I am about to take the MB2-719 certification, this certification covers the Dynamics 365 for Marketing Application. I plan to create a series of blog posts that collectively should help anyone else preparing for this exam. In this post I’ll review customer journeys.
You can see the skills measured statement for customer journeys below. They are a key part of the MB2-719 exam and I would suggest the area of Dynamics 365 for Marketing that brings all of the component parts together and will therefore form one of the most important aspects of your revision. Gaining an understanding of customer journeys is essential!
The customer journeys option in Dynamics 365 for Marketing allows us to define “campaigns” which help us to decide who will get marketing messages, when and in what format. Additionally we can use features like triggers to define a set of related messages taking your contacts on a journey. We will see that “tiles” within the journey help us to define multiple steps that will create a process allowing us to automatically interact with potential customers.
Many customer journeys will be very simple and short running, a common use case is simply to send one email to a particular segment of your contacts. But customer journeys can potentially be very complex, sending many messages based on multiple triggers over a long time period.
I covered segments in an earlier section, you can view that here. Segments are important customer journeys will typically start with a segment tile. As this allows us to define which segment or group of segments contain the contacts will progress thru the journey.
The concept of a journey is that contacts progress from tile to tile as they follow thru your journey. You can see a very simple example below. Here we have a segment of customers that will receive a monthly newsletter.
Tip: Journeys can be one off or repeatable, as would be the case with this example.
Tiles within a journey could include triggers based on interactions such as opens, clicks, even registrations or landing page submissions. You can also use schedulers to include delays or time when the next tile is activated. Schedulers could be used to ensure all invites for an event are despatched on a particular date or maybe you want to wait “n” days after sending someone an email before sending a second.
Below you can see that tiles can be used to add content into your journeys, perform actions, target segments or use triggers and splitters to control the flow within the journey.
Journeys can become quite complex but can be stored as templates. You can then re-use them making the creation of journeys simpler. Dynamics 365 for Marketing ships with a number of predefined templates and you can obviously create your own as required.
Creating a Customer Journey
You will find the customer journeys option under the heading of “Marketing execution”, within this option you’ll be able to view existing journeys, monitor the progress of live journeys and create new journeys.
When you first create a journey you will be prompted to select an existing template. Or you can select the “Blank Template” option and create the journey from scratch.
Having created our journey, typically the two things I first define are its name and start date. We then use the Design and General tabs to define the steps (tiles) in the journey and other settings such as which contents settings to use. (Which in turn would define which subscription center to use for our unsubscribe page etc.)
Tip: Typically the start date will default to tomorrow, so whilst testing the first thing I do is change the start to be today.
The General tab allows me to define key settings about the journey. Including things like its name, start date and much more.
I won’t cover every field on the general tab in detail but some key fields include;
Name – the name of the journey, a mandatory field
Minimum Consent – this relates to GDPR and can be sued to ensure all contacts in the journey have given an appropriate consent level.
Start / end dates
– when the journey will start and end.
Content Settings – which content settings to apply to this journey. Content settings are essential to ensure things like the correct subscription center are used. I explained this concept in greater detail when discussing subscription centers. You can view that post here.
– by default journeys will not be recurring but you could use this option for repeatable messaging. (Such as monthly newsletters etc.)
Tip: Once your journey is live you can’t change some fields, such as start date. So ensuring these are correct is essential.
The designer tab provides us a drag and drop interface to graphically create the steps within the journey. We simply drag the tiles into our journey and then use the properties tab to set any required attributes on the tile.
Above you can see I have added a segment group into my journey. Here I can then add one or more segment.
Tip: When adding multiple segments I can decide to apply a union in intersect logic. Union being to include all contacts from all the segments and intersect to only include contacts that are in all the segments in the segment group.
You can see below that on the properties of my segment tile I can use a lookup to select a segment. And also define if contacts within the segment should be included or excluded from the jounrney. (Using the containment method field.)
I hope you can appreciate that each journey could potentially include many tiles. And these tiles will define what content will be sent to contacts and what actions might need to be taken based on various triggers.
I don’t intend on documenting full details of the behaviour for every tile type. So I strongly encourage you to create multiple journeys as part of your revision. I suggest experimenting with as many tile types as possible!
You might need to know that some tiles may need to relate to their parent. A trigger, for example will link back to proceeding content to drive the next steps. Below you can see that I have added an email into my journey, called “Neil Parkhurst”. Then in the properties section of my trigger the source is set to the parent, so “Neil Parkhurst” to link that trigger to my email. I can then decide what type of trigger to apply. Trigger options include email opened, email hard bounced, email soft bounced, any link clicked, email delivered etc.
Making a Journey Live
Once your journey is ready you’ll need to check it for errors and make it live. You will need to be aware that once live the journey can be stopped and edited. But many limitations exist, you can’t (for example) add new tiles into a journey after it was made live.
Once your journey is live and running you will start to collect insights data. To view the insights you open a live journey and then change the form …. from “Information” to “Insights”.
Within the Insights tab you can view information over time about the number of emails sent, opened, clicked etc. (or marketing pages opened etc.) The Insights should be timely but they aren’t real time. Therefore you may have to wait for some time after starting a journey to start to see the results.
Additionally the “Incomplete Journeys” tab will include reasons contacts didn’t receive a message. Including things like duplicates, invalid email addresses etc. Or maybe reasons their journey was stopped, such as contacts lowering their consent level.
Tip: In addition to insights on the customer journey I often also look at the insights on marketing email messages and contacts. As you can gain additional information by viewing those entities.
As part of your revision for MB2-719 I suggest you create a journey and leave it running for several days. You will then build up some insights data that you can review.
I hope I have given you a good overview of the concepts connected with Customer journeys. They are obviously a key component of Dynamics 365 for Marketing and will therefore be an important revision topic for the MB2-719 exam. I hope you enjoy experimenting with journeys as part of your revision.