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 will look at events.
From the extract of the skills measured statement below you can see that events (and webinars) make up an important section of the exam;
Events can be a very important part of your marketing strategy. However, the planning of events (even small ones) can be a significant undertaking. Organising an event will involve defining speakers, sessions, organising a venue, advertising the event, registering attendees. And then you’ll also want to capture information on who attended and potentially follow-up with the attendees afterwards.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing includes a comprehensive set of features to address all of the challenges you’ll find in hosting an event.
As I’m sure you can appreciate we’ll have plenty of content to review whilst revising for the MB2-719 exam. Therefore I plan to split this subject into two blog posts. The first (this one) will cover how we define our events. And then in a second post I’ll explain how people can register for events and how we record / manage their attendance.
In my second post we will see how the event portal is used to enable people to review details of the event and register. In this post though I will concentrate on showing wheat information has to be entered to initially create the event.
Create an event
Creating an event is a simple enough process but there are “many” tabs and you may need to complete details in some or all of these before making the event live. Initially your event will be in a draft status, this allow you to make adjustments before making it live. Changing the status of the event to Live will make it active within the events portal. (And ready for people to register for the event.)
Additionally as we create events there is a useful business process flow which can be used to help guide you through each step. The business process flow (out of the box) includes the following;
- Preliminaries – define the event name, goal, expected outcome plus start / end times.
- Agenda – define the sessions, identify speakers and sponsors or request sponsorship.
- Organize – identify the venue, book rooms, schedule sessions, organise catering and plan any guest logistics.
- Guest Logistics – confirm hotel options, schedule airport pickups and reserve flights
- Promote – define packages / pricing, plan registration process, send event invites, develop a marketing plan plus create and send marketing collateral.
- Launch – Send pre-event reminders and notify authorities of event.
- Post Event – send thank you emails, make payments, send surveys, follow up on leads, team debriefing.
In my opinion this business process flow will probably need to be tailored to mirror the steps involved in your actual events. But it is still a useful prompt to help ensure all the required configuration items are considered. Plus reviewing this business process flow does help to demonstrate how complex organising an event can be.
Preliminaries (General Tab)
As you define the items that make up the “preliminaries” we’ll probably be entering data into the general tab.
I won’t cover every field in detail but here are a few key ones;
Event name – mandatory field used to name the event. (This will show on the portal so make it descriptive.)
Event URL – The event url will be created when your event goes live.
Format – For “normal” events the format type will be “on site”. Selecting Hybrid or webinar will enable you to create a webinar. Additional fields will show to allow you to enter the webinar configuration. And a url will be populated from the webinar provider, when the event is created in their system. At the time of creating these notes the only webinar provider supported by Dynamics 365 for Marketing is On24. (Meaning you will need an On24 account.)
Create Leads for event registrations – You may wish to create a lead for each person who registers for the event. (If required this could then be scored and made sales ready later!)
Portal image – personalise your portal page by uploading an image for the event for your image library.
Allow anonymous registrations – if you don’t allow anonymous registrations people must login into the portal before they register.
Enable CAPTCHA – When registering for events you can enable or disable a CAPTCHA on the registration page.
Schedule – Allows you to define the event start and end date / time. Also usefully includes a countdown in days. (Tip: You might want to use this to trigger events, like sending invites “n” days before, reminders “n” days before etc.)
Location – define the building, room and room layout. (I’ll describe the venue in more details later but this can be used to default other options ion venue constraints. Such as capacity
Venue Constraints – define the maximum capacity for the event and if a waitlist should be used if the event is oversubscribed.
Sessions, Tracks and Passes
Sessions are typically presentations, training sessions or discussion groups. Whilst tracks are collections or related, non-conflicting session. Attendees might then follow a specific track of related sessions. Additionally you can manage who will attend specific tracks by using passes. Not all events will use sessions, tracks and passes. But being able to have these three concepts means we can define complex events. (or simple ones!)
In the Agenda tab you can define all of the sessions. In a simple one day event these might be back to back and all in the same room. But it is also possible to define complex events spanning multiple days and each session being linked to a different room.
Notice that my sessions initially have a status of draft. Once you are ready for them to show on the portal the status would need to be changed to live. Below you can see that I have opened one of my sessions. Here you can see that additional information could be added as required. Including the session type, if recordings are permitted and more. Additionally the agenda tab gives us space to record who the speaker is and other detailed information about the session.
Adding speakers to sessions will be useful as this will then show in the event portal. As will any detailed description you add to the session.
Tracks are simply groups of related sessions. Often at events these might be targeted at a particular type of attendee. For example at a “CRM” event you might have a technical track aimed at developers or a functional track aimed at users. To define a track you simply create the track and then add the sessions that make up the track. Typically these sessions would not clash. As anyone attending that track would want to attend all of the sessions.
Below you can see how I have used the session breakdown tab to list all of the sessions that make up this track.
Passes can be created to allow people to register for particular sessions or tracks within the event. The use of passes is optional but may be required if you want to limit numbers for particular tracks and maybe also charge differently for attendance to each track.
You create the passes in the registration and attendance tab. Here you can add new passes as required.
The concept of passes is each pass is limited to a number of attendees. Having saved the pass you navigation to the “Eligible sessions” tab and list the sessions that are related to this pass. Or select a track and automatically add all the sessions from the track.
We have already seen that the event and individual sessions can be linked to venues. You can define the buildings, rooms and layouts that makeup a venue in the venue management section of events within Dynamics 365 for Marketing.
Each venue is effectively a building that can have one or more rooms.. And each room has a layout type.
At the building level we might hold information like address, telephone numbers, Wifi access codes etc. For each room we can then define a capacity and other features. (Such as if disabled access exists and if video or AV equipment is present.) Each room can then have a layout. Typical layouts would include theatre, classroom, banquet etc. Knowing the capacity and layout of a room will help ensure you select an appropriate room based on the type of session to be delivered.
Sponsors & Sponsorable Articles
Optionally we can define sponsors for events. This might be useful for you to track what contributions each sponsor has made and also by linking them to events their details can be shown in the portal. Sponsors may give financial support to an event but they could also supply services or equipment.
The sponsors are added to an event in the agenda tab of the event.
Additionally each sponsor can optionally be lined to sponsorable articles. These might be give-aways at the event. Example might include bags, t-shirts etc. All of which would typically carry the sponsors name.
Speakers can be linked to sessions, their details will then show in the event portal. When we define speakers a number of fields can be entered. Including their job title, cost and general details about them. Plus URLs for twitter, blogs and LinkedIn can be added. This will show as links in the event portal.
Above you can see how my speaker record had been created in Dynamics 365 for Marketing. And below you can see how this would be represented within the event portal.
Custom Registration Fields
When people register for the event you might want to capture some additional information. Some examples might include dietary requirements, special needs or just general questions. Within the registration and attendance tab we can add any custom fields required at registration.
The custom registration fields option allows us to define the possible fields. Commonly used fields can then be reused on multiple events. Possible field types include simple text, Boolean, single choice and multiple choice
Event Team Members
Events can be complicated to organise. It is likely that more than one person is responsible for making sure they run smoothly. We can therefore define an event team to show who is responsible for what. You can see below that on the “Additional Information” tab I have entered details of the committee of people who will organise this event.
The team members could be internal team members, which would be linked to Dynamics 365 user records. Or external team members that are linked to contact records.
I’m not actually tracking the financials on my event! But you can see that we have some fields on the “Additional Information” tab that would allow this if required.
Logistics / Accommodation
You may need to allocate hotel rooms and record reservations for attendees. If so then the options under the logistics heading may come into play.
First you’d create an event vendor. This might the primary record for say a hotel chain. You can then define one or more hotels in the chain.
Once the hotels have been defined you can create an allocation of rooms for the event. This is done by room type, say single double etc. Blow you can see I have created an allocation for three single rooms at a hotel in Birmingham.
Navigating to the room reservations tab of the room allocation allows me to allocate event attendees to the rooms. Notice the format of the attendee record. This is actually a link to the event attendance record for this attendee. I have not yet covered the concepts of how people register and attend events. (That will come in my second blog post regarding events!)
I’ve covered quite a bit of information in this post! In this post I have explained how to define the following;
- General Event Details
- Sessions, Tracks and Passes
- Sponsors & Sponsorable Articles
- Custom Registration Fields
- Event Team Members
- Logistics / Accommodation
In my next post we’ll see how this information is used via the event portal to support registrations. And how we record event attendance and manage post event activities.
Part of your MB2-719 exam preparation should include defining several events and experimenting with as many of these options as possible.