Workflows - Introduction

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    Automating customer life cycle from the moment of registering/signing up until conversion and further is a challenge for every marketer. The Workflows feature facilitates this process. It allows to build marketing automation scenarios that execute according to the predefined sequence of events. Its easy-to-use interface include interconnected drag&drop elements that help to set up and visualize the logic behind each marketing scenario.


    Basic concepts

    A Workflow is a visual scenario that consists of a series of events. Those events form a sequence that describe what will happen to each subscriber that goes through a particular workflow. 

    There may be multiple workflows defined in each business unit. Many workflows may also run at the same time.

    Each workflow needs to have a Start event. It defines which subscribers will be selected to go through the workflow. Subscribers enter the workflow whenever they match the settings from the Start event. This means that there may only be a few subscribers or a big number of subscribers going through the workflow at any given time, depending on the type of the Start event. Please refer to the Workflow events section for more details about the Start event

    Note that it is possible that one subscriber may be processed by multiple workflows at the same time provided that there is a match for multiple Start events in more than one workflow.


    Workflow statuses 

    Each workflow may have one of the following statuses:

    • Running – all workflows in this state are active and will handle all subscribers that will match the entry conditions defined in the Start event. Running workflows cannot be edited.
    • Paused – workflows that are paused are temporarily inactive. It is possible to edit them, which should be handled with care if there are subscribers that have entered and have not finished the workflow. Paused workflows can also be resumed back to the running status or stopped permanently. 
    • Stopped – when a workflow is stopped, all the subscribers that have not reached the End event are removed. It is possible to edit and restart such a workflow. 
    • Blocked – in case of errors with running workflows they can be automatically blocked. Such workflows will be moved to the Blocked tab for further investigation.
    • Draft – all workflows that are still being edited and do not have complete settings yet will be automatically placed in the Draft tab. All newly created workflows are autosaved as drafts. It is also possible to deliberately save a workflow as a draft, when it is not completed yet.


    Events

    The building blocks of each workflow are units called events. Each event indicates an activity or a decision point within a workflow. Event in the workflow needs to be connected with at least one other using arrows in order to indicate the sequence in which they should execute.  There needs to be at least one Start event and at least one End event within each workflow. 

    Each event can have a name that is visible on the workflow canvas as well as a longer, initially hidden, description for the reference of a marketer. There are 9 types of events that can be used within a workflow.


    Messages

    One of the most important purposes of workflows is to send the right message (email, sms, Web Push, or even a third-party type of message) at the right time. Only a special type of email and SMS messages can be used within workflows. Workflow email messages need to be predefined using the Create workflow email message button under the Workflows > Email Messages menu, whereas workflow SMS/MMS need to be set up with Create workflow SMS/MMS message under Workflows > SMS/MMS Messages.

    It is possible to use particular message only once within any of the created workflows. The workflow that is using a particular message is indicated on the workflow messages list. Only active messages that have no workflow assigned can be used for Send events. To learn more, consult the Workflow email messages section.


    Custom events

    It is possible to start workflows on demand using an API call. This feature is useful for reflecting user interactions with the brand on the website (such as an abandoned shopping cart) or at any other touch point (such as swiping the loyalty card at the cashiers desk) in order to start a corresponding marketing automation scenario within the multichannel platform.  

    Each custom event is triggered for one subscriber at a time. The custom event API call may include additional data fields that will be available within workflows for the duration of each workflow scenario the subscriber participates in.

    One custom event may be used to trigger multiple workflows at the same time. 

    To learn more, consult Working with Custom events. Please also refer to the API documentation for more information about triggering Custom events through API.


    Data fields

    Data fields provide a solution if there is a need to add additional information about the subscriber to the marketing automation scenario.

    Data fields are placeholders for short-lived, workflow-specific details. Data fields may be the perfect way to store the order id, a parcel tracking number or other similar information.

    The values of data fields may be provided within the Custom events API call and can be accessed by any workflow that make use of data fields with the same name and type. The values of data fields may also be used within the email messages using personalization tags or Dynamic Content

    Data fields can also be used to distinguish instances of the same subscriber in the same workflow from each other. For example it is possible to distinguish subscriber instances based on the value of an OrderID data field. Each time a subscriber with the same email address will complete another purchase, while still being in a sales completed workflow from a previous purchase - a new, separate instance of that subscriber may enter the same workflow from the very beginning, but with a different OrderID.

    Data fields are automatically discarded once the subscriber associated with them finishes all workflows using those data fields.

    To learn more about using data fields in workflows, consult Managing data fields.

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