Journey Builder is one of the coolest features of Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform and there is a lot of curiosity among the industry of what it is and
why it can be beneficial. Salesforce has great deal of documentation on this so I will try to not repeat information here.

The platform is constantly evolving, so I will not be able to list every single feature/benefit in this post but it should be informative to understand the concepts from non technical standpoint.

Now I want you to close your eyes and think in terms of taking a journey to your favorite destination. You know there are multiple options of how to start journey, what stops to make and when to return. Here are few things that are common to any journey in general:

  • There can be various channels of reaching there-Air via Airplans, Road via Car/Truck, Ocean via Ship/Cruise
  • There can be various paths that you may have to go through to reach your intended destination/goal
  • You may know exact route or you may have to decide which paths to take the next based on where you are in the journey step
  • Sometimes you may be able to choose a predetermined path
  • Other times, you may need software to decide for you what is the best path which may have different criteria such as quickest way to travel, cheapest way to fly, multiple stops or previous campaigns or best practices
  • You may be able to choose what airline to fly with or what car make/model and color you choose to drive or clothes/jewelery you wear/pack
  • There may be first class seats on airplane or vehicle that matches your style/personality type or impression you want to make about your brand. Depending on each types, there are different costs, efforts, pros and cons.

Once the journey is finished, you have to decide what to do next, either exit if that’s the destination or intended goal or take another route to continue journey.

After each journey, that experience can be used to plan the next journey. for example-costs, efforts, drive distance, short cuts, favorite things enjoyed, good or bad shopping/food experiences etc. You may have receipts of previous trips or pictures or numbers/statistics that can help to make the next campaigns even more better.

Now imagine you are a travel agent and are planning a trip for someone else. If you are a smart marketer, you will want to know as much as possible about preferences of your contacts, their previous experiences, budgets & life choices to decide what’s best journey option for them. Here are some reference high-level associations with this analogy:

  • Travel Agent-Marketer
  • Traveling client-Contact,Prospect, Customer
  • Journey-Marketing Campaign to achieve certain goal, accomplish defined activities that can be measured & optimized
  • Channels- Email, Mobile/SMS, Direct Mail, Social Media, Ads
  • Your brand- your choice of colors, pictures, text, web properties
  • Personalization-Your personal touches and impression you want to create on others to align,create synergy, bonding etc
  • Receipts, Statistics, pictures-to help with measuring performance/costs/enjoyment

There are different variations of products/features that will need along the way based on how you want to plan journey. e.g.
If intended destination of your client is not reachable straight via water or road, you will not book a road trip or cruise ship for them but plan to fly via airplane. Same way, if you do not want to send SMS messages, you will not use Mobile Studio in connection with Journey.

Every Marketer needs campaigns which is like planning a journey for their prospects/customers. Marketer wants to ensure it’s a good positive experience for their customers and they can leverage metrics to their benefit.

Journey Builder helps you plan out such campaigns via drag and drop interface known as Journey Builder. It is an exhaustive tool that helps connect multiple channels, methods and decisions together on a white board setting that can be used to power campains across multiple channels in an automated way.

Journey Builder allows designing a thorough communication plan by laying out activities on a canvas that decides how to communicate with contacts.
To initiate a journey, a contact must enter the journey via one of the entry sources and you can decide on exit criteria as to when that contact exits from journey.

To help with the design, there are different entry sources, activities that are provided by platform that can be configured, drag and dropped without any
programming knowledge.

Entry sources

  • Data Extension
  • Salesforce Data
  • API Events
  • CloudPages

Activities

  • Message types such as email, SMS, push notification, email
  • Flow control types such as wait cycles, decision splits, engagement splits
  • Customer update types such as updating data extension values
  • Sales or Service cloud types such as updating objects via marketing cloud connector
  • Custom types that can be fully configured as per marketer using developer resources

Hope this helps clarify few things. Here are some links that can help learn more about Journey Builder.

https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/journey-management/#

https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=mc_jb_get_started_with_journey_builder.htm