Top 10 Tips for Deciding Between Dynamics 365 Marketing & ClickDimensions

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem has two main marketing automation solutions: Dynamics 365 Marketing and ClickDimensions. Each product has its distinct advantages that make one solution better for a business compared to the other. In this article, we will give you the top 10 tips to help you decide between Dynamics 365 Marketing and ClickDimensions.

5 Indicators that Dynamics 365 Marketing May Be Right for You

1. You Want an Out-of-The-Box Solution Made by Microsoft

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing was launched in March 2018, several years after the launch of the marketing module in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Since then, customers have been requesting that Microsoft launch a full-fledged marketing automation solution.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing is the only first-party marketing automation solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the only application that can guarantee an instant and complete integration with other Dynamics 365 and Power Platform solutions – after all, they are all made by the same organization.

Another advantage of going with Microsoft is that you have one price structure, one invoice, and one support team. For many IT and accounting departments, the abovementioned reasons are quite convincing. This is especially true if your organization qualifies for not-for-profit pricing or other discount schemes offered by Microsoft.

2. You Want a Flexible Solution and Plan to Make Significant Customizations

Dynamics 365 for Marketing is not exactly a plug-and-play solution. However, it is extremely flexible in both configurations and customizations.

You can configure settings such as fiscal years, goals, event teams, document templates, privacy banners, email deduplication, lead matching strategies, contact matching strategies and so much more. It would take many more blog posts to try and mention all the configurable settings in Dynamics 365 Marketing!

Regarding customizations, the sky is truly the limit with Dynamics 365 Marketing. To begin with, Dynamics 365 for Marketing can be integrated with Content Management Systems (CMS) including Adobe Marketing Cloud or web portals including Dynamics 365 Portals.

You can also utilize other components of the Power Platform. An example that will be particularly useful for marketing teams is a custom event check-in with Power Apps that can automatically create and update Leads in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

If you want to customize fields, forms, views, marketing calendars, or even create custom entities, Dynamics 365 Marketing is flexible enough to allow all these options.

3. You Want Advanced Segmentation Capabilities

Depending on your marketing requirements, you may need the advanced segmentation capabilities that Dynamics 365 Marketing has to offer.

The first advanced segmentation feature of Dynamics 365 for Marketing is the possibility to create behavioral segments. This type of segmentation allows you to include or exclude contacts in a marketing list based on actions that they have performed in the past. For example, these actions could be an interaction as part of a customer journey, opening a specified email, clicking on a page on your website, or a combination of all the above. As you can see, slicing and dicing has been taken to a whole new level.

The second advanced segmentation feature of Dynamics 365 for Marketing is the possibility to create compound audiences. Here, slicing and dicing contacts has not been taken to a whole new level, but rather to an entirely different league.

This capability allows you to combine multiple segments of different types. The options that you have are demographic (based on a contact’s details), firmographic (based on an account’s details), and behavioral (based on the actions performed by a contact). You can combine multiple segments of each type to reach a very precise audience.

4. You Want Event Management Capabilities Without Purchasing a Third-Party Solution

If you want to organize in-person, online, or hybrid events, Dynamics 365 Marketing offers a complete event management solution. On top of the integration with ON24 to organize webinars, you can also add web pages with Dynamics 365 Portal functionality at no additional cost.

Some of the other functionalities available include event registration, sessions, speakers, event budgets and so much more. The event management capabilities are feature-rich and can easily compete with a stand-alone event management solution.

5. You Want a Deep Integration with LinkedIn

Depending on your business, marketing on LinkedIn may be crucial and you may require deep integration with LinkedIn. For example, if you are selling products to another business or if your target demographic is business professionals, being on LinkedIn is a powerful lead generation tool.

As part of the native integration with LinkedIn, you can include LinkedIn campaigns as part of your Customer Journey, have matched audiences on LinkedIn based on Dynamics 365 Marketing segments, and create leads based on a LinkedIn Lead Gen form submission.

5 Indicators that ClickDimensions May be Right for You

1. You Want a Mature Product

ClickDimensions is the largest marketing automation Independent Software Vendor (ISV) for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and one of the largest ISV – all categories included – of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem.

ClickDimensions is a company based in Atlanta, GA, and has been doing marketing automation software made exclusively for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for the last decade. As you can imagine, they have seen customers of many sizes and industries, as well as customers who want to implement different marketing strategies.

Due to this experience, the solution has been greatly been improved over the last 10 years with features that came out of customers’ requests. Moreover, the solution is extremely stable. In my years of implementing ClickDimensions, I have only encountered a bug once. If you do encounter a bug, it means that it is an issue happening across all customers or that you are unfortunately quite unlucky!

2. You Want a User-Friendly Solution That is as Close to Plug-And-Play as Possible

There is a small caveat to this point: we are assuming here that you plan to make very little to no customizations to the ClickDimensions solution and that the out-of-the-box functionalities it provides meet your business requirements.

If that is your case, ClickDimensions is extremely user-friendly and is as close to plug-and-play as possible as far as marketing automation solutions go. I had a recent experience with a client where implementing ClickDimensions was phase 2 of their digital transformation project. They had just recently went live with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales. From the beginning to the end of the project, it took about 6 weeks to get them fully operational with ClickDimensions. This includes configuring their CNAME, linking social media platforms, creating email templates, configuring web analytics, and completing user training. Furthermore, during user training, the most common comments received were that the solution was very easy to use and intuitive and how having one common system for both Sales and Marketing will make everyone’s life easier.

If you ever need assistance from ClickDimensions, they have a knowledge base with easy-to-follow instructions, an Academy where users can get certified on the product and one of the best customer service teams I’ve ever dealt with.

3. You Want Social Media Analytics

ClickDimensions offers social media analytics and other social media management tools as part of their solution. ClickDimensions currently supports integrations with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you want to get analytics for other social media platforms, you will need a third-party solution.

ClickDimensions allows you to schedule posts on these social media platforms and get powerful analytics on top of what the social media platform already provides you. The main two features that ClickDimensions provides is to find your employee advocates – the biggest fans in your organization who engage with your social media content the most and are supporters of your brand – and the ability to follow topics and see the conversations related to it.

4. You Want Business Intelligence Features and an Integration with Google Analytics

ClickDimensions acquired Sweetspot, a marketing dashboard provider, in 2019. The features provided by Sweetspot are now available for ClickDimensions users.

The first noteworthy feature is that ClickDimensions provides a more complete picture of your website performance by including data from Google Analytics directly in the solution. Gone are the days of webmasters trying to reconcile the data from their marketing automation solution and Google Analytics, as it is all in one place.

The second noteworthy feature is the sheer abundance of dashboards and metrics. Sweetspot provides 13 dashboards and more than 170 KPIs for you to track. Sweetspot has combined the skillsets of 7 different people – including marketing, IT, C-Suite executives, and sales – to find out what businesses require and to give insights into your data.

5. You Have No Idea Where to Start Your Data Cleansing

Remember the client that I mentioned earlier – the one that went live in 6 weeks with ClickDimensions? One of their biggest challenges was that they had about 50,000 contacts and no indication whatsoever of who was still active or inactive.

A great solution for them was to initiate a re-permission marketing campaign, knowing full well that a significant proportion of these email addresses could bounce back. ClickDimensions offers great features that allow marketers to analyze their bounces by giving insights into why an email address bounced. The added benefit of doing a re-permission campaign was to get accurate subscription preferences from their contacts much faster than via any other method.

This allowed the sales team to know who the stakeholders in the organization were and helped them to research where the inactive contact is now working and who replaced them in their role. This ensured that even more relevant contacts were tracked in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales!

Those are the top 10 considerations that should be on your mind if you are deciding between Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing and ClickDimensions as your marketing automation solution. Both products are great, yet one of them might be significantly better for you and your business over the other one.

If you need help in figuring out which of these solutions is right for you, please contact the team at Encore.

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