Setting up Marketing cloud Quickly for your high school and campus visits for Universities

If you are an university using salesforce and have started to implement marketing cloud or using marketing cloud, one of the challenges is to trying to identify where to start on the marketing cloud, what components to use and how to implement your campaigns involving  campus visits or high school visit. I understand most of the universities tend to think that the bare minimal training for marketing cloud will help them through on their journey or they tend to do it on their own. This leads to a lot of time getting wasted on where to start and how and results in frustrating conditions. This blog would help you to provide you a guideline to get started quickly.

Identify the data elements needed for your campaign.

If you are doing a drip campaign for your university on your campus visit , most of the process flows are a sequence of emails which have to be generated for your prospective student like a 30 day email before the campus visit date, 7 day remainder on the campus visit , 1 day visit remainder on a day prior to the campus visit and a thank you email after the campus day visit. Now these are sequence of email templates which need to setup in the marketing cloud.

Prior to setup anything, you want to identify the data elements which need to be personalized in the email like first name, last name, course, program of interest etc and identify the date elements which would be needed to drive the campaign like the prospective student creation date, status , status change date etc. Once you have identified the data elements in a spreadsheet, the best method to integrate with marketing cloud is to create reports in salesforce which would 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 and have it. 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. So the child data extensions would have the data for campus visit campaign, high school visits or event campaigns. Then you would create data filters which would query from the child data extensions and send email to the publication list. Publication list would manage the subscriber activity. You would want to use email id or contact id as the subcriber keys. The below diagram would provide you a sample architecture to implement for your campaign.

Marketing Cloud Architecture - SampleV1

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 which would pull data from salesforce and populate the data extension. If you plan to use custom objects in your salesforce, you can use the new data stream feature which would pull data from salesforce and automatically populate the data extensions in the marketing cloud.

Tracking results

After executing your email campaigns, all the tracking results in the form of click through , opens can be viewed as a report in the marketing cloud. These tracking results can be pushed to salesforce and can be viewed in the marketing cloud app on the salesforce side. One important thing to keep in mind is that when you design data extensions, you always should use salesforce data extensions instead of the marketing cloud data extensions. If this is not done, tracking results will not be synced back to Salesforce.

To summarize, here are the key takeaways when you setup marketing cloud

  • Plan to use one master data extension to get all student data and have child data extensions for each set of campaign needs.
  • Always use salesforce data extensions on the marketing cloud side
  • Use salesforce reports or data stream to push data from salesforce to marketing cloud.

Please feel free to post your comments or email me at for any further questions and I would be glad to answer it for you.

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Author: buyan47

Hi there! My name is Buyan Thyagarajan. I am a Salesforce consultant specializing in Higher Education, Manufacturing and Marketing Automation. My blogs will help you to maximize your Salesforce CRM investments, prevent problems beforehand and make the right decisions. If you need to talk to me right away, you can email me at or call me at 302-438-4097

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