Highlights of the Dynamics 365 Marketing 2021 release wave 1

Businesses need to deliver exceptional Customer Experiences (CX) to be successful. Customer experiences are critical whether your customers are individuals involving business-to-consumer marketing (B2C) or other businesses in the form of business-to-business marketing (B2B)—happy customers are loyal customers, and they impact your bottom line.

Since last year’s release wave 2 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, we’ve been hard at work refining and enhancing product features across the board that can help you up your CX game. Here are highlights from three capabilities that will launch with Dynamics 365 Marketing 2021 release wave 1 that I think you’ll be excited about, I know I am.

  1. Real-time customer journey orchestration. Get ready for a more intuitive journey designer with a huge, game-changing element: the ability to trigger customer journeys in real-time, pick the right channel for each individual, and react to customer-led actions in the moments that matter.
  2. A completely redesigned email editor. Take advantage of AI to help you quickly create impactful, professional, and personalized content and deliver it at the right time.
  3. Enhanced integration with Microsoft Teams. This integration is more powerful than ever thanks to the new webinar capabilities within Teams and the improved event participant engagement functionalities within Dynamics 365 Marketing.

Read on for more details on how each one of these capabilities can help you transform how you engage with your customers.

Real-time, event-based customer journey orchestration in preview

Move up from the segment-based marketing campaigns to moments-based interactions to deliver a highly personalized experience for each individual.

Journeys can be triggered based on real-world interactions, like walking into a store and connecting to Wi-Fi, or be triggered by virtual interactions such as visiting a shopping site. The real-time nature of the journey ensures that you can respond to customers immediately and convert their expression of interest into a sale.

An easy-to-use and delightful journey designer

The new journey designer is intuitive, flexible, and infused with AI-powered capabilities throughout.

To create the steps along your journeys, use the built-in events catalog, create your own, or use natural language to specify conditions and branches. Use AI-guided channel optimization to ensure your message is delivered in the right communication channel for your individual customer for even more personalization. The beauty of using AI optimization is that it analyzes behavior data, learns from it, then picks what is right for each individual, automatically.

The new journey designer simplifies the creation of steps along a customer journey

Deliver just-in-time experiences with event-triggers

The power of event-triggers is hard to overstate. Journeys created with Dynamics 365 Marketing are customer-led, they can start (or stop) when an event is (or is not) triggered.

You can orchestrate journeys quickly and easily—with no coding required—when you use the intuitive event trigger catalog with both built-in and custom events, such as “new opportunity created” or “incident resolved.” Or, for unlimited flexibility and integration, connect to external systems, such as a web page or payment application, to raise events to respond to unique customer interactions.

With the right event triggers in place, you can break silos between your business functions and applications and remove clutter and potential errors from the journey so you can focus on the actual customer experience rather than exception paths.

Analytics and insights right where you want

Once the journey is running, you can monitor how many customers are flowing through various paths, plus see relevant analytics for the business and user goals you set, all on the same canvas you used to design the journey.

In today’s always-connected online world, customer experiences transcend the physical and digital divide. Real-time, event-based customer journey orchestration lets you deliver customer experiences at the right moment and at the right touchpoint.

These features will be available in preview in North America the last week of April and in Europe in early May.

Create emails quickly and personalize with ease, without compromises, using the new email editor

Email continues to thrive as an essential channel for reaching people throughout the customer lifecycle, and marketers spend a big part of their work hours crafting emails. To address the top requests we heard from you, we built a completely new email editing experience to make email authoring much easier and more productive, and we went a step further and infused it with AI throughout to give you suggestions and aids to assist you in creating the most engaging content for your messages.

New look, better productivity, easier personalization: better emails

We have completely streamlined the creation process. The new layout has a modern look and feel with much more editing space, thanks to a slim header and significantly fewer tabs and menus. We have also redesigned the toolbox, all property panes, and given you an intuitive point-and-click interface that guides you through all your available data, so you can personalize your messages with speed and ease.

In addition to spam score and auto-scheduler, take advantage of other new AI-powered capabilities that the new editor offers. Use the new centralized library which lets you upload files then AI automatically tags them for you. Use AI-driven recommendations for the best media to complement the content.

Everything is simpler to find and use. Now, you can quickly create professional emails, personalized for each individual, leading to messages that better resonate with your customers.

Create and personalize email with streamlined tools, a more modern editor, and new AI-powered tagging and media recommendations.

More editing capabilities

You requested it, we made it happen: expanded editing capabilities including more flexible layouts, easier image resizing, and text line-height adjustments—no HTML coding skills required. But, if you still want to use our HTML editor, no problem—it’s still available, and with improvements. An improved email rendering and preview experience so you can trust that your target audience will receive the email you meant to send, regardless of the recipient’s device or email client.

Create emails faster with more flexible layouts, easier formatting, an improved email rendering and preview experience, and more

We look forward to hearing from you about our new email experience. This is just the beginning, and there will be a lot more coming—stay tuned.

These capabilities will be available to all regions by the last week of April. 

Teams webinars and Dynamics 365 Marketing integration, the new secret for online events

The new Teams webinars capabilities are remarkable by themselves, but when you add the integration with Dynamics 365 Marketing into the mix, the capabilities are extraordinary. The power, flexibility, and unlimited possibilities that these two products working together can offer will change the way that you interact with your event attendees.

Organizing your webinar your way

The option is yours—create a webinar from within Teams or from within Dynamics 365 Marketing; both ways are easy and intuitive and have improved functionality.

If you already use Event Management from within Dynamics 365 Marketing, when you create your online event, you will now see a more robust set of event management options that allow you to have better control over your webinar.

Use the more robust Event Management features in Dynamics 365 Marketing for better control over your webinar

Let’s say that you’re a Dynamics 365 Marketing user but don’t already use Event Management, great, we have exciting news for you too. You can create your online event from within Teams and have the power of Dynamics 365 Marketing in your back pocket—that secret kicks in after the event.

Whichever way you choose to create your event, you can send the automatically generated registration link to webinar invitees through the communication channel you prefer. Registration and attendance information is tracked using the event or session registration and check-in records within Dynamics 365 Marketing.

Effortless post-event follow-up

The new Teams webinars automatically track attendee engagement information. You now have insights into which registrants attended, canceled, or did not attend, plus the join and leave time for each attendee, as well as summary data for the event, like the total number of attendees.

For Dynamics 365 Marketing customers who use Event Management, you can use this new data to fine-tune segments, create specific messaging for each of those segments, and launch each off on the journeys you create in the new journey designer.

If you’ve organized your event from Teams, on the other hand, with a single mouse click, all that rich attendee engagement data is transferred seamlessly into Dynamics 365 Marketing and automatically populated into pre-built, commonly used segments, such as “attended,” “canceled,” and “did not attend.” Each of those segments corresponds to built-in, ready-to-send, editable email templates for your post-event communications.

The powerful integration of Teams and Dynamics 365 Marketing allows you to convert a single interaction into an ongoing relationship to win customers and earn their loyalty.

With a single mouse click, transfer attendee engagement data seamlessly into Dynamics 365 Marketing

Attendee engagement data is automatically populated into pre-built, commonly used segments and journeys

These features will be available to all regions by the last week of May. 

We look forward to hearing from you about the release wave 1 updates for Dynamics 365 Marketing  and what’s even more exciting is that we have a lot more coming, stay tuned! Sign up for a free trial of Dynamics 365 Marketing.