With the Fall 2010 release, we really made a conscious effort to standardize terminology and improve consistency through out the application. As part of this commitment to consistency, we made sure that we stuck to the conventions we developed when describing a message, a delivery, or an email. Now you maybe thinking Aren't they the same thing? The answer to that question is NO, and once you understand the distinction between these terms, it will make getting around the application much easier.
Messages vs Deliveries
When you log in to the application for the first time and go to the Messages Dashboard, you'll notice that there is nothing there. In order to get up running, you click Create New Message and design a great looking message. When everything is in order, you decide to send it to your contacts. You schedule a delivery for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Herein lies the first distinction. A message is that actual design and content you create in the application. From here, a message can be scheduled and sent to your contacts in the form of deliveries. A message can have 1 or many deliveries associated with it.
Deliveries vs Emails
Seems pretty straightforward, right? So now you maybe thinking Do my contacts receive a message or a delivery from me? The answer is technically neither. What your contacts are receiving from you are emails (i.e. an email is the actual "thing" your contacts receive from you). Emails are sent when a delivery is scheduled, and deliveries are scheduled once a message has been created. This is easiest to visualize if you think of it in terms of a family tree. The message would be your grandparents. The deliveries would be your parents, aunts, and uncles. The emails would be you, your siblings, and your cousins.
A Mental Note
The distinction between messages, deliveries, and emails is very important and something you are going to want to keep in mind when navigating through the application. One of the best examples of where understanding this distinction becomes important is when you are viewing reports. If you are looking at a message report, you need to know what that means and how that differs from a delivery report. Once you understand the differences between messages, deliveries, and emails, you can begin more effectively using the application.
In the next few weeks, we'll be diving a bit deeper into reports and the reporting area. It is important that you understand the distinction between messages, deliveries, and emails so that you know which report is going to give you the information you need. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Technical Writer/eLearning Specialist
Editor of Brontoversity