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Dynamics 365 Marketing is leading the way with personalized engagement

Customer engagement professionals still need to build relationships, trust, and loyalty to be successful, but how we achieve these outcomes has fundamentally changed. Those changes offer the opportunity to be more effective than ever at driving these results. To meet customer expectations, marketers are looking to create end-to-end customer experiences that are customer-led, highly personalized,…

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Customer engagement professionals still need to build relationships, trust, and loyalty to be successful, but how we achieve these outcomes has fundamentally changed. Those changes offer the opportunity to be more effective than ever at driving these results.

To meet customer expectations, marketers are looking to create end-to-end customer experiences that are customer-led, highly personalized, and that reach their customers wherever they are, across all physical and digital channels. Data and AI make all these things possible and bring us into an exciting new frontier—from the reactive to the predictive era.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing brings together the worlds of customer experience and marketing automation, empowering businesses to orchestrate individualized journeys across all touchpoints to strengthen relationships and earn loyalty.

With the 2021 release wave 2, we focused on improving processes and capabilities for creating moments-based customer journeys that span all customer touchpoints, and on taking personalization to the next level, all with less effort. Here are a few highlights of these exciting new innovations that will be releasing over the next few months and what they can mean for marketers and business users alike.

Engage your customers in moments that matter across all customer touchpoints

To truly embrace customer-led journeys you must be ready to engage and respond when the customer wants to engage, in the moments that matter to them. Here are new ways Dynamics 365 Marketing will help you do just that.

Send SMS messages using Twilio and TeleSign integration. Engaging customers in moments that matter means that connecting with mobile users is a must. Dynamics 365 Marketing enables you to utilize the SMS channel to send fast, transactional communications and marketing messages. In this release, we have extended these capabilities by enabling integration with Twilio and TeleSign for the ultimate level of flexibility.

Reach more customers with a 10X increase in the scale of interactions in real-time marketing journeys. To reach your customers in moments that matter to them, you must be able to scale. Prospects and customers are starting to take the lead on how frequently they want to interact with companies they do business with. Companies must be able to respond to customers whenever they want to engage. We now support up to 100 million outbound interactions (email, SMS, or push notifications) per month to a maximum of 20 million contacts using real-time marketing journeys. With the added interaction capacity, you can communicate as much as you need to help move prospects and customers along their buying journey.

Personalize engagement for each customer

Engaging your customers in an individually personalized way is easier than ever thanks to the innovative new capabilities added to Dynamics 365 Marketing.

Deliver rich customer experiences by raising custom events from journey steps. Because every business is unique, you may need to define custom processes to enhance your journeys. By using Microsoft Power Automate Flows, you will have limitless customization and precise control of your customer experience.

You can call a Power Automate Flow from the journey canvas to connect with proprietary and external business systems. This end-to-end integration allows you to leverage the entire Power Automate ecosystem of connectors and controls to deliver the unique experience your customers demand. And what’s even better, is that anyone, from citizen marketing developers to pro marketing operations teams, IT professionals, or partners, can create very advanced custom scenarios in only a few clicks.

Personalize emails to include lists of related data. To save time and to further personalize your emails, you can now include lists of related data that are specific to the individual receiving the email. For example, you can add a list of sessions in a conference registration email or a list of items purchased in an order confirmation email. The ‘helper tool’ in real-time marketing generates the code for conditional statements and lists for you, making it easier to ensure your syntax is correct.

Gain more control over journey branching conditions through increased attribute support. Creating personalized journeys for customers based on their demographics and behaviors can help increase engagement. With this release, you can now create journey branches based on any attribute associated with the customer or event trigger that started the journey. In addition, for attributes based on date and time, you can create branches based on relative or partial dates.

Make faster and better decisions leveraging the power of analytics and AI

A deep understanding of your customer coupled with knowledge of what has worked before can bring amazing customer experiences to life.

Use AI-powered ideas to automatically generate content for emails. Looking for the right email copy to catch a customer’s eye? Use Content Ideas to help you get writing inspiration and move faster from concept to execution. No more needing to start from a blank screen. This new capability uses powerful AI technology to generate custom text ideas in your Dynamics 365 Marketing email editor.

We’re taking an intentional approach to integrating our responsible AI principles by building this experience with transparency and control, while boosting value for you. The automated ideas are based on your key points and recent emails sent by your organization. Now you can take advantage of this breakthrough technology to deliver the most impactful content to your audience.

Optimize the performance of emails in the new outbound marketing email editor with A/B testing. A good way to create an email that resonates with your audience is to test different versions with subsets of your recipients, and then analyze interaction records to determine which one is better received. The new editor in Dynamics 365 Marketing now can A/B test your emails, allowing you to optimize the performance of your emails.

Use natural language to create targeted segments. You can also use natural language sentences to build segments faster in Dynamics 365 Marketing. We introduced a preview of this capability in our previous release and have been working to refine, enhance, and continue the AI model training, so it’s better than ever before. Just use simple words to specify the attributes and logic for the segment you want to target, the AI-powered model does the rest for you. For example, using natural language, you can create a segment of “Contacts who were born between 1970 and 2000 and make more than $50K”, the correct query fields will be filled in for you and the segment will be generated automatically.

Leading the next generation of business applications

The innovations in this 2021 release wave 2 for Dynamics 365 Marketing support our Dynamics 365 vision to build data first, AI-enabled applications. Starting from data, we bring new insights and automation to your business processes and customer experiences. We power those processes and experiences with AI and next best actions while upholding Microsoft’s commitment to building AI responsibly, using our six principles as a lens for innovation. I’m excited to take you on this exciting journey with us—as always, there will be more to come.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Marketing

To learn more about how your organization can elevate your customer experiences, visit the Dynamics 365 Marketing webpage and sign up for a free Dynamics 365 Marketing trial to explore real-time customer journey orchestration and the other rich capabilities offered in Dynamics 365 Marketing.

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Facebook: Recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page…

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As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page to spread awareness and share local recreational opportunities for people with physical disabilities.

In addition to providing community to people with disabilities, we’re also working to make the digital world more accessible. 

We will demonstrate our latest accessibility features today at our annual Accessibility Summit. Join us at 10:00AM PT for this livestream on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page. In addition to product demos and updates, we will host an interview with Molly Burke, a digital creator and blind advocate.

Through a video series on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page, we’re highlighting how people with disabilities connect and build communities through our technologies, much like Carly. We’ve created both the captioned and audio described versions of these stories.

Today, we’re recapping advances we’ve made over the past year to make our technologies more inclusive. 

Meta Quest

  • Audio Accessibility
    • Audio balance: This option enables you to adjust the balance of the left and right audio channels for comfort, and to better match your ability to hear in each ear. 
    • Mono Audio enables you to hear the same audio from both the left and right speakers on your headset. 
    • You’ll find both features under the Accessibility tab in your headset’s Settings menu.

Product mock of audio accessibility on Meta Quest

  • Adjust Height  
    • This feature allows you to experience VR from a “standing” vantage point even while reclining or seated. This can improve the VR experience for people who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility or are unable to use the Quest headset while standing. 
    • We first introduced this as an experimental feature (called Raise View) last June and have now made it permanent after receiving positive feedback from the disability community. 
    • You can find this feature in the Accessibility tab in Quest’s Settings menu.

Portal

  • Video relay service (VRS)
    • In December, we began supporting video relay service (VRS) applications on Portal  for people who use American Sign Language (ASL), through a collaboration with ZP Better Together.
    • Through the ZP apps on Portal and human interpreters, people who use American Sign Language can now easily communicate in both English and Spanish. 
    • Portal’s unique AI-powered camera always keeps you in frame and in focus, even when you’re moving, so your face and hands can always be seen.
  • Captions
    • We’ve also added customizable closed captions for streamed content on TV and Touch, as well as added support for live captions into integrated work productivity apps Zoom and Workplace Live.

Instagram

  • Auto-generated captions for Feed videos
    • In March, we introduced auto-generated captions for Feed videos on iOS and Android in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Malay, Hindi and Japanese to start. 
    • More importantly, captions are automatically turned on by default when a creator uploads a video to their Feed. Over 140 million videos were created with auto-generated captions in the last 30 days.
    • Creators retain the ability to turn captions off when they choose and viewers can turn captions on or off using on-screen controls.

Product mock of Instagram auto-generated captions

Stickers on Facebook and Messenger

  • We added alt text descriptions to the more than 10,000 stickers available on Facebook and Messenger, making it possible for people who are blind and visually impaired to understand and use them. 

Avatars

  • Earlier this year, we introduced the ability to have your same avatar across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Quest. 
  • There are also new avatar options, including over-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants in addition to more face shapes, skin tones, expressions, and stickers. 
  • Wheelchairs are now available as stickers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so your avatar can better represent who you are or who you want to be.

Product mock of accessibility features of Avatars

Open Source

  • Lexical is a JavaScript framework built to improve text editing on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Workplace, with accessibility as a priority. 
  • In April, Lexical was released into open source to allow the rest of the world to benefit from these improvements. 
  • With this new framework, people can express their ideas in text via dictation, and readers can experience character-by-character navigation — a feature previously unavailable in similar editors.

Reality Labs Research

  • We’re exploring how improvements in audio quality can enable more realistic presence and perceptual superpowers in augmented and virtual reality— technological advancements that can also help us hear better in noisy environments. 
  • Our team of hearing scientists is also exploring how to reencode sound and present it through closed captioning.
  • While this is still early research, we are excited to learn more about how emerging audio technologies can improve the lives of people with hearing loss. 

Image showing audio research

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Facebook: Announcing New Products to Make Business Messaging Easier

The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural…

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The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural business messaging event, we discussed how messaging is transforming interactions between people and businesses, and announced new products to make conversations easier.

Introducing Cloud-based API on the WhatsApp Business Platform

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’re opening up the new, cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta, to any business across the world. With this new API, we’re offering free, secure cloud hosting services so businesses and developers can easily access our service within minutes, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and increase their response time for their customers. So now, whether a business wants to work with one of our 100+ partners or access our service directly, it will be much faster to get up and running on WhatsApp.

When growing a business, you need smart, robust and easy-to-use conversation tools. For smaller businesses using the WhatsApp Business app, we’re building tools so it’s easier to handle an influx of chats as they grow their customer base. 

Launching Recurring Notifications on Messenger

Today we’re announcing a new way for businesses to keep the conversation going with Recurring Notifications. As businesses acquire new customers and begin to scale operations, there’s incredible opportunity to build loyalty and trust — and we believe this is where the value of messaging really shines. This new capability makes it easy to re-engage people right in the messaging thread and deliver tailored messaging at the best time for customers, whether to hear about special promotions, new product drops or tips and tricks.

You can choose the topics you’d like to let people opt-in to, how often customers can hear from you and shape your content, so your messages are always on-brand and relevant. Recurring notifications will also be available for businesses on Instagram this fall.

We also highlighted our click-to-message ads to help customers immediately start conversations with businesses, our CRM platform Kustomer and Meta Business Suite for higher volumes of messages across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Read more about our product investments in business messaging on our Meta for Developers blog.

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Facebook: Introducing New Members of the Oversight Board

Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin. Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to…

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Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin.

Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to support and work with the board to select additional members. The new members reflect a wide range of views and experiences, and will bring a variety of perspectives to the board’s existing expertise.

The Oversight Board represents a unique model for social media governance. From its inception, we knew its impact would come not just from its decisions on individual cases, but also from broader recommendations on how we can improve our policies and processes. In the time since they began hearing cases and issuing decisions and recommendations, they’ve been playing a bigger role in setting precedent and direction for our content policies and how we enforce them.  We look forward to welcoming the new board members into this process.

We will update this Newsroom Post as additional members are appointed. We are grateful to all board members for lending their expertise to our content moderation efforts.

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