Why it's Important to Personalise Customer Journeys in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Customers Walking Through a Journey

With Dynamics 365 for Marketing, automating marketing activities will help engage customers and prospects, and transform the experience they receive as they go through various touchpoints. Creating well planned customer journeys is one way to do this.

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey defines the main touchpoints a person experiences with an organisation. This is from their first interaction, all the way through to purchases and long-term engagement.

In Dynamics 365 Marketing, a Customer Journey is an automated marketing campaign intended for a specific target audience. The customer journey helps visualise and automate the journey that customers take when interacting with an organisation. A simple customer journey could include a short interaction, such as a single email campaign. A complex journey may be a multi-step process from discovery, through nurturing, and on to identifying qualified leads.

Customer journeys are fluid and vary from customer to customer, as specific content and touchpoints are directed towards your audience, to shape their experience based on their actions and interests.

Why is it Important to Plan Customer Journeys?

Ensuring customer journeys are well planned out, in terms of content but also timing and frequency, will improve communication and build trust.

Firstly, personalised content is more likely to resonate and engage customers. From referring to them by name in an email, to promoting products they have shown interest in, personalised marketing content tends to be better received. One example could be creating a customer journey that is launched when a prospect has downloaded a whitepaper from your website, to send a follow up email with further information related to the topic.

Well planned customer journeys will help win customers and earn loyalty. For example, have tasks created for Account Managers within the context of a journey, to catch up with customers which are triggered by their visit to the “What’s New” page on your website. Create a similar engagement processes for a sales team when prospects revisit your website after a period of time.

Creating Customer Journeys in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Before creating a customer journey in Dynamics 365 Marketing, ensure you have the necessary customer segments and marketing content. Learn more about Dynamics 365 Marketing Customer Segments and what makes them different to regular CRM marketing lists.

Dynamics 365 Marketing has a drag and drop style journey builder, that uses tiles to map out the individual steps of the path you want customers to go down. The tiles can represent messages, if/then or delay/wait rules, actions, sales activities, and users are also able to create custom tiles. The process is automated once the “Go Live” is clicked.

Let’s go through an example of launching an email campaign to promote a networking event, for finance professionals in London, to contacts already known to the organisation.

The first step is selecting an audience. This can be one or more customer segments, and by using conditions, you can get really detailed in building the audience. For example, define your audience to be contacts in both your London-based customer segment and your Finance roles customer segment.

Next, we'll use the “Send an Email” tile, to select the appropriate marketing email promoting the event. Based on the actions taken by recipients, this will follow up in a weeks time. For example, if they have clicked the “Register” link in the email, and filled in the registration form on your website, they will receive a follow up email with more detail on the event. For those who have opened the email but not registered, a different email will be sent to remind them about the event. This would utilise the if/then branch tile. Using branch tiles allows contacts to be routed down different paths and develop advanced rules which can handle multiple scenarios.

D365 Customer Journeys Promoting Networking Event

Activities and leads can be created in Dynamics as part of customer journeys. Let’s take the networking event example, after the event is finished, we'll send those who attended an email with a feedback survey. This email could also have a link to a web page with details about becoming a premium member, who would receive early notice of events with discounted prices. If they click that link, have a lead created for that contact and automatically schedule a task for a follow-up call to be made.

D365 Customer Journeys Promoting Premium Membership

That is just one example of how customer journeys can be used.

If you are an Elevate 365 managed service client of Preact, be sure to check out the “Creating Customer Journeys” module in our eLearning Academy.

Reporting on Customer Journeys in Dynamics 365 Marketing

The Customer Journey Insights tab gives an overview of the interactions as well a list of any contacts who did not complete the journey. This includes opens and clicks of an email, page visits, and form completions, to help you understand how effective your marketing content is.

Users also have access to information about the contacts who have interacted with you through the journey, for example their location and what time during the day they interacted with you.

The Future of Customer Journeys in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Microsoft are expanding beyond segment-based personalisation with the release of event-based customer journey orchestration. Using AI to understand individual customers, their preferences and what is likely to work for them, Dynamics 365 Marketing can now provide recommendations for engaging customers.

This new feature enables organisations to react to customer actions in real-time as interactions and other events occur across sales, marketing and service.

Customer journey orchestration

Customer journeys can be orchestrated based on interactions across email, mobile, social media, custom channels, as well as in-person touch-points, such as logging onto an organisation's wi-fi or signing into an event. By engaging customers in real-time on their preferred channels, orchestration journeys allow organisations to respond immediately with messages that create personalised experiences to that boost conversions and drive other positive outcomes.

From increased event-based triggers, compared to what has been traditionally available in D365 Marketing, to greater flexibility to interact with people on their preferred channels, this feature looks to provide a true end-to-end experience for customers. Microsoft reports that organisations who have already implemented customer journey orchestration have achieved an increase of revenue by 10%-20% and cost reductions of 15%-25%.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration.

If you want to find out more about how building customer journeys in Dynamics 365 Marketing, can transform your marketing activities, fill in the callback request below.

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