Friday Pitch Winner: dotmailer
For Pitch Friday, I'd like to let you know about the awesome new scripting capability we've added to dotmailer. Not for general release until next Wednesday (August 5th) but as you lot are so lovely… here’s preview of what’s to come.
We’ve, for some time now, allowed users to store information about purchase history, web viewing history, social profiles… against contact records in dotmailer; that’s been great for segmentation – but now we’ve got that into the email / landing page content… and then some.
This is all now possible because we’ve built the Liquid markup language (developed by the lovely team at Shopify) into our HTML and drag-&-drop editors.
What does this mean (in non-techie terms):
- Suppose you’re a retailer: You can just keep an up to date stock list in dotmailer and have all your automated email send product recommendations based on current stock levels
- Suppose you’re a motor company: You can list all vehicles that a contact has due for service in the next 3 months with details for each one
- Suppose you’re a B2B vendor: You can keep a single database of all your sales reps and account managers, and have all your emails and landing pages automatically update based on a single field against each contact noting their account manager’s name
- Once set up; most of this can be done using drag and drop tools with only limited exposure to the actual scripting language underneath
What does this mean (in slightly more techie terms):
- All solutions for email offer at least a flat database solution; whereas some solutions extend that with a relational database, dotmailer do the same thing with a document oriented database
- This schema for documents is freely definable by the user, so it has been used to store web visits, purchases, cinema trips, travel destinations, vehicle leases, family members, academic paper attribution…
- You can now use Liquid markup directly in the HTML of your email message or landing page to do logic or output data from: contact records (including the document store), or account level documents (such as product catalogues, etc.)
- We support all the core logic and filters that Shopify does and expose data objects related to email behaviour and list membership
And, because it’s dotmailer, it all works in the shiny drag and drop editor. I won’t go so far as to say you can use it without ever seeing any code, but if you don’t mind the occasional delve into HTML to make a small tweak, then Liquid should be no more scary. And for the HTML/CSS whizz looking for something new to learn, Liquid is a pretty standard markup language nowadays, used by many systems – so it’s a great skill to have.
Example: I’ve built a simple drag and drop “resort” block – that automatically (based on a fictitious client’s database of resorts) will generate based on a user’s preferences a list of resorts that:
- Matches the preference set (Winter Sports, Family Beach)
- Pulls in the picture of the resort
- Displays its “star” rating
- Shows the price formatted to whatever currency and significant figures are required
- Sorted by price, star rating, resort name, or whatever you choose
In the email builder you’ll see:
[Drag and drop content}
LOOP [repeat up to  times, sort by [price], show items matching [category], list in  column(s), click to configure options]
[editable drag and drop resort block]
[Drag and drop content]
And you can add as many loops and decisions as you need to create some very complex and highly personalized messages.
Here are two variants of that email for different contacts based on their preferences:
Our actual Product Marketing will go out next week, so apologies for my poor HTML and image skills here… hopefully some actual template designers will build something better for me with better device optimization.
Full documentation, video content and demos will be on general availability from next Wednesday (5th August), but if anyone would like a sneak preview – let me know and I’ll see if I can set you up with it enabled on a demo account. If anyone is coming via the dotmailer office in New York, London, Manchester, or Edinburgh; demand to be shown it in action!
Oh, and I’m away next week, so if you’re super keen to see it and can’t get hold of me… try my fellow Product Manager Ben Staveley (firstname.lastname@example.org).