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Monday, October 09, 2017

MailChimp frustrations

I've been using MailChimp for a while now, and I'm totally mystified as to the basic units of logic at my command in deciding who gets sent what, when.

Obviously I understand how to create an email (sorry, a "campaign") and send it to an entire list.

But how do I send that same email only to people who never got it in the first place? Or, send an email only to those who got previous email X but not previous email Y?

I see that I can create a new field for everyone on the list, which might be useful for manually keeping track of what's true for each user a completely individual basis. But how do I set the value of a field for everyone I'm sending email Z? Or set this for everyone who got email W, but has field V false?

It seems like there are all of these sequential workflows that presume very specific stories about what I want to do. I suppose there are people out there who already know exactly what sequence of messages they wish to send, when. But I'm trying to just get to the point of understanding such sequences well enough to start designing them in my imagination.

That power is crucial to my being able to actually use MailChimp in real life. Without that understanding, my imagination is misspent and not applicable to reality. If I'm imagining scenario A, does that mean I basically have to go through all of their different specific messaging scenarios and try to find one that I can shoehorn A into? I'm really hoping that instead, I can find logical building blocks and units of information that I can use as I see fit. That way I can start to imagine in MailChimp, rather than have no idea if MailChimp can do the things I want to do until I hit that particular wall.

Can I send a particular email to people who haven't gotten that email before? Why on earth am I unsure if that's possible were impossible with MailChimp?

What I would also like to do is be able to select a subset of my list based on some search type logic (the "signed up through magazine ad" field is true AND they've received my promotional email X) and set some field value (make the "considered promotion combo Y" field true)

I can't even figure out how to find out whether these things are possible, because MailChimp's communication and knowledge base is so clogged with buzzwords and references to many-step workflows, rather than to explaining the core units of functionality, and core limitations.

This problem is in no way unique to MailChimp. And I understand that part of the issue is that I'm not really the customer: the customer is an enterprise which knows what such a service can and can't do, and is ready to spend money or time to hire knowledgeable consultants or train up employees. I also know that MailChimp is doing just fine without my advice. Still, it's flabbergasting to me that basic information about what the heck your product does and doesn't do is so obscured--and it's an industrywide problem, particularly bad in the customer relations management space.

Note: MailChimp support let me know this is impossible to do within MailChimp, but that if I export my list to a competitor's contact management system or spreadsheet and at the proper field there, I can then re-import the list back into MailChimp.

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