SMS Technical Deep Dive

The latest edition of the Technical Marketers Monthly Meeting was all about email deliverability. Kevin Ryan, Product Manager at Salesforce for SMS took us through three product areas he and his team are responsible for: Mobile Connect, Journey Builder SMS Activity, and SMS APIs. You can catch the session in its entirety via this recording link. Below are five key points from the session as outlined in Guilda’s post on Twitter.

You can access the recording by using the registration link in the Tweet above

One thing I learned from this session is that content is not shared between Mobile Connect and SMS Activities in Journey Builder. Each app has its own content store. Mobile Connect manages its content while SMS Activities relies on Content Builder for its content.

QRG = Quick Reference Guide for Mobile terminology
Short Message Service (SMS) is the most common form of text messaging
Multimedia Messaging Service
Mobile Terminated (MT) are outbound mobile messages sent to your customers/subscribers
Mobile Originated (MO) are inbound mobile messages sent by customers/subscribers
Delivery Receipts (DLR) only let you know whether a message was delivered, it does not confirm that it was read
Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging is where a person receives messages from an application – IN scope in this post
Person-to-Person (P2P) messaging is where a person receives messages from another person – Out of scope in this post

SMS Messaging and Value Chain Process – Image from presentation

What’s required to send SMS from Marketing Cloud?

There are three attributes the are required to deliver SMS messages from Marketing, they are:

1. Subscriber Key
2. Mobile number
3. Locale (Country)

The Locale value is inferred when using the contact model. You can use a Data Extension (DE) too, but you must include the appropriate, 5 alphanumeric locale (country code) in order to send from the DE, said Kevin. I’ve reference a number of resources for this topic in the Resources section at the bottom.

Do I Have Permission?

May I vs. Can I? Just because you (technically) can, doesn’t mean you should send SMS without explicit opt-in (permission) from the recipient. Otherwise, you come off looking like this…

Source: Gifer

Subscriptions live at a code and keyword level. What this means is that when inbound mobile messages sent by customers/subscribers are received, Marketing Cloud will first match to account (MID) that is associated with that code. Second, it will route to the keyword owner, which is at the Business Unit level. Several more checks and validations are applied to ensure that wishes of the person sending the SMS are respected and handled appropriately. For a deeper look at this process, you should look slides 21-22 and/or watch the recording around the 21 minute mark.

Inbound Messaging Outline as shown on slide 22

Summary

Kevin included a lot of good, easy to digest examples and use cases for leveraging MobileConnect, including many tips, tricks, and sample code. In addition to the excellent information shared in this session, I’ve added a few more to supplement it, below. Hope you enjoy(ed) the session as much as I did. Additional resources, including the recording and slides, as well as a number of other SMS related resources, are linked below.

Resources

SMS Technical Deep Dive session recording (56 minutes)
SMS Technical Deep Dive session slides (downloadable PDF)
SMS Subscription Management (B2C Marketer Group London recording)
Mobile Messaging Strategies (Trailhead module)
Mobile Contact Management (Trailhead module)
SMS Messaging with MobileConnect (Trailhead module)
Digital Engagement SMS Messaging Reference (Salesforce Knowledge Article)
Mobile Concepts and Definitions (Salesforce Knowledge Article)
What is P2P and A2P messaging? (Twilio Support Article)
Mobile Keywords and Codes (Salesforce Help Doc)
MobileConnect Guides for SMS Sending (Salesforce Help Doc)
Valid Locales for Data Extension Sends (Salesforce Help Doc)
Data Extension Sends (Salesforce Help Doc)
ISO 3166 COUNTRY CODES (International Organization for Standardization)

Learning Salesforce Before Trailhead

How I learned how to Salesforce before Trailhead existed.

It was the year 2 BT (Before Trailhead), circa fall 2012 when my journey toward the Developer-side began. I was branching over to the “core” from a marketing focused role and looking for a starting point that suited my preference to learn by doing when I got some great advice from multiple members in the community, “use the Force.com Fundamentals book if you want to learn how to use the Platform.” Learn by doing for the win!

My first reaction was, ‘I’m not a coder.’ However, I was reassured that with Salesforce, you don’t have to code to build something on the Platform. Quick public service announcement: There are times when code is necessary. Those who know what they’re doing with code are invaluable so please, NEVER take them for granted. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s continue…

Getting Hands-On

I had already tried and failed to “learn Salesforce” and pass the admin certification just by studying without practical application of the content. I even tried to cram with a course, but there wasn’t much if any hands-on work in that particular class. I found my groove when I switched my focus to the Developer track and picked up an actual book made of paper and ink at a local event. If you attend Dreamforce or another event, you can still find one to take home, order a hard copy online or simply use the online version (you can also download the PDF from here). For safe measure, I followed that up with a spin through the Force.com Workbook (now retired) which was another good resource that is best consumed by following along in your Developer Edition org.

While these sources might not be as entertaining as learning on Trailhead, it was extremely interesting because of their tell, show and do methodology. If you need humor and bite-size chunks of material, then start with Trailhead. It’s a lot of fun and you might forget you’re learning something new! They hold contests multiple times a year for prizes (I won a once after I completed the Battle Station Trail) and miraculously made getting the key information out Release Notes bearable with their Release Notes Trails.

 The key for me is the hands-on experience. The Developer Community helped me obtain my first Salesforce certification and fed my appetite to continue learning. As of this writing, I have 7 Salesforce certifications. I would not be where I am now if I was not introduced to the Developer track. Like the rest of this community, I love creating things. It’s why LEGO is so much fun and a great excuse to have kids.

Make it Personal

One of my favorite accomplishments on the platform, Babyforce 2.0 was inspired by the birth of my youngest child and my friend, everyone’s favorite wizard, Brian Kwong who created 1.0 (Pre-Salesforce1). I created an app for the “fun” purpose of tracking diapers, wipes and a silly excuse to build it mobile first. I created a fully functional and mobile app without a single line of code and even ran a pilot with my wife who graciously tolerated my antics for a month while I tracked diaper changes. She even let me install Salesforce1 on her phone and used it for a few days. My advice, build something for yourself. The content will be more interesting and at the end, you could have a pretty awesome app to call your own.

Meet and Greet the Community

What I love most about this community is the accessibility of information and opportunities for hands-on learning. Whether you do it all online or balance it with attending live events like your local Developer Group, people are willing to point you in the right direction as long as you’re willing to roll your sleeves up and take action. Hands-on applications are a common component of Developer Groups. In North Carolina, where I co-lead a group, we coordinate with other groups in our region for a “supergroup” meetup on an annual basis where we get together for a whole day of learning, networking, and fun.

Super Developer Group Meetup

The Bottom Line

If you want to learn Salesforce, there’s no better place to start than the Developer Community. You don’t have to be a coder to start. If you want to code, great, you can learn. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Either way, you must “do or do not, there is no try” — Yoda. Developing on Salesforce can only be learned by doing so might as well have fun doing it. Jump on Trailhead. Join your local group (my bias strongly recommends this last one). Connect with other Developers, both aspiring and seasoned veterans. You’ll have plenty of time to bury yourself developing on your own, but you’ll have more fun and support when you stumble upon a tricky trigger or bug. There’s even an e-book from the Salesforce Developer team help you get started. What are you waiting for?

Originally posted on Medium