The anticipated spring 2018 update of Dynamics 365, also known as version 9.0.2, has arrived and with it the release of the new Dynamics 365 for Marketing module. This new module features automated multi-channel campaigns with personalized customer journeys, marketing content creation, and management of events and leads.
One of the primary features is the ability to easily create interactive customer journeys for marketing campaigns. Journeys are created using the drag/drop interface shown below.
At first glance, parts of the multi-channel campaign screen appear similar to that of Microsoft Flow.
This is no coincidence as the journey itself is technically a workflow, but tailored to processes and needs of marketing through an interface suitable for non-technical end users. The designer interface for the customer journey allows easy drag-drop assembly of the steps through the customer journey. Templates are provided as examples various types of campaigns which can be used as a starting foundation in building your campaign.
The tool box provides steps for content, action, flow, etc. Content is drawn from designs created using the Marketing module.
Under Actions is Activity and Launch Workflow. Activity is a phone call, meeting, or other kind of Marketing action. There are no real limits as new kinds activities can be created for use. Launch Workflow is an action to launch a custom CRM / Microsoft Flow based workflow. This allows for the power to triggering complex and technical orientated workflows while keeping the user interface friendly to non-technical end users.
Under targets is Segment Group and Record Updated. All campaigns will typical start with a Segment Group tile which defines which contacts will be entering the journey based on the various demographics desired. Record Updated is identifies contacts that have changed since the start of the journey allowing the journey to change in response. The last section, Flow Control, contains tiles for splitting and branching the logical flow, scheduled actions, and waiting for triggered events.
Starting the Journey
Journey pipelines always start with the Segment Group which has one more child market segments. The group may be set to union (contacts in any child segment), or intersection (only contacts in every child segment). A segments group can be used later in pipeline to further split actions taken on a one or more market segments of the first group.
Content tiles can be placed to perform certain actions involving the content, such as sending an email message or…
Once placed, selected the tile displays the properties on the right side to allow selecting the content. If the content doesn’t yet exist the process of creating it can be started here with the “New” button.
Landing pages and events can be dragged into email tiles to include their content in the email.
Landing pages are interactive websites which can be created using the content designer. Events are venue gathers or online conferences with can be setup with scheduled speaker engagements, sessions, and tracks.
Four flow control tiles exist which are key to making the journey flow based on factors such as time or customer action, or to split the journey into multiple pipelines branches.
The Scheduler tile allows setting an absolute date, or time duration rule to each contact before it can flow through.
The Trigger tiles is used to setup logic conditions that split the pipeline into different directions based on one or more rules, such as completion of registration form, or a change in contact status. The pipeline is then split into two possible directions based on the outcome with the right side (check box) indicating the trigger condition was met, and the bottom (X indication) indicating the trigger condition was not met.
The next two tiles are the Splitter and Splitter Branch with used together. The Splitter tile is used first to mark the start of the splitting and on placement it’s “split-by” must be set to either percentage or absolute value. Splitters set a random percentage or count of contacts down separate paths which allows the customers to experience different aspects of the journey. Splitter tiles must be followed by at one or more Splitter Branch tiles which set the value applied to the split-by. A “Remaining” tile is automatically placed and received any contacts not handled by any other branch tile.
For example, let’s say you are splitting the journey into three paths, with 20% taking one, %20 another, the remaining on the last. The splitter will be set to split by percentage with two Splitter Branch tiles added, each set to 20%. The “Remaining” tile branch will carry the %60 remaining.
Two action tiles exist. The Activity tile marks a planned/completed real-world activity on a recording Dynamics 365, such as an appointment, task, or phone call. Each contact passing through this tile generates a Dynamics 365 activity.
The Workflow tile invokes an existing custom Dynamics 365 workflow. Workflows are customizations created by in-house CRM specialists or Dynamics Partners with technical knowledge of Dynamics 365. The end user creating the journey uses this tile to invoke a workflow action while remaining isolated from the technical details surrounding workflows.
Testing and Go Live
Journeys can be verified and tested before going live using and will show the number contacts passing through the pipe lines. Any errors or missing content will be indicated for correction.
Running journey tiles can be clicked on the see additional detailed information.
Once the journey is live, activity can be monitored on the dashboard view.
Now that we’ve had a quick look at how a journey created you’re probably wondering about how all the content is created. Dynamics 365 for Marketing has a powerful, yet easy to use, content design system. For this example, we’ll look at generating email content. In creating new email content, one first chooses the template from the dialog shown below. Dynamics 365 provides a set of pre-made template examples to build from.
Creating the body of email itself has a similar user interface to that of the journey in that is present a tool box of tiles that be inserted. This will feel different for those used to creating these Word or other applications but does make management of content easier track. Downloadable content, such as images, are applied setup in the email to be download as needed when the contact views the email.
Email text allow for dynamic content markup that will use the contact field values to generate the email making it personalized for the recipient.
Another important feature is the preview mode which allow the user to see how content design will appear on different devices.
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