Dynamics 365 Marketing Send Now

Microsoft recently released a much needed and requested feature for the Dynamics 365 Marketing product called Send Now.

With this feature, marketing users can “instantly” send a marketing email to one or more individuals. Dynamics 365 CRM users can do this without requiring knowledge of how to create a customer segments and customer journeys and don’t need the expertise to put the two together in order to send out the email.

What’s the business case for this?

The big sell here is that Dynamics users on the ground can now have a level of autonomy when it comes to sending relevant marketing content without having to create extra work for the marketing team.

Imagine a sales person at your company has just completed a sales call with a potential customer and wants to follow up with more information, or a client expresses an interest in attending an event , but in order to get them registered you need to send them the email with the link to the web form. You can then start to see how valuable a “send now” feature is to your Dynamics 365 users.
As someone who has been closely following the launch of Dynamics 365 Marketing since it was released in 2017, I was very excited when I saw that the “send now” feature was finally released, however once I started to use the feature in a test environment, I very quickly found it to be not really what I consider to be fit for purpose and here’s why.

1. You can’t send the email directly from a contact record

There is no way for a Dynamics user to send a marketing email whilst on a contact record. For me, this is fundamental. If I am on the phone to a customer and they want me to send them a specific content based email, I’d like to be able to select a marketing email and send it, along with the option to make a few changes to the email before sending. At the time of writing, the only way to send the email is to:

  1. Navigate to the Marketing Emails area, which, by default is in a different app.
  2. Select the email you want to send,
  3. Click the send now button,
  4. Find the contact you want to send the email to,
  5. Click send.

Send Now Window

2. You cannot set the reply to email address to be the owner of the contact record

Dynamics 365 Marketing uses a feature called Assist edit to add dynamic content to an email. The tool is great and allows the person building email templates to, not only pull information from the contact record onto the email ( e.g. dear Sally…” ) , but also content from related records (e.g. “…hope all is well at Acme Holdings…” or “ …your account manager is Keith Floyd, and he can be reached on 02345 236543…”)
If the person building the template uses the following expression in the reply to address “{{contact.contact_systemuser_owninguser.internalemailaddress}}”, they can set the reply to address as the owner of the contact record.

Reply to address from owner of record

However, this will only work when the email is sent out via a standard customer journey and not through the new send now feature. Attempting to send an email with a related dynamics field like this through the send now feature will result in an error being generated, with no clear indication of what is causing the error.

Send Now Error Sending

The result of this issue is that two templates need to be created for each message, one for sending by the marketing team and another one for the Send Now feature.
The fix for this glaringly awkward error has been added as a suggested improvement. As yet, no official documentation has shown that this is yet in the roadmap.

3. Send Now still creates segments and customer journeys

I think It could be reasonably assumed that if a user wants to use the Send Now feature, that they don’t want to have a segment and a customer journey created for the sending of a single email. however, the segment and the customer journey is still getting created in the background anyway.

Auto Creating of Segment and Journey
Once the user clicks send, Dynamics 365 Marketing will automatically create a segment and a customer journey. What’s worse is that the user has no control over the name of the customer journey. You can imagine if a marketing email is sent to 20 contacts during the course of one day, this will result in 20 customer journeys all called the same thing. To compound matters, each of these customer journeys contains a segment of a single person. When the marketing team navigates to the customer journeys, they are going to have to do a lot of housekeeping to do. It seems a very messy solution.

4. Marketing emails can only be sent to 30 people at a time

Given that the new Send Now feature is only available once you have navigated to a marketing email, it seems to me that it would make sense to be able to select an existing segment or marketing list to be able to send the email to in bulk. Unfortunately, Microsoft have seen fit to limit this to selecting individual contacts and then only up to 30 can be selected. I can’t even guess at the reason for this.

max 30 contacts can be selected

Summary

After much anticipation and then reviewing this long-awaited new feature, I have to say I am disappointed.
The concept of the “quick send” is not new. ClickDimensions has had this feature for years and doesn’t suffer with any of the above problems. Whereas Microsoft didn’t even consider this as a feature when designing their tool. It then had to “bolt” it on as an afterthought.
It’s frustrating that given since the initial launch nearly two years ago, Microsoft have released what seems such a half-baked feature. It maybe that Microsoft will get it right eventually. Having said all that, there is a lot to like about the Dynamics 365 Marketing product,

useful links:

More information on the Dynamics 365 Marketing Send Now feature 

More information on ClickDimensions

If you want to talk about email marketing for your Dynamics 365 CRM database or would like a demo of Dynamics 365 Marketing or ClickDimensions, fill in our contact us form and let us know.

About Iain Wicks

Iain has been working in the CRM industry since 1999 and has a wealth of experience of implementing CRM for small to medium sized business teams. Iain’s focus is on “Keeping it simple” and on user adoption.