(Almost) As sweet as Chocolate

I am writing from Switzerland, and that is apropos because I love chocolate. One of my favourite books is The Emperors of Chocolate, the definitive (and only) history of both the Hershey Company and Mars Chocolates.

In November I was in Brussels—the chocolate capital of the world—walking around the city square literally giddy with excitement at the sheer volume of chocolate stores (as well as the free samples, he he).

I came on this current trip with the wrapper of a chocolate I bought in Brussels, hoping against hope I might find it here in Switzerland.

My kids’ stuffed animals travel with me–and were thrilled to meet the Milka Cow in the airport in Amsterdam.

What does chocolate have to do with Saved Groups / User Fields? Well—give me a minute, okay, sure, it’s stretch—I love them both. And there are subtle qualities that just raise them to the level of excellence. And the more you know about them, the more you appreciate them.

Do you like milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Many people have pretty strong feelings about them, typically preferring one over the other. I like them both… the right chocolate for the right time.

Well, Saved Groups and User Fields are like that. Both chocolate, and yet subtly different. And both magical.

Let’s say you are passionate about chocolate like I am. So much so that you always ask your partners what their favourite chocolates are. Then you have to record this information in TntConnect, and you can use either a User Field or a Saved Group. Both will accomplish the goal—but have different virtues.

Favourite Chocolate as a User Field: (This appears as a drop-down, with the list growing automatically as I add new chocolates.)


Favourite Chocolate as a Saved Group:


Favourite Chocolate as a Saved Group, using the new ‘nested’ groups.


One blog post cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the virtues of Saved Groups and User Fields—for they are many. Over this week I will be exploring some of these features, as they are related to TntConnect 3.2.

In the meantime, I need to go take a walk and find some chocolate.


Major Changes to Saved Groups / Sub-groups

TntConnect 3.2 introduces two major changes to the way the Saved Groups handles sub-groups.

1. The “Category” has been replaced by a “Parent Group”

In TNT 3.1 and earlier, you could see a Category of Saved Group, with sub-groups below it:


In the above example, the Category is “Other Newsletters“, but that is just a label for the sub-groups to be hung under.

In TntConnect 3.2, that Category is gone, replaced by a “Parent Group”. Now, “Other Newsletters” is also a Saved Group–and Contacts can be added to it. Then, sub-groups can be added to it.

2. New, “unlimited nested sub-groups” allows you to make additional sub-groups under any sub-group. There are no limits to how many layers you can make (you may not want 10 layers, but you could make them!)

Example. Goal: Create a sub-group for my Christmas letter, which is already a sub-group of my “Other Newsletters” parent group above:



On the Groups Tab, these groups will appear like this. Notice that the “Handwritten Note” sub-group is a three-group string separated by slashes:


Notice in this image that “Other Newsletters” is now its own Saved Group which this contact can also be added to. This set of sub-groups is NOT exclusive, which you can tell because it is not blue. That means that one contact can be in any or all of the nested sub-groups.

I will not go into detail here about why a “Parent Group” is better than a Category, other than to say this: Having a parent group is super-helpful when building a strategy that you want to move a lot of contacts through (such as an Increase Strategy). I will explain this more in a future blog post.

Drumroll please: EXCLUSIVE Saved Groups

Exclusive Saved Groups means that a contact may only be in ONE of the sub-groups, unlike previously when a contact could be in multiple groups in the category.

I have longed for this feature for years. Indeed, my video on using Saved Groups to manage an Increase Strategy would have been substantially easier had Exclusive Saved Groups been available back then!

Basics of Exclusive Saved Groups:

  • Only available by right-clicking in the Groups list and selecting “New Exclusive Group”
  • Can have “nested exclusive saved groups” (also new in 3.2, and covered in an upcoming blog post)
  • When you add a contact to the Exclusive Saved Group and that contact is already in a related exclusive group, that contact will be removed (without notification) from the other group. (You can see this happen if you check the box on the Groups tab)
  • Are more visible on the Groups tab. Now, instead of a simple, long list of all Groups, all exclusive saved groups are in blue and have a line above and below the exclusive set.


There are several subtle nuances that I do not have room to explain here, but you can learn about through trial-and-error.

Not all sub-groups should be exclusive

There are times, of course, when you want one contact to be allowed in multiple sub-groups. For example, I have a “Newsletters” category that has four different newsletter options. The regular newsletter preferences (Paper, Email, etc., + multiple languages introduced in 3.1) are not helpful if you have multiple newsletters in the same language.


In this example, it is possible that one contact could receive multiple newsletters—such as the Christmas Newsletter and the Prayer Blast.