Working with SFMC Journey Builder? Here are 5 things you should know

Alessia Mastroianni
6 min readMay 7, 2020

I started working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) over two years ago. My experience with other Marketing Automation Platforms helped me grasp the concepts of SFMC quite swiftly, however, it was natural for me to compare the tools and capabilities between the platforms, sometimes finding positive enhancements, other times, unfortunately, banging my head against what I would call ‘product gaps’.

Today, we are going to talk about Journey Builder. If you are not familiar with this tool, it is a visual flow that allows Marketeers to create automated multi-touch and multi-channel (Email, SMS, Push Notifications, Ads) customer journeys (think about a welcome campaign for example or an event program).

Journey Builder Sample

Here are 5 things I wish I knew before I started.

  1. There is no “Pause” button.

First lesson learnt: the only way to edit an active (live) journey is to create a new version. While you are working on the new version, records will still flow through the old, but still active version — unless stopped. Once the new version is activated, the previous version status will change to “Finishing”, allowing the current members to complete the journey. Once all members have reached the end and exited the journey, this version status will change to “Stopped” and all new customers meeting the entry criteria will join the new Active version.

What does this mean?

  • You cannot pause a journey to make edits and let current members through the new steps, unless your Entry Setting Criteria allows “re-entry anytime”, so at one point in the future, they will re-enter the journey and go through these steps.
  • You cannot pause the journey for a period of time and re-activate it, expecting the records to carry on from where they left. An example: NFP organisations dealing with emergencies have the need to prioritise communications and stop all the automations for a certain period of time. However, once the emergency is passed, they should be able to re-start those flows.

The Solution?
Use the `Update Contact Activity` to update a data extension containing SubscriberKey and Stage Column. Use this data extension to track the stages of your records in the journey…

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Alessia Mastroianni

Marketing Automation Architect working at Salesforce. 6x Salesforce certified. Salesforce #MarketingChampion 2020.