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Getting The Most Out of Journey Builder


Journey Builder is the shiny Salesforce toy all marketers want for Christmas. It is a tool that can drive personalized, 1:1 communications with customers and prospects at scale. Now more than ever, it is essential that brands understand how effectively they are communicating with their customers. 

The trouble comes with knowing where to start. It can be difficult to jump right into the tool without having fully prepared and strategized around the proper data, channels, and KPIs. Here are a few tips we utilize at Lev when implementing journeys with our customers.

1. Start with a Roadmap

Understand what performance metrics you’re driving and reflect on your customer persona. A common question we hear is, “Does this need to be a journey or should it be an automation?” Our recommendation is to use journey builder when you’re trying to create an experience that you can measure and analyze.. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What goal am I trying to achieve? (X% Opens, X Survey Responses, etc.)
  • Who am I communicating with and what is the message I should be sending? (New Customers: “Welcome”;  Internal Employees “Important Information”)  
  • What channels can I utilize and which are most effective for this audience?
  • What data is needed to ensure the communications are intentional and personal? Where does that data live?

Once you’ve understood your answers to these questions, start to map out what you want the subscriber experience to be. Grab a whiteboard, notebook, or spare napkin if you have nothing else. Draw your map using arrows and sentences that describe what communications should be going out, what data is being used to drive follow-up communications, and what time restraints should be included. For a more detailed guide on how to start building a strategic Marketing Roadmap, click here.

2.  Understand, Integrate, and Optimize Your Data

Your company data is invaluable in driving successful marketing communications. What data health risks is your company facing: Duplicate contacts? No unique, global customer identifiers? Lack of data integration from essential systems? Knowing what data you have access to and what is still needed will help you understand where to start and how you can evolve. It is also important to understand compliance regulations your specific industry may require and ensure you have proper consent from your subscribers.

Utilizing data for Journey Builder requires a configured Marketing Cloud data model and a method of integration. Marketing Cloud supports API and flat-file ingestions as well as Cloudpage submissions. Additionally, if your company utilizes Sales/Service Cloud, installing the Marketing Cloud Connector allows you to utilize sales and service data to drive communications directly within Journey Builder. With the connector, you can also use journeys to update records in Salesforce to better understand how your customers are engaging with your marketing campaigns. 

3. Incorporate Multi-Channel Touchpoints

Your customers are likely already engaging with your brand through multiple channels (Email, SMS, app notifications, advertising, print, etc.). According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review on over 46,000 shoppers, 73% claimed to use multiple channels during their shopping experience. Incorporating multi-channel touch points in your journey allows you to meet your customers where they are and avoid customer exhaustion on a single channel. 

4. Don’t Just Turn it on and Let it Run; Analyze and Iterate

When planning journeys with our customers, we often recommend the shortest timeline to exit possible. Why? Because the longer it takes for your subscribers to complete a journey end-to-end, the longer it takes to measure how effective your journey actually is. Journey Builder allows for marketers to create multiple versions of a journey within the tool. This allows you to optimize and grow your journeys as you start to gather insights around how your subscribers are engaging. Start small and optimize as you measure success.

Once you’ve launched your journey, start to look at your metrics and strategize around how to improve. Seeing low open rates? Test multiple subject lines utilizing personalization, emojis, and assertive language to see what is the most impactful for your audience or try using Einstein STO. Is a specific channel performing more effectively than originally hypothesized? Perhaps your marketing communications would benefit from utilizing that channel more aggressively.  

Specifically with journeys, but in all marketing communications, make it as intentional and as thoughtful as possible and your customers will be grateful for it. 

About the Author
Lauren Donahue is a Solution Consultant and a graduate of Next Lev. Lauren earned her B.A. in Journalism and M.S. in Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University. Lauren began her journey with Lev as a Solution Architect, working directly with our clients to help them drive marketing success and achieve business goals using Salesforce. In her freetime, you can usually find her kayaking on the river or playing with her dog, Buck.