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Customer Data Cloud & SAP Marketing Cloud Terminology

7 min read

This article is part of an article series about the coexistence of SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud. To learn more about this topic, visit the

Table of Contents

Terminology in SAP Marketing Cloud

We first look at the definition of contacts, corporate accounts, permission and subscription in SAP Marketing Cloud.

Term Description

contact is a business object describing a natural person who interacts with your company, for example, through a website, social media, or email. Contacts can be classified by the following business relationships to your company:

  • Suspect: A potential customer whose interests are unknown.

  • Consumer: A person who has purchased something from your company as a private person.

  • Contact Person (corporate contact): The representative of a corporate account who has interacted with your company.

Technically, the three entities (suspect, consumer, contact person) are the same business object (a contact) in SAP Marketing Cloud. 

Corporate account Corporate accounts are companies or organizations that interact with your company. Contacts and corporate accounts are separate business objects in SAP Marketing Cloud. Contacts in SAP Marketing Cloud can have relations to corporate accounts.
Permission Marketing permissions reflect the contact's agreement to receive marketing communication. A permission in SAP Marketing Cloud has the following elements:
Permission Attribute in SAP Marketing Cloud Description

Communication Medium
(for example: e-mail, call, or direct push message)

This permission attribute is used to distinguish on which medium you are allowed to send to the contact.

Contact ID
(for example: , +44-20-7946-0930, or @twitterusername)

This permission attribute is used to clearly identify to which address your communication is send to.

Communication Category (Subscription Topic)

This permission attribute is used to identify the topic to which the contact subscribed to.

When the permission is tied to a communication category, this special kind of permission is called a  subscription  in SAP Marketing Cloud.

In case no communication category is assigned to the outbound permission, it is called a  general marketing permission .

SAP Marketing Cloud allows you to use both subscriptions and general marketing permission in combination, giving you greater flexibility in managing your communication.

Marketing Area This permission attribute allows you to tie the permission to a specific marketing area (organizational entity).
Subscription Subscriptions are a special form of permissions, which are only valid for a certain marketing context, for example, a newsletter or event. In contrast to permissions, there are no default subscriptions. Subscriptions are only available for the email communication medium. Subscriptions in marketing are maintained as communication categories (see above).

Terminology in SAP Customer Data Cloud

It is important to note that in the terminology of SAP Customer Data Cloud, a contact is referred to as an account. 

This is not similar to a corporate account, which is used in a Business-to-Business (B2B) context within SAP Marketing Cloud (see section above).

Term Description

Lite Account

Created when a site visitor completes a non-authenticated, Lite Registration flow. The information they contain is merged into email accounts, for a cohesive view of the user.

Full Account

Created when a site visitor completes the full registration flow (regardless of whether or not the account is pending verification). These users can register with a social identity, or create a password for your site. Either way, they are authenticated users. In the context of Lite Registration, full account data is merged into the corresponding email account, every time an accounts.setAccountInfo call is made for that account. Note that a fully registered user can complete the lite registration flow like any other site visitor.

Email Account

Provides a view of users that is based on their identifier, merging data from both lite registration and fully registered accounts. Note that data is merged from full accounts or lite registrations into this email accounts and not vice versa, with the exception of subscription data that is shared in real time between account types. An email-based view is enabled only when Lite Registration or Subscription Management are enabled in your SAP Customer Data Cloud site.

Subscriptions Object

* Available only with Enterprise Preference Manager

Stores subscription data for a designated mailing list. The data stored for each subscription includes the subscription status of the subscribed user (true/false), a timestamp for the status change, and custom tags. Note that subscription data is the only type of data shared between all accounts. Therefore, you can retrieve subscription data of fully registered users and of lite registrations.

Single vs Double Opt-In : Each communication channel can be configured to require double opt-in i.e. ask users to confirm via email that they do, indeed, wish to subscribe. Below is the list of subscription statuses:

  • Not confirmed
  • Pending Double Opt-In
  • Confirmed

Preference object

Stores consent data for the associated Lite or Full account. Three types of consent can be stored in a Preference object:

  • Terms of Service: This is typically a consent to transfer the contact data to SAP Marketing Cloud for storage and processing
  • Privacy Policy
  • Other Consent: This would be used to store the general marketing permission to communicate on a specific channel (email, phone, sms, ...)

The data stored here includes the consent status isConsentGranted (true/false), and a timestamp for the status change lastConsentModified and custom tags. There is also docVersion which manages the version of the legal statement.
Note that the consent is not shared between the Lite Account & Full Account


Continuing reading more on the topic of Coexistence: SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud by accessing other articles within this series: