The A-Z of Marketing & Branding

*** NOTE: ALL INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AT DATE OF PUBLISHING ***

This post is a written article based on a presentation I delivered at the D365 Saturday Scotland event held in Glasgow on January 26th, 2019. It’s a collection of tips and ideas of mainly out of the box functionality you can use to keep the marketing and branding of your organisation consistent, with both internal and external customers. If you just want to see the video, or get to the slides, scroll all the way to the bottom of this post!

A – Auto Responders

Make sure you are sending email responses for any key interactions your customers and prospects might have with you as an organisation. So, these could be things like demo requests, downloads, subscriptions or purchases. Keep the branding of those emails consistent, using logos and fonts as detailed by any brand guidelines. Use CTA’s (Call To Action) in those emails to help with re-engagement, such as a suggestion to download an additional piece of relevant content. If you are using portals you can use these as trigger points along with workflows and Microsoft Flows to fire off the auto responder emails.

B – Brand

The brand of any organisation is the most important thing. Are you being consistent with communication sent out from D365? Is the Marketing department being consulted to make sure it’s on point? Make sure your company colours, fonts and images are used correctly. Any communication sent out should always be professional. Consider both internal and external customers when doing this.

C – CSS

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. Your company corporate website will use CSS files, so you can use elements from that to keep your D365 Portal consistent with your main site. CSS can also be used on your Voice of the Customer surveys (see this article for more info on how to do this).

D – Duplicate Detection

Making sure you have logical appropriate duplicate detection rules set up will go a long way in making sure your data is clean for email marketing purposes. Educate your users so they understand why duplicates might happen, and what to do when the message appears indicating that a duplicate might be crated if they continue. Set time aside to review duplicates on a regular basis, and then merge any as needed.

E – Email Templates

Email Templates will likely be used a lot, and one of the main methods of communication with contacts in your D365 instance. You can use company images by copying one from a web page that is accessible to the outside world (you can do it in a similar way to how it’s done in email signatures in this blog). Using this method you can then add links to your social channels, and create a generic template for your users to access when sending emails out of D365. Make sure you create custom templates for different scenarios, and don’t forget emails going out from workflows!

F – Fonts

An organisation usually has a set of fonts they use on their site and any marketing literature. You can use your company fonts in the Portal by adding them to your CSS file. Google Fonts can also be used in your surveys (see this article on how to add Google Fonts to your Voice of the Customer css). Make sure you are consistent in any Word document templates that are created too.

G – GDPR

GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation which is a digital privacy regulation. Opt-ins need to be a deliberate choice for your customers & prospects, so make sure any online forms are set up with that in mind. Anything you email out that is a marketing email needs to have unsubscribe links that are easy to find and access. Avoid collection any unnecessary data on your forms. If someone is downloading a brochure you really only need their name and email, so don’t ask for things like their phone number or address if it’s not relevant. Make sure you use a dedicated email marketing platform for sending out any emails rather than trying to send these via D365… or you will end up getting blacklisted if you aren’t careful. Educate others in your organisation so they understand the impact and ramifications of not adhering to GDPR policies.

H – Hex Numbers

Hex Numbers are a series of 6 characters which indicated a unique colour which can be used on websites. If you aren’t sure, ask the marketing department for details as this is information that should have as part of the organisations brand guidelines. They are used in CSS for things like font colours, bullet colours, hyperlink colours etc. You can also use them to change the background of entities. If you only have the RGB colour, simply Google the phrase ‘RGB to HEX’ to get a handy little convertor.

I – Icons

So, I lied a little bit here… I is really going to be for EMOJIS! Anyone NOT know you can add these to an Optionset? You can also use them in surveys. Just Google ‘Copy and Paste Emojis’ to find a site to source them from and have fun! Here is the original post about how to do this if you’ve not seen it already.

J – Jigsaw Pieces

This one is such a hate for so many people… the jigsaw pieces that are displayed when a custom entity hasn’t been given a specific icon. It looks awful. Make sure you use an appropriate icon for the entity, and even consult the related department to make sure what you are intending to use makes sense. Keep your icons consistent, going to the same place to source them each time if possible. Also, make sure you set the entity background colour so you don’t run in to issues (more on this here).

K – Knowledge Articles

Knowledge Articles are similar to Email Templates in that you can copy and paste images and text from a website. Use your company fonts and logos where possible so that they look good not only within D365, and on the portal, but also look great when emailed to people.

L – Literature

Who is creating your sales and marketing literature? Is it consistently done by the marketing department so that it’s consistent with company branding? Make sure you have a process defined for submitting, approving and then sharing Sales Literature with the outside world.

M – Marketing Lists

Keep your marketing lists as clean as possible. Make sure they are targeted so you have the right people getting the right message at the right time. Use workflows to move people in and out of the workflows as needed, and make sure any advanced finds you use are accurate.

N – Nurture Campaigns

A nurture campaign is a way to take someone on a journey, delivering the best possible content that’s targeted accurately. Use the standard campaigns to do this, making sure you have planned them out and included activities. Use triggers based on the fields or status of those activities to determine if they should go on to the next ‘stage’ of the campaign or moved in to a new marketing list and a new campaign.

O – Occasions

How are you tracking your own events, or your attendance at events? You can create a custom event entity, with a related attendee entity to track any people you meet or invite to events. Plan ahead with a marketing list and activities to schedule meetings you want to have at the event. Afterwards, make sure any new leads are adding to D365, and plan any follow up meetings. You can track industry events, trade-shows, company days, recruitment fairs etc.

P – Portals

If you are embarking on a project to implement a Portal, make sure Marketing are included in the process. They will need to prepare and provide images and share the organisations brand guidelines. Be clear in understanding the requirements, but also be realistic in those requirements. A portal should never be a replacement of your corporate website, but more of an extension that fits in with your corporate image. More on Portals can be found in this playlist on my YouTube channel.

Q – Quizzes

Use quizzes to drive engagement. You can add polls to your portal, or use the ideas forum to ask for submissions and feedback. Ask about a product you sell, or if people would be interested in a new service you are considering offering. Try and gather feedback from customers and internal employees. If you are asking for feedback and engagement, make sure you then take action on what you get back so you can improve processes or services.

R – RSS Feeds

If you want to use RSS Feeds in an email, you will need to use an email marketing too. You can create emails that will be sent out based on new content you’ve published to your website. So you can easily share new blog content, news stories and event promotion to those who have subscribed to it. Take a look at this post for more information on how to use the RSS Feed Connector from ClickDimensions.

S – Signatures

Marketing are typically responsible for the company email signatures. However, users are responsible for setting them up in D365. Provide them with guidelines and instructions on how to create these so it’s consistent. If you are using queues to send out emails, make sure you set signatures up for those, which you can find out how to do here.

T – Themes

Themes are only for internal recognition and user adoption. You can use your company hex colours to make it feel like it’s a part of your organisation. A logo can be added but can only be a max of 400 px wide, and a max of 50 px in height. Don’t sacrifice user experience just to keep your colours in line with your brand. If it looks bad or colours clash, rethink it and try again. Find out how to create a theme here.

U – Unsubscribes

Make sure you honour a contacts preferences in terms of communication from you. Do you have processes in place to manage all of the communication methods? When someone unsubscribes, are your marketing lists updated accordingly? You need to make sure you aren’t emailing or calling people that have stated they don’t want that kind of contact.

V – Voice of the Customer

This is a free Microsoft survey tool which integrates in to D365. You can use CSS to brand consistently to keep it inline with your other communication channels. Emojis can also be used in your surveys! Use surveys to gather feedback at Moments of Truth…. Points in the journey you are on with your customers and prospects that could either end up as positive, neutral or negative. For more on Voice of the Customer, you can view this playlist on my YouTube channel.

W – Webinars

There are many webinar tools available, but GoToWebinar is a good one to check out. You can create and host webinars to share content, ideas, provide training, additional services etc. to customers and prospects. You can use the connector with ClickDimensions if you have it, or use a premium connector in Microsoft Flow to create webinars and attendees in D365. Its’ a great way to offer an additional free resource to people.

X – XrmToolBox

I remember when I first discovered XrmToolBox… it felt like such a secret… and that I had been working hard for far too long! If you haven’t used it before, just got to https://www.xrmtoolbox.com and download it. It’s a free tool with plugins and solutions created by amazing people in the community. Some that might be helpful from a marketing perspective are FetchXML Builder (by Jonas Rapp), Document Template Manager (Futurez Consulting, LLC), Iconator (Mscrm Tools) and Advanced Chart Editor (Mohamed Rasheed & Ulrik “CRM Chart Guy” Carlsson).

Y – Yammer

Yammer is a social network for your organisation. Using the out of the box integration, you can embed Yammer feeds directly in to D365. Users can then view and contribute to conversations. Even people in your organisation who don’t have access to D365 can contribute if they have access to Yammer. It’s great for internal communication, collaboration and just having a bit of fun!

Z – Zero

Finally, Z is for Zero Code, Zero Cost, Zero Effort. Well, not quite zero effort, but certainly minimal effort that’s for sure. You can use so much out of the box and not have to pay for any additional tools, it’s a shame not to take advantage of it all.

So, that’s it! 26 tips and tricks that should help in keeping your company on track and consistent with it’s marketing and branding while using Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.

If you want to watch a video, you can check out a recording below (not the actual event):

And if you would like the slides you can access them here!

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