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Salesforce Marketing Cloud Logo
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
4.2
(481)

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud Features

Features Summary

Functionality

4.3

/5

481

Total features

161

25 categories

Salesforce Marketing Cloud features

AB Testing
AI/Machine Learning
API
Access Controls/Permissions
Activity Dashboard
Activity Tracking
Ad Network Integration
Ad hoc Reporting

Common features of Customer Loyalty software

API
Activity Dashboard
CRM
Campaign Analytics
Campaign Management
Campaign Planning
Client Portal
Communication Management

Price starts from

108000

Per year

Flat Rate

Pricing options
Free plan
Subscription
Free trial

Screenshots

Contenders comparison

Functionality

4.3

/5

481

Price starts from

108000

Per year

visit website

Total Features

161

Unique features

  • Publish Scheduling

  • Version Control

  • Text Editing

  • Routing

Functionality

4.4

/5

16.8K

Price starts from

13

Per month

learn more

Total Features

158

Features in Common

99

Unique features

  • Question Piping

  • URL Customization

  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

  • Response Validation

Functionality

4.4

/5

5.8K

Price starts from

50

Per month

visit website

Total Features

102

Features in Common

82

Unique features

  • Keyword Research Tools

  • Responsive Web Design

  • Publishing Options

  • Lead Generation

Common Salesforce Marketing Cloud comparisons

Reviewers who mentioned features said:

AF
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Ali Furkan T.

Information Technology and Services, 1-10 employees

Used daily for less than 6 months

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Marketers can quickly and easily create campaigns, track performance, and measure

Reviewed a year ago

I have been using Salesforce Marketing Cloud for a few months now and overall I am very pleased with the software. I find it easy to use and its suite of features has helped me create more effective campaigns and track performance more accurately. The segmentation and personalization tools have allowed me to deliver a tailored experience to my customers, and the detailed analytics reports have helped me measure the success of my efforts. The only downside for me is the cost, but I feel like it is worth it for the features it provides.

Pros

The best thing about Salesforce Marketing Cloud is its comprehensive suite of tools and its ability to automate customer interactions. The platform integrates a variety of marketing channels, including email, SMS, social media, and web, making it easy to create and track campaigns. Additionally, its segmentation and personalization features help marketers deliver a tailored experience to customers. Finally, the platform provides detailed performance metrics, allowing marketers to measure and optimize their efforts.

Cons

One of the drawbacks of Salesforce Marketing Cloud is its cost; the software can be expensive for small businesses. Additionally, the platform can be difficult to learn and requires a lot of time and effort to master all its features. Finally, some users have reported that the software can be slow and unresponsive at times.

AR
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Verified reviewer

Financial Services, 11-50 employees

Used weekly for 1-2 years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support

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A huge waste of time

Reviewed 4 years ago

Working with the support team is extremely painful. We spent hours over multiple weeks showing them our issues over video. Their premium support resources often couldn't figure out how to resolve our issues. It felt like they were just as fed up with this crap tool as we are. Although they didn't say it, I think one of our key employees quit over the frustration of dealing with marketing cloud.

Pros

I don't like anything about this software.

Cons

The integration with Salesforce is WAY oversold in the marketing materials. Moving data back and forth between the two products is extremely finicky and prone to breaking. Expect lots of duplication of data and lists that will invariably be out of sync. Managing email opt out lists with two systems of record from the same company is a CAN-SPAM nightmare. The integration's administrative tools can't...

WT
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Walter T.

Higher Education, 501-1,000 employees

Used weekly for 1-2 years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend7/10

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SFMC

Reviewed 4 years ago

This is a very serviceable software and will serve it's purpose. It can do a lot, so depending of the size of your organization it might be too much for the cost.

Pros

In addition to being able to import a distribution list, this product integrated with our CRM (Recruit) so we were able to send to segregated lists and it showed what emails were sent in Recruit. This made it easier for our reps to see when correspondence went out to their pipelines. It is rather simple to create and distribute emails.

Cons

Some of the functionality was a bit wonky, and emails viewed differently between various email clients. Line spacing was the biggest thing that varied quite a bit. Everything would look great in SFMC, but when an email was received in Outlook, Mac Mail, or Gmail, all three would display it just a bit differently. Not sure who's problem this is. It also doesn't embed video either. The workaround is to create a screenshot as a graphic, then add a link to it.

MR
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Maggie R.

Computer Software, 11-50 employees

Used weekly for 6-12 months

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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If you're a Salesforce user, it's a no brainer

Reviewed a year ago

Overall, i'm very satisfied with Salesforce Marketing Cloud and cannot imagine having to rely on multiple tools to execute the same functionalities like I used to

Pros

Salesforce Marketing Cloud has been a great all-in-one solution for my team as we previously relied on multiple tools for customer journey management, email campaigns, and analytics, not to mention updating the CRM after. The UX was pretty easy to understand and the platform and the list feature has made pipeline management so much more efficient

Cons

One of our campaigns bugged and contacts received duplicate emails. When I tried to contact customer service, it was almost impossible to get in touch so we had to figure out the solution internally which took a while. The price is also pretty high if your company is not paying for it

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Jacob P.

Financial Services, 1,001-5,000 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend5/10

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Industry leader... So you pay for that.

Reviewed 8 months ago

I've been in SFMC since it was ExactTarget and you can see the changes and progressions in the past 15 years, but some of them are just not needed. They are just adding things in because they are running out of ideas to do so they need a shiny new toy for users to pay for.

Pros

If your company has the resources to implement SFMC, it has the ability to do everything you need it to do with email, marketing automation and analytics... The flexibility in emails and templates is the most appealing part.

Cons

If you have decent developers, there are cheaper options than SFMC. You are basically paying for the name. A lot of the features are overdeveloped and to implement, you have to pay staff a bunch of money to set it up or an implementation partner a bunch of money to set up the system.

TO
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Tareq O.

Building Materials, 1,001-5,000 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Effective in boosting consumer confidence and gaining new clients and closing more deals.

Reviewed 10 months ago

Salesforce Marketing Cloud improved our communication with new and existing customers, boosting their confidence and ultimately leading to new deals and increased sales.

Pros

Salesforce Marketing Cloud simplifies sales funnel tracking, automates processes, and allows for task creation and reminder scheduling for team members. The intuitive reporting features and customizable dashboards enable the management of a lot of data across interconnected databases. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has helped us achieve positive results in attracting and improving relationships with customers. Contact management is efficient, and the customization and ease of use options provide great organization and search capabilities. Call tracking is also efficient, and creating new tasks after each call ensures easy note-sharing and updates with colleagues for efficient follow-up.

Cons

Although some complications and difficulties have arisen, the good news is that we were able to overcome them quickly. We have encountered errors due to incomplete integration from other applications and issues when adding calendar links to addressed emails for clients.

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Elie Francois E.

Computer Software, 501-1,000 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend7/10

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Great platform with personalization

Reviewed 10 months ago
Pros

Salesforce Marketing Cloud integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM, providing a comprehensive view of customer interactions across multiple channels and offers advanced segmentation and personalization capabilities, allowing businesses to deliver targeted and relevant content to their customers it also provides a comprehensive platform for multi-channel marketing automation, including email, mobile, social media, and web.

Cons

Can be expensive for small businesses and startups, as it is primarily designed for enterprise-level businesses, it may have limited integrations with other tools.

AR
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Verified reviewer

Marketing and Advertising, 201-500 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Reviewed 8 months ago
Pros

Very robust system. I use the email studio platform the most, followed by SMS studio. These platforms provide enterprise level email and sms deployment and campaign management.

Cons

Very expensive to implement and use, but at the enterprise level, it is one of, if not the top player.

BH
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Bill H.

Retail, 51-200 employees

Used daily for 6-12 months

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Marketing Cloud is the optimal integration for our Salesforce-powered website

Reviewed 6 years ago

We love the integration with our current Salesforce Commerce Cloud website and the ability to track everything within and not worry about dozens of different integrations to accomplish the same thing. Because Salesforce is a larger company, you can expect great support, knowledgeable account managers, and constant improvements. As with any platform, there are things we'd like for it to be able to do, I'm confident that in time, many of those things will become available. And anything that doesn't, we'll continue to use 3rd party integrations.

Pros

As with all things SalesForce you can expect nothing but the top level of customer support and options. We currently run a Salesforce website, so the integration is flawless and easy. There's not much additional setup or any big learning curve to start using it. The Marketing Cloud is a great way to easily manage our social media accounts, facebook posting, and email automation solutions. Because this platform is integrated with our website, it's still very easy to have outside vendors and software solutions that integrate with it. An example of that is that we still use Mailchimp to help manage our email channel even though the Marketing Cloud offers an email solution as part of their software.

Cons

The main disadvantages of using this software are pretty much the same disadvantages of any of the Salesforce platforms and/or integrations. For the uninitiated those are: - Some of the most costly software that accomplishes the same tasks as other platforms - Can be a bit complicated to navigate due to the sheer possibilities + abilities you have using the Salesforce platform. If you understand both the expenses associated with using Salesforce and have people who can either learn it, or teach it, then i'd say there's no other real disadvantages to using it!

JM
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Jamie M.

Primary/Secondary Education, 1,001-5,000 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend7/10

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A heavy hitter, but work to be done in UX

Reviewed 6 years ago

Despite being somewhat clumsy in real-world use, Marketing Cloud is a powerful, high quality suite for those looking to pursue robust, personalized digital campaigns.

Pros

This is an outstanding product for 1:1 engagement with an existing audience. We're still somewhat new to it, but are quickly coming up to speed. Best modules are open APIs, Journey Builder (basically pulls the entire suite together to build repeatable workflows), Audience builder (works hand/glove with Journey Builder), and Mobile Studio. It will take time for us to gather enough behavior and other attribute values to really put this to work. But it has plenty of horsepower and data tools and really get us to advanced personalization and performance analysis.

Cons

The suite is a set of modules cobbled together via the original product (ExactTarget) and new apps purchased by SFDC (e.g., Social Studio, which as Radian 6). This makes it cumbersome to assemble an entire campaign because you're constantly pinging back and forth through different modules (via a tabbed interface) to get things done. It's probably too late now for a truly unified, campaign-based UI, so it will have to do.

MS
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Madhusudan S.

Computer Software, 51-200 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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The best marketing tool for integrating Salesforce CRM

Reviewed a year ago

With the help of the powerful CRM SalesForce, corporate firms can use account and customer information to enhance customer relationships, boost marketing and sales, and extract business data. The integration with SF is seamless and fluid. Automations that are both clever and unique are possible.

Pros

Awestruck by the platform. My marketing campaigns were set up and customised without much difficulty because to the user interface's excellent usability and intuitiveness. Particularly helpful has been my ability to divide up my audience into several groups and tailor the content for each one. The Salesforce CRM connectivity is one of my favourite features. It enables smooth data analysis and transmission, which has improved my ability to target customers and develop a deeper understanding of them.

Cons

As it is among the most effective in this sort of industry for the functions it provides and is also fairly simple to comprehend and include into business equipment, I have nothing unfavourable to say about it.

KS
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Katie S.

Philanthropy, 1-10 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend4/10

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Lots of options, hard to find the one you need

Reviewed 6 years ago
Pros

Salesforce is a powerful CRM tool that is widely used in a variety of industries. It has a lot of features and integrates with many other types of software.

Cons

Data entry can be cumbersome. The system is not intuitive and neither is the layout of screens, though some of that can be customized. When it comes to running reports, there are a lot of pre-built ones, but most of those aren't useful. I usually find myself having to build my own, and that process is cumbersome and not at all intuitive. There are many different types of reports and it's hard to find the one needed to get the data that I seek. Also, it does not do a great job of tracking contacts who are associated with multiple accounts (such as a representative of multiple companies), and there is not a way to show affiliations between multiple accounts (such as divisions of a large company).

AG
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Ahmed G.

Computer & Network Security, 51-200 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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One of the best CRM ever

Reviewed a year ago

Salesforce helped us a lot in our work tasks, you can say that he can do all your work tasks, especially if you work in a team in the field of marketing, customer follow-up, advertising campaigns, customer targeting, data collection, real estate and others In summary, this program can accomplish large and heavy tasks for your company with many advantages that will make it easier for you to use the program

Pros

Salesforce offers a tons of flexibility. Salesforce allows you to build anything you can imagine. The CRM can perform some serious heavy lifting and integrates with practically all programs on the market. Tasks let you keep track of ongoing discussions or tasks with clients and prospects, whilst reporting lets you monitor how your team is performing.

Cons

Sometimes it is slow to use However, that is just how CRMs are, I've looked at many different CRMs available, and Salesforce has so far proven to be the finest.

DJ
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Dick J.

Management Consulting, 11-50 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support

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Buggy Buggy Buggy!

Reviewed 5 years ago

All in all this solution has a long way to go before it's a good product. There are much better alternatives in the marketing automation space. I have faith in this solution long term because it is owned by Salesforce.com.

Pros

Features are good in concept. Support takes at most a day to get back to you on cases. Support can usually help you, but not always.

Cons

Documentation is poor and almost always not descriptive enough and outdated. The system itself is very buggy. The typical response from support is "Just start fresh" in regard to whatever you're working on. We have a Sales cloud integration which does not work well with Marketing cloud. The connector is antiquated and it's impossible to leverage synchronized data extensions in journeys and other marketing content.

QW
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Quinn W.

Information Technology and Services, 51-200 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Easy-to-Use Email Software

Reviewed a year ago
Pros

The drag-and-drop interface of Salesforce Marketing Cloud makes it simple to create emails. This simplifies the process of adding new designs to my email. Furthermore, the ability to change individual content blocks is useful because it means that if I make a mistake, it will not affect the entire email.

Cons

Although the platform is quite expensive, I do not believe my company is adequately compensated for it. Customer service has been at best mediocre. We've had a number of issues that have taken a long time to resolve, leaving me and my coworkers frustrated and unable to assist.

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Margareth L.

Market Research, 5,001-10,000 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Efficiently manages inetracciones with clients

Reviewed a year ago

Management of intractions and control of services to clients, a good marketing tool

Pros

What I like most about this tool is its ease of implementation, this being a good tool to get to know the specific customer we are referring to, it is a system that stores and compiles information to better reach customers and maintain more direct with them

Cons

I have no criticism or anything negative to contribute because for the functions it has it is one of the most efficient in this type of industry, it is also quite easy to understand and add to business tools

FK
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Frank K.

Management Consulting, 10,001+ employees

Used daily for 2+ years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud - the best of the best

Reviewed 6 years ago

A great piece of software that possesses all the functionality out of the box to make you successful

Pros

Salesforce continues to maintain its leadership position in this space by constantly bringing new & improved functionality to the table that meets it users needs. Additionally there are 3rd party products that work hand in hand with Salesforce that enrich its capabilities

Cons

Salesforce is somewhat pricey but if you utilize all of its functionality it will deliver an ROI and help you scale by automating a number of your key functions

AR
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Verified reviewer

Construction, 501-1,000 employees

Used daily for less than 6 months

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend6/10

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Gets the job done, but with minimal user experience

Reviewed 2 years ago

It gets the job done with email, but the reporting is less than ideal and there is not a good level of customization available within the email builders.

Pros

Once you get used to it, it is an easy to use platform. Tracking is laid out in an easy to digest way. Spam blockers are efficient.

Cons

At-a-glance reporting is not as robust as in other platforms. Things like spam by email, which is essential to track, needs a custom report built rather than it being available with all other tracking. There are also a lot of nuances within the emails and the way they render for email platforms, like Outlook. For example, links do not show as bold.

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Limuel M.

Marketing and Advertising, 501-1,000 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Excellent Digital Marketing Instrument

Reviewed a year ago
Pros

It aids in the automation of all marketing processes across all channels such as email, web, and mobile. It's analytics and reporting capabilities allow you to measure and optimize the performance of campaigns and ads, resulting in lower marketing costs.

Cons

When you send a test email to get a sneak peak as a recipient, it takes a long time to be delivered to your inbox, which is inconvenient. Furthermore, SFDC has a diverse product portfolio, even within each of their services. As a result, before using the tool to it's full potential, some training is required.

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Jana F.

Computer Software, 10,001+ employees

Used weekly for 1-2 years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Incredibly Powerful Cloud-Based Marketing Automation Platform

Reviewed 6 months ago

Using Marketing Cloud, we can simply keep tabs on all of our social media profiles, Facebook updates, and email automation tools. Even if this platform is already a part of our website, it integrates with the services of other companies and applications with relative ease. Despite the fact that Marketing Cloud has an email solution, we continue to rely on Mailchimp to assist with channel management.

Pros

It is an extremely adaptable and comprehensive application that provides everything you need to efficiently manage your connections with customers. I liked that I could find out a lot of stuff, like what they were doing online, about the people I was trying to sell to. It gave me a comprehensive understanding of their habits, tastes, and contacts with my company, allowing me to make smarter choices and give superior service. In conclusion, if you're wanting to simplify your sales and marketing operations in a strong and user-friendly method, this CRM system is what you need.

Cons

It is always frustrating how long it takes for an email activity to load in Journey Builder. Sometimes the platform will indicate that you have been idle even if you have been working on it continuously.

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Richard G.

Telecommunications, 1,001-5,000 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Knowledge of customer and company information

Reviewed a year ago

It is the basis for activity and project information linked to daily reporting information from customers and employees across the company. All Marketing activities can be quantified, and you can easily understand the bottleneck, the cause and what is happening using the dashboard. In addition, because it can be linked to a wide variety of MAs, it is possible to manage customer data collectively. Employees can also query the information from the smartphone app to check all customer information without wasting time, even when they are away.

Pros

It is possible to manage schedules, customers, projects, etc., but it is excellent that it is possible to customize reports and create systems flexibly. The information needed and the management contents differ for each company and center, but I think the service is agile. At first, getting members to enter data is difficult, but as the number of items entered correctly increases, each salesperson's activities become more apparent. Since it has been possible to capture the characteristics of each member, sales productivity has improved in several ways, such as advice on which items to improve and knowledge sharing if things grow.

Cons

Although bugs occur infrequently, they can temporarily disrupt work because they are irreplaceable and essential tools for the business.

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Manuel H.

Entertainment, 1,001-5,000 employees

Used daily for 1-2 years

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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For sales and marketing operations, this is a highly valuable tool.

Reviewed 2 years ago

Very powerful MA software with a large variety of features However, to master it, you'll need employees who possess the essential technical skills. As a result of CRM measures, it will be able to target specific consumers, which is impossible with mass advertising. A connection to other databases made it possible to use the data internally. Each customer category's LTV has increased. Additionally, we were able to boost email open rates as a result of this and conduct successful marketing.

Pros

Since it allows you to manage all sales data and customer data, and it is compatible with other collaborative tools, it gets a five for its ease of use. Responsibilities and data in sales and marketing have become easier to handle. In other words, productivity has increased while work procedures have decreased. In the future, I'd like to continue using it. Appropriate for CRM software. Other utilities can be accessed via links. The interface that is easy to utilize. A little forethought will save you from many headaches.

Cons

Needs a good deal of technical expertise. Has a long learning curve Aspects of operation, a little foresight will save you a lot of headaches.

AR
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Verified reviewer

Consumer Goods, 51-200 employees

Used daily for 2+ years

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support

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Everything broke all the time and it had a significant negative impact on revenue

Reviewed 2 years ago

Never have I been so frustrated and upset with a platform as I have with SFMC. I run the marketing department for a small e-commerce company and SFMC was the cause of so many headaches. We encountered problem after problem with them (many noted in the "cons" section of this review") and our account manager / customer support was very frequently unable to successfully troubleshoot the issue. My small...

Pros

Robust data features, but difficult to deploy without technical resource

Cons

- Transactional emails randomly turned off for months - error on SFMCs part caused high SPAM rating on our account, so very few emails on our list were receiving messages - no conversion tracking - very little integration with company or Google analytics - implementation was a nightmare and was never completed - DMARC/DKIM/SPF never set up - UX/UI difficult to use - support was terrible and couldn't even help us set up an abandoned cart email

AR
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Verified reviewer

Leisure, Travel & Tourism, 1-10 employees

Used weekly for 6-12 months

Review source

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend3/10

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Streer clear of Marketing Cloud if you're a small company

Reviewed 4 years ago

It's 2020 and this product has the UX of the 2000's and a backlog of tech debt and bugs for a premium price. For a small business I'd HIGHLY recommend going with something else. Not only do you pay a PREMIUM price for Marketing Cloud, but you'll also end up spending more time than you should trying to figure out this product. There are "features" that exist, like data conversion on automations, but you'll have to spend time figuring out that they exist so you can e-mail support and request they turn them on, when they should have just been there in the first place.

Pros

I like that Send Time Optimization was included, this was extra with the previous e-mail marketing product we used.

Cons

First, we ended up in Google's black hole even when following the plan laid out by our integration partner. That you need an integration partner to get a small business setup should have been a huge red flag, but we thought we were stepping up to a more powerful e-mail product. There are bugs everywhere. Our integration partner had many tips like making sure to unselect an e-mail reselect it and...

AR
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Verified reviewer

Internet, 11-50 employees

Used daily for 6-12 months

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Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support

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Terrible product, terrible support

Reviewed 6 years ago
Pros

The personalization options are pretty cool. But when you use them (with AMPscript) the Journey Builder is pretty much useless as Engagement Splits don't work with them.

Cons

Where to start. - Extremely buggy system. We had multiple issues with the Journey Builder that resulted in a number of our subscribers receiving thousands of emails which put us on the spam list for Gmail. - The Journey Builder is extremely rigid. You have to create new versions if you want to make even the smallest edit. Then you'll likely need to double check every single step because things break...