Marketing has been changing faster now than ever before and with digital marketing blooming marketers have more responsibility over customer journeys. They are required to engage with customers across many digital channels and deliver amazing experiences but all the while track results of their marketing investments to determine the ROI.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, known as MDM hereafter, allows marketers to realise their marketing potential. MDM provides considerable functionality for marketers all in one convenient application. MDM functionality originates from the MarketingPilot product that was acquired by Microsoft back in October 2012. The MDM release contains a re-imagined application that looks in place alongside Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013/2015.

MDM is very much a separate application and is available as a cloud offering that can be subscribed to by itself or as an add-on to either a monthly CRM online subscription or CRM On-Premise license. It does have native integration into Dynamics CRM to synchronise common elements of their respective data model. As part of the new ‘Electra’ release, integration into Microsoft Social Listening will also be available. MDM includes:

  •  5GB storage
  • 50k Emails per month

Additionally customers can purchase add-on items on a monthly basis:

  •  Additional storage
  • Additional Email Marketing message 'Pack' (Packs sold in 10k message per month)

Traditionally in Microsoft Dynamics CRM the marketing functionality only scratches the surface which MDM provides wide-ranging business process automation for marketers. A comparison between Dynamics CRM and Dynamics Marketing is:

 

 

MDM is purchased through Office 365 portal, exactly like Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and once provisioned this will appear in Office 365 as shown below.

 

Navigation & Form Layout

MDM looks a lot like Dynamics CRM 2013/2015 with a simple top menu bar and colour coded navigation tiles. The menu options and functionality for any given user are defined by that user’s privileges which are set by the administrator. MDM comprises five major areas of functionality:

1.       Projects – Assign tasks and manage your team’s project

2.       Marketing Execution – holds Campaign, Lead and Events Management as well as Accounts and Contacts.

3.       Assets & Media – Track marketing collateral and media placements

4.       Budgeting – Monitor expenses, quotes payments and invoices

5.       Performance - Reports on campaigns, media activities and projects

 

 

Form Layout

The entity forms provide an area where details can be entered and edited. The form layout is shown below:

 

One of the neat features of MDM is the related information area or entity selector can allow users to access different related entities without the form expanding into more real estate than required. The submit buttons are similar to the ones in Dynamics CRM but have been labelled differently. The submit buttons perform the following actions:

  • Save Button – MDM attempts to save unsaved data to the application with the focus remaining on the form.
  • Submit Button – MDM attempts to save the unsaved data and then closes the form and takes you back to the previous area.
  • Cancel Button – MDM navigates back to the previous area WITHOUT saving any unsaved data.

Filtering

MDM allows records to be filtered in a similar way to Dynamics CRM 2013 and has the added functionality to swap columns using drag and drop. This change to the columns is then saved so users do not have to re configure this again.

MDM also offers new functionality in the views called groupings, which allows you to group contacts by company for example.

 

Account and Contact Management

MDM has a large number of entities and a range of functionality within them. The essential entities used by MDM are:

-          Contacts or People – This is the core entity that is used in MDM. These can be contacts and / or users depending on the business relationship with the customer. Contacts can be a combination Vendor or Staff or Clients. Contacts can also be Marketing contacts only.

-          Companies – This is the entity which holds the organisations that have a business relationship with your organisation. MDM differentiates between Marketing Companies (organisations you market to), vendor companies (Organisations which do work for you and from which products and services are purchased) and clients companies (Organisations that can be invoiced for things like services etc).

Queries and List Management

MDM has the functionality to create marketing lists from marketing contacts. These marketing lists can be used in campaigns. This functionality is very similar to Dynamics CRM 2013/2015 Marketing Lists and is one of the entities that synchronises between MDM and Dynamics CRM 2013/2015. MDM allows creation of static marketing lists known as lists and dynamic marketing lists known as queries. MDM also allows the creation of black lists or opt out lists allowing marketers to ensure that bulk communications are only sent to those contact who have opted in to this service.

Marketing Execution

Marketing execution is at the core of most Marketing Databases and MDM is no different the essential hierarchy and entities are shown below:

 

Marketing execution’s key entity is Campaigns. These campaigns can be organised into programs (Programs are a collection of campaigns). Campaigns can have a number of jobs which represents the projects that are ongoing with the company related to the given campaign. Jobs are made up of a number of tasks which are assigned to individuals for completion. This is not a strict hierarchical process. Companies are at the top of the tree since all these activities occur under a specific company.

Campaigns could also be event driven and then the respective jobs and tasks can occur for that specific event as shown below:

 

Record Security in MDM

The security model for MDM follow very closely to Dynamics CRM 2013/2015 so users can see records they own, records owned by a team and active/deactivated records.

 

 

Templates

Templates in MDM can be used as a reusable blueprint for creation of records, this is more focused around the tasks that need to be completed for jobs, events and campaigns. Another smart feature of MDM is that Jobs can be assigned to a role rather than a unique individuals so as events, jobs and campaigns start, different individuals (internal or external) can be assigned to the tasks they need to action. The templates area can be found in the settings area of MDM.

 

Alerts

MDM has an extensive notification system on most entities, so if users require notification an email can be sent to their inbox. The alert options are broken down by entity as shown below:

 

Dashboards

This is another area which is similar to Dynamics CRM, this allows Marketers to see the vital information including Budget Utilisation. The concept of widgets are introduced the left hand pane opens up with widgets which are charts or lists that a Marketer uses regularly. The drill down functionality works by clicking on the segment of the chart and the data will also update in real time.

Using the Add Component heighted in Red allows other reporting components to be added to the home screen.

 

The components that are available are:

-          Line Charts

-          Pie Charts

-          Area Charts

-          Budget Usage

-          Bubble Charts

-          Widget

-          Bing Map,

-          Power BI

The component functionality has a flexible set of options which will allow marketers to produce the KPIs that are of interest to them.

Approval Workflows

MDM has an approval system which works with alert notifications. Digital Collateral can be sent through to a number of approvers (internal or external) and feedback can be requested. The Approvals system can be concurrent or sequential in the responses back from the contacts. The collateral that is uploaded can be files held in the MDM libraries as a central location for all collateral

Financials & Budgeting

MDM provides extensive functionally for the accounting of marketing financial transactions. MDM supports accrual and cash accounting. Depending upon the size and complexity of the organisation there may be a decision made which accounting method that is chosen by default MDM is set to accrual accounting.

Notes and Take Away Points

·         MDM integrates with CRM 2013/2015 with the following entities:

o   Accounts

o   Activities

o   Campaigns

o   Contacts

o   Currencies

o   Leads

o   Marketing Lists

o   Services

o   Web Behavioural Data – This is a new entity that is created when the MDM – CRM connector is installed on CRM 2013/2015 as a managed solution.

·         The entity selector is a really excellent feature so there is no need for multiple sub-grids like in Dynamics CRM 2013

·         MDM is has multi browser support.

·         A Free of Charge non-production instance is available when you purchase 25 or more licenses

·         Quick Create is available, this functionality is similar to Dynamics CRM 2013/2015

·         Wild Card searching is available in lookups

·         Web Portal Users can be added as free of charge users (also unlimited). These are fully authenticated users on Office 365 with configurable security privileges that have limited access to some portions of MDM. They can be used to grant flexible browser access to users such as clients, company branches, channel partners, vendors etc.

·         Marketing lists can be published for Self Service Subscription management allowing contacts to update their information in a self-service manner.

·         MDM supports multiple currencies for financial transactions, however these currencies and their exchange rates are not real time and require users to manually set up the currencies and exchange rates.

Conclusion

In conclusion MDM appears to be a comprehensive product which builds on the Dynamics Suite. The product has a deeper level of functionality in marketing than Dynamics CRM 2013. This functionality is much more in tune with the marketing professionals and the numerous configurations of templates, alerts and approvals allow these professionals to configure MDM in accordance with company specific needs and processes.

There is some functionality from Dynamics CRM 2013/2015 that can be utilised in MDM to make it more powerful, the data import wizard is definitely one of them. However the same can be said in reverse, the way the views can be configured in MDM is much more intuitive and easier to configure than Dynamics CRM 2013/2015, I would be interested to see if the entity selector in MDM is used in Dynamics CRM in future releases.