The best of the Marketing Cloud in 2020

We have just said goodbye to a special year in which we had to deal with unexpected events. We were used to our balances but they have been upset and the forecasts made for 2020 have been questioned, also in the field of marketing communications and customer engagement.

More than in the past, it’s time to look at the results, and so we have tried to do so, highlighting the best of what happened at the Marketing Cloud last year.

It was immediately apparent that social distancing called brands to new challenges, and in many cases accelerated digitalisation processes that had been postponed or put on hold.

The importance of customer relationships and the continuity of the relationship over time has gained strength. Brands have been forced to take every opportunity to communicate in the best possible way. Contact methods have been revised, timeframes have been changed and the management of increasingly high expectations has been modified.

Brands have thus realised how crucial it is to have the right tools: technologies and experts who team up and support them to accompany their customers during the purchasing phase and in the loyalty process, offering memorable experiences.

Let’s take a look at what happened in 2020 and try to get ideas to start again together for a breakthrough 2021!

 

Smartworking, (smart)platform.

Smartworking_2020When your brand has been smartworking, Contactlab’s Marketing Cloud has been a valuable ally in providing continuity in customer relationship management.

From the office or at home, day or night, with or without technical knowledge, at all levels of the company, a platform that is always available, up-to-date and within everyone’s reach. Accessible from any device or browser, with any type of connection and at any time of day. The brands have been able to really appreciate and understand how much the business survival can depend on the reliability of the available tools. We have put and continue to put everything at our disposal on the table so that business does not stop despite everything.

 

What the health emergency teaches to marketing engagement.

Personalized experienceThe Marketing Cloud has not only facilitated smartworking but has always provided what is needed to ensure a prompt response to new consumer needs and demands. The year 2020 teaches us that brands cannot do without paying attention to time management – timeliness and speed of communications and operations, to the quality of the relationship with the customer – unique and recognised across different channels, to the satisfaction of expectations – personalisation, attention to detail and fulfilment of promises. We must learn together from the past and renew our commitment to the future.

 

The personalisation of marketing campaigns made each relationship unique.

Personalization_2020

The Marketing Cloud has accompanied marketers in personalising their customer relationships. Through deep consumer knowledge, target profiling, automated customer experiences and omnichannel marketing, you were able to instantly recognise contacts at every opportunity, optimise communication time, maximise dialogue points and make your relationship unique. Your contacts understood that you were taking care of them.

Consumers are coming out of the emergency with an ever higher demand for attention, an immediate response to their searches, minimal time to process requests… they want to be heard immediately and managed consistently across all channels.

 

When traffic and orders on your ecommerce site increased, you were ready…

ecommerce & marketing automation…because you chose marketing automation! The pandemic has turned the world of shopping upside down and if at first we were forced to buy online, at a later stage we chose it. Analysts agree that the use of ecommerce will remain widespread post-pandemic. In 2020, the number of online transactions increased significantly, and this was more evident in products than in services. Brands have resorted to all the means necessary to manage a relationship that has moved from the store to the digital world. The Contactlab Marketing Cloud has followed you and supported you in the management of your ecommerce during the various stages of the sales cycle: promotional, purchase, post-purchase or abandonment, during the shipment of goods or customer care… often repetitive and standardised activities. This is precisely why it became vital to automate operations as much as possible, even the simplest ones, during a difficult time when it was necessary to concentrate energies and channel resources. The strong link between ecommerce and marketing automation became apparent.

 

You gained the attention of your contacts at first sight.

Email_editor_2020

Consumers were heavily pressured by brands, they received many emails and the challenge was to capture their attention in a few moments. Contactlab’s email editors’ journey towards excellence has continued, and in 2020 we’ve offered you some great new features to make your work even easier and more intuitive while increasing the possibility of obtaining attractive emails in just a few clicks. Automatic import of your product data from the catalogue, different templates for desktop and mobile, changes to the email structure with a simple drag & drop, tags in the titles to create hierarchies even in the display of your HTML, real-time preview of your communications… these are just some of the releases we have put in place for you, and not only for the transactional communications that the distancing has imposed on you, but also for HTML to be used in your plans or in your customers’ journeys to fuel your dialogue, boost the conversion of your ecommerce visits into purchases, reduce the risk of abandonment, and increase the loyalty of your customers.

 

You have ensured that your reputation is always at the highest level for emails straight in the inbox!

Customers couldn’t get into your stores as much as you would have liked and so you found a way to go to them…digitally, revising the way you do email, intensifying contact opportunities and improving the quality of each appointment. But what good would all this have been if emails hadn’t reached the inbox of your contacts? So you have learned that not all malbox service providers behave in the same way; or how to improve the delivery rate to Gmail accounts which represent a large proportion of your recipients; or how, alongside an excellent tool for sending emails, Contactlab also offers experience and expertise to put in place actions that keep your brand reputation high; you have learned the meaning of terms such as DKIM, SPF and DMARC and how to use them to optimise your deliveries.

And you’ve discovered once again how the Marketing Cloud is the right partner for these adventures: from content creation and feedback management to deliverability and brand reputation. So that the final destination of your emails is always your customers’ inbox.

Gmail deliverability

You have counted on marketing automation that goes beyond sending newsletters: personalised, multi-channel, real-time journeys.

Mktg Automation infographic In recent years, marketing automation has revolutionised digital communication by reducing the time and distance between brands and consumers. The opportunity to automate was widely seized during the health emergency to keep continuous communication channels open. Automating has meant optimising all the customer relationship activities – think of the entire ecommerce world – reducing the dispersion of energy and improving engagement. Contactlab has focused a great deal on this area, considering it the activation engine of an engagement platform. An intelligent engine where you can orchestrate the customer journey with excellent content tested before use, effective and verified flows for enhanced promotion and refined targets, perhaps based on online purchasing behavior. Imagine how many engagement strategies you can put in place with data at your disposal, processing it to better understand your audience and profiling it to dialogue at the right time and in the right channels, on topics of real interest.

 

You have experienced a new UI with the latest design system.

Design_System_2020When choosing a platform, it often happens that much attention is paid to the features it offers and how it meets one’s needs. Usability, on the other hand, is left in the background. In a year like 2020 when platform usage has increased significantly, your marketeers could see how wrong this is. With the Marketing Cloud they have benefited from a renewed interface that has allowed them on the one hand to navigate between the functions in a more immediate and intuitive way, saving time, and on the other hand to be more effective and efficient in their daily operations with a significant reduction in the resources used. We have worked to give continuity to the process of constant improvement of the UI by reviewing labels, structures and elements and inserting components that guide users into the platform.

 

You have offered access to unique, enriched, updated and real-time customer profiles for all your business, marketing and other needs.

By using the Marketing Cloud you have realised that while collecting every possible piece of information about your contacts is of paramount importance, having huge amounts of unstructured data collected on separate systems far away from each other makes it unusable and of little value.

After Gartner and the CDP Institute, the platform has received another award that places it among the world’s leading partners for Customer Data Platform projects. Quadrant Solutions highlighted the features of the platform that make it a true CDP: the creation of single customer views, profiling and immediate availability of information. In addition, having an engineered CDP – i.e., one that has been conceived and designed to work seamlessly with Marketing Automation tools – allows brands to immediately activate data for your multichannel campaigns or customised customer journeys.

CDP_2020

The hope of a breakthrough 2021.

We have already planned a lot of new things for the new year. We are learning that the world of digital marketing and customer engagement has changed and is constantly evolving. The platform is moving in precisely this direction, taking into account new variables that have emerged in the health emergency: new time management and new expectations on timing, a new way of using content, the strengthening of new purchasing and relationship channels, different needs and requirements. Contactlab renews its commitment to be at your side with a combination of technology and services that can make the difference for your business. Trust us, together we will face a great 2021. Contact us now.

 

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Do you want to see how your emails will be displayed just as you create them?

On desktop and mobile devices and for different mail and web clients?

In the next few days the latest web clients will be added to the long list of existing systems on which you have the possibility to preview in real time the email you are drawing. Exactly as your customers will see it!

You can do it directly in Send with a simple click, using the Instant Preview feature, without exiting the application to open and use an external tool. You can find the feature inside the wizard to create your delivery, accessible through a grey button.  

 

 

 

If the display doesn’t work correctly and there are changes to make, you can do them immediately in Send by requesting the generation of a new preview to check the result. The thumbnails of the email, open on different clients, are ready in a few seconds. You can also refine the request by filtering by client or by choosing a specific device or operating system in the drop-down menu.

By clicking on the desired thumbnail, the preview of the message is enlarged to its actual size. You can also get the horizontal view reproduced when the mobile device is rotated!

The new features introduced allow you to get previews for Outlook, Office 365, Gmail, AOL, Google Gapps and Comcast web clients on Edge, Firefox and Chrome.

And that’s not all: for the Outlook web client, the preview in Dark Mode has also been introduced, that is increasingly used by your customers.

If you still don’t use this feature, you can already try it directly in Send without requiring activation. In fact, every company has ten free previews available. Once they are sold out, you can decide whether to subscribe to the service and continue using it. For more information, contact your Contactlab representative or Customer Service.

 

 

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Change size to email template columns in one click!

From October 26th, 2020 a new feature of the Email Designer editor is available in Send. It extends the benefits of its adoption and allows the creation of emails with ease.

What can you do with this release?

Flexible columns

Thanks to a widget provided within the column properties, it is possible:

  • To add.
  • To resize.
  • To delete

columns with a simple mouse movement, all in real-time and no need for technical skills.

What does it mean?

With this release you are able to manage the size of your columns in seconds and change the structure whenever you need it.

 

 

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Test different strategies in the same automation – Release Flow UI v.2.34.0 and API v.2.25.0-24

From October 26th, 2020, a new Flow version is available.
The release is planned between 2:00 and 2:30 pm CEST.

What can you do with this release?

Step SplitSelect the condition to enter the flow and design an automation creating different flows. Test them and choose the most efficient one to achieve your goal.

Thanks to the new step split, you are able to build different but parallel paths, verify the winning one and block the others. In this way you can decide to address your contacts with a personalized journey, tailored to specific characteristics and habits but above all that has proven to work compared to other alternatives used in the test phase.Customer Journey: AB test

In fact, at any point of the journey you can decide to enter the A/B test step and continue with different content, actions, times, pauses, channels, conditions, controls, etc. to understand which option obtains the best results.

What does this mean?

Have more confidence that your customer journeys are successful and that the variables selected are the most correct for your results.

Imagine you want to launch a fundraising campaign for Christmas. Before you officially launch it, leverage your most loyal donors to understand which message could be the most interesting. On the one hand, you address some of them through interviews with doctors and healthcare professionals; on the other hand, through testimonials from patients and relatives. Same communication channel – email – but different content.

Or again, you decide to launch a campaign of discounts and promotions for the upcoming holidays season and you select two ways of approaching customers with email: in one case the sender is the shop where your contacts buy most frequently, in the other an email address created specifically for this occasion.

In short, whatever the choice, design your automations, check the results and decide which one to continue with no need to create the winning journey again.

 

 

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Flow release API v.2.24.0-14

From October 2nd, 2020, a new Flow version is available.
The release is planned between noon and 12:30 pm CEST.

The new versions include some minor bug fixes that enhance the application.

 

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Your products: from the catalog to your emails automatically! – Send Pagebuilder Release v.1.9.0

We haven’t stopped our activity during the Summer and a new Pagebuilder feature is now available for boosting your emails. Contactlab’s email editor is enhanced to help you produce sophisticated and engaging communication, elevating it to higher levels thanks to the support of our creatives!

What can you do with this release?

You can choose to populate the fields of your email with data about your products – name, short description, price, etc.. – in a fully automatic way.

 

How it works

In the list of modules visible on the left of the workspace and present in the template that you gradually enrich and update with information to build your email, you will find a space dedicated to products. Step 1
 

 

Clicking on the module, it opens a window in which you can select the product code of your interest. You also have the possibility, in addition to the product, to choose the language in which you want the text to appear. Stepp 2
 

 

Confirming it, all the data related to that product, automatically appear in your email exactly in the position you have chosen in advance with the contribution of our experts. Step 3

What does it means?

From now on you can create emails with a higher level of content customization and fully automatically. Reduce time and optimize operations.

Choose texts, images, CTAs, layouts and allow your products to move from the catalog to the emails in a snap of a finger!

Call us now. The new feature is already available but it must be activated by our team of experts on the specific email template you wish to work on.

 

 

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Send test for each email step in your journey – Flow release API v.2.23.0-923 and UI v.2.32.0

From August 19th, 2020, a new Flow version is available.
The release is planned between noon and 01:00 pm CEST.

What can you do with this release?

Send test emails to the addresses you want and each time you modify a template in your journey so that you can see the result immediately and make the appropriate changes before the actual delivery.

Thanks to this release you can customize text items of your communications and see how it looks like immediately by sending test emails to whoever you want. And you can do it for every single email step in your automation.

The goal is to streamline the test phase in particular in the management of variables in order to reduce the time required for the entire operation. Doing everything in the area dedicated to Marketing Automation means you no longer need to configure the event – i.e. the variable – in the Hub section because you will have everything immediately available during the creation of the journey.

You will test the graphics and effectiveness of your emailings instantly and within the same platform functionality!

How it works

CTAWhen you create a new step characterized by the send email action, and only after you have inserted the content of the template, the Create new test button will be enabled in blue.

At that point you can click it and choose who to send the test to.

 

 

What does this mean?

A huge support especially in case of complex journeys. You no longer have to wait for the creation of the entire flow but you can test the individual emails in the journey, whenever you need it and directly in the marketing automation tool.

 

 

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Access your contact profiles more quickly – Hub UI Release v.2.0.0

From July 1st, 2020 the new Hub version is available.
The release is planned between 11.00 am and 11.30 am CEST.

What does this release enable you to do?

The project of the platform interface evolution has not stopped even in the moment of health emergency and continues its run. We have been working for several months to improve our customers’ customer experience and we have now come to another new step. We are moving together towards a renewed Contactlab Marketing Cloud UI in order to build and review it together and create the most suitable, agile and streamlined working environment for users. A work that by its nature is constantly active.

 

New Hub UI

 

It’s now the turn of the Hub access page, the feature dedicated to the creation and management of unique integrated profiles for each contact. By typing the direct link now you can decide whether to browse the previous stand-alone version of Hub or enter the complete platform. From the release, the only option available will be the Contactlab Marketing Cloud UI.

What does this mean?

With this release you’ll be able to work in an integrated environment and navigate through the various platform features in a contextually, without changing applications and leaving the environment. The different work areas are all conveniently presented in a side menu that will allow you to create your campaigns more easily, intuitively and immediately.

Moreover, thanks to this release, the Admin of your company will be able to enable new colleagues in the team to use the Contactlab Marketing Cloud, in full autonomy directly on the platform and without the Customer Service support.

 

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One automation, many flows – Flow UI Release v.2.27 and API v.2.20.0-837

From May 5th, 2020, a new Flow version is available.
The release is planned between noon and 12:30 pm CEST.

What does this release enable you to do?

It becomes possible to express conditions based on relative dates on the attributes of the profile date and events date within the source or in the checks of your journey

Let’s try to see it better with an example.

Two traveler friends have both entered your automation after subscribing to the new newsletter that you have designed to support your contacts in the post lockdown. An appointment that newsletter after newsletter helps them to understand the good practices to implement and the warnings to follow, in order to leave safely and compliant.

Flow: relative datesOne of them, however, is an old contact, a customer for years who already follows you on many communication channels. You know that he is a skilled climber, he often stays in mountain villages and travels a lot on his own during the weekend. The other one is a new entry and you know that he is a friend of the first one because the subscription to the newsletter was suggested by him through “share” CTA. In filling out the subscription form he was accurate and left you a lot of information: he loves long distance trips, his favorite destinations are the tropical seas and above all he always travels with his family composed of two adults and two children under 6 years old.

You are therefore faced with two people who have subscribed to the same service – the post-lockdown newsletter – and therefore left for them the same journey but:

  • They’ve been among your contacts for a different time, from different dates.
  • They have different interests.

You can therefore prepare the same automation for them but once they have started, you can plan different actions and/or communications, in different times and ways, all depending on the fact that they have entered your db at different dates.

The same logic could be applied to many other scenarios basing the condition for example on the moment of the first purchase or the date of a future departure or other data that could be relevant for your goal.

How it works

Let’s take our example. Suppose we choose, as we said, the date of the subscription in the db for creating the condition and deciding in which branch of the automation each contact enters.

In the profile the DATA_INSCRIPTION attribute collects the information you need and then in the source or in the flow checks you can enter a condition of this type:

“DATA_SUBSCRIPTION” “greater than” “(today) -6 months”.

which means that, in order to be verified, the condition requires that at the time of its evaluation – i.e. today – the customer has been subscribed for less than 6 months.

Flow: source Flow: conditions

 

As the first friend, the climber, has been in your db since February 2015, he does not respect the above condition. He will continue in your automation in the B branch, will receive important information for the post lockdown dedicated to all but also specific content reserved only for the most obsolete contacts such as a survey to qualify and update all his data perhaps in exchange for coupons on his next trip.

The sea lover, on the other hand, only entered your db in March 2020. He responds perfectly to the condition set. His journey will continue in branch A, he will receive the same information as his friend on the post lockdown but among the proposed content he will find a box dedicated to the stories of customers who have already experienced the thrill of traveling with you in exotic destinations and a welcome coupon to be used within 6 months after the end of the lockdown.

What does this mean?

Further increase the quality of your flows by refining the conditions that allow you to better manage time and content. You can also customize the travel of each contact according to when an action has been taken or an event has occurred.

 

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