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Tech Thursdays: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing feature overview
Technical Sales Consultant
Introducing the all new Dynamics 365 for Marketing
The Marketing app features a robust set of features and tools that can be used out-of-the-box to create and deliver campaigns across various channels. Users can create tailored ‘customer journeys’ with manual or automated segmentation of contacts within the database, facilitated by a user-friendly “drag-drop” interface. Highly personalised and automated interactions ensure that leads are nurtured according to the organisations’ design and promoted directly to the sales pipeline as interactions hit given scoring thresholds or are directly communicating with the team.
This module sits directly atop the common data model and within the Dynamics 365 environment, ensuring interaction across these services is seamless, no longer having to manually push/pull data across separate databases. Optimised for use on mobile and desktops alike, the unified interface experience from Microsoft allows organisations to access data and marketing intelligence quickly and on the move. Finally, your sales and marketing teams will be working in unison.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing features
The below is not an exhaustive list of features and functions, but instead provides insight into where the strengths of the application are today, where there is room for development (I am certain exists on the Microsoft Product roadmap) and indicates where any USPs or true differentiators exist to the other marketing system providers.
The app has functionality dedicated to event management, comprehensively covering venue and speaker management, logistics, registration and attendance tracking as well as a dedicated portal experience for attendees to manage their registration, preferences and get all the detail they need about the event (sessions to attend etc).
Microsoft also recognises the need to provide Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) statistical analysis of events and campaigns managed throughout the solution and have further enhanced the functionality that some may be used to within campaign management out of the box with the D365 for Sales App. This ensures that all areas of the campaign/event can be costed and monitored, improving the ROI for future events and providing the insights required by the business.
Customer journey creation
Creating clearly defined customer journeys has never been easier as Microsoft introduces a drag and drop editor for marketing automation. Mapping out the journey from initial customer/contact segmentation through to event attendance, communication drip/nurture campaigning and hopefully on to conversion to a new or returning client ensures that all (natural) defections from the ideal customer journey are catered for. The platform provides reporting at every stage to facilitate iterative working on any marketing processes.
Personalised content is key to achieving a connection with any audience and is the expectation of the modern consumer. The app allows for this dynamic content to be surfaced from your rich data source inside Dynamics, including rich media content from other services (e.g. Microsoft Stream for video).
Using standard workflow and logic allows for complex journeys to be operated, for example triggering actions based on interaction with content. Examples may be adding them to another segmentation, starting a new journey, waiting for further responses or information.
The subscription also allows the creation of SMS/text messaging and social media campaigns, providing a true Multi-Channel management solution. Couple this with the features within Microsoft Social Engagement, and you can create a powerful platform for greater control on social media campaigning.
Webinars as an alternative to running events at a physical location are not only cost-effective but can often be run as a highly repetitive marketing campaign process. Capturing leads etc. will follow a standardised route to client conversion (as with other events). The marketing app can integrate with third-party webinar platforms, and Microsoft has a “go-to” partner solution ON24 to host these. It is worth noting that this is at a separate licence cost and leaves the option open for how an organisation prefers to operate.
Lead scoring and the management of the leads process to conversion has been a key feature of many email marketing solutions. Dynamics 365 for Marketing retains this feature and ensures that this automated scoring model is adopted across email, website visits, and event registration, all based on predetermined rules. The scoring system can assign grades to leads, helping both marketing and salespeople to focus on the most lucrative and sales-ready individuals/organisations.
Customisable and configurable dashboards allow Marketers and management to “slice and dice” Marketing data in one view, seeing metrics such as lead age, number of interactions and through to progression within the sales pipeline (as required).
Microsoft has now integrated LinkedIn following the networking platform acquisition two years ago. This means that leads can now be captured on this channel and directly added to marketing leads and lists. Understanding the lead source, in turn, allows marketers to filter and personalise the messaging that these individuals receive, possibly incentivising them further by promoting content share across their networks.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights (powered by Azure)
Analysing the success of a campaign is a key part of deriving insight and improving marketing strategies. As well as the lead-scoring metrics mentioned above, Dynamics 365 for Marketing features rich analytical tools to collect and scrutinise data and offer actionable insights.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights (business Intelligence powered by Azure) gives organisations the power to visualise data and the ROI from campaigns. Custom visuals such as heat maps create an easy digest for top-level reporting while maintaining the data for deeper analysis by marketing or data teams.
Dynamics 365 Portals
Further to the standard functions of an event portal as mentioned above, the experience for site visitors can be further enhanced to include online surveys for feedback and posting rich media content (created and curated on standard Microsoft productivity solutions). Further leveraging the power of Azure and cognitive services (Video Indexer), organisations can highlight salient points, key topics etc. to really focus the audience and keep them on track to purchase.
Survey responses can be anonymised or related directly back to the customer record in Dynamics, ensuring that complaints, negative feedback can be actioned as well as brand advocates being segmented and potentially utilised in future events or pulled into dedicated communications.
If you’d like to learn more about Dynamics 365 for Marketing, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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