Mailing Lists vs Smart Lists

It's quite a common scenario to want to create Mailing Lists that contain a section of your Customer-base. For example, you could create a mailing list for customers who own certain types of vessel, or customers who are moored at a specific location. By organising Accounts into lists, you can then communicate with them as a unit rather than sending them individual letters.

The problem with this is that the mailing lists need to be maintained. Take the scenario of a List of all Accounts who own Powerboats. If a Customer sells their Powerboat, you would remove that Boat from their Account record (or mark it as 'Sold'). At the same time, the end-user doing this would also have to remember to remove this customer from the "Accounts with Powerboats" mailing list, and add them to whatever Mailing List(s) are suitable for their new situation.

In the real-world, people will forget to do this, and your Mailing Lists will quickly become incorrect. If you don't have confidence that the right people are on the right mailing list, then the mailing list is largely useless.

This is where Smart Lists come in.

Smart Lists are Lists of Customers that are purely defined by the data against the customer record. As the Customer data changes, they automatically are added/removed from the correct Smart List(s) without any intervention.

Behind the scenes, a Smart List is really just a database query, with a user-interface that allows you to edit the query in a way that means you don't need to be able to write database code.