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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing: Feature Highlights

Posted by Alex Fredrickson

Last spring, Microsoft released their much-anticipated new marketing platform, Dynamics 365 for Marketing. Dynamics 365 for Marketing is a full-featured marketing automation suite with multi-channel capabilities including bulk email automation, form submissions, landing pages and analytics, plus an in-depth event management and events portal.

As of version 9.0, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement users will have access to this new marketing platform as a part of their existing license subscription. The full list of functionality included in Microsoft’s new Dynamics 365 for Marketing module is quite extensive, so rather than walking you through each and every feature, I’d like to highlight some of my favorites.

Event Management

One area within Dynamics 365 for Marketing that blew me away was the event management functionality as a whole. As you can see (screenshot provided), the solution has the breadth to manage even large-scale conferences or multi-day onsite events. While this may seem overwhelming at first, the out-of-the-box business process flow does a really good job of walking users through the various steps of event planning.

Once your event is planned and launched, you can collect registrations via Dynamics 365 portals and publish schedules, session tracks, speakers and more. Whether you simply need to track or go all out to plan a conference, Dynamics 365 for Marketing has a great toolset that you can take advantage of.

Segments

Those who frequently leverage marketing lists are really going to like segments—I know I do! Segments are similar to marketing lists, but give you quite a bit more flexibility. With marketing lists, you are only able to query accounts, contacts and leads. With segments, you can target the following:

  • leads
  • contacts
  • accounts
  • events
  • marketing lists
  • sessions
  • surveys

You can also create multiple queries for your segment and aggregate them (Union), compare them (Intersect), or part them (Exclude). I find the Exclude option to be useful and something that could not be accomplished easily with marketing lists. Additionally, segments now provide insights into how the dynamic list has changed over time. To be honest, I’m not too sure how CRM marketers will take advantage of this insight, but I thought it was neat!

Marketing Forms

Finally! Marketing forms must have been the most requested feature over the past few years. Most organizations leverage a web form for newsletters, lead generation or other inquiries. In the past, this type of form would need to be created by a third party or developed from scratch. Now, with Dynamics 365 for Marketing, forms can be created within Dynamics 365 and mapped to create or update records in the system.

Building the forms is a breeze, and you can even generate previews across various device sizes to make sure your layout plays nicely with tablets, phones and PCs. I’m not much of a designer, so my form is pretty bland, but you have the ability to update the CSS inline (under the HTML tab) or let your web developer take care of it on the front end of your site.

 My Impression

Overall, Dynamics 365 for Marketing seems to be a great tool that can hold its own against the likes of ClickDimensions, Hubspot and ActOn. Even the areas that I didn’t touch on—like customer journeys (nurture campaigns) and email templates—seem to be on par with what some other platforms provide.

The real kicker is that you can now have all of your sales and marketing data in one place—in Dynamics 365. I think this marketing module is here to stay and is definitely worth a look.

 

Pre-Sales Consultant at Armanino LLP

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