Braze vs Salesforce: Pros, cons & an alternative marketing platform

Katie Morley

May 20, 2024

Braze vs Salesforce: Pros, cons & an alternative marketing platform Featured Image
Katie Morley

May 20, 2024

Braze and Salesforce Marketing Cloud are two of the most well-known cross-channel marketing platforms. While they can both help you build and automate campaigns across email, SMS, and other channels, they also have some big differences.

In this guide, we’ll explore those differences in detail, as well as each tool’s benefits and limitations. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most important points:

  • Braze offers strong products and lots of expertise in the mobile marketing area, i.e., mobile app messaging and channels like SMS and WhatsApp. It’s great for cross-channel marketing automation and real-time data processing, which Salesforce doesn’t do well.
  • Braze’s main downsides are its outdated user interface (UI), limited customer service in some regions, and lack of a true customer data platform (CDP). The last point is particularly important, as it forces teams to overcomplicate their martech stack by integrating Braze with a separate CDP.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides flexibility, scalability, and customization opportunities to marketing teams. It offers products for more use cases than Braze, making it a better choice for teams looking for an all-in-one solution or for B2B marketers working closely with sales teams.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud is more expensive and complex to set up and use than Braze. It also relies on third-party system integrators rather than in-house support teams, which results in customer service quality that’s not consistent across the board.
Table of Contents
  1. Braze vs Salesforce: Detailed breakdown of each tool’s pros and cons

  2. Insider: A modern, AI-powered alternative to Braze and Salesforce

  3. Use Insider for fast time-to-value, broad channel access, and advanced personalization

Below, we’ll explore these and other aspects of both platforms in detail. Additionally, we’ll also discuss how Insider — our AI-native platform for individualized, cross-channel customer experiences — compares to Braze and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Insider offers a lot of the functionality of both platforms (like omnichannel automation), while also providing more templates, channels, and personalization capabilities under one roof. Plus, customers rank Insider ahead of Braze, Salesforce, and other competitors in categories like support quality, ease of setup, ease of use, and more.

Braze vs Salesforce vs Insider in G2
Braze vs Salesforce vs Insider in G2

For a deeper dive into how Insider works, try the product yourself or schedule a demo with our team.

Braze vs Salesforce: Detailed breakdown of each tool’s pros and cons

We’ll start off by discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Braze and Salesforce. For the sake of simplicity, we won’t dive too deep into areas where both platforms offer similar capabilities, such as journey orchestration and access to specific channels like email and SMS.

Braze pros: Strong mobile app engagement and mobile channel orchestration capabilities

Braze started out in 2011 as Appboy — a platform built specifically for mobile channels like SMS, push, and in-app notifications. The company was rebranded to Braze seven years later, while gradually adding more channels and capabilities for cross-channel journey orchestration before going public in 2021.

Due to this history, Braze has a lot of expertise in the mobile marketing world. The customer engagement platform remains a leader when it comes to building and automating journeys across SMS, WhatsApp, and other mobile channels. It’s also good for delivering completely personalized mobile app experiences.

When it comes to pricing, Braze can be expensive due to the profitability pressures of a public company. However, it’s still usually cheaper than Salesforce’s solutions, which are famous for their steep price tags. 

The same goes for ease of setup and ease of use. As we’ll discuss in a bit, Salesforce can be complex to set up, making Braze the more marketer-friendly solution.

Braze cons: Outdated UI, no data unification, and limited customer service in some regions

One of the main gripes users have with Braze is the product’s outdated UI. While the platform’s usability and UX are better than Salesforce in some aspects, the UI can be difficult to navigate compared to modern enterprise marketing platforms.

Another limitation of Braze is the lack of a true customer data platform (CDP). CDPs are solutions that unify customer data from different sources — like CRMs, analytics tools, email platforms, and so on — into a single convenient place. They’re crucial for overcoming data silos and getting a clear view of your customers’ journeys.

While Salesforce offers a true CDP as part of its Marketing Cloud, Braze mostly relies on integrations with other enterprise CDPs

Most teams need to organize their data before passing it to Braze for activation, which makes the setup and operations of their martech stack much more difficult. Even positive user reviews for Braze point this out as a problem.

Braze G2 review

Finally, Braze is mostly focused on the US and EU markets where the company has local support teams. Teams based in other parts of the world can experience lower-quality customer service due to issues like long response times.

Learn more: 11 Braze alternatives for cross-channel marketing.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud pros: Versatile platform with integrations for other Salesforce products

Salesforce is one of the most popular tech companies in the world. It was founded back in 1999 with its flagship CRM product. Since then, the company has acquired a plethora of products — like Radian6, BuddyMedia, Exact Target, and Evergage — that form the backbone of today’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Like other marketing clouds and hubs, Salesforce offers a massive variety of products for different use cases. These include:

  • Data unification.
  • Marketing analytics.
  • Landing page creation.
  • Personalization across different channels.
  • Omnichannel journey orchestration and customer engagement.
  • Customer loyalty.
  • And more.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud pros

This versatility means that most marketing teams can find what they need within the Salesforce ecosystem. While the company isn’t a leader across all the product categories it provides, its email marketing tool in particular is one of the most advanced on the market.

Besides being highly versatile, Salesforce is also scalable and ideal for managing large datasets (although Braze is better if you require real-time data processing). 

Finally, Salesforce also offers lots of ways to customize and integrate the platform with other solutions. This is a benefit for companies that use other Salesforce products for their sales and customer service teams and want to deploy the platform across the entire enterprise. That’s why Salesforce is often a good fit for B2B marketers who work closely with sales teams.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud cons: Expensive, complex pricing structure, and reliance on third-party system integrators 

Price is usually the biggest downside of Salesforce. As a well-known premium enterprise solutions provider, Salesforce is known for charging more than the competition for its marketing and sales products.

The pricing structure for Marketing Cloud can also be convoluted, with Salesforce charging extra for segmentation, customer success, and many other capabilities. Many customers have said that Salesforce’s additional fees and expensive plans make the product unaffordable for small businesses and even some larger organizations.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud G2 Review

There’s also the issue of customer support. Salesforce doesn’t provide customer support via in-house teams (unless you’re a massive enterprise brand). Instead, they rely on third-party system integrators to help customers set up and use the platform.

That’s why there’s an entire ecosystem of agencies and consultants built around Salesforce. While there’s no requirement to work with them, organizations must often use their services to set up and manage Salesforce products.

This adds another layer of complexity and can lead to unpredictable customer support quality. When you factor in Salesforce’s overall complexity, it’s easy to see why Braze tends to outperform it in categories like ease of setup and ease of use.

Braze vs Salesforce Marketing Cloud in G2

It’s also worth noting that most of the products in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud were acquired, instead of built in-house. Some of the tools are still stitched together, as opposed to being deeply integrated and well-functioning within the broader Salesforce ecosystem.

Lastly, Salesforce also wasn’t built for today’s personalization era. Its real-time data processing capabilities lag behind modern cross-channel campaign management solutions like Braze and Insider. This makes Salesforce a poor choice for companies that require fast and personalized communications based on users’ recent actions.

Learn more: 5 Best Salesforce Marketing Cloud competitors and alternatives.

Insider: A modern, AI-powered alternative to Braze and Salesforce

Insider is our AI-led platform for unifying customer data, segmenting and predicting future behaviors with AI, personalizing all customer touchpoints, and automating cross-channel campaigns. 

It brings together the most extensive set of personalization capabilities for websites and mobile apps, as well as for channels like email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, and more. Insider is also a leader in time-to-value, ease of setup, and ease of use thanks to our experienced global support team and vast template library.

Thanks to this versatility, Insider has been ranked as a top solution by G2, Gartner, Forrester, and IDC across many categories that Braze and Salesforce also participate in, like:

G2 Grid for Mobile Marketing

In the next sections, we’ll explore some of the main advantages Insider offers to large marketing teams, compared to Braze and Salesforce.

Best-in-class global customer support teams

Setting up and managing a cross-channel marketing platform is always a challenge. From getting the right data to integrating with other solutions and learning the platform’s intricacies, the process can easily take months before producing a meaningful ROI.

A good customer support team can drastically reduce the time and effort required to get started. However, with Braze’s support lacking in some regions and Salesforce relying on third-party system integrators, there’s lots to be desired from both solutions.

In contrast, all Insider customers have access to our experienced in-house support teams. You don’t have to rely on system integrators, agencies, or other third parties.

Plus, Insider is an enterprise-grade solution provider with over 1000 employees in 26 offices across six continents. This means you get fast, high-quality support regardless of your location.

Our commitment to providing the best possible customer support has led to customers ranking Insider as the top solution provider in categories like ease of use, ease of setup, and support quality, compared to all other major solutions (not just Braze and Salesforce).

G2 best possible customer support

In a nutshell, our support team will:

  • Help you set up Insider with no extra setup charge. For example, our experts will ensure you’re involving the right commercial and technical stakeholders, bringing together the right customer data for your goals, integrating with other parts of the marketing stack, and much more.
  • Show you how the platform can work based on your needs. Insider offers a ton of different tools and capabilities, so our team will ensure you know how the ones that are relevant to your business work. Our team will also look at your website and analytics data to give you ideas for implementing marketing strategies that can drive quick results.
  • Migrates customer journeys to our platform. If you already have customer journeys created in Braze, Salesforce, or another solution, our team will migrate them to our customer journey builder for you. That way, you won’t have to build them from scratch.

Many customers view our support teams as one of the biggest advantages of working with Insider:

“The Insider’s account management team is great, having both global and local experience to draw from when it comes to creating campaigns and making use of the products to their full potential. The technology is also super easy to use and very flexible, enabling us to make the most of it however we would want to.”

Access to 12+ channels from one platform

While Braze and Salesforce provide access to plenty of channels, each tool has some gaps in this department. 

For example, Salesforce uses integrations with third-party providers to send web push notifications and WhatsApp messages. Braze is very limited when it comes to utilizing on-site as a channel, as it doesn’t offer any advanced website personalization capabilities or specialized tools for eCommerce site search, for example. 

In contrast, Insider brings together 12+ channels under one umbrella. These include web, mobile, email, push notifications, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, social media and search ads, and others.

Insider's unified marketing platform in action

There’s also an AI-powered journey builder with native A/B testing that you can use to create, automate, manage, and optimize campaigns across all these channels

This is all done through a user-friendly drag-and-drop editor. Plus, you have access to tons of proven templates for different channels and use cases that you can leverage without any coding.

Drag-and-drop editor in the customer journey builder

The broad channel access and journey orchestration capabilities make Insider an ideal choice for enterprise marketers looking to:

  • Unify their martech stack, instead of using a bunch of disconnected point solutions.
  • Be more productive, streamline workflows, and save resources, instead of managing lots of logins, UIs, and pricing plans for different tools.

Put simply, Insider’s broad channel access and personalization capabilities are hugely beneficial for teams looking to deliver tailored omnichannel experiences. For example, one eCommerce company managed to generate an ROI upwards of 100x with personalized experiences across web, app, push notifications, and email.

Intuitive personalization tools for all channels

Our platform’s personalization engine can tailor content, messaging, and product recommendations to each customer’s needs, preferences, and interests. Here are some ways our customers have used Insider’s personalization capabilities to boost conversions and revenue:

  • AI-powered product recommendations: Our platform lets you employ a variety of product recommendation strategies, like top sellers, frequently viewed items, products often purchased together, and many more. It can also automatically deliver personalized recommendations to every customer. Chow Sang Sang used this strategy to show relevant products to each website visitor, leading to a 10.5% uplift in conversions.
Chow Sang Sang personalized product recommendations Insider
  • Category personalization: Our Category Optimizer can automatically shift your site’s categories depending on the customer looking at them. This is a powerful capability for sites with lots of products and complex navigation. Adidas used category optimization to increase their mobile conversion rates by 50.3%.
Insider Adidas website category optimization

Instagram-like stories: InStory lets you add dynamic stories to your site or mobile app that are personalized to each user who opens them. This is a great way to put mobile product discovery on autopilot. Dover Saddlery used InStory and other parts of Insider’s personalization suite to drive $1.7 million of incremental revenue and achieve a 29x ROI.

Example of how Dover Saddlery using InStory
  • Email marketing campaigns. You can use Insider to extend your product recommendation across email, as well as build all sorts of automated email campaigns. We even support AMP emails for creating interactive, web-like experiences for recipients. Remix used Insider’s email automation capabilities to increase first purchases by 104% compared to the previous quarter.
Example of email after the purchase
  • Messaging channel personalization. Insider supports plenty of messaging channels like SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and LINE. You can use these channels to send personalized reminders, price drop alerts, cart recovery prompts, and more. Picniq used Insider to diversify its communications across WhatsApp, leading to an 80% open rate and 5x ROI.
Insider's messaging channel communications

Again, these are just some of the ways you can use Insider to individualize the customer experience. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our guide to achieving personalization at scale.

Industry-leading CDP for data unification and identity resolution

As we said, Braze mostly relies on integrations with other CDPs when it comes to having accurate customer data. Insider, however, offers a complete enterprise CDP that:

  • Aggregates customer data from any online and offline sources, including CRMs, CMSs, analytics software, customer service platforms, PoS devices, APIs, and many others.
  • Automatically creates accurate, 360-degree views of each customer. These profiles contain all the details you need to run successful marketing campaigns, including customers’ names, locations, contact information, channel reachability, likelihood to purchase or engage on a channel, and much more.
Unified customer profile

Our CDP even creates profiles for anonymous website visitors that show you where they clicked, which product categories they browsed, what they added to their carts, and so on. This enables you to leverage anonymous visitor personalization by tailoring the on-site experience in real-time to turn visitors into paying customers much faster and cheaper.

Lastly, like Braze and Salesforce, Insider can integrate and share data with different kinds of solutions, including:

  • CRMs like Salesforce, Pipedrive, HubSpot, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • Channel-specific marketing software like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and Constant Contact.
  • Analytics and attribution platforms like Mixpanel, Amplitude, and AppsFlyer.
  • Traditional data and analytics CDPs like Segment, mParticle, and Tealium.
  • Marketing automation tools like Pardot, Keap, and Marketo.
  • Live chat software like Drift and Intercom.
  • And many others.
Insider's integrations to ad networks for social media and search like Google and Facebook

You can use these pre-made connectors or our flexible API to connect to other systems and plug Insider seamlessly into your existing infrastructure and workflows, based on your needs.

For example, say teams in your organizations are already using other Salesforce products, like the CRM, Commerce Cloud, or Service Cloud. You can use Insider for all your cross-channel marketing needs while keeping these tools connected with our platform, so valuable data is always shared across your organization.

Use Insider for fast time-to-value, broad channel access, and advanced personalization

Insider is a modern, enterprise-grade platform that gives you access to 12+ channels, advanced personalization, and an AI-powered customer journey builder for creating consistent omnichannel experiences. It’s also an undisputed leader in categories like customer support quality, ease of setup, time-to-value, and ease of use.

Our platform can help you:

  • Make the most out of your marketing efforts and budget.
  • Work with experienced in-house support teams that ensure fast deployment, easy management, and quick problem resolution.
  • Build long-term profitable customer relationships and improve key metrics like conversions, revenue, retention, and acquisition costs.
  • Use advanced website personalization to maximize conversion rates by tailoring content, messaging, and product recommendations to each user’s preferences.
  • Leverage easy-to-use tools for building and automating campaigns across all channels, including on-site, email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, and more.
  • Access a library of easily customizable templates for any channel or use case — from generating leads fast via gamification to automating cross-channel cart abandonment journeys.
  • Rely on the full power of AI to predict customer behaviors, show personalized product recommendations, have unstructured two-way conversations with customers, and work more efficiently.

Click here to book a demo with our team and learn how Insider can help you reach your business goals

Katie is an award-winning content marketer with over eight years of experience in content strategy, development, and copywriting. As Global Content Director at Insider, she currently oversees content strategy across 26 regions. Fun fact: Katie read 64 books last year (for which she owes a long commute and two week-long holidays where she spent approximately six hours a day with her nose in a book).