The domain in an email address can provide useful information about a lead and contribute to marketing enablement. In Marketing Cloud Account Engagement1, marketing operations can leverage this data to target and/or suppress certain groups as part of a comprehensive lead processing workflow.
Leveraging Email Domains in B2B Marketing Automation
Domain-based targeting and suppression isn’t a single platform setting, per se, but rather an approach. A person’s email domain often directly identifies their company, which opens up access to additional data points. The domain might be used to target marketing towards individuals at particular companies. However, within the marketing automation platform (MAP) such as Account Engagement, it may be more common to architect suppression processes based on domain. It can include preventing prospect records with an undesirable email domain from even entering the MAP database, or simply blocking them from being sent email content.
Reduce Costs and Increase Marketing Effectiveness
Many MAPs charge based on database size; in the case of Account Engagement, it’s based on mailable leads. Reduce low-value records taking up space in your database to keep platform subscription costs under control. It’s very likely there are organizations that offer products and services that compete with yours – and that you do not also sell to (which can sometimes be the case for large, multi-division organizations). Email suppression based on domain information can prevent competitors from seeing your marketing content even if they are in the database.
An ABM strategy might leverage domain information to identify people at target accounts for tailored messaging. This can help marketing and sales focus on the engagement activities that will bring the greatest ROI for the organization.
Proactively Address Database Issues
If your instance is quickly approaching the database limit, this can be a good time to implement domain exclusions if you haven’t already. Consider which domains you don’t care about; many B2B businesses find personal/free domain emails to be less useful in the sales process. In this situation, establishing domain-based exclusion processes can help with lead identification and allow the team to collect and use the most valuable leads and leave out what’s likely not worthwhile. When you start noticing competitors in your database, processes should be created/updated to block them, though it would be ideal to set up the logic before they start becoming an issue.
Form and Dynamic List Approaches
In terms of audience targeting with domains in mind, this may be more commonly done by associating the person as a contact on the account in the CRM. Using a data enrichment/account matching vendor can automatically convert leads to contacts on the corresponding accounts. Alternatively, a custom lookup field may be used to create an association with an account. However, as a low-tech interim solution just in Account Engagement, you can use Dynamic Lists. Create a Dynamic List with the match criteria of email contains [the domain(s) associated with the target account, such as @somecompany.com].
If an undesirable email domain won’t be stopped by the form validation option you select, you can still suppress them from emails. Create a Dynamic List with the match criteria of email contains [each of the domains you want to restrict, such as @somedomain.com, separated by a semicolon]. Keep in mind that there is a 250-character limit per rule, so you may need to use multiple rules with a “Match any” match type. Set this dynamic list as a Suppression List on every email send or engagement studio program.
Alternatively, you can set up an automation rule following this criteria, and use it to set a field such as Do Not Email. This will block any marketing emails without relying on a marketing campaign manager to update the Suppression List every time. However, many organizations find themselves up against the automation rule limit, so the Dynamic List method may be more feasible.
Implementing Domain Exclusions
The marketing operations team can configure the Account Engagement settings and establish work processes to target or suppress certain domains. However, close collaboration with the sales team will be necessary to keep the target and/or exclusion domain list(s) up to date. A cross-department governance team to periodically review existing targeting and suppression criteria could facilitate maintenance.
Domain exclusions in Account Engagement can aid in marketing ops maturity. By developing automated processes based on email domains, teams can keep the database tidier and be more intentional with their email marketing audiences.
1In April 2022, Salesforce renamed Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement.