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Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

[ Edited ]

I recently posted the text below and obviously did not correctly interpret the dates related to messages I saw under "emarketing template" search. But I am confident my issues are not mine alone. I hope others can enlighten me.

 

==========================================================

 

I am brand new to this community; but I have been struggling with the Template Manager for a year. Tech Support is working on a problem I have right now; so I am extremely curious how no other eMarketing messages appear beyond 2013. I have a list of issues, which have not been posted or seen previously to my knowledge and I am just as curious about "who" may have similar issues ... and if anyone has ever discovered a workaround for any of your issues match mine!

 

I have seen a plethora of posts for ACT!; but nothing recent for the eMarketing side. Am I missing something in my search for other users who may be part of a "helping community group" for those who struggle with the Template Manager's inadequate capabilities? Here's my list.  If it's just me, I'll have to accept the dunce's cap! I should also state that I am not purposefully trying to BASH the developers; rather I am VERY curious if I am alone in this.

 

a) center-aligned text shifts left - even though it looks centered in the editor
b) colors can be added but not deleted - adding is HARDLY intuitive!
c) new text in a block starts out and/or reverts to centered even after left-justification
d) bullets can only be colored in the most BIZARRE manner!
e) deleting Templates takes forever!  One at a time with subsequent "Yes" required! (No "group" delete)
f) once a font is chosen, adding text doesn't always "keep/use it"
g) the pixel/point gap from 18 to 24 is ridiculous, in fonts, why no 20 & 22?
h) even the "eyeball" sample doesn't keep font/text justification correct
i) blocks cannot be properly aligned or "set" relative to one another (as if padding is maximized)
j) line spacing controls are non-existent
k) font attributes, like uline or italic - and text alignment - are often "lost" when returning to "Layout"
l) space between words is often "reset" when leaving editing (as just above)
m) font justification is often forced for a block when you want only one line in the block changed
n) there is no font color control in the "subhead" area at top of template
o) text over graphic is poor at best with no control of font attributes
p) margins are controlled only by padding with no allowance for left/right or top bottom differences
q) links created in "editing" have different attributes than those created in "Layout" ("Drop image here" auto fill)
r) uline COLOR is altered when color is used elsewhere on text in same line
s) in any category for images, there are no names (to determine origin, ID - for easy selection)
t) image categories that are "emptied" are not always deleted - when "empty" cannot be reused!!!!
u) when saving template, you never return to the "page" it came from ... if more than one page of Templates!

 

I will gladly share a screen for demonstration purposes with anyone who cares to better understand any issue that is not immediately apparent, above  

Administrator
Posts: 1,372
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

Thanks for the feedback.

As you've correctly identified, quite a few of the points you've listed are not intended behaviour, and in those cases I'd definitely recommend working with tech support to make sure the features ARE working properly.

For the points where the software is working as intended, but just not very user-friendly/intuative - I'll be passing these comments on to our development team, who can use this feedback to inform the design of future updates!

If you have any specific issues that you'd like help with please feel free to post them individually with a little more detail, and we'll see what we can do to help!
New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

Thank you for your reply, Jon.

 

I have worked with tech support a number of times and each time the answer is the same ... or incredibly similar. "The Template Manager cannot do that."

 

Some of the most obvious shortcomings, like "s) - not being able to identify the images in any category by (file) name or origin (location)" makes it a little difficult to guess what the thumbnail is trying to depict..  You kindly refer to that as "behaviour - not intended."  Which begs the question "What was intended?!"

 

My latest - still waiting for any indication of an answer - tech support issue is "Why can I not upload any images?!" That may also be considered unintended behaviour;" but I call it a major flaw ... as in a bug that they have no answer for at this time. The claim, for the time being and with no supporting evidence or remedy is "a profile problem." 

 

And now that we have finally reached a point where we intended to use the templates created, we cannot because the images cannot be updated! That means we cannot do any eMarketing and I cannot understand what is keeping "support" from having me start a new account and see if it will work as it once did ... before it fails again.

 

In the mainframe arena, you don't pay for software that doesn't work. You either get a refund or a fix. This is beyond frustrating.

 

Whatever remedy is being pursued ... there has been no indication that my "down time" matters to anyone.

 

Have you considered how long it would take for the issues I have posted to be fixed in such a way that the Template Manager actually had those shortcomings fixed so that every user could work without the headache of "not getting what appeared to be the Template you wanted" because there was a "format/layout" change when saving or returning to Layout Mode?

 

I have no idea what your role is at ACT beyond Administrator; but I do hope you have some influence over development and that you can get someone in development to try to do what my issues indicate cannot be done and either fix the issue or explain what, if anything, can be done to work around it.

 

I have to close by saying I find it less than informative or understanding when you state "If you have any specific issues ... " when I stated 22 of them - even if you happen to feel they are unclear.  Every one is clearly recreate-able and demonstrate-able with ease. If tech support or development truly cares to make the Template Manager solid and stable and without the idiosyncratic behaviour it now has, I have made it clear to all I have spoken with that I am willing to help in a positive manner. 

 

Yet I see no interest in that input, which is why I posted my issues here ... thinking other who have seen the same behaviour" could help get it fixed!

 

My fingers are crossed; but I am definitely NOT holding my breath.

 

I hope you have some clout, Jon. My best to you.

 

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

I posted my list of issues with the ACT eMarketing Template Manager on April 19 and received a response from Jon (an Act Administrator?) stating "quite a few of the points you've listed are not intended behaviour, and in those cases I'd definitely recommend working with tech support to make sure the features ARE working properly."  

 

In the tech world I come from, you code with expected results and verify that what you expected did - or did not - occur. If not, your coding is WRONG and needs to be "fixed" until the expected - aka "intended" - result is the only "correct" result.  I'm not "ragging" on Jon. But the fact that I am now waiting for the Tech Support people to tell me when I will be able to IMPORT/UPLOAD images for my Template Manager to use ... further exemplifies my point that any testing that was done on this Template Manager (application?) - prior to its release - was poor at best. Programming - good and sufficient programming - does not allow for the results to be "unintended." It is done in such a way that failure is not an option.

 

What is truly sad about my IMAGE UPLOAD issue is that it can be recreated!! Every programmers DREAM!!! It's sad because being able to recreate the problem usually leads to a fix in a shorter amount of time than the "ghost-chasing" issues that are rare and cannot be recreated.

 

I find it incredibly difficult to believe I am the only person to to ever delete (all) images from a given category and then find out you cannot load images into that category ever again!! If that seems "OK" to any user, your work with the Template Manager must be very limited and rigid. If you find my issue to be unbelievable, try it in your eMarketing Template Manager and see how it works for you!  And, while you're at it, load a few images that are quite similar into just one category and tell me how you can distinguish one from the other (without placing them in unique categories of their own).

 

ThIs response is being keyed as a follow up to the email I received, which stated "Your topic recently received a reply." and then asked "Did it solve your problem?" with the following instruction: "Click here to view the reply and mark one as an answer to your question."

 

There have been no answers to the 22 issues I originally posted and my Template Manager ceased working in the area of IMAGE UPLOADS just a day or two after that post (totally unrelated to my post ... I hope)!  So there is no post which I can mark as "an answer" to anything. I only have Jon's statements about my original post, which were certainly not an answer ... just suggestions.

 

In closing, I must add that we did just upgrade to the V20.1 version of ACT realizing the eMarketing part is "no different" than what we had with V19 and will still leave us unable to update any images for the templates we have created. Very sad; but we have no choice but to "hope" a solution will come "some day!"

 

I should also add "If none of you have experienced the IMAGE upload failures, "GREAT! And continued good luck!"  :-)

Administrator
Posts: 1,372
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

Hi tkg1qmsi,

 

Sorry to hear you've experienced ongoing issues with emarketing - I can try and address each of your points, though it's not always easy to troubleshoot so many issues at the same time via a forum. 

 

 

"a) center-aligned text shifts left - even though it looks centered in the editor"

 

When does this shift left? I'm not able to replicate this behaviour. When you say it looks centered in the editor are you suggesting that when published (test send etc.) it is no longer center aligned? Is this the same for all templates or one in particular?

 

 

"b) colors can be added but not deleted - adding is HARDLY intuitive!"

 

You are right that colors can't be removed from the pallet, however simply saving and reloading the template will remove any unused colours from the palette. I can see why better control of the palette would be useful though, so I've passed this feedback on to the developers.

 

 

"c) new text in a block starts out and/or reverts to centered even after left-justification"

 

Does this revert after saving and reopening? During text entry? Again - does this happen for all templates or is it just one specific template? I'm not able to replicate this behaviour myself either - are there any specific conditions that cause this?

 

"d) bullets can only be colored in the most BIZARRE manner!"

 

Sorry, could you elaborate on this? Bullet points are coloured according to the text color setting when created, or if the text they are "bulleting" is changed. Are you seeing different behaviour?

 

 

"e) deleting Templates takes forever!  One at a time with subsequent "Yes" required! (No "group" delete)"

 

I can see how a batch-delete option could be useful - I've fed this back to the developers. 

 

 

"f) once a font is chosen, adding text doesn't always "keep/use it"

 

 

Once again, when does the font change? After entering and leaving the box or during entry? Is this for all templates?

 

 

"g) the pixel/point gap from 18 to 24 is ridiculous, in fonts, why no 20 & 22?"

 

You're right, I think that there's a solid use-case for 20 + 22pt font sizes. Again, I'll raise this feedback to the developers.

 

 

"h) even the "eyeball" sample doesn't keep font/text justification correct"

 

Can you provide specific examples where this fails? There sometimes will be slight differences between the editor and the result - which is why we offer the preview feature. If you're seeing major issues though, we can try to take a look on a template by template basis.

 

 

"i) blocks cannot be properly aligned or "set" relative to one another (as if padding is maximized)"

"j) line spacing controls are non-existent"

 

These are limitations of the designer. The template editor is designed to allow simple construction of professional looking templates - in the interest of simplicity it doesn't offer absolute control over every element. If you want very fine control, you could create your HTML template using a more advanced editor (like Dreamweaver) and then import it, but this requires knowledge of HTML etc.

 

 

"k) font attributes, like uline or italic - and text alignment - are often "lost" when returning to "Layout""
"l) space between words is often "reset" when leaving editing (as just above)"

 

This is not the expected behaviour - and not something I've been able to replicate. Does this occur in any particular scenario more than others? If you can replicate this, I'd definitely recommend talking to technical support about this issue.

 

 

"m) font justification is often forced for a block when you want only one line in the block changed"

 

Unfortunately again, this is operating as designed. Blocks will generally share alignment settings. 

 

 

"n) there is no font color control in the "subhead" area at top of template"
"o) text over graphic is poor at best with no control of font attributes"

"p) margins are controlled only by padding with no allowance for left/right or top bottom differences"

 

I can appreciate why you'd want to be able to do this, but it's not something our template editor offers. Again, for more fine tuned control you could design your templates in HTML and then import them.

 

 

"r) uline COLOR is altered when color is used elsewhere on text in same line"

 

I've not been able to replicate the exact scenario - are you talking about when the entire line is underlined and the color is changed, or when you have seperate words not connected by underline?

 

 

"s) in any category for images, there are no names (to determine origin, ID - for easy selection)"

"u) when saving template, you never return to the "page" it came from ... if more than one page of Templates!"

 

 

Both of these are great ideas for feature requests, so I've passed this on to the dev team as feedback too.

 

 

"t) image categories that are "emptied" are not always deleted - when "empty" cannot be reused!!!!"

 

This sounds like a defect, if you haven't already I'd definitely recommend chatting to our tech support team. They'll be able to confirm if it's a known issue, and escalate it for testing if not.

 

 

Sorry for the huge wall of text, and I know that it's not been super helpful. I'll try to help with any individual issues, or suggest workarounds where I can.

The best bet to find a resolution for the issues you've described is to speak with our Tech Support team - they'll be able share a screen and go through any issues you have that we're able to help with.

 

I'm sorry you've had a disappointing experience, and if there's any thing I can do to help further please let me know.

 

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

Thank you Jon ...

 

for recognizing the importance of my issues, which - again - I am surprised has not seemed to create any reaction among more users and which also shocks me when "some that are so commonly troublesome" to me cannot be easily recreated at your end.

 

I am not anxious to keep you busy with my issues, believe me ... I wish I had none; and "Yes, the more serious ones are currently under investigation the the highest level design/development people" according to the contacts I have made in the AZ office and India (that is what I have been told - not what I know as a FACT).  I am noting I do not know it as a fact because the most serious issue, which leaves us unable to create and use new templates for eMarketing, has been outstanding for more than two weeks!

 

I just wrote to my primary contact in AZ noting that "such an incredible lack of TIMELY response from your DevOps team(s) wold render my company out of business, if our reaction and fix window of time were that long." It's hurting us significantly and delaying our ability to use ACT eMarketing as intended.

 

It has no effect on the ACT data management app. 

 

I have a ton of things to do every day and I do look for "work-arounds" including the opening of another eMarketing account (suggested by your tech people); but that has not been without error, too. A new account, as you might imagine, doesn't cause flaws or "unintended behaviour" to disappear.  :-(

 

I have also explained to everyone I have spoken with at ACT in eMarketing and Tech Support, that I am VERY WILLING to demonstrate the issues I have posted, if they care to watch them happen on my screen. Some have been witnessed, which is why the current case number, 8010767829, is "in theory" being worked on by your tech/devops people.  No one has contacted me about the status of any work being done other than to state "it has been passed to the highest levels" which, if true, is making them look quite bad as "no resolution continues to be the status as of today.

 

As I noted previously, Jon, I have no idea of what your specific role is at ACT or Swiftpage; but I am hoping against all odds that you actually have some influence that will lead to a better response and status update from those who are fixing the problem ... than those I have had so far.  :-(

 

 

New Member
Posts: 4
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

One of my clients is having all of the exact same text formatting bugs with the editor and is ready to demand a refund.

 

He has a long multi-paragraph E-mail, not one test E-mail we've sent has gone out without at least one paragraph element being in the wrong font or wrong font size, despite looking perfectly fine in the editor.  Repeated attempts on his part to fix it have actually made it worse, and multiple tech support sessions have revealed that not only is the editor terrible, it has loads of undocumented features like line height that are accessed at random!  When we talk to the Indian telephone support about this, they seem to act as if we are imagining the problem.

 

I'm having to work really hard to stay calm while I'm on the phone with him, because I can't fix this without access to your code, and as a long time html hobbyist, I can read the symbols in the matrix- the low quality WYSIWYG script being run on the template EVERY TIME you make any action, click save, or actually send a campaign, instead of generating the html code as you edit, etc.  Sometimes two paragraph elements are merged into one.  The Enter key randomly alternates between creating a new paragraph element and putting in break rule elements, and sometimes it spontaneously regenerates the layout and puts break rules where previously there were new paragraphs and sometimes paragraphs where there were previously break rules.  The only possible explanation I can conceive of is that you have a formatting parser script that is being run to strip and regenerate the html on the entire template region every single time anything happens, sometimes recursively.  (resulting in the completely random changes to what has already been saved.)

 

Does Act have any intention of assigning any developers and QA testers to the Act eMarketing service, or is it an abandoned prototype that got pushed out the door because some incompetent manager decided it "looked finished" and moved the programming interns to other tasks?  I have to tell my client if he should demand his money back or not, and I have a strong sense of dread that I should not look forward to the answer.

Highlighted
New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

Hey Shawn,

 

I REALLY get your frustration, pain and wonder about how this product ever saw the light of day - let alone got offered to those of us "who just didn't know!"

 

I have been an ACT user for decades and finally "caved" on using their eMarketing because it allowed me to keep my data on my computer and dump other "pay-as-you-go/grow" vendors at bay. I also have to add, in fairness, that I finally did get some resolution to the very same frustrations you have when the VP of support jumped in. He was GREAT! and guided me to an easier way to use the Template Manger; but my issues are now related to attempting to do mailings for multiple "senders."

 

Once again, the tool "Sucks BIGTIME" and the help I had for a short period of time, which I thought was a real asset, is now unavailable. I wish someone could snap their darn fingers and get this all working as designed. Alas, I feel like you ... my options are varying and the support is difficult at best with an attitude that "there is a resolution" but I cannot have it unless I pay extra. The money isn't the issue. It's the fact that I would have to pay anyone to tell me what I already know!  I have been down that path previously; so I know the outcome.

 

Sorry I cannot offer you some answers. I will say this, though ... if you are intending to mail anything from multiple senders, the only technique I feel would work is to first set it up with a small - known - lookup of people who are willing to help you debug the mailing (1 or three - keep it small) then do the setup for the person you wish to be the sender and select "Current Lookup." Then, do the mailing and see if the signer in your closing is actually the same person as the "From" portion of the received mail piece!!!  I have had many that were not and have found that once you actually SEE it work for that sender, you can do a "lookup" - or load a file that is the contacts you wish to mail - and the Sender and From names should be the same! 

 

It's a REAL hassle to go through all that; but I see no other option. We learned the hard way having messages sent that were DEFINITELY not the same Sender and From addresses.  :-(

 

Good luck, Shawn ... you are not alone in this fiasco; but WE are also not high on anyone's list that care's to FIX these faux pas.  :-(

 

My hopes were dashed, just today, by the very VP I thought was going to be my hero and champion some real change and updates!  :-(    

Employee
Posts: 233
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

[ Edited ]

Hello,

You can upload your HTML from your prefered HTML Editor and bypass the Act! editor.

 

38632 How do I upload my own HTML template to Act! emarketing?

http://kb.act.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/38632/kw/html%20upload


38608 What are some best practices for designing HTML templates to be uploaded and used as an Act! emarketing template?
http://kb.act.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/38608/kw/html%20upload

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Concern about no eMarketing messages newer than 2013 - seriously?!

Well, not exactly as easy as it sounds, Carl. I've tried.

 

The flexibility afforded by using the Template Manger is not as big an issue as it once was thanks to one of your VPs teaching me things that his support people seem to have forgotten ... or perhaps never learned!

 

If you read my post to Shawn, what you don't seem to acknowledge or see is that the primary issue for us, now, is the inability to effectively and without duplication or unexpected results ... use multiple "Senders" which has caused us no end of headaches and embarrassment!

 

We may have a work-around; but until I can prove it works, flawlessly, I won't be writing about it. The sometimes it works and other times it doesn't nature of that resource is not how good or stable software is supposed to work. Sadly, there is a lot more than the "editing" of templates that is worrisome and frustrating. The total lack of support after 30 days ... unless you pay for it ... is my latest complaint.

 

You can't even learn if the problems you are having are "known, fixed or long-term" flaws until you pay, and hear from someone who knows less than you do, "That is the first time we've heard of this problem!"  "... from you!!" is what they fail to say ... even though I bet they have heard it from others many times. :-(

 

Products that work as advertised don't have large or multiple support problems. In our case, after taking a year to reach a level of proficiency with both Templates an Data ... long after any FREE support was available ... learning the multiple "sender" concept was flawed put us right back in the"cash cow" mode. It's almost as bad as scams against elderly people.

 

I have been more disappointed in the lack of knowledgeable and useful support with eMarketing and its associated issues - in ACT! - than almost any other product I use on my computer. Amazingly, most FREE products work flawlessly!  If only I could have the same experience with ACT! ... !! Alas, the flaws I have found are not fixed after months have passed since reported. The "excuses" are as unimaginable as Darwin Trophy winners, "surviving!??"