​How to Master D365 Marketing Lists With These Proven Steps

Understanding how Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing lists work is at the heart of creating campaigns and segmenting a database.

In this post we’ve summarised some steps and ideas to help you master lists.

Please get touch to find out more about marketing lists or any other Dynamics 365 functions.

Who are your list members?

Each marketing list consists of members.

At the outset you need to determine what type of member you want to target. Members can be accounts, contacts or leads.

Each list can only contain members for one record type. It’s not possible to have a mix of leads and contacts in a single list.

Once this option is set it’s not possible to edit the marketing list member type.

Static or Dynamic List

Static lists are the best choice if you want to manually add or remove members, now or in the future. It’s also a popular option if you want to prevent members being automatically updated.

Dynamic lists are powered by advanced queries that automatically associate members when rules are triggered. Or, remove members that no longer meet the membership criteria. 

These actions will occur when new D365 records are created and updated. For example, if a status field changes to ‘customer’ it could remove the record from a prospect list.

Advanced Query

Unless you are manually adding individual members an advanced find will be used. These rules can be as simple or as complex as you need.

Select the relevant fields for the record type you want to query to find new members and define a matching rule. Rules include ‘Equals’, ‘Does Not Equal’, ‘Contains / Does Not Data’. 

Rules for numerical fields include 'Greater Than' and 'Less Than'. Text field options include ‘Begins With’ and ‘Ends With’.

Click the find button to see how many members are matched and either add them to the list, or jump back to edit the query.

Group AND / Group OR

Apply Group AND / Group OR functions for greater command over query rules.

By default, D365 applies Group AND to an advanced query. That means the two examples shown below will return the same result:


In this instance Group AND wasn't necessary but this is helpful for more complex queries:


In the above example, an advanced query will find contacts based on a combination of contact types and job titles. 

This will find contacts where the contact type is:

  • Director / Owner, or
  • Works in Sales, or
  • Works in Marketing, or
  • Works in IT but IT contacts must be have a job title of 'IT Manager' to be included 

Using Saved Views

If you frequently use the same set of core fields to build marketing lists it'll be time saving to save this query as a D365 view.

Rather than repeatedly building marketing lists that have similar fields a template query can be created.

Once that’s done simply select the saved view from the drop down to populate the advanced query.

These terms might not exactly fit each new list criteria but this can be easily amended. As a result, this provides a better base compared to building each marketing list from scratch.

Does Every Field Need to Be Searchable?

Each record type has numerous fields but it's unlikely that all of them will ever be used in an advanced query.

It can prove a time-consuming to repeatedly scroll through dozens, or even hundreds, of fields to find entries needed for each query.

A popular solution is to reduce number of searchable fields. This will shorten these field pick lists and make them more easy to navigate. 

Take a look at your field search lists for contacts, accounts or lead records to identify any fields that can be removed.

Cross-Entity Relationship Queries

Marketing lists often need to reference multiple D365 record entities. 

For example, a contact list might also need to reference a parent Account entity as well as cases or email marketing data. With Dynamics cross-entity queries this is a straightforward process.

In this example, D365 is integrated with Click Dimensions. A marketing list needs to be created targeting contacts who have responded to a recent campaign. The advanced query below will find active contacts who clicked at least one link from a specific email campaign and who did not unsubscribe:

As shown, this cross-references the 'Sent Emails' entity to select the email campaign and email click criteria.

To use a cross entity in an advanced query select a search field and scroll down to find the 'Related' section:


In this example, the query will find members by referencing data associated with a related entity (Sent Emails). 

With the Dynamics 365 - Version 9, advanced finds can now reference a related entity that contains no data. For example, this could be used to populate a marketing list with account records that do not have an entitlement record associated, or to find contact record that do not have a lead associated. READ MORE

Manage Members

Once a static marketing list is created users can subsequently add or remove members by clicking the manage members option.

  • Add using look-up - enables simple keyword searches to be run to find one or more matching records
  • Add using advanced find - run another advanced find to find new members based on the same or new criteria

Members can be expelled using an advanced find to roots out records that no longer meet the criteria.

Removing contacts is also an option to spread the list building process into two or more steps. This is useful if you are considering a complex query involving several cross-entity relationships.

For example, a new marketing list consist of senior contacts working at key accounts that have contracts expiring next month. Rather than putting all these rules into a single query a D365 user might firstly create a new list to match the senior contacts and key accounts.

At this stage the entity Contracts or Entitlements entity hasn't been queried. As a result, the list contains more members than it should so the next step is to Remove Contacts. This is done use an advanced find by referencing the entity that stores the contract / agreement data. Once this is applied the surplus contacts are removed.  We are left with only members working at key accounts with expiring agreements.

Another option for removing members is to Evaluate Members.

While the Remove option lists the members to be taken out of a list Evaluation results show the members that will be retained based on the search rules. 

Dynamics users can choose to keep all the members matched, or select individual members that are returned by the search to keep these in the list. 

Quick Campaign

Once the marketing list is finalised the Quick Campaign function can be the launch pad for next activity.  

This could include scheduling phone activities on each member's record or emailing a Dynamics template.

Using Lists & Automated Campaigns

Membership of a marketing list can be used as the trigger for an nurture campaign that will send a sequence of emails. 

Using the Click Dimensions solution, membership of a Trade Show marketing list will fire up an awareness nurture. When contacts are added to this list they are automatically enrolled into the campaign. 


At other stages, rules can be set that will remove contacts from marketing list as shown below and / or adding them to another list. The latter might trigger another nurture that is more personalised based on the actions from the previous campaign. 

It's worth noting that ClickDimensions does not support dynamic lists for automated nurture campaign. These lists would need to be static but a separate D365 processes can be configured to automatically manage membership. Dynamic lists can be used for manual email sends in ClickDimensions such as newsletter campaigns.

By comparison, the dotmailer connector does support marketing lists for automated campaigns. Due to the structure of this solution it requires synchronisation between D365 Lists and dotmailer Address Books.

In this example, a Dynamics marketing list has been synchronised to a dotmailer address book. New members present in the list will be enrolled in the automated campaign when this daily check is made. More controls can restrict enrollment to only the first time that membership rules are met. Or, if members have been enrolled within the last x days.


Dotmailer enables exit conditions that will bring a member out of a nurture if they are no longer belong to a marketing list / address book.

For example, changing a 'last order date' D365 field could be used as a trigger to remove a member from a marketing list. This would then remove the record from an automated campaign that re-engages dormant accounts. 

The example below shows that 2 contacts were automatically removed from an automated campaign as they were no longer a member of an associated address book / list.


Marketing List Views

Advanced Queries have featured prominently in this post and we'll round off with one more example. This time not to control list members but to make is more easy for users to manage their active lists.

A default Dynamics view only shows the basics about each list so it's worth customizing the view. 


Additional columns can be inserted that include the date when the list was created and the total number of members. 

In the example of dotmailer, this can also show the number of members in the associated address book after deducing suppressed or duplicated members. 


We hope you found this a useful post.

Please contact us us if you need help with marketing lists, or any other Microsoft Dynamics 365 functions.


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