Surfing the (Release) Wave

The Release Wave Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing was announced at the Inspire on the 18th July. In my opinion it not only brings great new features but also one unexpected change. Here are my highlights.

The Release Wave 2 2023

First things first, and this actually came surprising to me. Dynamics 365 Marketing will be renamed to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. So, you might think: That name is already in place, right? But Dynamics 365 Marketing and Dynamics 365 Customer Insights will come together. It will combine the Customer Data Platform and the customer journey orchestration. This means that we can expect one application for customer profiles and in the same app but a different section we will find our known Real-time Marketing functionalities. Still questions like migration and licensing remain open for me. And guess what, this name change also explains my blogs name, that’s why it is not call “The Art of Marketing”.

What’s new in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Ok, i will still call it Marketing for now, just to not confuse you. This release wave consists of the categories personalisation, lead management, reporting and of course AI.

Make CX more personal

Personalisation is and stays key for marketing department and of course sales as well. Until now we are able to personalise our markting communication in emails and journeys based on almost all data we have available in CRM. In the next step we can us the data we gathered in Customer Insights as well as using the calculated metrics.

So as an example: The customer made several purchases on the e-commerce website which is displayed in the 360 degree Customer Insights profile. In Customer Insights we can then create metrics like the overall purchase the amount the customer have made. And this can be used in customer journeys like sending them different emails based on the total amount.

Improve collaboration between marketing and sales

We already know lead scoring from outbound marketing and in real-time it was improved. This provides new possibilites for a smooth hand-over to sales. Functionalities like automated task creation or marking leads as sales ready once the lead score reaches a certain level will be added. But the collaboration between marketing and sales is not a linear process. Leads can be disqualified now and handed back to marketing to nurture them

Gain deeper insights

Marketing and Sales report

The marketing analytics dashboard was added to real-time marketing in the last release wave. Now you can analyze the contributions of customer journeys, marketing messages, and content at various stages of the pipeline. The dashboard is also integrated with Dynamics 365 Sales and provides a comprehensive view of the pipeline, starting from prospects and leads to successful opportunities. And next to that, we can identify primary factors that drive lead generation. Also we can discover the most successful sources that generate high-quality leads to focus on the most effective marketing channels.

And one of my personal highlights: Building custom reports with Microsoft Fabric. Every company has different reporting needs, one standard report for all is just not enough. Now it is possible to create individual reports with PowerBi and use all necessary customer and marketing data for it.

Copilot, Copilot, Copilot

We will no longer be able to avoid the topic of copilot, which is not a bad thing. It’s actually quite the opposite! We will find more capabilities in the Copilot for emails and marketing forms. Not only text will be provided by the AI-powered assistant but also the design and styles. But I’m especially curious about the Customer Journeys feature. Instead of having to deal with many technical details of building journeys, users can now use natural language and generative AI to build their own in minutes.

Additionally, we can set up quiet times using Copilot to prevent messages from sending during unwanted times. This can be days or timeframes like we already know from outbound. But even more we can set bank holidays, quiet time by channel or by commercial and transactional message types.

What’s new in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

The Release Wave Dynamics 365 Customer Insights like Marketing also focuses on bringing sales and marketing together. And there is more, we have new functionalities regarding data processing and of course the Copilot for Customer Insights.

Closer together with marketing and sales

Not only Customer Insights and Marketing come closer together, but also working with Sales will be easier. Profiles we create in Customer Insights are also available in Dataverse on any relevant table to mor the data more transparent for every user. This can be marketing for their segmentation and customer experience. Or sales get seamless access to valuable information, including customer interests, activity history, and crucial insights like Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or predictive indicators. Or even service know more about their customers to offer personalised service.

Make more of your data

Realtime data processing is all about processing data more quickly. Profiles remain up-to-date which enables you to proactively manage and respond to customer engagements as soon as possible. Next to that we can use segments that update in real time to target customers at the moments that matter. Especially for marketing use cases this is really interesting! Also data ingesting or profile unification ensure always synced and realtime data usage.

A bit of Copilot

Until now I a still waiting for more Copilot functions in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. But this release wave brings a report to better understand the data. It gives insights about your customers, such as segments, measures, and predictions and also recommends how to improve the data.

The last release wave announced the Copilot that answers all your questions in regards to the customer profiles. It provides you with a response in natural language within seconds. The public preview will now be in September, so let’s be patient.

Data quality dashboard

References and Images: Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Release Plans, Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Release Plans

Check out the FAQ section of my blog as well: Short questions with quick answers! Go to FAQs

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