person, right message, right time” ethos has been incredibly difficult to achieve at any sort of scale. This means the majority of contextual marketing has typically required a development team and is often difficult to update.

Think about your abandoned cart emails, for example. Nearly all companies have a standard template that gets triggered when customers leave a product in their cart, but what if you could segment that messaging based on factors like the amount or types of products in the cart, the customer’s gender or even their purchase history? How would your messaging change?

3) V2 of Marketing Cloud Connect Set to Retire March 31, 2021

What is it? V2 of the Marketing Cloud Connect package was rolled out nearly 15 years ago but many companies have never upgraded, so the fact that this package is set to retire in the next six months is a big deal. To determine if this retirement will affect your organization, you can identify which version is installed in your Salesforce org by navigating to Setup > Installed Packages. If you see a package named “Exact Target for App Exchange – 2007”, your company will be affected and must upgrade before the end of March 2021.

Why does it matter? Organizations using Sales or Service Cloud Enterprise or Unlimited Edition must upgrade to the latest version of Marketing Cloud Connect and turn on the Subscriber Key option in Marketing Cloud. While this sounds simple, it actually takes a lot of time and planning. It involves significantly more than just the flip of a switch, so if you are in this situation, we recommend reaching out now to Salesforce as well as AllCloud, as our dedicated team is well-positioned to help with this kind of heavy lift. 

Organizations that currently have a Salesforce Professional Edition must also upgrade their Sales or Service Cloud edition to either Enterprise or Unlimited to access the latest version of Marketing Cloud Connect. Basically, you will be forced to upgrade your core licenses if you want to continue to be connected. This may be a big price increase and you should begin planning for this now if you want to continue using the Connect package.

4) Sandbox for Datorama Introduces Dedicated Testing

What is it? Sandbox for Datorama offers a dedicated testing environment that adheres to the same data governance practices as Sales Cloud. Quite simply, it is a Sandbox that allows team members to collaborate and easily revert changes to test and learn quickly. It also makes it easy to securely deploy changes in bulk and onboard new admins without changing the production environment.

Why does it matter? A Sandbox? For a marketing product? Heresy! Marketers may not even know what a Sandbox is! We of course are kidding, but one of our Solution Engineers started his career at ExactTarget and to this day still calls himself a production cowboy, so there is some truth to this. 

What’s important to remember though is that we aren’t talking about copyable, easily deleted, disposable emails/data extensions/landing pages here. We are talking about live production data that’s used to make critical marketing decisions, and we don’t want to mess that up. As a result, we always recommend working in a Sandbox and following proper data governance procedures.   

5) Datorama Media Planning Center Helps Forecast Outcomes from Media Spend

What is it? The Datorama Media Planning Center helps create, manage and analyze media plans and uses Einstein to model scenarios and identify potential opportunities. With so many different marketing platforms, each with its own reporting structure, many companies struggle just to determine attribution for various channels and campaigns — let alone aligning that spend with the revenue it generates at the bottom of the funnel.

As a business intelligence tool, Datorama helps to corral all of those various channels and correlate them with revenue, whether that be from Salesforce or another system of record. This new advent of a bonafide media planning tool means your marketing team can now take that attribution model one step further by modeling how tweaks to spending and strategies will affect results.

Why does it matter? Media planning is complicated and is not an exact science. Channel interactions are not as simple as increasing spending on platforms that directly generate revenue and decreasing spending on underperforming channels. Success in this area, or lack thereof, is dependent on the interplay of your advertising mix, which involves everything from channels used for awareness and first touch to channels that excel at “closing” deals further down the funnel. 

Think of it as a pyramid: You can’t put the top stone on without the support of the lower stones, and if you take away even one layer, the structure is not as strong. The new Media Planning Tool will allow you to build all types of pyramids with different types and amounts of stones and will then use Einstein to give you an expected outcome. Awesome.

6) Advertising Studio: LinkedIn Company Matching Combines the Powerful Professional Data of LinkedIn with Salesforce First-Party Data

What is it? For a long time, we have been able to upload lists of accounts or other targeted information into LinkedIn to create matched audiences. Now, Advertising Studio: LinkedIn Company Matching leverages the data that already exists in Marketing Cloud or a connected Sales/Service Cloud installation so you can easily create matched or lookalike audiences for Accounts directly in Advertising Studio without ever leaving the platform or exporting data into Linkedin. 

Why does it matter? In short, this update improves efficiency and data security. Without this feature, it takes time to export, format, import and build audiences. Throughout this process, your data has to travel outside of your organization in a spreadsheet, which carries inherent risks. This update cuts down on the time it takes to create audiences and removes the risks of transferring data by eliminating the export/import step. 

Start Taking Advantage of the October 2020 Salesforce Marketing Cloud Release

The October 2020 release brings significant updates to Salesforce Marketing Cloud. While they will all result in increased value for your marketing program, many — most notably the imminent retirement of the V2 Marketing Cloud Connect package — require planning to get right. And now is the time to get started.

To learn more about the October 2020 Salesforce Marketing Cloud release and get tips on how to best take advantage of and plan for the latest updates, contact our experts.

Tyler Holmes

Salesforce Solution Engineer

Read more posts by Tyler Holmes