Zoho Campaigns and Marketing Automation Update - August 2021

Zoho Campaigns and Marketing Automation Update - August 2021

Topics and subscription management update:
Before getting into the details of this update, here is a refresher on how the current subscription management flow behaves:

Zoho Campaigns user experience:
While creating a list, users have to provide a description for each list to make sure their contacts know the details of the communication if they wish to use the "manage preference" page.

Each email campaign is sent to a list. And if Topic management is enabled, then each list is mapped to a topic.

While mapping topics to list, a user can map a single topic to multiple lists. However, multiple topics cannot be mapped to a single list.

Contact's experience:
A contact receives an email you've sent through Zoho Campaigns. They want to unsubscribe. So, they click on the "Unsubscribe" link in the footer. Next, they are taken to
a confirmation screen, in which the contact can either confirm unsubscription from the list, manage subscriptions, or unsubscribe from all lists in the organization.

If they confirm unsubscription, they are unsubscribed from that list alone and will continue to receive emails from other lists they are still a part of.

Here are the difficulties a user might face with this flow:

  • On clicking "unsubscribe", the contact is just unsubscribed from the specific list. They will have to take an extra step to unsubscribe from all communication from the organization.
  • When topic management is not enabled and the contact wants to manage their preference, they are shown the lists that the user has created. If the user doesn't manage the list naming convention and limits the number of lists created, then the contacts ends up seeing a confusing page with a list of lists—a poor UX for the contact.
  • If a contact has to be a part of two topics, then the user has to create two lists with the contact present in each. Because of this, lists are being used for topic management, instead of its original purpose: contact classification.
  • While being helpful in managing contact subscription, users find the marketing types (Permission based, Consent based, GDPR-compliant) difficult to understand and implement. This makes topic management—a crucial aspect of consent and subscription management—hidden behind a wall of configuration.

In this update, we are revamping the relationship between a contact, topic, list, and an organization. Here's how:
  • Topics will be maintained at the organization level.
  • Topics will no longer be associated with a list. Instead, they will be directly associated with contacts. Each contact can be associated with multiple topics.
  • We are also introducing the ability to associate an email campaign with a topic. This way, when a user sends out an email campaign to a list, only those contacts who are subscribed to the same topic as the one associated with the email campaign will receive it.
  • When a contact unsubscribes, they will be unsubscribed from all the topics in the organization.
    This is the user journey: On clicking unsubscribe, the contact will be shown a confirmation page, on which by clicking "Yes, Unsubscribe/Remove me", they will be unsubscribed from the organization. We will also have the "Manage preferences" link in the confirmation page where users can choose their preference if they do not want to unsubscribe completely.

  • An email campaign must have either the "manage preference" link or the "unsubscribe" link in it.
  • We are also introducing an option to mark a contact as "non-marketing".
    A "non-marketing" contact will not receive any email campaigns even if they are a part of lists.
    So now a contact can be:
    • A marketing contact (or)
    • A non marketing contact (or)
    • An unsubscribed contact
  • Handling permission based, consent based, and GDPR email marketing contextually, instead of asking the user to select a type upfront. More on this below.

A note on non-marketing contacts
  • Non-marketing contacts are available only for paid subscription.
  • These contacts are not counted in the subscription.
  • An organization can have a maximum of 1 million non-marketing contacts at a time.

Here is a side by side comparison of the old and the new topic management approach.

We highly recommend you check out the attachment to get a detailed breakdown of this update, how it affects other modules in the product, and how migration will be handled.

When will these updates be made live?
These updates will be made available globally by August 31, 2021.

How will these updates be rolled out?
We will enforce the new topic management setup for all users that sign up after August 31, 2021.

Existing organization who do not have topics enabled, can enable it at any time until August 31, 2022. When enabled, we will enforce the new topic management system by creating a default topic "marketing". Users can manage their organization's products and topics as desired.

Existing organizations who already use topics, can choose to migrate to the new topic management system anytime until August 31, 2022. Once enabled, this change cannot be reverted. We have put in place all the necessary implementations to make sure this transition is frictionless.

The user can choose to opt for the new topics management system with just the click of a button. Beyond August 31, 2022, we will automatically enable new topic management for all existing users.

See the attached PDF for more detail.
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