This is exciting news for all the automation junkies out there.
New enhancements to Automation Rules will allow users to create rules that have the ability to repeat, and define how many times and how often they should run.
It’s been highly anticipated.
First posted on the Ideas Exchange more than 2 years ago, the idea had reached 4,340 points when I lasted checked – the result of 436 votes!
The comment thread details some very valid points, for instance:
- The functionality is available on competing Marketing Automation platforms
- Replicating rules sucks up usage limits
For me, this is a vital addition. Talking as a consultant, we come across multiple use cases and were left to figure out workarounds beforehand.
But, let’s not dwell on the past. In this post I run through how Automation Rules started out, why we need repeatable ones, and some advice for creating this new breed of automation rules.
From humble beginnings…
Automation rules were created with the intention that they would:
- Process Prospects based on defined criteria
- Take an action if Prospect qualifies
- Assesses actively, ie. continuously running in the background – and retroactively, ie. scoops up any qualifying Prospects and applies the action.
- Match and apply once, but never reapply action
The process went one of two ways:
A. Assess criteria ? Match ? Apply Action
B. Assess criteria ? No match ? No action ? [after period of time] re-assess criteria ? …
Couple of example scenarios:
- A prospect submits a form, and is from a specific region ? shoot them the relevant regional welcome email
- Some prospects submitted a landing page some time ago ? Send them the new one-shot email that you’ve
- A prospect has a tag ‘catlover’ ? Change the prospect custom field ‘Animal Preference’ to new value of ‘cat’
…and this worked well, until other Pardot features came on the scene and made us demand more from our automation as a result.
The need for repeat
So as we just established, once a Prospect had been processed by an automation rule, that would be it. Spent. Finito. Ignored in all future rule evaluation.
Now that’s changing, with new enhancements that will allow Automation Rules to repeat.
By this, we mean that the rule won’t run and ignore all previously matched Prospects when they come back around on the evaluation carousel – no no, it will match and apply the action regardless of its history with the rule.
Now that we’re building all-round smarter and more responsive customer journeys, the need for these rules to power-up is so necessary. Customer journeys now increasingly stitch more automations together, and in this web, we need rules to have a longer lifespan than they currently have.
Then there’s time. The majority of marketers cannot afford to spend time re-administering these rules.
Measures to take
Automation rules were created in this apply-once-only way as a ‘safety’ precaution, to prevent rules firing continuously and unnoticed. But here are some points to think about on the subject:
First, be clever about why you are creating these repeatable rules. Automation Rules are one feature that has usage limits imposed on it, because they can have a noticeable affect on account performance (processing speed). At least now, we can repurpose rules, alleviating some of the limit. All the same, you must be selective in why you are creating the rule.
Second, don’t skip the new options. Configure all the rule properties when creating, especially with reference to the new options available. You’re able to say exactly how many times a rule is allowed to apply an action to a prospect (with a criteria match).
Third, add an evaluation frequency. This is another new option available where you set the frequency between evaluation.
For example an automation rule is set up with a repeat frequency of one week. When it starts, matches a Prospect’s criteria. The rule applies the action. Now a week must pass before another match can occur, if the criteria is met. If the Prospect criteria matches more than once in this week, they will be ignored.
Clearly there is great demand for this feature release, and we have the Ideas Exchange entry to prove it! It’s necessary now because marketers are building increasingly smarter and more responsive customer journeys, which require repeatable rules to power-up these flows.
Salesforce anticipate this feature will be in Pardot Accounts on 29th June 2017.