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With my current client, I find a lot of their journeys (in non-SFMC terminology - these can be built in Journey Builder or Automation Studio, or both) are focused around delivering a certain number of emails by an end date. Customers who join 3 months before the end date should get the same number of emails as those who join a week before the end date. I'm wondering if anyone has come across a clean way to achieve something like this in Marketing Cloud?

The stopgap way I've been doing this has been to simplify this into maybe 4 tracks depending on entry date, and set a different cadence for each of these tracks. This is not particularly reusable though, and can lead to drop offs in comms at the start and end of the track, especially for those who sign up near the opening point of each track.

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My approach will be to have it built in Automation Studio, with a daily execution.

When subscriber joins, you calculate the number of days between each email ([end date]-[join date])/[number of emails] and write this number into a field in a DE, along with the next date of sendout.

Your automation should look for all subscribers whose send-out date = today, send the emails, and increase the date by adding [days between emails] to today's date.

The automation should then end on the end-date. Avoiding sending out emails pass this point.

Additional info:

You would ultimately end up with one master DE, keeping track on all subscribers on this journey, as described above. But from a send-out perspective, you want to use separate sendable Data Extensions, each belonging to one of the emails in the journey. These should all be updated using Query Activities in one of the first steps of your Automation. You can place all Query Activities in same step, as they update different DEs. Each DE should contain recipients to receive the email X on the particular day.

Next step should consist of same number of Send Email activities, each linking the relevant email to a Sendable DE updated in the previous step. The emails should contain AMPscript, incrementing EmailNumber value in the main DE, as well as increment the NextEmailDate with the number of days originally set on the day of subscriber joining the journey.

This way you ensure the tracking is linked to unique emails, and Query Activities build sendable DEs containing only the recipients for that specific date (looking at NextEmailDate together with EmailNumber).

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