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Using ERMS to Handle Email Opt-Out (Unsubscribe) Requests – by John Burton and Vinod C

This blog describes how companies can leverage SAP CRM E-Mail Response Management System (ERMS) to handle Marketing email opt-out requests from customers. In order to implement this solution companies need to implement SAP Note 1455745 (ERMS: Unsubscribe e-mail sender for Marketing Campaigns). Please be advised that the note requires some additional manual steps.

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, 20 million email messages will be exchanged around the world. In fact, about 250 billion emails are sent and received each day. That’s a lot of email! One of the main reasons that email usage is growing so quickly is due to its low (free) cost and ease of convenience. Yet, as with anything, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. In an ideal world, all of a company’s customers and prospects would be thrilled to stay in close and constant contact. However in reality, customers sometimes move on, lose interest, find themselves in new situations, start to get overwhelmed with emails, or just need a little break. In such situation, customers and prospects may no longer be interested in receiving Marketing emails from a particular company. In order to comply with customer wishes, companies must be able to provide a way for customers to (at least temporarily) unsubscribe from Marketing email communications.

One way that companies can accommodate customer opt-out requests using SAP CRM is by assigning a marketing attribute to customer records. Companies can then leverage this attribute when executing Marketing email campaigns. Based on the value of the flag (e.g., opt-in versus opt-out) the customer will either be included or excluded from the marketing email blast. This prevents customers who have opted out of campaigns from receiving future marketing emails.

SAP Note 1455745 introduces a new out-of-the-box ERMS action UNSUBSCRIBE and underlying action-handling service AH_UNSUBSCRIBE that can be used to dynamically update marketing attributes of a business partner master record. One obvious potential application of this ERMS action/service is to handle marketing opt-out requests from email recipients. To do so, companies will need to create a new marketing attribute set and new marketing attribute (e.g., OPT-OUT) as described in the note.

Step 1) Create a new marketing set and a new marketing attribute with values such as OPT-IN and OPT-OUT.

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Step 2) Assign the newly created marketing attribute to your business partners / accounts under the Marketing Attribute assignment block of the customer record

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Step 3) Make sure to create a filter to exclude business partners / accounts with the OPT-OUT marketing attribute value when creating any target groups for marketing campaigns; when creating any new campaigns be sure to use the target groups with the filter

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Step 4) Edit all Marketing mail forms to include some HTML code to include an “unsubscribe” hyperlink that when clicked will open a new reply email addressed to the appropriate corporate ERMS email address with a subject line such as “please unsubscribe”

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Step 5) Create ERMS rules using the new UNSUBSCRIBE action to update the marketing attribute to e.g., OPT-OUT if the subject line of the email contains “please unsubscribe”

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More information and step-by-step details are available in a full length CRMExpert article (http://www.crmexpertonline.com/article.cfm?session=&id=5196). Please note however that CRMExpert requires a paid subscription.

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6 Comments
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  • John and Vinod,

    It is very good feature. If we have similar capability available for telemarketing to prevent the telephone calls to be made to the customer through call list, it could be very useful

    Thanks & Regards

    Birlabose

    • Hi Birlabose,

      to me it seems like this is a very flexible concept - not restricted to the email newsletter opt-in / opt-out scenario primarily.

      Actually the condition of the rule could search for any keyword or sender information in the email  - and the action could set any marketing attribute in the BP master.

      So you could also set an "exclude me from telephone campaigns" marketing attribute with this action. And you could make sure that you segment your telemarketing campaigns by excluding the customers that have this attribute set.

      Does that make sense - or did I maybe oversee something?

      Thanks and best regards, Henning

  • Hi John and Vinod,

    This feature is very helpful, however I am facing an issue when dowloading customers from ECC system (consider an initial download), as they are created without any marketing attribute in CRM system: in this way, such customers are considered like "unsuscribed" customers in the segmentation.

    Did you ever meet a requirement like that?

    Thank you very much,
    regards,

    Pierangelo.

  • Hi John ,

    Thanks for the wonderful document .But I need some clarification in the same .

    I have done all the configuration for Marketing Attribute set , Marketing attribute .

    I am trying to set the Rule Modeler but facing some issues in setting the Rule . I have incorporated the SAP Note 1455745 where I have
    1) Added a new service
    2) Added a new Action
    3) Added Action Parameters where we added Parameter Id ATT_NEW_VALUE , MAKT_ATTR and MKT_ATTR_SET .

    Here we have added the new Action ID and necessary Parameter Id mentioned above .

    But in the Condition and Action in the Rule Modeler .
    CONDITIONS - I ma not able to get Email Subject in ATTRIBUTE dropdown and
    ACTION - I am not able to get Marketing Attribute Set , Marketing Attribute and Marketing Attribute Value .

    Again , UNSUBSCRIBE hyperlink - How do we do it ???
    Regarding Survey Hyperlink , we generate Survey url and put the link in Hyperlink and Paste it in Mail Form .

    Please suggest

  • Hi John ,

    I have configured the Marketing Attribute , Marketing attribute set and Value .

    I have made all the changes according to the SAP Note 1455745 where I have maintained ,
    1) Added a new Service
    2) Added a new Action
    3) Added a new Parameter Id - ATT_NEW_VALUE , MKT_ATTR , MKT_ATTR_SET .

    But I am not able to get the Condition - Email Subject as Attribute and under Action Marketing Set , MARKETING Attribute and Marketing Attribute Value in the Rule Policy .Do we need to maintain the Attribue as Email subject anywhere or it will be generated from the SAP Notes implemented .

    Again for Unsubscribe Options Hyperlink , How do we do that .
    For the Questionnaire hyperlink , we Generate the url , where we get the url and Copy that url in Mail Form under Hyperlink .

    Please suggest , Did I miss anything ?

    • Sorry I wrongly selected Accounts and Contacts instead of ERMS .

      But the second part about , How we add that Unsubscribe Options in Mail Form .
      For the Questionnaire hyperlink , we Generate the url , where we get the url and Copy that url in Mail Form and under Hyperlink we paste it .

      Please suggest