It's finally here!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

warts and all!

Microsoft recently announced its Spring '18 update for Microsoft Dynamics 365, and with it we finally get the new and highly-anticipated marketing module. Microsoft had already released this recently as a public preview service, and in a later blog we will bring you some practical insight into Dynamics 365 for Marketing - warts and all.

Microsoft has had a somewhat rocky past in the marketing space in recent years, especially following the acquisition of MarketingPilot, primarily an agency-oriented marketing resource management tool. With the integration of this into the Dynamics business family being followed by a fairly rapid end-of-life process, there are businesses and consultants out there who will be rightfully cautious about this latest Dynamics 365 marketing release.

The great news is that on the surface Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing appears to be an amazing fit for a lot of organisations. Those familiar with digital marketing tools/email service providers (ESP) will see all of the features and functions that they would expect - perhaps benefit of coming late to the game.

Where I think Microsoft is truly going to set itself apart, however, is through leveraging investments and core services outside standard ESP features, with the most exciting of these being the use of Azure Machine Learning (catching the AI wave) to provide embedded insights and segmentation. Those familiar with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights (in preview until relatively recently) will know all about predictive match, scoring, and segmentation. This platform provides pre-built machine learning algorithms or models to ingest your data and provide insights based on these data. Combined this with the single platform, PowerApps, and Power BI, you have the potential for a world class marketing solution (I can't wait to get hands on with #marketingnerd #datageek).

But it doesn’t stop there, the following are just some of the core features which I think will make Microsoft Dynamics 365 a leader in marketing automation over the next 2-3 years:

  • Event management leveraging the core Dynamics 365 for portals technology to bring this capability 'in-house' without using a 3rd part events provider.
  • Multiple lead scoring, providing the ability to setup automated scoring (not new to ESP's), but with the added ability to run multiple models concurrently.
  • True one-platform capability; no integration overhead, data in the same data centre and remaining compliant
  • Leveraging Azure infrastructure for high-volume sends, management and monitoring
  • Integration with LinkedIn.
  • Common extensibility model: If you know how to drive Dynamics 365, you know how to drive Dynamics 365 for Marketing. This reduces training costs and reliance on external agency or specialist resources - something that can increase marketing costs significantly.
  • Social Engagement: sometimes a bit of an outlier in the family, but combined with world class marketing automation and Customer Service will truly allow organisations to have a full life-cycle view of their customers, in one platform - and that’s a pretty powerful platform.

There's really only one major drawback to the new D365 for Marketing, and that's around the licensing.  Essentially, they don't have the pricing model quite right, but they're working on it.  For a more in-depth look at this and some third party views on the joy D365 for Marketing promises to bring, I recommend you read Steve Mordue's blog.

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