In the notes for the most recent release of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a small detail may have escaped your eyes. The sunset date for Classic Content has been pushed back from this summer to 2020. This is good news if you are used to Classic Content and have had challenges in working with the newer Content Builder.

Here is a rundown of our concerns with Content Builder, and why Trendline is holding off on the transition:

Image asset names
Currently in Classic Content, when you upload an image, you get a static URL that is predictable. The filename remains intact, and if you use a workflow that relies on predictable file locations (as we do at Trendline), we can pre-code our HTML to include the ultimate destination of the image. This streamlines our production process tremendously. An added benefit is that if an image needs to change for some reason (offer is expired, a typo in the graphic, etc), we can just upload the same image name and have the change take effect in the email automatically.
Unfortunately, Content Builder does not behave this way. It takes your image, and instead of honoring the filename, it assigns a random ID to it as the filename. You have no way of predicting what this will be, putting a major delay in your workflow if you code the way we do. This is pretty much a deal breaker for us, and the main reason we are avoiding Content Builder. Salesforce has indicated a fix for this is being worked on, but there is no ETA.

Missing Validate tool for AMPScript
At Trendline, we write a lot of AMPscript. Some of our emails are 100% AMPscript, pulling content in from a variety of content areas and data extensions depending on the data that is available. We rely on the Validate feature in Classic Content to make sure our code is right before we have test cases to do a Send Preview against. Unfortunately, this feature does not exist in Content Builder, further slowing our development time. While not as total deal breaker, it is a significant issue for us.

HTML Content Type behaves oddly
This has been true in Classic Content as well, but we were hoping for a fix in Content Builder. There isn’t one though. When you select HTML as a content type, the system arbitrarily adds more HTML around your block, pretty much destroying the cool layout you were working on. A workaround exists, by selecting Code Snippet as a type instead, but it shouldn’t work this way. Or at a minimum it should be called out and documented somewhere.

Drag and Drop behavior is inconsistent
Salesforce Marketing Cloud has been moving towards a view of “so easy a marketer can do it” for quite some time. Journey Builder was supposed to be the start of this, but it didn’t work out that way really. The drag and drop tools they have been built into Content Builder don’t behave in a consistent or productive manner. This area needs serious work.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud continues to be one of the strongest and most flexible platforms we use here at Trendline. The versatility afforded by data extensions is unparalleled in the ESP space. This allows us solve complex problems we simply can’t address on other platforms. But when it comes to Content Builder, it just isn’t ready for primetime, and we think the pushback of the sunset of Classic Content reflects this.

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Chester Bullock