Customers using the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM) cloud software solution have received notification from Microsoft about the service's preponed termination to take effect in May 2018. For many of the current MDM customers, however, the retirement of their marketing automation workhorse now will become real significantly earlier than originally expected.
If you are amongst those affected by the early service discontinuation, you will feel the desire to understand the reason for this surprising news and may be frustrated about the impact it will have on your future ability to create and deliver digital marketing campaigns. But more importantly, MDM owners now must focus on devising a strategy for the next phase of their organisation’s marketing technology roadmap, meaning the substitution of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing.
But here is where the dilemma starts: if you are a marketer working with MDM, you may think that planning and implementing a new marketing software solution is arguably impossible to do on top of your regular workload. Equally, if you represent IT leadership, you will find it hard to allocate resource at such short notice to work with the business, conducting a proper software procurement and deployment project within such a narrow time window.
To provide guidance and address some of the most pressing open questions, I am starting a series of blog articles to offer practical advice for Marketing and IT stakeholders in MDM customer organisations, aiming to introduce concepts and tools designed to overcome the challenges of the marketing solution migration project they are now facing.
The blog posts will be written from my perspective as a Marketing and Customer Engagement software consultant at Vepro and based on my years of international solution sales, planning and implementation experience. Being trained and certified across Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM, Dynamics Marketing and some of the obvious alternatives, namely Adobe Campaign and ClickDimensions, I will do my best to give you a balanced view of what is happening in the market. I will also share some of the advice given to Vepro’s customers who are currently using MDM according to their varied marketing solution requirements and who we now help to prepare their respective MDM migration projects.
Besides Adobe and ClickDimensions, this series will also explore another future contender, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 for Marketing, which will be available for all Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers. As it stands, the app will be released in Spring 2018, and it is also scheduled for a public preview program starting later this year.
A couple of weeks ago Microsoft revealed their new Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud solution platform which had been designed to, once and for all, overcome the conventional "CRM vs. ERP" paradigm. Microsoft now enables businesses with a fully integrated, customer-centric cloud solution for marketing, sales, customer service and business operations management.
At a closer look, Microsoft's latest scoop suggests more than the amalgamation of numerous previously acquired, otherwise independent software applications like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, AX, NAV, Field One, Parature, Microsoft Social Engagement and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. The journey, which once begun with background data synchronisation processes between stand-alone software applications, now has evolved to the availability of a shared single data model, enabling true interoperability across various functional areas of Dynamics 365.
Achieving this level of deep integration is a Herculean task and it is evident, that even a large software vendor like Microsoft needs some time to fully integrate all the components comprising their new, universal solution platform. Microsoft's Dynamics 365 launch communication therefore already features native application modules like Sales, Customer Service, Finance and Customer Insights, while other functional areas like Marketing and Social Engagement are not yet mentioned.
Both solution areas are, however, freighted with a lot of customer expectation. Every organisation with integrated customer engagement automation needs surely wants marketing segmentation, triggered and broadcast emails, landing pages as well as lead nurturing campaigns right at the core of their business software application. Yet, Microsoft has not explained, what exactly their new marketing and social engagement solution strategy may be for Dynamics 365. Therefore, let's now start joining some dots ourselves.
The surprising recent announcement of Microsoft's partnership with Adobe, including the statement that "Microsoft will make Adobe Marketing Cloud its preferred marketing service for Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition" has certainly added an impressive new alternative for Dynamics customers with interest in marketing solutions. Meanwhile, we also hear, that Microsoft in Spring of next year will be adding its own marketing application to Dynamics 365 for Business, the SMB edition of their new Dynamics 365 solution platform.
But Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing will also be available to Dynamics 365 for Enterprise customers. Surely forming an interesting option for current Microsoft CRM and ERP customers, once they successfully updated to Dynamics 365. Once available in coming Spring, Dynamics 365 for Marketing is expected to transfer critical digital marketing functionality from the current Microsoft Dynamics Marketing software product to the Dynamics 365 solution platform.
So the challenge for current and prospective customers of Microsoft indeed is, to formulate a valid solution road map for the next 12 to 24 months to procure the optimal tools for their marketing and social media needs.
Based on what's already known, let's try to devise some high-level guidance for those stakeholders confused by Microsoft's dual solution strategy. The right choice no doubt will strongly be influenced by your intended implementation timescales, available budget and, more importantly, business requirements and functional scope. Let's now have a closer look at what's on offer!
Both Microsoft and Adobe are recognised by Gartner and Forrester as global leaders in their respective ultimate key disciplines, CRM/ERP and Marketing/Advertising, thus, once combined, promising a match made in software integration heaven. In that context, Adobe Marketing Cloud boasts some highly specific software modules. At first glance, the most obvious touchpoints with Dynamics 365 are Adobe Campaign, a segmentation and multi-channel campaign management solution and Adobe Experience Manager, an enterprise-grade Web Content and Digital Asset Management platform.
Taken together, and especially in combination with other modules such as Adobe Target and Analytics, this solution is offering robust, automated, predictive marketing campaign execution capabilities. In doing so, marketers can leverage dynamic, personalised text, image and video content across emails, landing pages and entire e-commerce and product websites.
Beyond Adobe Campaign, Experience Manager, Target and Analytics, there are four other expert tools in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, allowing marketers to define audience profiles, perform media planning and programmatic buying across search, display and social ads as well as using a fully-fledged TV and film delivery platform.
Add Adobe Social's relationship and offer management capabilities and you will quickly realise that the Adobe Marketing Cloud promises to be a great fit for globally operating, product-centric and marketing-led B-to-C sales organisations. The ability to rapidly convert repeatable multi-channel demand generation campaigns into measurable e-commerce or retail sales, while maintaining control over ever-changing brand and product marketing content to orchestrate digital advertising campaigns across varied audiences, therefore can be seen as an ideal Marketing Cloud use case scenario.
Ideal integration points between Adobe Marketing Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365 could be marketing segmentation and lead data exchange. Shared financial and product information and, last but not least, marketing, sales and service results and customer behavioural information can potentially inform machine learning-driven processes within and across both Adobe's and Microsoft's cloud solutions.
It will certainly be interesting to see some time next Spring, where Microsoft's product team will have taken the concept which started out as Microsoft Dynamics Marketing years ago. Of course, it is still too early to guess the exact nature and specification of the new Dynamics 365 marketing module, but I trust that Dynamics customers will be delighted with what Microsoft will have to offer as a worthy successor to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. So far, confirmed features are email marketing, event management, landing pages and lead management. In combination with Dynamics 365 for Sales, the new marketing app will also enable end-to-end customer journey management.
The former product, short: MDM, once was acquired and positioned as an Integrated Marketing Management Platform, but over time and through the capable hands of Microsoft's R&D team, has been met with remarkable customer success and developed into one of the best multi-channel marketing automation solution Microsoft Dynamics customers have access to today. Thus, it is a little sad, that we will see MDM moving into maintenance mode as the new Microsoft marketing automation champion will take over its role.
Understandably, the remote release date and the still vague functional specification of Dynamics 365 for Marketing may leave those customers in the dark, who are not lucky enough to already have Dynamics Marketing (MDM) or alternative integrated marketing tools connected to their CRM system. Those who have, of course, will at some point want to start thinking about potential data migration needs, while simultaneously the beauties of Microsoft's new ubiquitous Common Data Model continue to unfold. But again, luckily: Current MDM customers will not have to be in haste to switch quickly, as Microsoft has acknowledged full product support for the next few years. For more specific information on proposed MDM migration timelines and support options, please give us a call or drop me an email.
It is certainly of some importance for Microsoft prospects and customers to get an early understanding of whether to wait for Dynamics 365 for Marketing or rather invest into the Adobe Marketing Cloud. So, what's the best plan forward?
Well: At this early stage, there can, of course, be no substantiated, universally valid recommendation. It nevertheless seems to be a realistic assumption that local or regional B-to-B and B-to-C sales & marketing teams will probably better and quicker benefit from the tightly integrated future customer journey management and intelligent insights features within Dynamics 365. So, the recommendation is, to for now to stick with, for example, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing until the new Dynamics 365 for Marketing module becomes available. Meanwhile, you may be interested to check out some of the MDM and CRM add-ons we have developed for our customers, which I trust will minimise some of the current product limitations you may be experiencing.
However, organisations planning to implement a global content, marketing execution, advertising management and delivery ecosystem across multiple geographies, want to get their heads around the Adobe Marketing Cloud. This even the more, if you wish to include a network of media, advertising and digital agencies as well as regionally varying brand implementation partners.
Your feedback: Please let me know your own thoughts and experiences around marketing solution options for Microsoft Dynamics 365. What works well? What are your learnings? What are your thoughts concerning Microsoft's dual marketing solution strategy?
Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, owners of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels like the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, already has a reputation for delivering world-class hospitality. Company leaders saw an opportunity to improve segmentation and campaign management, leveraging the vast data from the customer loyalty program. Vepro helped Jumeirah to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing to create a personalized, targeted and relevant marketing experience that continues to drive an increase in revenue year-on-year.
"With the help of our solution implementation partner Vepro, Jumeirah is implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 to connect our marketing, booking, and customer service systems. Marketing teams can use Dynamics 365 for Marketing to identify specific customer segments before pushing those lists into targeted campaigns. The tools’ sophisticated cross-campaign rules ensure that Jumeirah customers receive timely messages without suffering from marketing messaging fatigue.
We saw our email-open rate nearly double to 50 percent and we’re seeing a year-over-year increase in revenue because we are marketing to customers differently with Microsoft Dynamics 365."
Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts
Director of Customer Relationship Management
“To transform how you operate and to become a leader requires an internal transformation. We found Microsoft Dynamics CRM had what we needed, and now we’re shifting our focus to ensure our campaigns are relevant to the guest, rather than the business because it’s the guest who drives our business.”
Director of Customer Relationship Marketing, Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts.
The Visionary Awards recognize Microsoft customers who achieved notable accomplishments with their Microsoft solutions. The 2015 Visionary Awards, which are presented in nine categories, recognize and celebrate Microsoft customers that have achieved notable accomplishments using Microsoft solutions. This year’s winners were chosen from nominations of Microsoft customers across EMEA, including 34 showcase customers for Convergence 2015 EMEA. Established in 1997, the Visionary Awards are awarded each year at the Convergence conference.
The team here at Vepro is extremely proud that our work with Jumeirah Group has been recognized by Microsoft as an outstanding software solution implementation project, combining the strengths of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and CRM into a seamless and powerful customer engagement platform proposition.
To learn more about Jumeirah's collaborative and innovative use of technologies to enhance marketing operations, executing with greater insight and clarity, read their full customer story on the Microsoft website.
Today’s CMOs spend an increasing amount of time wearing a CIO hat. According to Wolfgang von Enckevort, Managing Director at Vepro, an agency that helps companies optimize marketing processes and customer engagement solutions, while taking on the responsibility for technology is easier with the right software, three crucial things must happen before that software can be implemented. Here are the things von Enckevort says CMOs must do before they can bring in systems to optimize their marketing organizations:
eXtremeCRM is the premier event focused exclusively on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, helping the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community more effectively sell, deploy and extend the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution. eXtremeCRM is held annually in both Europe and the United States, offering sponsors and partners more opportunities to share knowledge and collaborate.
The eXtremeCRM executive team invited Vepro's Managing Director Wolfgang von Enckevort to contribute:
What Does it Take to Build a Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Practice
Executive Exchange talk aiming for interested Microsoft partner execs to gain a better understanding of what it takes to build a practice around Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Learning
about starting the process, hearing what has worked and what can be done differently.
Planning to Implement Microsoft Dynamics Marketing
Expert talk, helping Microsoft partners to gain a good understanding of the problems that can be solved with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and how to measure their success. Learning about the skills and capabilities of what companies and partners need to successfully implement this solution, and how to best plan their marketing implementation projects.
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Campaign management Training
Hands-on Lab training course hosted in collaboration with Microsoft's Catalina Necula. Free one-day training course composed of three distinct modules:
Convergence 2015 US:
Insightful sessions, inspiring speakers, innovative solutions, tons of networking opportunities – it all adds up to one amazing week in Atlanta!
Wolfgang von Enckevort, Managing Director of Microsoft Dynamics Partner Vepro delivered a highly appreciated presentation on "Microsoft Dynamics Marketing – Planning the Implementation". Do you have a good understanding of the problems that can be solved with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and how to measure your success? Learn more about the skills and capabilities your company and your partner need to have to successfully implement this solution, and identify how to plan your marketing implementation project.
Convergence 2014 Europe:
Insightful sessions, inspiring speakers, innovative solutions, tons of networking opportunities – it all adds up to one amazing week in Barcelona!
Wolfgang von Enckevort, Managing Director of Microsoft Dynamics Partner Vepro and Kishan Chetan, Principal Program Manager Microsoft Dynamics, jointly delivered a highly appreciated presentation on "Planning to implement Microsoft Dynamics Marketing" – Do you have a good understanding of the problems that can be solved with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and how to measure your success? Learn more about the skills and capabilities your company and your partner need to have to successfully implement this solution, and identify how to plan your marketing implementation project.