Comparing ClickDimensions and Dynamics 365 Marketing
Are you considering a new marketing automation product? If your organisation is already using Dynamics 365, or planning to implement the system, ClickDimensions and Dynamics 365 Marketing may already be on your shortlist.
Preact works with both products and we consider ourselves to be agnostic; making our recommendations based on individual marketing requirements. But what are the main factors when an organisation is best to choose ClickDimensions, and when does Dynamics 365 Marketing have the edge?
In this post, we’ve sought to provide a balanced assessment based on feedback from our clients and our own experiences. As a spoiler alert, we aren’t declaring a winner, but we’ve highlighted some key differences between each product, and we hope you find this information helpful as part of your research.
We are happy to discuss your plans to understand your requirements, which will help us provide an informed recommendation. If that’s of interest, why not contact us for an initial chat?
When assessing a potential new marketing automation product, there are often five recurring questions:
- Does this include the features your organisation needs?
- How simple is it to implement and use?
- What support and training are available?
- What reporting and analytics are included?
- How much does it cost?
Let’s begin with the first item…
Does this include the features your organisation needs?
Before looking at potential features gaps, consider if there are too many functions for your needs? If you simply need an integrated e-marketing product to send email shots to a few hundred contacts, both Dynamics 365 Marketing and ClickDimensions may be more feature-laden than you need. In this instance, an entry-level email marketing package such as Mailchimp might prove more cost-effective. For narrow usage needs such as this, the cost and value of an extensive marketing automation product may be hard to justify.
A tick box comparison will show a similar feature set between Dynamics Marketing and ClickDimensions. Across email marketing, web forms, subscription management, campaign automation, landing pages and surveys, both offer broadly comparable functions. So, what are some of the main differences?
ClickDimensions includes ready-made connectors for GoToWebinar, Eventbrite, WebEx and Cvent to bring event information into Dynamics 365. Integrations for Zoom webinars and Microsoft Teams meetings and events have recently been added.
Dynamics 365 Marketing doesn’t provide the same range of prebuilt connectors for online events, as it currently only covers ON24 and Microsoft Teams, but a web API connector is available to develop integrations with other webinar platforms.
However, Dynamics Marketing does include a dedicated event management module to support in-person events. This covers functionality to support event planning and budgeting, as well as a dedicated events web portal template. Other features include the management of sponsors, venues and rooms.
Dynamics 365 Marketing includes functionality to create and schedule social posts across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Insights are shown after each post, including click-through and engagement rates, and social post activity which is tracked through marketing dashboards.
ClickDimensions includes added support to schedule posts on YouTube, as part of a significantly more developed social offering which extends beyond social posting.
These broader capabilities include; social listening streams to track mentions and keywords, content curation suggestions and social advocacy to extend the reach of social posts through the social accounts of team members and partners.
Social engagement data is shown in Dynamics 365 which also provides a set of analytics to measure and report the impact of an organisation’s social marketing activities.
As a product designed for, and built in, the Microsoft Power Platform, Dynamics 365 Marketing offers native integration with Power Apps web portals including its events portal template. ClickDimensions doesn’t provide portal templates, nor out-of-the-box portal integration, but this can be configured separately, if required. In both instances, usage of web Power Apps web portals is licensed separately.
For worldwide marketing teams, the ClickDimensions managed solution for Dynamics 365 supports seven localised languages (English, Danish, French, Spanish, Germany, Italian and Dutch). Dynamics 365 Marketing offers broader coverage with more than 40 languages supported.
Few organisations can match Microsoft’s investment in AI technologies. Recent releases have seen the introduction of further AI capabilities to its marketing app for Dynamics, these include; predictive lead scoring, automated smart email scheduling, AI-recommended images, dynamic content and AI-orchestrated journeys to maximise engagement.
ClickDimensions artificial intelligence capabilities are more limited and presently mainly focused on its Intelligent Dashboards add-on (see below).
Marketing to Leads
ClickDimensions enables marketers to send emails to contact and lead records. At the current time, Dynamics 365 Marketing only enables marketing segments to be created with contacts, but Microsoft has announced support for leads within segments from January 2022.
How simple is it to implement and use?
The complexity of individual marketing requirements and processes is a significant factor in the deployment timelines for either product and these may vary greatly.
ClickDimensions promotes the ease of the set-up, use and management of its product. New clients are guided through a defined onboarding process that is led by ClickDimensions directly, or delivered by its partners, through a defined installation process to ensure key settings are correctly configured.
The solution is natively built inside a dedicated Dynamics 365 app, and by storing marketing data in the same cloud location as other Dynamics apps, this avoids integration costs or the maintenance of synchronisation processes. As a result, all users have easy access to email, web and social interaction data in one place, alongside other engagement and relationship detail.
Founded in 2010, ClickDimensions has consistently focused on the SMB market. Its functionality is specifically designed for smaller marketing teams, typically consisting of 1-5 people. While aspects of its interface are not as modern compared to Dynamics 365 Marketing, ClickDimensions consistently attracts positive feedback for its intuitive functionality, from new and long-standing users.
Dynamics 365 Marketing uses the same interface as other Dynamics apps, and crucially this module was specifically developed for Microsoft’s Power Platform. By contrast, ClickDimensions predates both the Power Platform and Microsoft’s model-driven app interface, so this has been adapted to fit the latest platform architecture.
Workspaces for audience segments, customer journey automation and analytics are just some examples where the Dynamics Marketing provides a visually more modern interface compared to the equivalent displays within ClickDimensions.
Dynamics 365 Marketing allows a broader scope of customisations, and several features offer greater flexibility. These, include audience segments, landing page designer and its customer journey builder, but these can increase complexity and require additional configuration and training.
To simplify the initial set-up process, Preact is developing a Marketing Accelerator that will template much of the initial configuration work and simplify the process to onboard new customers in a fixed-price engagement. Contact us if you want to know more.
The capabilities of Dynamics 365 Marketing have greatly expanded since its first release in 2018. Several of its recent additions are well aligned to fit Business/Consumer (B2C) scenarios and support enterprise teams, but within a small B2B marketing team, users may perceive an imbalance between their needs, the application’s wider capabilities and its cost.
What support and training are available?
By partnering with Preact, we believe we offer a comparable level support to implement either Dynamics 365 Marketing or ClickDimensions. Our team has product experts to configure both applications, deliver tuition and provide helpdesk support.
Organisations will also want to consider what other resources and support are available.
Working with Microsoft Dynamics partners, ClickDimensions serves a global customer base of 3,700 in more than 70 countries. ClickDimensions partners provide varying levels of involvement, from organisations that simply provide a referral, to many others such as Preact, who actively provide ClickDimensions consultancy and support services.
ClickDimensions also provides direct support to customers through its website, this includes access to free online training resources, knowledge articles, as well as live and on-demand webinars. Each account also has access to a dedicated Customer Success Manager who will assist in resolving support issues and promoting relevant training resources.
Consultancy services are also available directly, including ClickDimensions' advisory services through to campaign planning and execution. As a result, there are multiple ways to access the resources and help needed to maximise the value of ClickDimensions.
Since its initial release, Dynamics 365 Marketing has steadily gained adoption within the Microsoft partner community as the product continues to grow.
Consistent with its other Dynamics 365 products, Microsoft does not provide live support directly to end users, instead this is supplied through its partner channel.
However, relatively few partners have a marketing circle of excellence or possess dedicated consultants and trainers to support marketing teams’ usage of the product. As a result, the pool of partner organisations sufficiently resourced to implement and adequately support Dynamics Marketing remains smaller compared to other Dynamics 365 modules such as Sales, Customer Service or Business Central.
Free online resources for Dynamics 365 Marketing include an active user forum, in addition to in-depth learning paths and training modules.
What reporting and analytics are included?
For insights, Dynamics 365 Marketing provides an array of in-built analytics across email, web forms, customer journeys and other interactions. These are also rolled up to contact records, providing a comprehensive visualisation of an individual’s engagement across each marketing channel. Visualisations include timelines for easily accessible insights across tracked email actions, email open times, page views and posted forms.
Dynamics Marketing also connects with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, part of Microsoft’s customer data platform, to analyse collected marketing data and combine this with other sources and AI capabilities, creating rich audience insights which help deliver personalised experiences.
ClickDimensions provides reporting across each aspect of its functionality within the Dynamics 365 application. This offers fewer visualisations compared to Dynamics 365 Marketing and in some instances, these are launched from the app into a new browser window rather than being embedded directly within a record form. These include email click heat maps, email client summaries and conversion analysis.
Several of its visuals haven’t significantly changed in recent years, and while still effective, these aren’t as fresh compared with the displays shown in Dynamics Marketing.
For other reporting, ClickDimensions works with native Dynamics charts to support custom views and dashboards. By unifying marketing data in a single application, this enables marketers to easily develop dynamic displays and reports that will support analysis and monitoring. ClickDimensions data can also be displayed in embedded Power BI charts and dashboards.
ClickDimensions also offers Intelligent Dashboards to simplify reporting across sales and marketing activities. Ready to use out-of-the-box, this add-on connects data from multiple sources including Google Analytics, Google Ads, ClickDimensions email and web stats, as well as Dynamics 365 leads and opportunities. Data is presented across 13 different dashboards to track progress towards goals and monitor key metrics.
Currently, Intelligent Dashboards is available through a separate portal, but ClickDimensions says it plans to make this accessible within its Dynamics app at some future point.
How much does it cost?
We’ve featured Dynamics 365 Marketing licensing and its pricing in an earlier post. In summary, this totals GBP 1131 per month for up to 10,000 marketing contacts. For customers with a minimum of 10 qualifying Dynamics 365 licences, the marketing module is available at the reduced rate of GBP 565 per month for up to 10,000 marketing contacts.
ClickDimensions most popular business plan totals USD 699 per month, enabling up to 200,000 emails to be sent annually. Additional costs apply for ClickDimensions Social Marketing or Intelligent Dashboards add-ons.
A one-off onboarding cost is also billed by ClickDimensions totalling USD 3500 for organisations who purchase directly. ClickDimensions partners, including Preact, who manage the onboarding process for their clients as part of an existing Dynamics managed service agreement will deduct the appropriate time to complete this initial work. In most instances, Preact completes this onboarding program in a 21-hour engagement.
As mentioned above, Dynamics 365 Marketing requires comparatively more time to configure, and in many instances this will total approximately 50 consultancy hours. Through Preact’s Marketing Accelerator we aim to reduce this to a minimum of 35 hours.
In summary, ClickDimensions remains highly popular with small and mid-sized marketing teams who want to connect their processes and better quantify the impact of their marketing activities. Often resource-constrained, these smaller teams are looking to make time savings through marketing automation capabilities, which can be quickly enabled and easily managed.
Dynamics 365 Marketing is a natural fit for organisations that need to manage complex marketing processes, and for marketing teams who want to fully leverage the Microsoft Power Platform with AI capabilities to increase the value of their data and provide highly personalised experiences across every customer touchpoint.
To find out more about Dynamics 365 Marketing or ClickDimensions, contact us to discuss your requirements and get some initial advice from our consultants.
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