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Triggered Email is Only as Good as Your Data

If you’re sending triggered emails in response to one-time events (for example, welcome emails, website confirmation downloads, etc.) then chances are your data is pretty good.  Someone does “something” (subscribes, purchases, downloads, etc.) and you trigger an email in response to whatever that something may be.   

But what about the following, more complicated, scenarios? 

  • The “something” event is comprised of multiple data points.
  • The data lives in multiple systems.
  • Your data isn’t clean.

Not so easy.  Take, for example, a satisfaction survey you'd like to send 90 days before a customer is due to renew their contract, followed by a reminder email if they haven’t yet completed it, or a thank you email if they have. In theory, this would be an easy series to trigger: 

  • Send #1 = Renewal date – 90 days. 
  • Send #2 = Triggered thank you upon completion OR reminder email 7 days after survey invite sent.


  • You have multiple (sometimes hundreds) subscribers stored per account in your CRM system.  Not all contacts should receive the message.
  • The data about what is due to renew / when it is due to renew is stored in a separate area of your CRM system, with no easy way to tie a subscriber to the renewal opportunity.
  • Because you don’t delete data from our CRM system, the subscriber may no longer work at the company.  
  • The extensive survey is hosted by a third-part vendor, which means there is no real-time visibility into whether someone has completed the survey within our own system.

The list goes on, but suffice it to say that there is a lot of manual data cleaning that goes into pulling a satisfaction survey list and sending the series. So while this seems like an ideal campaign to trigger, it’s just not easy. 

Understanding what data is needed, where it lives, and what obstacles stand in the way of easily getting that is a huge first step in the right direction.  So if you’re looking to automate or optimize your triggered email marketing and have found yourself in a similar situation, understanding your data is a good place to start.

Source: Exact Target

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