Sitecore 9.1 EXM Changes

Early Presents!

Who doesn’t like peeking at presents under the tree early!

EXM Santa has released Day 1 of the 25 Days of EXM early in celebration of the launch of Sitecore 9.1! Check back on December 2nd and every day after that for 24 more days EXM goodness! 

On this, the first day of 25 Days of Sitecore EXM, we’re unwrapping the changes contained in Sitecore 9.1! If you attended Sitecore Symposium 2018 in Orlando, you might have heard that the Sitecore 9.1 release has some exciting new EXM features in addition to the normal bug fixes usually found in updates.

Sitecore Experience Platform 9.1 rev. 001564released on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 brings forth a number of new features of architecture changes for the overall Sitecore platform. Most notable of the updates is the inclusion of Identity Server 4 as the new authentication mechanism, as well as the introduction of Sitecore HOST, which is a purpose-built, modular architecture, for creating custom plugins for Sitecore.

But wait… There’s more! Sitecore Email Experience Manager has also had a number of improvements and feature additions. Let’s take a look!


New Features

Email Preference Center

The most notable change in Sitecore 9.1 is the addition of the feature Email Preference Center. This allows marketers to create marketing categories that allow for segmentation of users who are interested in various aspects of the website.

  • Out of the box, the example comes with 5 baked in categories or segments:
    • Premium Content
    • Product Updates
    • Webinars
    • Events
    • Newsletters
  • Also includes a checkbox for globally opting out of all emails from Sitecore.

The marketing preferences themselves have little to do with EXM or deliverability of emails. Instead, additional rules have been added to the Rules Engine that checks for whether a contact has opted in (or not) to a marketing preference.

Additionally, the look and feel of the Email Preference Center is controlled via the EXM Manager Root. My opinion is that this feels like a little bit of an anti-pattern with how Sitecore normally does item layouts and doesn’t allow for strong customization. I think a different way would’ve been to enable a manager root to make use of the presentation layout.

However, important to note that this does provide an option where multiple EXM Manager Roots can have their own branding and marketing categories listed. In a multi-tenant or multi-site deployment, this provides a number of options for customizing.

We’ll dive deeper into the Preference Center on Day 19 of our 25 Days of Sitecore EXM and show how this can be used as part of your strategy for managing the unsubscribe.

Sending Limits

Another great feature added into Sitecore Experience Platform 9.1 is the inclusion of Sending Limits at the EXM Manager Root level. These sending limits allow a marketer control over just how many marketing messages are dispatched to a single contact. Once a contact as reached their daily, weekly, or monthly send limit, then when messages are dispatched, even if the contact would ordinarily be sent the message, they would be excluded and filtered out of the dispatch process.

These settings can be set in Email Experience Manager under the Administrator section on the Contact Send Management menu item.

Expanded Rules Engine Options

There are a number of new rules that have been added specifically for List Manager List Segment rules as well as Marketing Automation. The full list of available rules is listed below.

Support for Encryption of PII Data

In the improvement category, Sitecore’s Email Experience Manager now supports the encryption of Personally Identifying Information (PII) data in the EXM.Master. To enable, simply turn on database encryption on the database.

Service Message Classification

With Sending Limits, a new message classification was needed. Sometimes, it’s important to send service messages to contacts, regardless of Sending Limits. These types of messages include things like password resets, unsubscribe messages, account based emails, and the like.

With the new Service Message Classification, messages can be marked as a service message and will ignore sending limits. This will become most helpful in Automated Messages from Marketing Automation.

With great power, comes great responsibility. It’s the responsibility of the marketer to use this setting purposefully and not to circumvent sending limits.


Changes and Updates

Manager Root Changes

In addition to the new features listed above, the Manager Root has also been changed to add Unsubscribe Handling options per manager root.

  • Send unsubscribe confirmations
    • This provides functionality to turn off the automatic service message for Unsubscribe Confirmations. This is helpful if you have a more customized solution where maybe Marketing Automation is sending unsubscribe notices.
  • Add List-Unsubscribe header to emails (CustomSMTP mode only)
    • When using the CustomSMTP provider, selecting this option adds headers to the email message on unsubscribe messages to add a List-Unsubscribe header. This functionality allows email clients like Gmail to display an Unsubscribe link to automatically unsubscribe from that message campaign.

EXM Client API Changes

Last but not least, the EXM Client API has been changed and the Subscribe and Unsubscribe methods have been consolidated down to one method: UpdateListSubscription.

  public interface IClientApiService
  {
    void SendAutomatedMessage(AutomatedMessage automatedMessage);

    void ConfirmSubscription(ConfirmSubscriptionMessage confirmSubscriptionMessage);

    void RegisterEmailOpen(EmailOpenMessage emailOpenMessage);

    void UpdateListSubscription(UpdateListSubscriptionMessage message);
  }

The UpdateListSubscription method allows for a couple of different operations based on the UpdateListSubscriptionMessage options that are sent in through the parameter argument. One of the properties on the class is called ListSubscriptionOperation

These operations include:

  • Subscribe
  • Unsubscribe
  • UnsubscribeFromAll
  • AddToList
  • RemoveFromList

Each of these options use different properties made available through the UpdateListSubscriptionMessage class.

We will explore the EXM Client API in more detail, including these additional changes on Day 21 of 25 Days of Sitecore EXM


EXM Live! Webinar on Day 13!

Be sure to register for
EXM Live! An Email Automation Experience

To register for this webinar, visit https://dx.connectivedx.com/2018-exm-webinar

3 thoughts on “Sitecore 9.1 EXM Changes

  1. Pingback: 25 Days of Sitecore EXM | Sitecore Hacker

  2. Pingback: The Email Manager Root In Detail | Sitecore Hacker

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