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Context - this is an entirely new setup with Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud. I understand that we'll need to use the Salesforce Contact ID as our Marketing Cloud Subscriber Key in order to deliver maximum synchronisation between the two clouds, but I'm unclear on the following:

  1. Does this mean we can never send data directly to Marketing Cloud from our own systems (it must pass through Salesforce to get a Contact ID first, then we wait for the sync via Marketing Cloud Connect)?
  2. How do we trigger emails from Marketing Cloud if we need the Contact ID in our API call?
  3. We need to conduct an IP-warm-up - would best practice be to load our dataset into Salesforce (to assign Contact IDs) then export and import to Marketing Cloud?
  4. If all our data comes from Salesforce, how do we make use of triggered automations in Marketing Cloud's automation Studio?
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Indeed, in ideal scenario where you have Sales/Service Cloud connected with Marketing Cloud, the client registration flow should always first hit the CRM and get the proper ID, before it would be synchronised to Marketing Cloud.

  • Technically you can send data from other systems to MC without any problems and use those clients in your marketing campaigns. It just means these contacts will never synchronise the tracking data back to CRM, as the unique SubscriberKey is something other than ContactID/LeadID.

    In addition, if this 'non-CRM' contact ever hits your CRM as a real Contact or Lead record, you will most likely end up with duplicate record.

  • You trigger Emails once the Contact is synchronised to Marketing Cloud or set the triggers up on CRM side (this functinality comes preinstalled with Marketing Cloud Connect) or the API will trigger an event on CRM for the Contact record, like updating a field, which is then picked up by Marketing Cloud Triggered Email or Journey Builder.

  • For IP-warm up the general idea is correct, but you will not need to export/import data. Once Marketing Cloud Connect is in place, the data can be configured to auto-synchronise over in every 15 minutes from CRM to Marketing Cloud. In addition, you will also have the option to import Reports directly, without exporting any files etc.

  • Triggered Automations can be set up to be either Event Based - for an example by a field change (any field except Formulas) or schedule based. For an example, specific set of customers are collected to a Data Extension every week, which is then used as Entry for a customer Journey.

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  • Thanks for this @Rain - massively appreciate it. A follow-up question if I may: as I need to conduct the IP warm-up imminently and our Service Cloud instance will take a lot longer to set up properly, if I add a list of contacts I wish to use for the IP warm-up to Salesforce and later (when Service Cloud setup is complete with custom objects etc), will a follow-up data import 'fill in the blanks' so to speak in Salesforce by matching on email address? – Antonio Feb 21 at 15:09
  • There will be no matching in that sense, depending on what is used as the unique identifer for sending Emails in Marketing Cloud, this will be set as the Contact Key for the subscriber. In your scenario, if the Marketing Cloud Connect will not be set up initially, I would add the list of customers to Service Cloud (to get the ID's) and then export it as CSV file - which you would then import to Marketing Cloud. This way, once Clouds are connected, you will not run into any duplicate issues and no further cleaning is needed - just need to sync the OptIn/OptOut statuses for those that opt out. – Rain Feb 21 at 15:17

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