Thursday, January 22, 2009

Only Sending to my Territory - List Eligibility

As your marketing database grows, and your marketing team grows with it, you'll soon want to manage communication by region or territory, so that your communications are not accidentally sent to unintended recipients.

You can do this with a very powerful capability called "Eligibility Criteria" for your distribution lists. Eligibility Criteria create a "universe" to which your email can be sent, and ensure that it is not sent outside of that universe. For example, if I was a marketer for South-East Asia, I would want any of my lists to have an Eligibility Criteria of "anywhere in South-East Asia". If a contact met that criteria, they could receive my emails, if they did not, they would not receive my emails, even if they were otherwise included in the distribution list.

The components of a Distribution List's Eligibility Criteria will be familiar to you. The most commonly used is a Filter, but you can also use Groups if you would like. To set up the territory we just described, we would use a Filter that defined the territory of South-East Asia - see the blog post on targeting a territory here:

Now, regardless of how the Include and Exclude criteria are set up, only contacts in South-East Asia will receive this email.

To make this feature more powerful, you can set up defaults for each of your users. In the User Management area, select Distribution List Defaults to set up the Eligibility Criteria that is to be added to each Distribution List created by that user. (this can, of course, be managed in bulk rather than individually for each user, but that will be the subject of a later post).


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the difference between the reason for this and the regular exclude criteria. Can you please explain what this allows us to do that we couldn't do before using exclude criteria?


Steven Woods said...

Great question - the difference is that one, Excludes, is a "negative" criteria (Do Not send to these people) whereas the other, Eligility, is a "universe" criteria (Only send to Included recipients IF they are part of this "universe" - ie, people in South-East Asia).

Yes, theoretically, you could build the same logic with a very complex set of excludes (Exclude all people where their country is one that is NOT in South-East Asia and/or is blank and/or is invalid).

This gets much more difficult, especially when your target universe is a bit more complex (ie, a combination of geography, account size, industry, etc). Much easier to define a target universe, manage that for each person or group, and then use Includes and Excludes to define the people you want to target within that universe.

Hope that helps,

Steven Woods said...

A comment came in from Brian by email that said, about the post "...It fails to mention that the eligibility criteria only applies to newly created lists and not those created before the eligibility criteria went into affect. Unless I am wrong."

No, not wrong at all, the defaults only apply to lists created after that point. There is a tool for managing all existing lists, but that's a subject for a later post.