Identify When to Use Transactional Messages

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify different types of transactional messages.
  • Describe how transactional messaging can complete a customer journey.
  • Define an event notification.

Now that you understand what transactional messages are and how they’re triggered, let’s dig into why you should include this important message type as part of your overall digital strategy.

First, let’s look at the different types of transactional messages and the benefits of each. 

Message Type
Transactional Trigger Benefit to Recipient
Purchase confirmation
A person-initiated single email or SMS message
Provides confirmation of the completion of a transaction
Banking alert
A system-initiated email or SMS triggered by an application
A previously provided email address or mobile number allows customers to receive alerts about account activity
Confirmation of account changes
A system-initiated single notification/alert message triggered by an application
The message is sent at the moment the event occurs
Password reset
A person-initiated single email or SMS message
The message is sent within minutes of the request
Appointment reminder
A system-initiated notification/alert message triggered by an application at a predetermined time and interval
Customer states their preference of channel and provides email address or mobile number to receive reminders
Flight cancellation
An urgent system-initiated batch of notification/alert messages triggered by an application at the moment an important event occurs
A real-time update best suited for a mobile device (SMS or push notification)
Weather alert
An urgent system-initiated batch of notification/alert messages triggered by an application at the moment an important event occurs
A real-time update best suited for a mobile device (SMS or push notification)

Since many of these are critical messages, if they are not planned, sent, and received, they can negatively impact a customer journey.

According to the State of the Connected Customer, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. If you can identify the areas of your customer journey where it makes sense to include a person-initiated or system-initiated message, it can make all the difference in the experience a customer has with your brand.

As part of your transactional messaging strategy, it’s suggested you also use event notifications. These are near real-time push-style notifications based on the transactional messages you send. Use the Event Notification Service (ENS) to receive notifications when certain events occur in Marketing Cloud. You can be notified when customers request password resets, receive order confirmations, log in using multi-factor authentication, and other events. 

Event notifications are sometimes referred to as webhooks, because they are delivered to your business-owned web endpoint (URL) in real time. These notifications allow marketers and marketing tech, or IT to deeply integrate and react quickly to business-critical use cases such as multi-factor authentication, password resets, purchase confirmations, and fraud alerts, to name a few.

Let’s look at a few scenarios involving event notifications as they relate to transactional messaging from a marketer’s point of view.

Benefit to Marketer/Analyst
Receive a notification the moment a message has bounced so you can notify the message recipient using an alternate messaging option, such as physical mail.
A marketer sets up transactional shipping notifications and notices an email bounced. She checks the customer record and sees a mobile number, so she is able to reroute the notice via SMS message.
A marketer with a time-sensitive message has the ability to attempt an alternate channel to ensure the message reaches their customer as soon as possible.
Check the message delivery status (delivered, bounced, and such) for a single subscriber to take action based on the delivery status.
A support specialist speaks with a customer who says they did not receive a confirmation email after making an online purchase.
A customer service agent can easily check the delivery status of a message sent to a customer and make updates as needed.
View transactional activities in near real-time for messages, including messages sent or bounced.
An operations analyst must monitor transactional activity health and react to problematic trends in sending or engagement as quickly as possible to determine if adjustments are needed to improve key performance indicators (KPIs).
Reduces the amount of time needed to make campaign decisions because up-to-date data is made available at the same frequency as business runs. Daily reports generated at 2 AM are a thing of the past.

We examine how all this happens in real time in a bit. Before we dig into those details, let’s discuss the importance of connecting all your messages within a single platform.


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