If, like me, you spend much of your working life using Pardot to help drive great marketing outcomes for organisations, then ParDreamin’ 2020 was a must attend event.
Held on 8th to 11th December and hosted by Sercante & Salesforce Pardot, ParDreamin’ 2020 was billed as an opportunity for attendees to explore a variety of topics that will ‘excite, educate, and expand your knowledge and skills of Pardot’. Ordinarily, given the need to travel to the US for an event like this, I would probably not have been able to attend, given the travel and time required. But one silver lining of the very dark cloud of Covid 19 has been the move to virtual events meaning that I, along with my Agent3 teammates, was able to attend the first ParDreamin’ virtual event to get an update on all things Pardot.
The sessions were extensive – far too many to cover in a single blogpost – so it’s definitely worth checking out the event homepage here if you want to really drill into the content covered. For for now, though, here are our top five takeaways:
Given that the new Pardot email builder was only rolled out in October in Pardot Lightning, it’s fair to say it was the hottest topic of discussion at ParDreamin’! Independent Marketing Automation specialist, Jen Kazin ran a really good practical session looking at the new email builder in detail, walking through how to use it. My immediate reaction is that it is really easy to use, allowing some custom HTML components (although these are limited to 10,000 characters a section). Most excitingly, there is an undo button, which means that if you are human like me, it is now MUCH easier to reverse a mistake than before. Great news. Then in sending, you no longer have to copy to resend, but can send the same email multiple times and have them all sit together in the related section. Helpful! It is only available for list emails at the moment, not automated emails used in Engagement Studio and Autoresponders, but Jen was at pains to remind us that this is only version 1.0, and in the product roadmap session we were told about the upcoming changes
- The builder will be rolled out across the platform for Content Creation: automated emails are next, and then landing pages and forms!
- Even more builder enhancements, such as sender and reply-to personalisation
- Better metrics and reporting
We at Agent3 are all now VERY excited about what is coming next!
Kyle Skibbe, Sr Director Product, Salesforce and Prasanna Vijayakumar, Director Product Management, Salesforce presented a keynote looking into the product development roadmap, covering off a ton of new stuff but the key things we got excited about were:
First Party Tracking Enhancements
Security is always top of mind for businesses, and now browsers are cracking down on third party cookies, Pardot is planning to make enhancements to their first-party tracking in order to improve an organisation’s privacy posturing. This will also combine with expanded multi-tracker support, to make it even easier to have different vanity URLs for different areas of your business.
Pardot Business Units
Business Units are great for separating out your database across different products or brands in theory, but in reality sometimes it’s not quite so easy to split out your customers. Enhancements are coming to maintain customers across business units, so you don’t have to keep them siloed. Additionally, we’ll soon be able to manage assets and configurations across business units, meaning we can keep consistency across all our business units.
Administration & Setup
Pardot will be releasing some end-to-end guides to help Admins speed through setup – covering the most important things we need to implement a great Pardot instance. Music to our ears! There are also plans to add Pardot sandboxes to the Pardot-Plus level of access, which will boost the ability to test in those instances.
Smart Email Scanner detection
We’ve all seen those prospects who seem to open every email, click on every link and therefore gain a super high score… but we know they are in fact spam bots checking for malicious links before the email even lands in an inbox. This is great in principle, but bad for our reporting – and Pardot will be improving the IP filtering to filter out more of these, and allow us to access behaviour based automated click filtering, therefore getting more reliable MQLs and email stats.
Chris Zullo from AllCloud hosted a great presentation on the five steps every marketer will experience when taking a campaign from conception to delivery, but did so through the eyes of characters from Disney’s® Inside Out . It was a really creative, fun format to remind us all of the key steps we need to take to make sure our campaigns land successfully with our intended audience.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (e.g., Audience, CTA, Messaging…. Decision Paralysis!). There are always so many factors to consider but the key thing is to take a deep breath, look at the deadline and then make the ultimate question of whether to automate or not?
2) MARKETING AUTOMATION
Just because we can automate, doesn’t mean that we always should! So, start simple as complex automations deserve more thought and then remember you can always revise things if you need to make changes. And remember to always collaborate with stakeholders and avoid getting trigger happy!
This is so important in ensuring the audience actually receives the full journey so focus on understanding your audience in order to predict any possible pitfalls in the nurture. Also, don’t solely rely on A/B testing because it can go wrong. Instead, take one variable at time, then iterate different ones while leaving all else constant, to really determine if you have the right journey set up.
ALWAYS set targets (benchmarks / KPIs), especially if starting from scratch, because without a metric to measure your campaign by, who knows what good looks like? But remember if something looks good, that does not mean it is accurate (e.g., looking at click through rate vs. open rate). And remember measurement is a process which will evolve and get better over time.
Capturing your activity offers a much better context for analytics and your future self will thank you for having a historical record in place for future reference!
Skip Fidura’s, Fractional CMO , session focused on a huge bug bear for all marketers; bad data. After all, if Pardot is the engine, data is the fuel that powers it. In short, bad data = bad outcomes. For example, the cost of bad data hits your bottom line to the tune of 131% of the cost of your sales team and more than 25% of sales time is lost through bad data. Skip outlined 9 key questions to ask if you want to ensure you have clean data, and we often ask the same questions when taking on a data hygiene project:
- Does it have all of its necessary parts?
- Accuracy – is it correct?
- Consistency – is it the same in every system?
- Conformity – is the data in standard and understandable formats?
- Uniqueness – do you have duplicates?
- Integrity – is it mapped across the data platform properly?
- Intention – will you ever sell to your audience?
- Timeliness – have you reacted fast enough?
- Freshness – how old is your data?
These questions will help you challenge the process and achieve results in the long term!
Earlier this year, Salesforce closed the acquisition of personalisation and customer data platform provider Evergage. In a really illuminating session, Graze Izard, and Michael Roberts, ran through how, since the acquisition, Evergage functionality has been funnelled into Interaction Studio (note – this is a paid add-on) and what this means for users (hint – it’s good news). In essence, by bringing together Pardot and Interaction Studio, users now have the functionality to:
- Tailor website personalization to unknown prospects
- Use Engagement Scoring to determine the next best offer to a prospect, corresponding to Pardot Scoring
- Avoid using out of date content – real time decision making of content and personalisation based on time of email open
As Account Based Marketing (ABM) specialists, we at Agent3 are particularly interested in the addition of Interaction Studio into the Salesforce & Pardot ecosystem because it aligns so well with ABM by allowing us to deliver the most relevant content during precise moments across the customer journey. Furthermore, we can build customer profiles for each prospect which will then allow us to interact with them as an individual in real-time – super helpful when targeting specific accounts through ABM campaigns.
To conclude, I really enjoyed the ParDreamin’ experience; it was a great way to really enrich my understanding of the opportunities that Pardot represents for our clients- and all from the comfort of my sitting room! What rang out loud and clear from ParDreamin’, though, was that Salesforce is really serious about driving ever greater innovation (and associated investment) with Pardot. This can only be great news for those of us who get to work with it every day and for those brands that have chosen to base their marketing automation on its functionality.