Setting Up Marketing Cloud Quickly

If you are an university, you might be using and have either started to implement or are currently using Marketing Cloud. One of the challenges I hear is trying to identify where to start, what components need to be used, and how to implement the campaigns involving campus visits or high school visits. I see a many universities think that the bare minimal training for Marketing Cloud will suffice, or they just try it on their own “out of the box.” Unfortunately, this leads to wasted time trying to figure out how to get started and things get frustrating quickly. Here are a few tips to help you get started quickly:


Identify the data elements needed for your campaign.

If you’re doing a drip campaign for your university on a campus visit, most of the process flows are a sequence of emails which have to be generated for your prospective student. For instance, a 30 day email before the campus visit date, a 7 day remainder on the campus visit, a 1 day visit reminder on a day prior to the campus visit, and a thank you email after the campus day visit. Next, you need to put these sequence of email templates in the Marketing Cloud.

Prior to setting up anything, you want to identify the data elements which need to be personalized in the email, first name, last name, course, program of interest, etc, and identify the date elements which are needed to drive the campaign: the prospective student creation date, status , status change date etc. Once you’ve identified these data, the best method to integrate with Marketing Cloud is to create reports in Salesforce that will have all contact details, application details, and other elements needed for the campaign. Marketing cloud would query the Salesforce reports at regular intervals and populate the data in Salesforce data extensions in the marketing cloud.

Architect the marketing cloud

For an drip campaign which can be a campus visit campaign, the need is to generate a sequence of emails on specific days like day 30 , day 7 etc. To do this , you need the following components.

a. Master data extension

b. Data queries

c. Child data extension

d. Data filters

Master data extension would be a data extension in Marketing Cloud which would get all the initial master data of the prospective students from the Salesforce reports. Any changes in the contact record in Salesforce would be housed in the master data extension. Data queries would be created which would query the master data extension for specific campaign driven attributes like campaign start date, status change date, etc, and populate child data extensions based on the criteria. The child data extensions would have the data for campus visit campaign, high school visits, or event campaigns. Then you’d create data filters which would query from the child data extensions and send an email to the publication list. Publication list would manage the subscriber activity. You would want to use email ID or contact ID as the subscriber keys. The below diagram provides a sample architecture to implement for your campaign.


Integration with Salesforce

Once  the components in the marketing cloud are setup, there are 2 ways in which the student data can be pushed to the marketing cloud.

a. Using reports.

b. Data stream

You can create custom reports in Salesforce and create Marketing Cloud imports to pull data from Salesforce and populate the data extension. If you plan to use custom objects, you can use the new data stream feature which would pull data from Salesforce and automatically populate the data extensions in the marketing cloud.

Please feel free to post your comments or email me at for any questions you may have.