Dynamics 365 and the Adobe Marketing Cloud

Last week we heard Satya Nadella and Shantanu Narayen announce a new partnership between Microsoft and Adobe. Basically Adobe will be making Azure their platform for certain products, including the Adobe Marketing Cloud, leading to a lot of speculation about the future of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM). I will now add to that speculative fog.

First, a little word parsing

What I heard Nadella say, was that Adobe Marketing Cloud will be the “preferred marketing service for Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition“. I did not hear that it would be Microsoft’s Marketing SKU. Unless I missed the part where Nadella announced Microsoft’s purchase of Adobe, Adobe Marketing Cloud is not a Microsoft product to sell.

What do we Know?

Well, we know that there will be a Marketing SKU for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition, available both as a standalone or as part of a Plan. We also know that there will be an SMB focused Marketing SKU coming in the Spring for the Dynamics 365 Business Edition, also available as a standalone or as part of a Plan. We also know that the current “Marketing” capabilities of CRM are somewhat limited, and probably don’t add up to enough to justify a SKU on their own. We know that Microsoft spent a lot of money buying the wrong product when they bought Marketing Pilot, and proceeded to dump a lot more money into it, which I am sure they are not ready to flush. We also know that Microsoft has a “Preferred Solutions Program” for solutions that can be directly deployed from the CRM Admin panel, of which Insights by InsideView is currently the only third-party one. Lastly, I was told by my insiders that MDM is “not dead”. I’ll circle back to these nuggets of knowledge shortly.

What’s wrong with MDM?

Shortly after Microsoft bought Marketing Pilot, a product I was previously unfamiliar with, my contacts inside were telling me that this would be the product we would sell instead of ClickDimensions, or the now deceased CoreMotives. I’m pretty sure John Gravely was not part of these discussions. I was told to stand-by, and that once this product was rejiggered, I would be “all over it”. When they finally made the preview available to me, I thought, “I must be on Candid-Camera”. This product made no sense at all. It was clearly designed for advertising and marketing agencies, not end user companies. The damn thing had a General Ledger in it! It is not that it was unsophisticated, the opposite really, but it was designed for managing multiple campaigns, multiple assets for multiple customers, tracking billable time (I don’t know many customers who bill themselves), etc. A great tool for an Agency. But taking this to end customers, was like offering a 10′ tall toolbox full of wrenches to a Doctor. The mark was fully missed. HOWEVER, within the bloat, there were some great marketing tools and capabilities, albeit mostly obscured by a focus on the wrong end user.

What do I think will happen?

I think if you do some math on the above, a picture starts to form that seems quite logical to me. First, I see the Adobe Marketing Cloud being added to the Preferred Solution Program, next to InsideView. I mean Microsoft has to give them something for moving to Azure, and this is a nice leg-up. Second, I think that parts of MDM will be refactored into a new Enterprise Marketing SKU, to augment the limited capabilities there, and hope to someday get an ROI on that investment. Third, I think the SMB Marketing SKU coming later will be a slimmed down version of the Enterprise Marketing SKU, much like I am hearing that the SMB Sales SKU, will be a slimmed down version of the Enterprise Sales SKU. Lastly, as an aside, I expect that ClickDimensions must be looking at refactoring their solution so that it will run on top of the new Sales SKUS, without requiring whatever “Marketing” related entities will end up on the other side of the fence, in the Marketing SKU. Otherwise their customers will have to buy an Enterprise Plan in order to use their currently configured product… and Gravely ain’t no dummy.

So that’s what I think, let me know what you think in the comments.

6 Comments

  1. I am with Juan when he says that in the past Dynamics Marketing has been vastly misunderstood by Microsoft partners and, consequently, customers too.

    Having trained more than a thousand Microsoft, partner and customer staff around the world on how to sell, position and implement MDM, I have heard that “ClickDimensions vs. MDM” mantra many times for sure. The truth is that the scope for a Marketing solution is defined by organisations’ and their end users needs, not by what a solution integrator believes it may be.

    Talking about “Marketing Solutions” while meaning “Email Marketing Tools” does not help either and instead leads to nothing but failed solution implementations. Of those, we’ve seen and fixed quite a few over the past years. No surprise, they often were “delivered” by partner consultants never seen in any of Microsoft’s excellent MDM partner training courses or even participating in MDM discussion forums.

    Go and look up on Linkedin how many consultants you can find with Microsoft’s MB2-709 or MB2-720 Dynamics Marketing certification. Well, every consultant not on that list may probably have shown up with a sledge hammer and a rusty fork as their only tools to implement your MDM system – if I may use Steve’s figurative language for a moment.

    All that said, I believe that the new Dynamics 365 for Marketing announced for Spring 2017 will make things much easier for partners and customers. Without the need to sync databases and configure two separate software apps, the new, integrated approach will be much easier to handle and allow for more flexible marketing and sales process integration scenarios than we currently have available between MDM and CRM.

    Partners, however, will still need to get their heads around the underlying concepts of demand generation and customer engagement management if they want to be taken seriously by those customers who will want their help to implement Dynamics 365 for Marketing.

  2. I have arrived late to the Dynamics CRM world. After a deeper platform’s knowledge, I found a solution focused on sales, with a short and small business focused Customer Care and Marketing functionalities. I could see also the same in Salesforce.com.

    In the last years both Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com have been reducing the distance with Enterprise software, once the large customers arrived to the cloud. But on Dynamics CRM this simply “feature’s update” that the new kind of client needs, has been seen as a continuous – and difficult to manage – wave of new near-to-useless features that conflict with heavy customizations.

    I have seen that this new features that arrived to the platform since 2013 are rarely applied and even ignored. A terrible strong focus on strong customization (the first think is to create custom entities). Some concepts are absolutely ignored. I mean that many Dynamics CRM 2013-15-16 are simply the same Dynamics CRM 2011 “stored” in a new version.

    Into that fog, probably the most misunderstood software – with Social Listening’s permission – has been Dynamics Marketing. The large Enterprise B2C marketing, very common decades ago, has nothing to do with both the native marketing features and ClickDimensions.

    In fact, to consider MDM as the Microsoft’s ClickDimensions is the most common – and terrible – error in deployments all over the world. Also the extensive documentation about this concerns has been ignored.

    I don’t know sure, but I bet that the number of Dynamics CRM implementations collapsed for tons of B2C marketing data, useless syncrhonized between platforms, is today the top headache of a significant number of partners and customers.

    Meanwhile in the past the “guilty” was MDM, I bet also that today is happening the same with ClickDimensions. It seems that B2C marketing doesn’t fits into the Dynamics CRM native marketing model – reduced also to email sent – whatever the tool you use…

    About Agencies, the MDM enterprises allow to isolate the contacts of every agency, but this is also used with different BU’s (for instance Microsoft Consumer, Microsoft Enterprise). But this feature – useful for demos – is not mandatory at all and can be fully ignored.

    How the capability for working with agencies can reduce the use of a tool for this kind of marketing management, excluding any other, is a mistery to me. Dynamics CRM has 3 modules and don’t to use all of them doesn’t seems a limitation for deployments…

    I’m waiting for Dynamics 365. My stronger wish is the end of the old Dynamics CRM 2011, wichever versión it could show in the About screen.

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