The CRM Recruiter’s Book Review On: The AMPScript Guide – The Definitive Scripting Manual For Salesforce Marketing Cloud By: Eliot Harper, Adam Spriggs

With what’s known as the 4th industrial revolution upon us, the voice of the customer is that they want to be addressed and marketed to in a very personalized way, and rightfully so, as they know the information exists and therefore companies should utilize this data to help gain their interest.

Any other approach that does not lean on this information will continue to lose customer attention to those competitors that do. To be able to market to the customer effectively, specific approaches need to be taken and the AMPScript Guide provides you with the complete set of techniques, functions and real-world examples to allow you to send highly sophisticated and personalized messages using the Salesforce Marketing Cloud while integrating various data sources.

Within this guide, all the core areas are explained in detail along with example scripts to use within your own environment. Furthermore, the guide provides every function available to you, along with the definition of what that function does, the return value it provides, and the arguments it needs (along with the type, description and whether it’s required).

Below is a summary in a Q&A format that I believe will be the most useful before you dive into this reference guide completely. Additionally, I found this book to be a good refresher of overall scripting concepts and best practices. If you’ve been a programmer for years, many of these concepts may be basic or if this is the 1st time jumping into programming/scripting, this guide will help provide more context and you’ll learn that most examples use simple syntax allowing for easy comprehension.

What is AMPScript?

AMPScript is the server side scripting language for Salesforce Marketing Cloud where the scripts are interpreted and executed in real time when the content is rendered, and in the order it was written, therefore it would be written at or before where the personalized content should appear.

Do any of the AMPScript functions resemble how Excel uses functions?

Yes, many AMPScript functions (15 in total) are identical to Excel only with slight naming changes e.g. “Sum” in Excel is the equivalent to “Add” in AMPScript.

How should variables be used?

Declaring and setting variables should be used with the proper naming conventions and in the order of sequential operations. These variables allow the concept of write once and utilize many times when the associated functions need this information, which prevents unnecessary overhead and potential performance impacts.

Can AMPScript use some of the traditional functions that other languages use?

Yes, AMPScript uses traditional function calls such as: conditional statements (if, else, elseif), process loops (for, do, next), and string operators which are case insensitive.

What type of strings does the Marketing Cloud use?

Marketing Cloud support 2 types of strings (attribute and string based):

Attribute String Examples are: Email, Subscribe, Journey Builder, Mobile Connect

System Strings are: Email Date, Email Data, Email URLs 

How does Marketing Cloud allow for integration with other systems?

Yes, Marketing Cloud API functions allow for 3rd party systems to interact and transfer data using the SOAP protocol allowing for retrieving data beyond the regular data extension look ups. This guide provides a full list of all function available, along with the arguments that are used, descriptions of those arguments and example output.

Is AMPScripting the only way to customize your solution?

No, there is also Server Side JavaScript (SSJS), which this guide also dives into and allows for more complex scripting using concepts such as: Arrays, Array Functions, and JSON parsing.

What are the best practices mentioned to utilize AMPScripting within Marketing Cloud?

Place a majority of your code at the top of the email/webpage for ease and maintenance

Use descriptive variable names to match field names for easier future reference

Avoid nested, in-line AMPScript functions to display variables in the body of the email

Use pseudocode along with comments to capture the big picture of your AMPScript end goal

Align your script blocks for easier readability (e.g. if, else, endif, for, next)

Use modularization for shared content areas along with the conditional if/else statement

Utilize content syndication to pull data from news feeds, ecommerce sites, local channels

What are some of the best techniques to troubleshoot AMPScripting issues?

Use AttributeValue & Empty functions to confirm data exists

Always use RaiseError to avoid unwanted emails to be sent

Strip out HTML and gradually add AMPScript blocks to determine where problems occur

Place debug values after variables are set and/or before conditions or inside of loops

Use Try/Catch blocks to understand what’s being caught as an exception (Server Side JavaScript)

What are examples of the most useful techniques of AMPScripting within this guide?

Customized messaging based on brand loyalty such as if the recipient is silver, gold or platinum

Providing individual coupon codes for each email that is sent and then determining when that coupon code has been claimed

The ability to reference news, weather or maps based on the email subscriber’s geographic location

Sending personalized SMS messages utilizing MobileConnect

Integrating social sharing such as providing references to content from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. into your email messaging

For more info on this book and to purchase, please go to:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts