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Understanding Subscription Management: Multiple Contacts, Same Email Address

Today, everyone has their own email address, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes we see a scenario where a couple shares an email address (this can happen often with spouses), and one member of the couple unsubscribes, but the other member of the couple still wants to receive emails. Can this be mitigated? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at subscription management within ClickDimensions.

ClickDimensions handles subscription management functionality both at the email address level and at the lead or contact record level within CRM. What exactly does this mean? To understand, we need to know how the ClickDimensions unsubscribe process works. We have plenty of supporting documentation on this, and remember, our live training for ClickDimensions customers and partners includes subscription management.

Here’s an example:

We have two separate contact records, one for each spouse. They use the same email address.

At some point, Jim unsubscribes from emails from Tomato Gardens, our example company. He globally unsubscribes, which means he has opted out of all emails sent by Tomato Gardens.

When a contact globally unsubscribes, two things happen:

1. An unsubscribe record is created for the email address that was used in the global unsubscribe.

2. The Bulk Email field within the Contact Preferences pane on the corresponding lead/contact/account record will change from “Allow” to “Do Not Allow.”

ClickDimensions takes steps to opt the customer out at both the contact level and at the email address level, so that even if a new contact record is created with the same email address, the preferences for the email address will be respected.

So, if Jim opts out of emails from Tomato Gardens (sent by ClickDimensions), his wife Pam will not receive them either. The email address is attached to one inbox, even though both people have access to it. If Pam wishes to receive the emails sent from Tomato Gardens, she would need to opt in using a different email address.

Happy Marketing!

Please note that ClickDimensions leverages the email address as the unique identifier for records, in accordance with Microsoft best practices. Therefore, we strongly discourage having multiple records with the same email address. For more information on setting up duplicate detection, please see this article from Microsoft. 

About the Author:

Molly Morat is a Training Specialist at ClickDimensions.


  1. Virendra Agrawal September 9, 2018 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Hi Molly,

    Thanks for sharing the information about the unsubscribe with the same email address. We also have the similar requirement.
    We are working for a client who has multiple brands and a customer might belong to all of them and could have given the same email address for all the brands (due to the requirements, we have got multiple customer records for the same person for each brand).

    As per ClickDimensions, if the customer unsubscribes from one brand, he/she will also stop receiving emails for other brand (as they have given the same email for all the brands).

    How can we overcome this situation? We tried to create subscription lists and created custom fields (flag) on each contact which gets updated using a workflow, however, ClickDimensions ‘posted subscription’ record randomly picks the customer record using the email address. It doesn’t take the customer to whom the email was actually sent.

    Do you think, there is a solution to this? if yes, could you please suggest how can we achieve a better subscription management for multiple customers (same email) for different brands scenario?

    I’ll look forward to hear back.

    Thank you,
    Virendra Agrawal

    • mm
      ClickDimensions Marketing September 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      We always recommend that customers do not have more than one lead/contact/account record with the same email address, even when more than one brand is being managed in a CRM. In another blog post we allude to that and how that is in line with Microsoft’s intended design: http://blog.clickdimensions.com/managing-multiple-brands-in-a-single-crm-environment/. It is normal behavior that CRM won’t know which contact record of the customers it should associate any records to as it will just do so to whichever one it finds first in its querying.

      You will want to have only one lead/contact record exist for each person/email address and from there it is best to segment all the content in CRM/CD to correlate to each brand specifically. There’s also a good amount of consideration and strategy that will need to be put in place to make sure that all customers are categorized adequately in CRM by what brand(s) they are opted-in to receive content about. That same consideration and work will need to be attributed to all ClickDimensions content in your CRM to make sure it is segmented/categorized accordingly by brand. You will want to continue using subscription pages and subscription lists for each brand and then have correlating subscription content sent to those specific customers, while also making sure they signify to customers what exactly they’re opting in/out of etc.

      You can get in touch with your Partner Account Manager about product consulting hours if you would like to go through options further with a Product Consultant.

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