As promised in our earlier blog post, we're going to delve into some of the new capabilities of Dynamics 365 applications in the new October '18 update. We're going to start with the Marketing from Customer Engagement suite.
The marketing application was originally released to build robust multi-channel campaigns directly from CRM, it controls email campaigns, social media marketing integration, events management, reports, analytics and more.
The October 2018 update promises to add to the following improved capabilities, all to be released for general availability:
- Account-based marketing
- Reusable content blocks
- Social listening for your campaigns
- Marketing calendar for planning
- Deep LinkedIn integration
- Richer segmentation experience
- Custom analytics
- Additional languages and geographies
Microsoft has explained that in the new October 2018 update the application will support marketing teams (B2B) to track engagement with organisation accounts. This will increase integration and alignment between sales and marketing departments, something Microsoft has frequently mentioned over the last year.
Additionally, it will enable sales and marketing to gain new insights by examining marketing interactions across accounts. They'll be able to identify who are the most engaged accounts and view engagement per account. We believe this a great idea, targeting specific accounts by those likely to generate the largest revenue will allow marketing to further optimise their strategies.
Account-based marketing can help organisations to:
- Align sales and marketing departments by mapping marketing activity to account strategies.
- Increase return on investment by removing waste and focusing on targeted, high-value accounts.
- Increase account relevance by providing personalised and compelling content.
- Generate efficiency by identifying specific contacts at specific companies within a specific market.
Account-based marketing can:
- Identify and create segments of high-value accounts.
- Identify key stakeholders to reach within each account.
- Create personalised content, such as emails, based on account.
- Generate account-level leads and nurture them through the demand-generation funnel.
- Continuously measure account engagement and optimise your messaging.
Reusable content blocks
Microsoft has added new capabilities to design elements and landing pages where marketing teams can tightly control their brand identity and maintain best practice standards. For example, your team may have created an excellent marketing landing page creative or an email banner. You can now save it as a reusable block for future campaigns, and also restrict users ability to edit them. Previously you could only duplicate an entire template and would need to rework the elements you wanted to edit so this is a very welcome change.
We believe this will be a frequently used tool as managers can ensure the organisations brand guidelines are complied with and meet the correct design standards. In addition, this will save significant time as creatives won't need to be frequently remade.
Reusable blocks can be used to define content, design and rules across both web and email marketing channels. The blocks will even accept dynamic values directly from Dynamics 365.
Users can then drag and drop these tiles into their designs and use the block. Each block could be as simple as a call-to-action button, or as complex as an event countdown timer.
This feature adds a level of automation to the marketing process and will ensure standards are being met as well as saving time. Large organisations with multiple marketing teams will particularly benefit from this feature as they can reuse the same blocks, preventing disjointed communications.
Social listening for your campaigns
Microsoft has embedded a social listening reporting dashboard for further insights. In addition to a new tab for each customer journey and event. Modern digital marketing relies on having reports from multiple sources, the new Dynamics 365 Marketing application will enable marketers to track keywords and phrases that are relevant to a specific customer journey, they can then view social media responses to these initiatives alongside traditional marketing insights.
A modern marketer must be able to combine analytics generated through social media platforms with those from traditional digital marketing, like email and landing pages, to obtain a comprehensive overview of their market impact. Dynamics 365 for Marketing brings together insights from multiple marketing channels like events, emails, and landing pages, as well as social listening data from various social media platforms.
Social listening adds:
- A dedicated social tab to every customer journey and event.
- A new dashboard for social insights.
Marketers use the social tab to establish a collection of specific phrases that are relevant to the related customer journey or event, and then monitor social media posts for mentions of those phrases. Social listening gathers data from all the major social networks and populates the various widgets on the social tab with relevant analytics that reveals how often each phrase is mentioned over time, the sentiment associated with each mention, potential influencers that mention the phrases, and much more.
Marketing calendar for planning
The marketing calendar control lets marketers visualise a variety of marketing activities that have a start and end date.
Over campaigns it will provide a quick overview across different marketing initiatives. In addition, new items can be created without even leaving the view.
Deeper LinkedIn integration
Microsoft has already spent significant resources trying to integrate LinkedIn into their other products, Dynamics 365 included. Previously they added the capability to sync leads captured using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. They're going a step further by expanding the following:
- Optimised and high-quality engagement on LinkedIn through account-based marketing.
- Generation of more highly qualified leads to be nurtured from within Dynamics 365 for Marketing and an increase in the marketing return on investment.
- Integrate Dynamics 365 for Marketing segments with LinkedIn-matched audiences.
- Orchestrate journeys that include triggers that react to submission from LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.
- Evaluate the success of your LinkedIn targeting via engagement statistics in Dynamics 365 for Marketing.
- Generate leads in Dynamics 365 for Marketing on the account level when retrieving form submissions from LinkedIn.
- Nurture leads via lead scoring based on LinkedIn form submission interactions.
We hope these changes will satisfy B2B marketers. It shows Microsoft's intent on leveraging their products to provide an exceptional 360 view of marketers channels. Since their acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 we've seen plenty of updates come to Dynamics 365 and we expect they'll be more to come.
Richer segmentation experience
The improved segment designer enables marketers and business analysts to create segments more easily and efficiently. The newly improved segment designer provides more operators and an improved user interface performance.
The improved segment designer provides:
- More operators.
- Improved user interface performance.
Utilising custom analytics, this data can be visualised within the Marketing app. You'll be able to view reports that are fine-tuned to your business processes and use them to identify ways to run more efficient and effective campaigns
Microsoft also mentioned implementing machine learning to receive enhanced insights across your most important KPI's.
Additional languages and geographies
For the October 2018 release, we will greatly expand the set of languages and geographies where Dynamics 365 for Marketing is available and supported.
Microsoft has announced plenty of new capabilities marketing teams will benefit from in the next October 2018 release and will particularly appeal to larger organisations wanting to organise their marketing initiatives more precisely. We'll continue to share Dynamics 365 October 2018 information so you'll be ready for its deployment this autumn.