For all businesses, marketing is important, more or less crucial. It is through our communication, we want to tell about ourselves, our history, who we are and why we exist. While it has become easier to communicate, for example through social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc., it has become more difficult to reach the recipient. Countless reports and studies tell us about the number of impressions our brains receive every second.
One could say that it has become something of an art to stick out in the media noise.
Another constant challenge is being able to demonstrate the value of the communication that has been implemented, Return on Investment (ROI), and what this has led to, such as the generation of new leads, new business opportunities or other sales-related activities.
Although the content of our communication is important, our tools are also of great importance and their capabilities. In what way can I get help in my everyday life?
Create efficiency through automation
Marketing automation has been around since the mid-2000s and is today an accepted term within marketing. This procedure or process, that we can call it, is also something you as a person are most likely to be a part of every day, for example, when you sign up for a newsletter, when you forgot an item in a digital shopping cart, when you have given your approval or consent to something etc.
In essence it is about using technology to automate parts and tasks in marketing, based on customer behavior. Often one or more tools are used in combination with each other, such as landing pages, forms, and e-mails. Sometimes we see this procedure to be synonymous with a campaign.
But ultimately, it is about helping us in our everyday life, increasing our competitiveness, while creating more efficient ways to maintain customer relationships, both new and old.
Behaviour that generates data and insights
How we act digitally also leaves information, data. This information can, for example, give us insights on a particular message, campaign, product etc. based on when, where, and how, and sometimes even by whom, in real time.
Just think about how you act yourself. Do you prefer to read your mail in the morning or in the afternoon? Maybe there are certain weekdays where you are more active? Maybe there is a topic that interests you more than anything else?
All this information generates data. Using the right technology makes it easier to visualize these digital footprints and thus be able to make smarter and more thoughtful business and marketing decisions. One can find many different tools of marketing automation in the market today and depending on the needs of your business there are systems that will fit you better than others. One of the companies offering this service is Microsoft and today we are diving into the functionality of their system, called Dynamics 365 for Marketing.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing
Microsofts marketing automation module is called Dynamics 365 for Marketing and is part of what Microsoft has chosen to call Business Applications.
For those who have an interest or work in marketing, this may not be news, at least not until now or more precisely the middle of 2019. That's when Microsoft replaced its previous solution with D365 for Marketing, which was less of an update and actually rather a completely new solution.
An overview of core functionality
In order to easily start explaining the application in its entirety, it should be divided into two parts, one regarding marketing automation and its core functions, and one that connects to event management.
As a user, you can access the solution via the browser on your computer, provided that you are registered as a user. The application has been built on so-called responsive web design for optimal viewing and interaction on all devices, regardless of screen sizes and directions.
You will also find that you easily can create professional communication that is adjusted to your company's graphical guidelines by using the many adjustable, pre-designed templates that are available in the system.
When we choose to communicate with our customers, it is really about contacts. For D365 for Marketing, contacts are central, they are the recipients of our message. Once a contact is met by our marketing, it will be classified as a marketing contact.
Segments are a way of grouping and classifying contacts. As a marketer, you take the help of conditions for describing groups with customers, such as contact persons who have recently registered their interest on a form, contacts who have signed up for a newsletter, or perhaps even contacts who are resident in a certain place, e.g. Stockholm.
3. Customer Journey
Through Customer Journey, we give ourselves the opportunity to create marketing campaigns in several steps and channels towards a certain segment, ie we create the conditions for being automated. For D365 for Marketing, Customer Journey is more or less necessary.
4. Support for GPDR
For many companies, it is important to be compliant with the rules and guidelines that apply to GDPR. In D365 for Marketing there is the flexibility to set rules for this, which can either apply to the entire solution or only certain parts. There are also templates and forms that can be used for this purpose.
5. Lead scoring models
You have the ability to prioritize the right target group by setting up lead scoring models based on demographics, rules based on collected interaction data, e-mail clicks, visited websites etc.
Lead scoring models helps us to determine when a lead is ready to be handed over to Sales, i.e. the lead has gone from what is classified as Market Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). You can easily set up the scoring model as you please in the system by deciding what actions will generate increased or decreased points.
6. Create landing pages
Create landing pages or integrate existing landing pages from your own CMS to D365 for Marketing. Use out-of-the box forms to add to the landing page. Capture the interactions that have been linked to the landing page or created on your site through traceable scripts.
7. Event management
In D365 for Marketing there is also support for handling large and small events, such as seminars and conventions and to a certain extent also webinars.
You can fully manage your events with the opportunity to administer, buildings, rooms, speakers, different sessions, and tracks. As well as support for managing hotel room allocation.
If you choose to use the Dynamics 365 Portals (optional), you can publish your event directly from D365 and also be able to handle the event registration specifically.
Create value through seamlessness
Those who have experience and worked with Dynamics 365, know that one of its strengths is the seamlessness to other D365 solutions.
When using D365 for Marketing, the value becomes much clearer when you associate it with D365 for Sales. By letting Marketing and Sales become part of a whole, the risks of losing business opportunities along the way are minimized.
From an organizational perspective it also becomes much easier to clarify the value of Marketing for Sales when you are part of the same process.
For whom is this interesting?
Although D365 for Marketing can be run as an entirely own solution, there are some things to be aware of. There are benefits to achieve if you already have a D365 product, e.g. D365 for Sales, for example, the monthly cost will be lower. And as described above, the seamlessness is the uniqueness.
However, you should have some things in mind, if you place great demands on integrations with social media such as Instagram and Facebook, then D365 for Marketing is not fully there yet.
Microsoft continuously updates the application and has two major releases per year. So, what does not exist today may exist in the future. One can see that a lot of new functionality links to data-driven functions, which are based on the customer's behavior in interacting.
Another thing that can be challenging is if you come from a collection of best-of-breed solutions and place the same demands on D365 for Marketing. You will need to tune in to your requirements and needs, but this applies regardless of the Marketing Automation solution.
If you are using D365 for Sales today, why not take a closer look at D365 for Marketing. We are happy to tell you more about the functions of the system and the marketing efficiency that your business could gain by introducing a seamless solution.