Dynamics 365 for Marketing: Customer Journey and Preview Features

MDM is dead, long live Dynamics 365 for Marketing! Well, sort of. The preview edition of the latest D365 app is available now – so I had a nosy around…

After Microsoft announced they wouldn’t be selling MDM (Microsoft Dynamics Marketing) to new customers in late 2016 they moved to partner with Adobe for a blend of Dynamics 365 and Adobe Marketing Cloud functionality. With the MDM product due to be discontinued as of May 2018, I (and a lot of clients) have been curious to see what made the cut for the new app.

At a glance many of the functions available in MDM have been promised for D365 for Marketing with the omission of; Project Management, Budget Management and Asset an Media Management – SMS Marketing is still possible but requires 3rd party involvement. Project Management has been represented in Project Service Automation too, so it makes sense that there is no replication there.

Organizations with truly enterprise level marketing requirements at advised to consider Adobe Marketing Cloud, but for those who don’t there is Dynamics 365 for Marketing.

**Warning – this is preview content and is subject to change.**

So, what kind of functionality does Dynamics 365 for Marketing contain?

Core Marketing

Email marketing, customer journeys, behaviour tracking, lead scoring and marketing pages are all listed among the core functions. You are able to define segments; dynamic, compound or static by which you can group your customers for communications and marketing activity.

Event Management 

Manage activity and promote in-person or webinar events – which can be linked to a Dynamics Portal to allow attendees/potential attendees to review the event details and register for the event.

Voice of the Customer

Create online surveys using the preferred solution and analyze the resulting data, leveraging a great piece of the existing D365 suite.

Dynamics 365 Portals

The marketing app uses Dynamics Portals to allow your marketers to publish event, marketing pages and online surveys to the web. This is slated to be available with the Marketing App and as an add-in for Dynamics 365, further enhancing the portal product.

Customer Journey

Simple or even complex customer journeys can be established in the app based on a drag and drop graphical journey modeler. These can be used for short, sharp interactions or full nurture processes allowing the automation of communications for your particular campaign, event or nurture activity.  I’m going to focus in on this aspect a little further as it is topical for me right now.

Additionally there are Customer Insights charts, widgets and indicators to allow you to target segments for customer journeys and lead scoring and import leads from LinkedIn using lead tools.

What does it look like?

Well, the UI is indicative of the Dynamics 365 unified interface discussed in my last post very clean and easy to navigate. The default landing page is as expected a dashboard with your choice of default from those available.

The “charms” style menu down the left hand side of the window enables the user to easily hop between entities applicable to marketing activity. It all feels very much like the Apps for Dynamics 365 – which is great for continuity.

The Customer Journey modeler behaves very much in the same way as the interface for creating a business process flow – which I’ll attempt to describe in the next section.

Marketing02

The Customer Journey

Creating a Customer Journey as mentioned earlier is possible using the graphical modeler/designer interface. Just click on the charm and edit or add a journey. There are some pre-defined templates in the preview such as Announcement, Customer Onboarding and Event Marketing – which is pretty helpful.

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Choosing “Event Marketing” or nay other template launches the modeler with some pre-defined actions. Using the modeler we can amend actions, set targets, add content and flow controls.

Properties allow the configuration of timeouts (days or hours) and rules that are applied to each journey. The general tab is where we can input data (such as; status reason, time zone, purpose) and view related leads in the time honoured Dynamics way.

You can also define if the journey is recurring (yes or no) and the start date and time. Users can drag items using their tiles into the flow, with connectors to the previous tile(s).

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Flow Control options such as; Scheduler, Triggers, Splitters and Splitter Branches allow us to map the Journey between actions or content delivery.

You can validate your work using the “Check for Errors” button in the ribbon with the results displayed in the designer.

Adding content such as Marketing Emails to your Journey is easy enough, either select an existing email, or create a new one – which can be created using an email template from those pre-loaded into the App’s library.

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Once selected you can edit your images within the grid and personalize the content…

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The email is associated with a sender and you can add a “reply to email”, when you a ready click “Go Live” to activate the template.

How can I register?

You can register for the preview here; https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/marketing-preview and there are some small steps to jump through. I created a new instance in which to provision the preview functionality. There is also help and training here; https://docs.microsoft.com/en-nz/dynamics365/customer-engagement/marketing/help-hub

**Update April 18; the preview is closed, you can however register for a trial of Dynamics 365 for Marketing, to find out how see this post; https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/lystavlen/2018/02/07/how-to-create-a-dynamics-365-for-marketing-trial/ **

At the moment I have just skimmed the surface, so I’ll aim to update the blog as I go. It appears at first glance that Dynamics 365 for Marketing might be the addition the product has been looking for, though the functionality isn’t as comprehensive as ClickDimensions in the small to medium enterprise space.

But I recommend registering and having a go so you can share any insight with your team and your clients.

Have fun! 🙂

 

 

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What’s the Hub-bub? Create Dynamics 365 Apps for your business

One of the most exciting updates to the latest version of Dynamics 365 has been the ability to define Custom Apps for your solutions. But what are they and what can they do for you?

For those who have been involved in the implementation of Dynamics solutions for a while, a bug bear of many an end user is the quality of the user experience and functions exposed to the web user interface. Previously we could tinker with the site map and add custom web resources to try and present a pretty face, but the advent of Dynamics 365 Apps gives the functionality available a much needed shot in the arm.

What is a Dynamics 365 App?

In Dynamics 365 we can add custom business apps that involve solution components such as entities, dashboards, forms, views, charts and business process flows. The use of these components are defined within the App Designer as is the sitemap for the App itself with “artifacts” such as; entities, dashboards and business process flows defined with their related “assets” – forms, views etc.

An App can be accessed using the traditional web client or using a unified interface (or hub).

AppDesigner01

What is a Hub?

Some of the key functionality available in Dynamics 365 have been packaged up in some pre-defined apps called “Hubs”, the hubs available depend on your subscriptions however the following are available at the time of writing;

  • Customer Service Hub
  • Sales Hub
  • Field Resource Hub
  • Project Resource Hub

A Hub can be accessed for the web – directly from the Dynamics 365 homepage of Office 365 and the content can also be accessed as part of the new mobile and tablet experience for Dynamics 365 v9.

Utilizing the unified interface hubs give a fresh and focused experience to your Dynamics solution.

ServiceHub

What can I do with them?

It is possible to both configure the existing apps/hubs out of the box and also create your own to suit your organizational needs. Apps can be added to a solutions and also created from components included in a solution.

The main thing from a Dynamics 365 users’ perspective is that the use of unified interface in your app makes your average CRM/xRM more sexy – visually at least, and as a system administrator/customizer you can reduce the amount of ‘noise’ encountered by your users in the solution and instead focus on what is important for their role. Assets such as; forms and views can be configured specifically for the unified interface from your D365 solution and can be filtered using the App Designer. If they don’t use an entity, view or process, don’t add it!

When a business process flow is available it is displayed with stages at top of the record form with the fields displayed as ‘fly-out’ panel on click. The image below is a comparison side by side, with the unified interface on the left and Dynamics 365 v9 web interface on the right.

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You can use the “My Apps” area to find both your Apps as well as launch the App Designer and manage security roles that can be used to access the App. Simply toggle the roles you need to be associated or removed from the app.

MyApps

My Apps view in D365 via; Settings > Application >My Apps

Here you can also apply a URL suffix for your app, for example – https://yourcrm.crm.dyanmics.com/apps/servicehub  allowing users to easily bookmark the app in their browser.

As briefly mentioned earlier the recent updates to the mobile and tablet app for Dynamics 365 means we can select our app/hub as a mobile user, this can bring continuity where required to the user experience. In our example, the same business process flow is displayed when mobile as it is in the unified interface (see below).

Screenshot_20180213-103322    Screenshot_20180213-103732

Custom controls can be added to form fields, and used both in the mobile device and unified interfaces to give you even more bang for your buck.

For new implementations the use of custom apps can be a great selling point, for existing users it could be a value add to their user experience, elevating the often bland perception of the standard interface – this will differ depending on the level of comfort for change within user groups. For many, with the smart look and feel and the use of timeline and custom controls, this is a welcome step into a whole new world of UX with Dynamics 365.

There is more information on creating a custom app here (via the CRM Software Blog).

Give it a try! 🙂