is Salesforce marketing cloud the right choice?

Often Salesforce Marketing Cloud is looked as expensive investment over other marketing cloud products, and as not the best fit for every customer who has marketing automation needs. With this article we are trying to put forward how wrong that is.

I am an IT professional. I have been working as a Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultant since 2012, when Salesforce had just acquired ExactTarget. Its been an amazing journey so far, but let me tell you something interesting.

After acquisition, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has received a total of $384.6M in funding ( and it continues to grow, which is great!

However, from time to time (way too often), I hear negative feedback about Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC). It is (mostly) a personal opinion of people who had never worked with SFMC or heard something from their colleagues, friends, relatives or managers. I don’t treat this information credible, so I can’t trust it.

To satisfy my curiosity, and to hear people out, I use a website Finance Online – Review for the business (

The website looks credible and has quite a high rank in the USA internet ratings.

I was looking for Salesforce marketing cloud review and fond a very high user satisfaction rating


I have found 33 reviews and focused on reviews with ranks 3 and 4

N Company size Review Date What aspects are problematic or could work better?  
1 More than 100 Employees
Industry: Financial Services
October 10, 2018 Currently, I am not using the new version for my business. It might be a challenge for the solutions of the HTML accessibility, but still, it’s not easy to use the email wizard. I am not being able to sort the content again and this is a great problem, though I have been said that it will be addressed soon.
2 11-50 Employees
Industry: Marketing and Advertising
May 30, 2018 The only disadvantage is you have to perform a lot of steps to send an email. This takes up plenty of time.
3 More than 100 Employees
Industry: Professional Training
December 26, 2017 The thing that I am not comfortable with is the learning concept. With the Salesforce system one has to learn newer ways for performing old activities.  
4 More than 100 Employees
Industry: Dairy
April 25, 2018 Since we are located in Pacific Atlantic time, it is a bit annoying to use the Calendar/Publish feature with dates and adding content and notes. Plus, I wish we could add customizable colors for different business units and activities.
5 More than 100 Employees
Industry: Marketing and Advertising  
March 2, 2018 For a part-time digital marketer, Exact Target might not prove out to be an apt system. There is a great variety of features with this system and these require more time to learn as compared to the other products of the market. The scripts can be a little hard to learn and this can hinder some of the solutions.
6 More than 100 Employees
Industry: Computer Software
April 13, 2018 There is a lack of organization in the service team. The support team is full of wonderful people but the process of answering the queries is a little complicated and slow. The system down has been faced a number of times and this has lead to the missing of deadlines and a lot of time has been wasted, with a number of good stories losing a chance to get marketed. Thus, SFMC has been given poor reviews for adoption rates.
7 More than 100 Employees
Industry: Computer Software
April 14, 2018 The user interface is not insightful in all the cases and sometimes even the tasks that are alike are performed in a different manner in diverse parts of the application. The application is evidently developed and additions are being made in it every now and then thus, this hampers the steadiness of the user interface.

It is quite interesting that people who gave 3 in the product review are comfortable to recommend the product to other customers

People who gave 4 in the product review are also e comfortable to recommend the product to other customers

It is also interesting that no one has complained about the product price or cost efficiency.

To summarize my findings I couldn’t see any serious issues with the product itself.

What I have found is:

  1. People are not always satisfied with the customer support
  2. The product is complex and it is not easy to use from a marketer perspective
  3. The system was down a few times (infrastructure issue)
  4. People are unhappy with the current training.

All other issues are minor, like annoying Calendar/Publish features, the steadiness of the user interface.

I can agree that the customer support is not always helpful when a customer start asking questions about SQL queries, Scripts, etc.  I can understand it because the first level of support does need to have a deep knowledge of SQL queries, AMPscript or SSJS script. You need to reach the next level of support to get your questions answered and it can take time. That’s why the role of a Salesforce partner is important. It can help here. All custom development including SQL queries, scripts can be performed and supported by a Salesforce partner or qualified consultants.

There is no doubt that Salesforce Marketing Cloud is not for everyone. It is a luxury car with a complex dashboard. You can only drive 40 km/h on a highway if you are not familiar with a car and its dashboard. However, if you are familiar, you can enjoy your driving and go up to 200 miles an hour (and get fined). Complexity is a challenge and it is good described in the article “Five Ideas for Optimizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connect

Another challenge is that capturing cross-platform data and delivering personalized messaging is easier said than done. It involves technical skills not often found in a marketer’s job description. Skills like writing APIs, working with Javascript, and managing complex data sets are now a necessity for modern marketing departments. Since those skill sets are traditionally housed in IT, challenges emerge as marketers become reliant on tech stakeholders for getting daily tasks completed.”

To be successful with SFMC implementation both client and consultant should have a clear picture and good understanding of all tasks.

I think one of the issues in SFMC implementation is ability to explain all SFMC features in simple words. It should be a bridge between a SFMC client and a Salesforce partner or a consultant.

Below is an example taken from one the websites ( which tries to explain what SFMC is

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Is your business working with a high volume and high interaction product like retail or ecommerce? Do you have hundreds of thousands of combinations of data points and need to personalise your customer experiences at scale? You’re also looking to incorporate your point of sale and your online store and combine these data sets into a better understand of your consumers’ behaviour

What can Salesforce Marketing Cloud Do

Salesforce Marketing Cloud acts as the marketing extension of the Salesforce CRM system but can also operate on its own as an email marketing platform outside of a direct Salesforce set up. The Marketing Cloud is designed to allow businesses that send high frequency communications which leverage existing and predictive data points to deliver custom and personalised email marketing.

I don’t think these paragraphs are clear enough and will attract a customer. Most of the marketers I was working with have little or zero technical skills.  I don’t think that “combinations of data points” will make sense to them. 

I also doubt if the definition of SFMS as “Salesforce Marketing Cloud acts as the marketing extension of the Salesforce CRM” makes sense to a marketer who had never heard about Salesforce CRM.  To implement SFMC you do not need to have Salesforce CRM.  SFMC can be implemented with any CRM or with no CRM at all.

All Marketing cloud products are good enough for their purpose.

In the same way as there are no good or bad programming languages, but there are good and bad programmers, so there no good or bad marketing cloud product, but there are good and bad marketing cloud implementations.

This article is a combined effort from Digital Aquila Team. If you want to get the most out of your Marketing Cloud, if you want to get it right, reach out to us now: