Analyze customer data to determine the appropriate data model.
Marketing Cloud can store data in two different formats: lists and data extensions. While lists are only used with the Email Studio application, data extensions allow storing relational data and use by several Marketing Cloud applications.
Lists can be used to store email subscriber data for the Marketing Cloud Email Studio application.
Separate lists can be created to include or exclude subscriber in email sends. The same email subscriber can therefore exist in multiple lists, with a different opt-in status in each of them. Additional data to describe email subscribers can be defined in profile and preference.
There are different types of lists to define the audience of email sends and to maintain separate opt-in statuses for different sends.
Each Marketing Cloud account contains one All Subscribers list which cannot be modified. This standard list contains all email subscribers and their respective opt-in status to receive emails from the Marketing Cloud account.
Subscriber lists are used to include a list of email subscribers in the audience of an email send.
In the standard Profile and Subscription Center provided by Marketing Cloud, email subscribers can opt-out from individual subscriber lists, to prevent receiving future emails sent to this list. They can also opt-out from all emails sent from a Marketing Cloud account, by opting-out from the All Subscribers list.
Exclusion lists are used to exclude a list of email subscribers in the audience of an email send.
Additional information about email subscribers can be stored in profile and preference attributes. This information is stored separately from lists.
Profile attributes can be used to store subscriber characteristics, and preference attributes information on how subscribers prefer to receive email communication.
Following data types are available for profile attributes:
Following data types are available for preference attributes:
By default, Email Studio uses the email address as a unique identifier for subscribers. Subscriber Keys can be used to define another attribute as the unique identifier for subscribers. This allows to store the same email address for multiple subscribers and maintain separate opt-in statuses.
Data extension can be used to store any kind of data in Marketing Cloud. Compared to lists, data extensions are supported by several Marketing Cloud applications and not just Email Studio.
Data extensions can further be used to define a relational data model. Relationships of different cardinalities can be established between data extensions and used to query related data. Data relationships provide better performance than lists when importing new data.
Emails can be directly sent to a special type of data extensions called sendable data extension. Those data extensions have a relationship to email subscribers based on the subscriber key. To maintain opt-in status for different email sends using sendable data extensions, several types of lists are used.
The All Subscriber list is also used in with sendable data extensions, to store opt-ins statuses of email subscribers on account-level.
Publication lists are used to maintain the opt-in statuses of subscriber included in an email send to a sendable data extension.
In the standard Subscription Center provided by Marketing Cloud, email subscribers can opt-out from individual publication lists, to prevent receiving future emails sent to this list. They can also opt-out from all emails sent from a Marketing Cloud account, by opting-out from the All Subscribers list.
Suppression lists are used to exclude email subscribers in the audience of an email send to a sendable data extension.
Data extensions are database tables within Marketing Cloud. The columns of those tables are defined with data extension fields. Each field must have a data type assigned, defining which type of data can be stored.
Following data types are available for data extension fields:
The primary key of a data extension is used to uniquely identify a single record within the data extension. This can be a single field or a combination of several fields. The latter option is referred to as a composite key.
For example, if the primary is is the Subscriber Key, the data extension can only contain one record per subscriber. However, if the primary is the combination of the Subscriber Key and a Created Data field, multiple rows for the same subscriber could be created at different times.
Many Marketing Cloud features such as Contact Builder are only supported with Data Extensions. Generally, it is therefore recommended to use Data Extensions instead of Lists to store email subscriber related data. However, in a simple use case for which few Marketing Cloud features are needed, Lists could be used instead.
|Size||< 500,000 subscribers||> 500,000 subscribers|
|Attributes||Few Subscriber Attributes||Multiple Subscriber Data Sets|
|Triggered Sends||Not Supported||Supported|
|Global Messages||Not Supported||Supported|
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