Creating and using contact Relationships (Related Contacts)


Contact Relationships are only available in Small Business Marketer and Corporate Marketer accounts

ActiveDEMAND has the ability to build relationships between contacts. A contact relationship is a named connection between one contact and another.

A great example of where relationships matter is in the context of Senior Living. In Senior Living, there are typically multiple people involved in the decision of moving into (or moving a loved one) into a senior-focused community.  As a marker that is focused on helping increase occupancy for a Senior Living facility, it is very important to understand the multiple constituents involved in the buyer's journey and how and when to communicate to each of the constituents.  Leveraging automation significantly reduces the workload and enables you to improve the consistency and the timing of communication.

For this example, I will define some roles

Senior Living Provider: Special Care Senior Living

Community: Shady Acres

Prospect Resident: Marge Worthington

Prospect Influencer 1 (primary): Bob Worthington (Marge's son) 

Prospect Influencer 2: Jamie Smith (Marge's brother)


In the example above, 

Marge is Bob's mother.

John is Marge's son.

Jamie is Marge's brother.

Marge is Jamie's sister.

A relationship is unidirectional (i.e. a directed relationship from one contact to another). In this case,  the relationship describes, when talking about Bob, in the context of discussing Marge, Bob is Marge's son.  Bob can have multiple relationships with Marge, for example:


Bob is Marge's friend

Bob is Marge's power of attorney



Defining Contact Relationships (Manually)

You can define a contact relationship between two contacts on the contact edit screen. 








In the above screenshot, on Marge's contact record, we have two relationships involving Marge displayed. The first relationship is "Bob's relationship to Marge", the second is "Marge's relationship to Bob". A contact can have many relationships with other contacts (or even one contact), but it can only have one primary relationship with a contact.  Only those connections to contacts (Relationships to the contact) of the currently viewed contact can be set as primary. For example, the above screenshot is viewed on Marge's contact record. Thus the option of primary cannot be assigned to Marge's relationship with Bob.  Note that there in the example above, we have listed Jamie as Marge's brother but, we have not defined the relationship between Marge and Jamie (i.e. Marge is Jamie's sister).


There is no requirement to define the 2nd contact's relationship.

Defining Contact Relationships (Automation)

You can create contact relationships using the workflow Action:



This action is great for autoresponders with forms. You can add fields to the form that allows a contact to add their related contact in the form, you use the above widget to create the new contact and to create the relationship between the two contacts.



Using Contact Relationships

The real power of relationships is used in communications. You can reference a related contact directly using dynamic fields on contact records. For example, 


I wanted to reach out to ask if you have %CONTACT.PRIMARY_RELATIONSHIP.FIRST_NAME%'s phone number. Is your %CONTACT.PRIMARY_RELATIONSHIP.RELATIONSHIP_TYPE% the right person to arrange a tour with?


If Bob is Marge's primary contact, the above would resolve to: 



I wanted to reach out to ask if you have Bob's phone number. Is your son the right person to arrange a tour with?


If Jamie was Marge's primary contact:


I wanted to reach out to ask if you have Jamie's phone number. Is your brother the right person to arrange a tour with?



Contact relationships cannot be made between contacts and employees of your account unless you have a Corporate Marketer package.


You as well could reference specific relationships



I wanted to let you know that %CONTACT.RELATED(son).FIRST_NAME% came by today.


which would resolve to



I wanted to let you know that Bob came by today.


Sending Emails to Related Contacts

There are cases when you may want to communicate with related contacts directly. This can be achieved using the 'Email Related Contact' workflow action


This action allows you to communicate directly with a contact related to the person that is currently in process. If Bob is the in workflow contact, and you use the Email Related Contact, workflow, you can email any one of Bob's related contacts. You can define which relationship you are looking to email.




The options are:

  • Primary
  • Dynamic
  • Specific

If Primary is chosen, an email will be sent to the in-process Contact's Primary relationship. Dynamic allows you to use dynamic fields and specifically defines the relationship. 


When referencing the in-process contact, nothing changes in the email body. You still reference the in-process contact directly:


In Process Contact: %CONTACT.FIRST_NAME%,
In Process Contact: %CONTACT.LAST_NAME%



But when referencing the related contact, you use the dynamic fields

In Related Contact Relationship: %RELATIONSHIP%
In Related Contact First Name: %RELATED_CONTACT.FIRST_NAME%
In Related Contact Last Name:: %RELATED_CONTACT.LAST_NAME%




In the above sequence, if Marge is the contact that is in the sequence, we use the "Email Prospect" workflow action. When we are emailing one of Marge's related contacts, we use the 'Email Related Contact" workflow action. In the Email Related Contact workflow email, we can use the %RELATED_CONTACT ... % dynamic terms. 

In the dynamic term search tool, any of the terms that start with "Email Related ..." are terms that you will use when referring to the in-process related contact:



So, in this example, 


we had chatted last week about your %RELATED_CONTACT.PRIMARY_RELATIONSHIP.RELATIONSHIP_TYPE%'s goals of care.  I think we should discuss %CONTACT.FIRST_NAME%'s preferences about whether assisted living is the right choice.


If Bob is the primary contact relationship to Marge, the email sent to Bob would be:



we had chatted last week about your mother's goals of care.  I think we should discuss Marge's preferences about whether assisted living is the right choice.


Note, all dynamic fields that are available as %CONTACT. ...% are also available as %RELATED_CONTACT...%. As mentioned, in the 'Email Related Contact' workflow action, if you use %CONTACT....%, the contact is Marge in the above example. If you use the %RELATED_CONTACT....% terms, you are referencing the meta-data on the recipient of the Email Related Contact email.



Relationship Queries

You can either query contacts that have a specific relationship type. For example, if you are trying to find all contacts that are someone's brother, you would use this query:



You as well can look at attributes of a related contact:






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