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I currently have an asp.net app that allows users to select an email template, upload a list of customer id's, select a specific send date and then send the email from exacttarget. I create a list of subscribers and a send object and it seems to work fine.

The requirement now is to change to using data extensions to send emails.

Firstly, is it possible to use the send object with data extensions or do I have to create an EmailSendDefinition?

There will be one data extension that contains all customer ids and attributes but when a user wants to send an email, I only want to send to the customer ids that the user requires. What is the best way to do this? Use a query activity? A filter definition? In the documentation for a filter definition there is no "Exists In" for a numeric value which seems the easiest way to achieve the required result...

  • Make sure to review the answers and make comments so we can get things answered for you. If the question is answered, make sure to mark it by checking the check mark. – Kelly J Andrews Feb 20 '14 at 20:37
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Make sure that the data extensions you use are classified as "sendable" and include an email address, and you will be able to send to them as you would a list.

Yes - use a query activity here, that would be your best route. You want to run a query prior to sends that use multiple data extensions to flatten the data as much as possible, so this would be the ideal route. If you have tried some queries and it's not working, feel free to post that code in a new question and we can help out there.

  • Do I need to create a new query and target data extension for each send? Currently they are performing around 15-25 sends to different email templates per day. If I run a query each time and create a new data extension for the results, that's a lot of data extensions. Isn't it? Is that the best practice? – DByra Feb 20 '14 at 21:13
  • You don't have to create a new data extension each time - you can overwrite the data extension. It really depends on your entire use case and how you choose to manage the data. Since data extensions are free, there isn't a penalty with creating many if you choose to. – Kelly J Andrews Feb 20 '14 at 21:38
  • What would happen in this scenario. User A creates a send and schedules it for tomorrow. The query populates the target data extension with the required customers. User B creates a send and schedules it to send in an hour. The query overwrites the target data extension with the customers required for User B's send. This will effect User A's send won't it? – DByra Feb 20 '14 at 22:24
  • That is why I made the statement "it depends". You would need to take that into account. When building out your setup. With 15-25 sends, create send data extensions for each, etc. – Kelly J Andrews Feb 20 '14 at 22:31
  • That is why I'm asking what's the best solution here. Creating 400+ data extensions per month and maintaining/deleting them? I thought this might be a common integration scenario whereby you have a data extension with all your customers and each time you send an email you filter those that you want to send to. If creating a new data extension for each email send is the best way to go then so be it. I just assumed there would be an easier way to filter without creating new objects. I guess the master data extension could be seen as "All Subscribers" and each new data extension is a list?? – DByra Feb 20 '14 at 22:53

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