Triggers, Journeys, Targeting… A Glossary of CRM messages

02 août

In talking to our peers in CRM marketing, we realized we all use the same terms… for slightly different concepts. Which, naturally, leads to confusion, misunderstanding, and sometimes even a few laughs. Anyway. We thought it might be useful to write down some definitions for fundamental CRM concepts as we use them at Splio.

(Psst! These are actually serious and literal definitions, nothing like our Unvarnished CRM Dictionary. That one is also – of course – like most of what we publish – very serious, but in a philosophical, facetious way ;). Check it out here if you haven’t already!)

Note: All of these terms can apply to most any CRM marketing channel, be it email, push, SMS, direct mail… this is why we’ll mostly use the terms “messages” or “campaigns”!


Marketing messages that are sent in direct response to customer actions like: creating an account, abandoning a cart, completing a purchase.

They are usually very efficient in terms of driving the behavior you’re looking for, because they are sent when the customer is “warm”!

However… there are only so many customer actions you can respond to with triggers. Only a fraction of your customer base will abandon a cart in a given month!


Sequences of messages that are sent based on a certain customer context.

A typical example is a “welcome series”. If we take the most common example of an email journey, the first email would be triggered by the creation of an account or a first purchase, and then the following emails would be sent automatically, either after a specific delay, or if another specific action is taken by the customer.

Newsletters, ad-hoc campaigns, promotional campaigns

One-off messages that are sent to your whole customer list (“Batch & Blast”) or to a fraction of your customer list (“Targeted campaigns”). Depending on your company, you may send these messages to communicate about new collections, sales, specific product categories…

Batch & Blast

Communications that you send to your entire customer list (even when adding some criteria like: opt-in only, “active” customers only, etc)

Targeted campaigns

Communications that you send to a smaller percentage of customers (usually 20% or less), based on who might be the most interested in those particular topics. Obviously, they are much more customer-centric than Batch & Blast!


The dream behind personalization is 1:1 communication tailored to the customer. The reality is you don’t have a personal relationship with your customers, so how can personalization truly exist?

Truth is, personalization solutions fail to deliver because they rest on this false premise. Marketers are let down in so many ways: because personalization solutions change the content dynamically at the moment of send, they have little to no control over what the customer is going to see. How many times have we seen glitches like “You may be interested by…” followed by the product the customer just bought? More on this subject on this article.

Are you wondering if it’s time to start sending targeted campaigns? Check out this article: 12 signs it’s time to implement a targeted CRM campaign strategy.