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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing: Exploring the 2021 Wave 1 Capabilities

Post Author: HCLTech |

The challenges of the global pandemic notwithstanding, 2020 was a breakthrough year for Dynamics 365 Marketing at HCL-PowerObjects. As mentioned in a previous blog, we’ve demoed the product more than 60 times. And with Microsoft continuing to mature and enhance the product, it became a critical component of several large engagements for us last year.

In today’s blogpost, we will explore the new features, enhancements, and capabilities Microsoft will be releasing for Dynamics 365 Marketing between April and September. The information we’re sharing is part of Microsoft’s 2021 Release Wave 1 plan. Let’s get started!

Real-time Customer Journey Orchestration Capabilities 

Think of the improvements in Dynamics 365 Marketing as all fitting neatly into this formula:

marketing automation + customer experience = real-time customer journey

The changes that deliver on that formula can be broken into four main categories, and we’ll explore each in more detail:

  • Deeper Personalization for Customer Engagement
  • Greater Insight into Real-time Analytics
  • Expanded Communication Channels
  • Optimized AI-driven Capabilities

Deeper Personalization for Customer Engagement

Improvements in this area include a new point-and-click interface that empowers users to craft personalized content for SMS, email, and push notifications; a more flexible set of data sources that enable a new level of personalization in your emails; seamless integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights delivers the capability to hyper-personalize each customer journey; and using those more powerful and personalized customer journeys to target leads and contacts alike.

And that’s not even touching on the AI-powered personalization capabilities, which we’ll describe a bit later. The bottom line is that as the institution of marketing has evolved in the internet age, the most important element of effective communication is personalization – after all, we get so much SPAM in our inboxes every day that any email that has a personal touch is one that just might get opened. And Dynamics 365 Marketing offers that all-important capability.

Greater Insight into Real-time Analytics

Access to real-time analytics improves results and helps you achieve your business goals – it’s just that simple. This year, Microsoft is releasing new built-in analytics dashboards and cross-journey insights to the Marketing module of Dynamics 365. This includes the ability to monitor customer journeys and related KPIs in real time! You will also have the potential to optimize the results of your customer journeys by experimenting – again, in real time – with the next action in a journey.

When we ask marketing managers to identify their biggest opportunity for improvement, one of the most common first responses we hear is reporting and analytics. Access to real-time data empowers management teams to make midstream adjustments. Deriving key metrics easily and efficiently means being able to make evidence-based, in-the-moment decisions that positively impact organizational results. Dynamics 365 Marketing is now delivering even greater access to real-time data.

Expanded Communication Channels

Microsoft’s objective here is to offer more channels, power, and ease to reach your customers with the right messages. Enhancements include creating/sending SMS messages to any mobile phone; delivering push notifications to any Android or iOS app; seamlessly managing Instagram posts; and greater functionality and ease as the result of a new centralized asset library.

That last item – the centralized asset library – is arguably the most exciting in terms of potential efficiency gains. Microsoft explains it best: “To build successful multitouch experiences, companies must serve quality content, at the right time, and in the right form. But for many companies, there is no 360-degree view or management of the company’s assets. This makes it extremely challenging to manage, add, or share content. The asset library allows you to search, create, update, delete, and version images, videos, and binaries. The asset library also helps you avoid broken asset references in your messages.”

It's always been said a Marketing Team is only as effective as the assets it has access to. Similarly, marketers with access to great assets are only as effective as their asset library is organized! Once again, Dynamics 365 Marketing delivers.

Optimized AI-driven Capabilities

There’s a lot of AI functionality being added in Wave 1. Two of the AI components we’re most excited about at HCL-PowerObjects are:

  • AI-driven recommendations for images, videos, documents, and fragments. This makes it so easy to select, add, and send the most effective media assets in every communication channel. The new functionality includes a contextual search that uses available context to always provide the most relevant assets first.
  • AI-driven run-time channel optimization. The AI model chooses the best channel to funnel the audience based on users' historical data, leading to higher goal attainment. Not sure if the AI is effective? Don’t worry… Built-in analytics provide a comparison view between journeys with AI applied versus journeys without AI. How great is that?

Well, there you have it: the main functionality being introduced, added, and/or enhanced in the next release wave for Dynamics 365 Marketing. At HCL-PowerObjects, we can’t wait to start demoing these capabilities for our clients and prospects. If you’d like to see a demo yourself, we’d love to connect!

By Joe D365
Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.

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