08 August 2022
Real-time marketing for Dynamics 365 is the next generation evolution for communicating with customers and other stakeholders. New capabilities include SMS sends, AI-driven customer journeys, low code dynamic content production and much more.
We've put together this quick guide so you can understand its potential, how it could help your business and how it compares with the Outbound Marketing module.
Real-time marketing enables your organisation to create many digital communication touchpoints across different channels. Routine actions driven by the customer or your organisation can create a journey that sends them an email, a SMS to their contact record phone number or push a notification to their Android or IOS device.
A business could use this when a contact has updated their data and you have created a journey to confirm that. Another example is when a customer has made a purchase and you could confirm this via email whilst sending an SMS for the delivery date. Real-time marketing uses the Microsoft Dataverse, which it can use trigger points across your whole business.
There are many ready-made trigger event templates available to choose from such as when a contact business phone number is updated, or a Customer Voice Survey response is submitted. You can create your own by selecting a data table and following a fast, intuitive form. That trigger can then be used to start a customer journey.
A crucial difference to the Outbound Marketing module is that Real-Time Marketing can utilise all these trigger events to create a journey, whereas Outbound is designed to produce automated journeys when a user fits an audience segment such as their attributes (location, age, type of customer etc.)
The Real-Time Marketing module empowers organisations to communicate across email, SMS and device notifications simultaneously. With an intuitive interface, you can quickly choose a trigger or segment to create this process. The segment option allows the marketer to choose between a one-off journey, a repeating journey, or a one-time journey where new contacts are added to a segment and can start at any time. Similar options are available in the Outbound Marketing module, but the options are not expressed in this way and is clarified better at the start of the journey creation.
When a marketer clicks create based on their choice, they will have an interface similar to the Outbound Customer Journey. The process is expressed in tiles from top to bottom instead of left to right. A key difference is this does not support multiple swim lanes. However, where real-time marketing shines is being able to choose to send to each SMS, device notifications (IOS, Android) and email.
The marketer can choose to send them in different stages, for example, to send an email confirmation on event signup and then later a SMS send as a last-minute reminder. They can also choose AI-driven channel choices, whereby it will decide which channel based on the individual contact. Real-time marketing features A/B Split tests, Wait times, and branching in the same way Outbound Marketing does.
A key feature of real-time marketing is goal configuration. Marketers can choose from a variety of goals, such as increasing brand loyalty or onboarding new people or even creating their own goals. The marketer can define the goal by choosing a trigger such as a form sign-up. They can then decide when the goal is reached when a number or % of contacts have met the conditions of the trigger. This information is then fed back into the analytics dashboards for gaining insights. Currently, this feature does not exist in the Outbound Marketing module.
Real-time marketing is very powerful regarding personalisation, without technical knowledge, marketers can use a point-and-click interface to embed dynamic snippets of specific information relevant to the contact. This can be performed across device push notifications, SMS and email. You can use ready-made personalisation templates or even create your own by leveraging the Microsoft Dataverse with a default value.
Driven by Power BI, the real-time analytics dashboard is a critical tool for understanding the performance and behaviour of users who have interacted with your communications. Users can switch between Journeys and Channel views.
Naturally, marketers can view the performance of a specific journey e.g. Open rates and Email Clicks.
They can also view the optimisation of the AI-driven decision-making:
Real-time Marketing has effortless asset management tools for reusing and administration of your content. Documents, images and videos are stored in one place. Images are tagged which relevant keywords automatically using AI, which is useful for quickly looking up content in large libraries. The reusable content blocks and email templates function in the same way as Outbound Marketing.
With AI, business users can build trigger-based journeys that reach customers across multiple touch-points, growing relationships from prospects, through sales and support. The needs and expectations of customers has changed, with a digital-first mindset, businesses must recognise this and be capable of meeting the demand of communicating across multiple channels when required without interruption. Previous generations of marketing platforms were fragmented and separated from other parts of the business, a significant pain point for organisations that need to communicate using the breadth of their data. Real-time marketing solves this by integrating with the Microsoft Dataverse, which can pull data from the whole organisation and express it in different ways.
The Real-time marketing module is similar to traditional Dynamics 365 Outbound Marketing and many features overlap, but they aren't competing but work alongside each other as different tools for different requirements. Broadly speaking, Outbound Marketing is focused on complex landing page, social, event and form integration and using each of these to deliver consistent digital brand experiences inside an email campaign. Whereas real-time marketing specialises in creating communications across multiple channels using complex triggers and includes measurable goals.
It's best to remember that when you choose Dynamics 365 Marketing, you get Real-Time marketing and Outbound Marketing, so you aren't forced to choose between them, and you can select the module that fits your needs when the requirement arrives.