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We are planning to build a custom subscription center and the idea is for the customer to pick from which types of mailings he/she can subscribe or unsubscribe.

Since we don't use Lists (aside from the All Subscribe master list) nor Publications, is it possible to unsubscribe / resubscribe from Data Extensions?

Or what would be the smartest approach here?

Thank you!

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Outside of using Lists, the only way to control your levels of subscription is through Publication lists or suppression/exclusion lists (which can be data extensions).

Personally, the easiest by far is Publication lists as this is mostly handled natively by SFMC - so I would highly recommend using this option. All you would need to do is create the list (super simple) and then assign it on each send to the DE you attach in the Send definition. The subscription status, etc is then handled by SFMC.

If you want to stay away from all lists and want to use the exclusion/suppression list option, you will need to set up automations or API calls to constantly update these lists. You then would need to manually add each appropriate exclusion/suppression list on each send definition you put out. This is a very complex solution for an enterprise solution, so I would only recommend if you are doing it on a small scale.

  • Hi, thanks a lot for your input! If a person in a Publication List (lets say Marketing one) has unsubscribed, this customer can still be sent other emails via data extensions or other Publication Lists? Can several Data Extensions post their subscribers to a Publication Lists or how should a situation like ours be handled, where all the sends are done exclusively to Data Extensions at the moment? – Rain May 3 '17 at 13:14
  • yes to pretty much everything. 1.) Publication lists provide the functionality that is present in lists for opt-out levels - meaning they can opt out of all your emails OR only opt out of that specific publication list. 2.) You can use as many DEs on a publication list as you want - think of the publication list as a sort of automatic suppression list. You also do not need to use the same Publication list each time you send to a DE. You can send to different publication lists depending on the email, but use the same DE. – Gortonington May 3 '17 at 13:18
  • You are a godsend, thank you so much! By any chance, do you know if there is any documentation on how to use Data Extensions with Publication Lists? Trying to find a way how to start working with this feature :) – Rain May 3 '17 at 13:28
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    Publication lists: help.marketingcloud.com/en/documentation/exacttarget/… – Gortonington May 3 '17 at 13:30

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