Microsoft marshals marketing, service, social for Dynamics CRM, aims anew at Salesforce.com

Pricing details for the new modules will be announced at the Convergence conference next month

Microsoft is rolling out a new marketing automation application for its Dynamics line.
Microsoft is rolling out a new marketing automation application for its Dynamics line.

Microsoft is about to make a fresh run at its CRM (customer relationship management) rival Salesforce.com with new capabilities for marketing automation, customer support and social media monitoring.

The three components, which came about in part through Microsoft's acquisitions of Parature, MarketingPilot and NetBreeze, map in a competitive sense to Salesforce.com's Service Cloud, ExactTarget and Radian6 software products.

MarketingPilot has received a "complete overhaul" to make it look and feel similar to Microsoft's core CRM application, said Bill Patterson, senior director of Dynamics CRM and Parature. Initially, Microsoft had only provided a connector to MarketingPilot. It has also moved the product, now called Dynamics Marketing, to its Azure cloud service.

While on-premises MarketingPilot customers will continue to be supported on their current implementations, Microsoft will push all new innovations into Dynamics Marketing, which is only available as a cloud service, Patterson said. Microsoft plans to make these on-premises customers migration offers, although details weren't available.

Dynamics Marketing will feature a new drag-and-drop style visual campaign designer, which allows marketers to put together ad purchases and content placements across multiple channels, such as websites, emails and social media.

Once campaigns are up and running, the software provides ongoing analytics showing their relative success. It will be easy for marketers to make changes to their campaigns on the fly as well, according to Patterson.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has also developed a new application called Unified Service Desk. The product works with both the cloud-based and on-premises versions of Dynamics CRM.

Unified Service Desk is aimed at support call center workers who must deal with high volumes of inbound inquiries while trying to keep their interactions with customers cordial and personalized. It can pull together information from CRM systems as well as other sources, into a single view, Patterson said. It will work in conjunction with Parature's tools for self-service portals, chat and knowledge-base software.

Finally, Microsoft has formalized a name for the social media monitoring software it acquired by buying NetBreeze. Dubbed Social Listening, the software tracks mentions of brand names and products on social media, then analyzes the data with natural language processing to determine the type of sentiments being expressed.

Social Listening will be included at no charge with professional edition licenses of Dynamics CRM Online at no additional charge. On-premises Dynamics CRM users will incur an "incremental" fee if they want to turn Social Listening on; Patterson declined to provide details but said pricing for it as well as Dynamics Marketing will be announced in March at the Convergence conference.

If history and a hint from Patterson are any guide, Microsoft will likely price its new wares very competitively against Salesforce.com and others. "Dynamics CRM customers have always been amazed at the price to value delivered," he said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How to leverage the Internet of Things to understand consumer intent

'Intent' is the single largest performance marketing variable. It shapes our search queries, dictates our purchase paths and mediates meaningful interactions with brands regardless of channel, media or content type.

Oliver Smith

Business development, Performics Australia

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Data has been an increasingly critical factor in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing and business operations.

James Bennett

Chief experience officer, Kalido

Our sharing future is both terrifying and exciting

Discussing the future in a realistic fashion is often a disappointing prospect. For all the talk of hoverboards, jetpacks and lightsabers changing the way we do things, the reality tends to end up being something as mundane as a slightly cheaper way to get around the city.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Hi James, shouldn't marketers also be focusing on collecting and utilizing up to date first-party profiling data on customers so that mes...

Tom

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Read more

Wouldn't reconnecting with younger consumers be in direct contravention of the code on alcohol advertising?

Tim Palmer

Vodka Cruiser reconnects with younger consumers via category-first Facebook Live campaign

Read more

Thanks for the article Jennifer, you raise some interesting points. The supermarket and shopping centre examples particularly struck a c...

Jill Brennan

Why marketers should take note of social robots

Read more

Winning the retail game is really tricky at this point in time. Many retailers have declared themselves as bankrupt. But yes harnessing t...

Vanessa.M.Magers

​Bricks and clicks: Balancing digital and physical to win the retail game

Read more

Excellent article, Thank you.

Steve Beards

How Aprimo hopes to help marketers tackle distribution of content, funds and data

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in