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Marketing Cloud Framework (5-Step Guide)

Ever done something in Marketing Cloud and thought to yourself...

“I have absolutely NO IDEA what’s going on”

You’re not alone…

That’s exactly how I felt every day in 2017 when I started my career in Marketing Cloud.

I did a lot of marketing cloud projects at the beginning of my career.

There were A LOT of problems early on…


Can You Relate To These?

  • Feeling like an imposter

  • Not knowing where to start on a project

  • Getting stuck in marketing cloud projects

  • Studying for a cert and getting overwhelmed.

  • Feeling overwhelmed on marketing cloud projects

  • Feeling isolated when doing marketing cloud tasks

  • Feeling like you could lose your marketing cloud job

  • Studying for an exam but don’t know why it’s important

  • Not knowing how Marketing Cloud projects actually work.

  • Not knowing what’s important in a marketing cloud project

  • Not knowing WHY you’re doing something in Marketing Cloud

  • Wondering what you’re supposed to be doing next on projects

  • Not knowing what questions to ask at the beginning of a project

  • Not knowing how to answer marketing cloud interview questions

  • Getting discouraged and feeling like you’ll never learn marketing cloud

  • Not knowing how to answer your manager when they ask you questions

  • Not being able to contribute on a high level in your marketing cloud projects


The Root Of Those Problems:

Not knowing how marketing cloud works

I was always confused.

I didn’t know which questions to ask

I didn’t know where to begin on projects

It felt like I was starting from scratch on every project I was dong

I was just chugging my way through marketing cloud.

Forcing myself to learn the system through the pain.

But the money was too good to quit my job.

I was determined to learn the system and make this money.

So I stuck it out.

I kept learning and kept teaching myself.

As I taught myself - I shared what I learned on:

  • YouTube

  • Linkedin

  • Online Courses

  • etc…

People found value in the content I was sharing.

Helping people numbed the pain I was feeling on the inside.

It felt good to give back and make a difference.

I was working 100% remote which gave me a feeling of freedom.

Working remote was something I always wanted to do!

I mean, who doesn’t want to pop a laptop open at the beach and make 6 figures a year?

With all my freedom as a Marketing Cloud consultant, I decided to travel the world.


I sold all my stuff

  • Tv’s

  • Xbox

  • Shoes

  • Clothes

  • Furniture

No joke - I sold everything!

All I had left was:

  • A laptop

  • A backpack

  • Some shoes

  • A few different outfits

  • And my car ( a 2008 Volvo S60)

That was it.


My plan was to travel the world as a digital nomad.

Mac laptop working remote in the forest

The first destination was supposed to be South America.

Then BOOM - covid happened.

Next thing I know… I lost my job in March of 2020.

To make things worse, I couldn’t travel outside the country.

So all my plans were canceled, lol

I moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to stay with my mom, sister, and brother in a 2 bedroom apartment.

Funny how life serves you a humble pie REALLLL quick sometimes

One minute you have it all figured out.

The next minute - you’re living with your mom again.

But it turns out that sometimes the things we fear are actually blessings in disguise.

I started focusing 100% of my time on teaching my family how to use Marketing Cloud.

I wasn’t implementing marketing cloud during covid.

Taking time off gave me time to think about everything I learned over the past 3 years as a Marketing Cloud admin, email specialist, and consultant.

I wanted to teach my family how to use the system so they could make $$$ and work 100% remote.


As time went on, I created tons of training material for my family and the community.

I taught dozens of people how to use marketing cloud during the summer of 2020.

After teaching countless people - I noticed a pattern.

It was as clear as the crystal clear blue waters in the Caribbean Ocean.


beautiful ocean waters

I couldn’t believe I never saw this pattern before!

The light bulb 💡 turned on for me during a meeting with a client.

I stopped everything in that moment.

I had to write the pattern down on a sheet of paper.

I spent the rest of the night perfecting that pattern.

I turned that pattern into a 5 step framework that anyone can use to master Marketing Cloud.

As a matter of fact…


I use the Marketing Cloud Project Process in everything

It's so potent that I use the framework in every:

  • Marketing Cloud Project

  • Interview Questions I ask people

  • Marketing Cloud exam I study for

  • Marketing Cloud Conversation I have

  • Marketing Cloud training session I teach

  • Interview Response if I’m interviewing for a Marketing Cloud job

I want to share the 5 step framework with you today.

If you’re down for that, let’s get it poppin' like some popcorn!

Here we go!


The Marketing Cloud Project Process

Here's the 5-Step Marketing Cloud Project Process Framework

  1. Setup & Administration

  2. Data Management

  3. Content Creation & Delivery

  4. Automation

  5. Reporting

It seems simple enough, right?

Good - let’s dive into each step!


Step 1 - Setup & Administration

Every Marketing Cloud project begins by doing the administration tasks required to set up the system.

Setup & Admin tasks are things like:

  • Setting up Sender Authentication Package

  • Reply Mail Management

  • IP Warming

  • Sender Profiles

  • Security Settings

  • Marketing Cloud Connect

  • FTP File Locations

The list of things you need to set up in Marketing Cloud goes on and on.

The good news is that the process is the same every. single. time.

Here’s a good visual for you to remember step 1 - Setup & Admin

marketing cloud setup and administration framework


Step 2 - Data Management

After you set up Marketing Cloud - You have to Manage the data that flows in and out of Marketing Cloud.

Data Management is required in EVERY Marketing Cloud project.

For Data Management, you need to know things like:

  • How your relational database works behind the scenes.

  • How your data needs to be structured for data to flow smoothly in and out of the system.

  • How to import data into your database tables (Data Extensions & Lists).

  • How to relate your data so the data flows smoothly between database tables.

  • How to segment your data based on your customer’s requirements.

Just like in step 1, the list goes on.

For every sub-step within each of the 5 steps, there are multiple questions you will ask a client or manager when you do a task.

Here are three pictures for you to remember step 2 - Data Management

marketing cloud data management framework

marketing cloud data management framework importing data

marketing cloud data management framework - segmenting data


Step 3 - Content Creation & Delivery

When you set your data up in Marketing Cloud, the next thing is to create content for your customers.

If you don’t set your data up in Marketing Cloud in Step 2, then all of your…

  • Emails

  • Text messages

  • MobileApp messages

  • And WhatsApp messages

Will sit around like a stale bag of chips.

All that data in step 2 is like a lion in a cage!

Let the lion loose!

Unleash your data into emails, text messages, and Mobile App messages.

As you build your messages in Content Builder, you’ll be able to customize everything with:

  • Personalization Strings

  • Dynamic Content

  • AMPscript

  • Guide Template Language - (GTL)

  • ServerSide JavaScript - (SSJS)

  • HTML & CSS

Here’s a visual of step 3 - Content Creation & Delivery

marketing cloud content creation framework


Step 4 - Automation

After you create content, it’s time to automate your business processes.

To make your life easier, you'll automate your data imports, exports, and segmentation in Marketing Cloud.

1st - You’ll create data logic in Automation Studio.

2nd - You’ll set up emails and mobile messages in Journey Builder.

The first 3 steps of the 5 step framework built the foundation of Marketing Cloud.

Once the foundation is set, it’s time to put everything on autopilot and let Marketing Cloud do all the hard work.

The main things to know in step 4 are:

  • When to use Automation Studio vs. Journey Builder

  • How to build Automations in Automation Studio

  • How to build a Journeys in Journey Builder

The process never changes - only the scenario you’re working on.

Every client will always need:

  • Data to be imported automatically into Marketing Cloud.

  • Data to be exported automatically out of Marketing Cloud.

  • Data to be segmented automatically inside of Marketing Cloud.

  • Marketing messages sent automatically based on business rules.

Here are visuals of step 4 - Marketing Automation

marketing cloud automation studio framework

marketing cloud journey builder framework


Step 5 - Reporting

Every marketing campaign will need to be reviewed.

You have to track the numbers if you want any idea about what’s working and what’s not working.

If a bunch of people unsubscribed, your managers want to know why.

If people click a link in an email more than usual, you should talk more about that linked content in future marketing messages.

If you're not tracking your campaign metrics - How do you know what's working?

The answer is - You don't know.

That’s why reporting is the 5th and final step in every Marketing Cloud project.

Reports show you customer feedback data.

Which gives you ideas on what to improve.

By looking at your data - You can focus on things that customers like.

And you can get rid of the stuff that they don't like.

All of your decisions should be made based on the data.

Or at least be influenced somewhat by the data in your reports.

In Marketing Cloud there are a few things you need to know about reports:

  • Which report to use

  • The purpose of reporting

  • Important marketing metrics to track

  • How to create & analyze standard reports

  • How to create & analyze custom reports like Data Views

  • How to create & analyze advanced tools like Datorama (MC Intelligence), & Einstein.

Every client wants to track campaign metrics.

It's how they learn more about their marketing campaigns.

Here’s a visual of step 5 - Reporting

marketing cloud reporting framework



Once you learn the 5-Step Marketing Cloud Project Process...

You can plug all your NEW Marketing Cloud knowledge into any step.

Everything you learn in Marketing Cloud will fit into one of the 5 steps.

For example:

  • If you learn new information about AMPscript

  • Your new knowledge can be categorized into step 3 (Content Creation & Delivery).

  • Go back to step 3 (Content Creation & Delivery) if you want to try it yourself.

As time goes on - I’ll break down the 5 steps even more into the sub-steps that fall underneath them.

For example:

  • In step 2 - Data Management, you have a substep called "Import Data".

In future letters, I'll go into more detail about how the sub-steps work.

This 5-step Marketing Cloud Project Process framework goes DEEP!


You can become a legend

in Marketing Cloud.

The beauty of this framework is...

You don’t need access to Marketing Cloud to understand this stuff.

This is purely the knowledge behind the ebb and flow of how the system works from beginning to end.

Remember when I said earlier that I use this 5 step framework for everything I do in Marketing Cloud?

Yeah - there's a lot more to this .

I'm going to save you some time today and won't go into all the details right now.

But as time goes on, I’ll show you how to use this 5 step framework to pass any Marketing Cloud certification.

In the meantime,

This is the foundation for everything I'll ever teach you in Marketing Cloud.

Now that you know that, let's summarize the benefits of using this 5 step framework.


Benefits of learning the

Marketing Cloud Project Process.

  • Have confidence that you can do anything in Marketing cloud

  • Know exactly how Marketing Cloud works

  • Know where to start in every Marketing Cloud project you do

  • Never feel stuck in marketing cloud projects again

  • Know what questions to ask at the beginning of a project

  • Know what’s important in a marketing cloud project

  • Know WHY you’re doing something in Marketing CLoud

  • Take a cert with complete confidence

  • Studying for an exam and know where each exam topic fits into the overall marketing cloud project strategy

  • Know that every project follows the same strategy every single time

  • Be encouraged because you actually understand marketing cloud

  • Never feel overwhelmed on a marketing cloud project again

  • Never feel isolated when doing a marketing cloud task again

  • Always know what you’re supposed to be doing next in a marketing cloud project

  • Know how to answer marketing cloud interview questions

  • Know how to answer your manager when they ask you marketing cloud questions

  • Feeling like an expert in Marketing Cloud

  • Contribute to marketing cloud projects

  • Have job security in your marketing cloud job


Closing Thoughts

2 reasons I shared this Marketing Cloud Framework:

  1. I want you to have the same mentality as me when it comes to Marketing Cloud.

  2. If you have more clarity about how Marketing Cloud works, we can talk about more innovative things in Marketing Cloud in the future.

While it's fun teaching the basics of Marketing Cloud, it's time to level up and start talking about more advanced topics.

AI is taking over whether we like it or not.

I'd rather spend my time talking about topics that can give you financial freedom and flexibility so you can take advantage of everything life has to offer.

If you understand how I think when it comes to Marketing Cloud, you can also create your own projects and real-world scenarios. (Which will allow you to do anything you want in the system)

There's a whole world for the taking when it comes to Marketing Cloud.

There's no need to be stressed about this system.

You were meant to do way more in life than be stressed about your job.

I hope this foundation sets your Marketing Cloud future on solid ground.

Go forth and conquer Marketing Cloud, my friend.

We have a lot to learn from here.

Until then,

Kaelan Moss - MinuteAdmin Out ✌🏽


PS - When you’re ready, here are 2 ways I can help you:

  • If you want to learn Marketing Cloud & get certified, I’d recommend starting with a value-packed course. Join 2,000+ students here.

  • Each week I use tools that make me more productive. I only recommend tools that I like. So here you go - Organize your thoughts and systemize your work with Notion.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Courses


When You're Ready,
Here's How I Can Help

3 Day Challenge

Goals are important. If you want help reverse engineering Marketing Cloud success into bite-size goals and tasks - start the 3 day challenge for free.

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Join 2,000+ subscribers to the MinuteAdmin Newsletter. Every Friday morning, you'll get actionable tips to grow and thrive in Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

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