Microsoft Dynamics Marketing: 10 Exciting Enhancements for 2015
The buzz surrounding Microsoft Dynamics Marketing has been growing amongst marketing professionals and for good reason. It’s a straightforward, comprehensive marketing solution with drag-and-drop integrated campaign automation, super easy email marketing, collaboration tools, simplified lead management, robust budgeting and analytics, media buying, Dynamics CRM integration, and lots more.
This past week I immersed myself in learning what’s new for the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 and it is packed with some awesome enhancements. I’d like to share 10 of my favorites with you today and, of course, you can always get in touch with us if you’d like more information or want to see these new features in action.
1. Seller Collaboration Portal
I truly believe sales and marketing teams want to work together, they just don’t have the time or the tools to do it effectively. Dynamics Marketing has added a Seller Collaboration Portal and a Seller Portal User role that will enable sales teams to access, view and contribute to which marketing communications are being sent to prospects and customers. Everyone can work together to deliver the most relevant and targeted messaging to the right contacts at the right time. Sales and marketing won’t just be shaking hands, they’ll be high-fiving each other!
With the Seller Collaboration Portal, sales reps can:
- Block specific contacts from receiving communications you know they’re not interested in.
- View the marketing engagement activities for one or multiple contacts for more insightful conversations with prospects and customers.
- Setup custom alerts of marketing interactions with customers to track behavior and follow through quickly on opportunities.
- Access the new Marketing Calendar to gain visibility into marketing plans and what is lying ahead for contacts.
2. At-a-Glance Marketing Calendar
Want to see all of your marketing plans, campaigns and activities in one visually color-coordinated spot? The new Marketing Calendar lets you view by day, week, month, quarter or year; sort by pending, active or completed; or even drill down into specific actions and make changes right from the calendar view. Sales can also access this calendar and, with the appropriate permissions of course, manage the communications their contacts receive.
3. Enhanced Graphical Email Editor
Dynamics Marketing has made several improvements to the Graphical Email Editor making it even easier to layout, design and send beautifully targeted emails. Whether you want full HTML capabilities or want to create messages with no knowledge of HTML whatsoever, you can choose between two Editors (one with HTML, one without) so it makes the most sense for your needs. It’s a really flexible tool with drag-and-drop layout of content blocks for text, images and HTML code. You can customize and rearrange to your heart’s content and personalize your subjects and messaging to increase your conversions.
Now, you can also preview your email messages to see how they will look across different devices and orientations right from the Editor before you send them. This effectively minimizes the risk of your emails rendering great on a desktop email client, but looking terrible on a mobile device.
4. Email A/B Testing
As a former marketing professional myself, I’m a huge advocate for the value of A/B Testing (or split testing) in email marketing. I also know how painfully cumbersome it can be and, sadly, that’s why many companies don’t do it at all. But, I must say Dynamics Marketing has made it about as easy as it can get.
You can setup A/B testing for individual Email Marketing Messages or within your campaign automation screen by dragging the A/B Testing tile over and dropping it in. It will automatically create two versions of your email and you can click each one to change your Subject, From Sender, Send Time – whatever it is you want to test. You can set the testing duration and criteria to automatically choose the winning email and send the remainder of the emails to the highest performer. Or, you can view the progress and performance at any time after it is sent and declare the winner manually.
If your company does webinars, you’re really going to like this. Dynamics Marketing has added a Webinar Event as a separate entity in your event management so you can easily setup and manage your webinar registration items and track attendance. If you use Lync Server, you can create a Lync invitation to send out for your webinar if you choose. Webinars are also now available as an item on the campaign automation console to further define and track them as part of your overall campaign.
6. Improved Landing Page Forms
Dynamics Marketing includes the ability to create Landing Pages, also known as the forms you will embed on your external web pages to automatically capture leads and event registrations. There are several updates to this area I’m happy to report.
- Contacts can now use the Landing Page form to update their information and it automatically updates their existing contact record in Dynamics Marketing. Yes, this is big.
- A “Remember my information” option enables visitors to prefill their form so they don’t have to re-enter their information.
- CAPTCHA options! It was mandatory before, but now you can choose to show it on your forms Always, Never or Automatic (only for new visitors).
- You can add a custom Privacy Statement link so visitors can view your statement on an external web page.
- Create Lead and Interactions is automatically checked by default now so no more forgetting to check this really important box. Whew. Disaster averted.
- Events can now generate leads and interactions enabling tracking and reporting on an Event-level.
7. Lead Scoring Models
Dynamics Marketing already made lead scoring an automatic process and quite simple, but you’ll enjoy the new Rule Types that have been added for 2015 giving you even more ways to define your models. Included are Event Attendance, Event Registration, Custom Contact Fields and Lead Sales Rating. There is also a new “Any” operator option so you no longer have to specify a specific website, email message, etc.
8. Marketing Lists and Contacts
Several enhancements have been made to streamline the management of marketing lists and contacts. Marketing lists now have improved query filters and operators to create and combine static or dynamics marketing lists with ease. A major improvement in my eyes is on the contacts side. You can now add as many Custom Contact Fields and categories as you want for each field type in an easy to access spot and the new fields are readily available to use in several areas.
9. Drag-and-Drop Review and Approval Workflows
One of the most time-saving features of Dynamics Marketing is the campaign automation canvas with a visual drag-and-drop design. Now you can simplify your entire review and approval process the same way using the approval workflow automation canvas. You can quickly set up your workflow from start to completion and have an at-a-glance view of what’s pending, what’s been completed and who needs a friendly nudge to keep marketing tasks and campaigns on track.
10. Social Listening Integration
Microsoft Social Listening is a tool that helps you monitor, learn and act on what’s happening across the world of social media in a way that means something to your business. Marketers can gain a wealth of knowledge and understanding about business influencers and topics that are driving your customers and prospects. Dynamics Marketing 2015 allows the integration of Social Listening so marketers can create or add their own search topics and keywords and monitor activity through a widget on their home page or side widget panel.
As you can see, there are a lot of great updates in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015. As I wrap up this blog post, there are even more enhancements I want to share with you so I think I will just have to do a Part Two! Stay tuned…
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