Using custom fields as fallback


I was wondering if it was possible to use subscriber's custom field as a fallback for another custom field.

For example, we have 2 custom fields; "first_name" and "nickname". We want to greet all subscribers with their nickname. So we would use:

"Hi [nickname]"

But what if not all subscribers have a nickname, would it be possible to use the personlised "first_name" field as a fall back? I tried:

"Hi [nickname, fallback=first_name]" -> this just displayed the text "first_name".
"Hi [nickname,fallback=[first_name]]" -> this displayed the contents of the first name field, regardless if there was a "nickname" value.

Any suggestions on getting this to work? Is this at all possible?

kind regards,

Stig Stig, 8 years ago

Hi dod,
this is not at all an ideal solution, but you could use segments and send separate campaigns.

First, you need to find the subscribers with a nickname. Create a new segment, and add a rule for the nickname field. Choose "Is provided" and save the segment.

Then you need a segment for the rest. Create a segment with an "Is not provided" rule for the nickname field.

Send separate campaigns to the two segments, with the personalization tags as the only difference. Theoretically, the first segment shouldn't need a fallback, and if all subscribers are registered with a name, neither should the second. It never hurts, though.

The obvious down side to this method, besides the extra work, is that you'll get "segmented statistics". Of course, you could just look at it as a A/B test :)


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Stormy Stormy, 8 years ago

I actually think this kind of feature would be something that may be useful. Although we all know it's important to get as accurate and full information as possible, there are always cases where all the fields just aren't known.

What if you only know some customer's surnames? Being able to fallback to a salutaion & surname combination if a firstname is missing would, I feel, be a good feature, and I'm sure it would have further applications in time.

No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Dave Dave, 8 years ago

Thanks for the suggestions Jason (and back up stormy), double fallbacks are something we've considered before, and if it keeps popping up we'll certainly consider it. That's also a great suggestion by Stig to get you by in the mean time. Sometimes I think Stig gives better suggestions than I do, it's awesome (and a little depressing).

Stormy Stormy, 8 years ago

I'd keep schtum if I were you then Dave, unless you're going to offer Stig a job ;)

No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Stig Stig, 8 years ago

Damn, that's flattering.. I'm just a Freshview fan :)

The forums are seeing some really valuable growth lately.

But back to the issue, I have a simple feature request on the way that would solve this, and tons of other problems. I've been meaning to post it for weeks, but never got around to writing it all down. I will soon, though.


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Dave Dave, 8 years ago

Looking forward to it Stig *cough* sorry Stormy ;)

dod dod, 8 years ago

Thanks for the feedback (the extra banter was a bonus!) .

Stig, I'll try your segmentation solution. Gives me an excuse to try this feature which I have seen, but never had a need for.

Also, looking forward to your 'all-solving' feature request. :)

I'll let you know how the segmentation went.

Many thanks!


dod dod, 8 years ago

Hi all,

Tried the segmentation tool. Works great.

Not ideal for the problem, but certainly not a hack either.


dannyfoo dannyfoo, 8 years ago

I would seriously appreciate having the ability to use 'nickname' as a primary option and first_name or last_name as a fallback. Simple reason is if my initial sales were started from a forum, buyers would recognize me more from my nickname. Unless of course, I always registered my real name in every forum.

Although addressing recipients by their real name is more polite, they might get the shock of their life thinking how does this person know my name. You get the idea.

Oh well... for the time being I'll just use what's given. :)

ekokym, 8 years ago

I would certainly like to personalise the fall back. I have quite a few Doctors and Professors on my list and although I want to use mostly First Names in my greeting sometimes the Prof's like to see the Prof in front of their name. Often subscribers provide just an initial (even if I ask for a firstname) and then I would prefer to add their title Ms/ Mr.

I am pretty new to Campaign Monitor and loving it! Thanks for a great service!

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