Market segmentation, marketing lists, and subscription lists
Applies to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.x
[This topic is pre-release documentation and is subject to change.]
You can define your various target groups by setting up segments and lists. Each list or segment represents a collection of contacts that you can use to target a customer journey. You'll also use marketing lists in your subscription center to enable contacts to manually opt-in or opt-out of various types of newsletters and other marketing communications.
Segments in Dynamics 365 for Marketing
A market segment is the collection of contacts that you target in a marketing campaign. In some cases, you'll simply target all the contacts you have, but in most cases, you'll choose who you want to target based on demographic or firmographic data and other considerations. For example, if you're opening a new store in San Francisco, you'll probably promote the opening-day event at that store only to contacts who live near San Francisco. Or if you're running a sale on dresses, you might only send related marketing email messages to your contacts who are female. Decisions like these will typically also affect the way you communicate with the segment in terms of which channels you'll choose, what kind of graphics you'll pick, which kinds of arguments you make, and more.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing uses segments in two important ways:
- Customer journeys: Most customer journeys start with a segment tile, which establishes the collection of contacts who will experience that journey. You can combine multiple segments here.
- Subscription lists: Subscription lists are static lists that contacts can add themselves to (or remove themselves from) by using a subscription center.
Segments can be dynamic, static, or compound.
- Dynamic segments are set up by using logical expressions, such as "all contacts from New York" or "all contacts who like The Mets." Membership in dynamic segments changes constantly to reflect new or removed contacts and updated contact information.
- Static segments establish a static list of contacts who are selected on a per-contact basis rather than created logically based on field values. Marketers and salespeople might create and populate a static list based on private knowledge or offline interactions. Contacts can add or remove themselves from static segments by using a subscription center, which provides a list of available mailing lists (each of which is a static segment). In Dynamics 365 for Marketing, you'll base your static segments on lists created by using the marketing lists feature; more on this later.
- Compound segments combine static and dynamic criteria. They contain all contacts who match the dynamic criteria, plus all contacts added explicitly (as to a static list).
Dynamics 365 for Marketing works together with another product called Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights to provide advanced segment definitions and customer analytics. The integration is seamless and results in powerful combined functionality when the two systems work together. Your contact records and marketing lists are continuously synchronized between the two systems, which lets Customer Insights apply its powerful data processing and analytical tools to your contacts, and combine these with information from other types of Dynamics 365 records and information from other systems. You can also access Customer Insights directly to make use of its additional analytical tools and other features. More information: Customer Insights online help
View, create, and manage your segments
To work with your segments, go to Marketing > Customers > Segments. This opens a standard list view, which you can use to search, sort, filter, create, and delete your segments. Open any segment to view its details.
Segment records provide several tabs for describing, defining, and reviewing the segment. Tabs are shown as a set of headings under the header, which shows the name of the segment. Select any of these headings to go to the relevant tab. Each tab is described briefly in the following subsections.
The General tab
The General tab provides general information about the segment, including:
- Name: Enter a name that will make the segment easy for you and others to identify while working in Dynamics 365.
- Segment Type: Set the segment to dynamic, marketing list, or compound. Dynamic segments are populated logically, based on a query you create on the Definition tab. Marketing lists (also called static lists) are populated by choosing individual members and are also used to create subscription lists on subscription centers, where contacts can add or remove themselves. Compound segments combine static and dynamic criteria.
- Activation Status: Enable or disable the segment. Only enabled segments are available for use elsewhere in Dynamics 365. You might disable a segment if you don't need it anymore, or to keep people from using it before you've finished developing it.
The Definition tab
Use the Definition tab to establish membership of the segment. For dynamic segments, you'll get a query builder here. For marketing lists, you'll be able to choose from lists created in Dynamics 365 and synchronized to Customer Insights.
The settings on this tab are described in more detail later in this topic.
The Related tab
This is actually a drop-down list that you can use to find other types of records (such as customer journeys) that use or reference the current segment. When you choose an entity name here, a new tab named for that entity opens, showing a list of all found records. The Related tab remains available, and you can still use it to find other types of records that reference the current segment.
Set up marketing lists for use with static segments and subscription centers
As mentioned earlier in this topic, static segments are populated by adding contacts explicitly, one at a time, rather than by establishing logical rules (such as "all contacts from North Carolina"). This is especially important for creating lists for use in subscription centers, where contacts can add or remove themselves from each subscription list, but you can also create and populate static lists for other uses.
Use the marketing lists feature to set up a static list, which the system will automatically synchronize with Customer Insights. After you've set up the marketing list, you'll be able to use it to create your static or compound segments for use in customer journeys.
For details about how to create marketing lists and use them in subscription centers and segments, see Set up subscription lists and subscription centers.
Build a segment definition
Use the Definition tab to build your segment by combing groups of logical expressions, each of which results in a set of contacts. Each group establishes a path through one or more entities that must end at the Contact entity (the order matters).
Define a segment group
Each group in your segment results in a list of contacts, which are selected by the logic defined in that group. For example, you might build a path as follows:
- Start with the Marketing List entity to find a marketing list named subscribers.
- Continue to the Accounts entity to find the accounts from that list, and find only companies working in the insurance industry.
- End at the Contacts entity to find the contacts from those accounts, and find only contacts living in California.
Because the path ends with contacts, the result is a list of contacts who live in California and work for insurance companies that are on the subscribers list. (Many segment groups that you create will probably query the Contacts entity only, but even groups such as these might employ complex logic that combines multiple AND and OR clauses.)
When working in the Designer view, you can build this query by using the + And buttons and various drop-down lists to produce the following:
Another way to work here is to use the Explore view, which provides a graphical map of the path you're creating. To use that view, select the Explore button for a group on the Definition tab. (It's also available on the Flow tab; more on that later.)
The map at the top of the explorer shows the entities that are available for use when creating segments. The map is updated as you build your query group to indicate which paths are still valid. It uses the following colors and line weights to indicate this:
- Turquoise circle: marks the target entity—all paths must end here (currently, always Contact).
- Green circle: marks the currently selected entity. The attributes belonging to this entity are listed below the map. Use the drop-down lists and input fields here to build a query that finds the records you want from the selected entity. After setting up a row, select + on the right side to add that expression to the query.
- Blue circles: mark entities that are not yet used, but are still available.
- Gray circles: mark entities that are no longer selectable because of settings you've already made for the current path.
- Blue, bold lines: mark paths that are not yet used, but are still available.
- Gray, bold lines: mark paths that are already part of the query.
- Gray, thin lines: mark paths that are no longer available because of settings you've already made.
Close the Explore view by selecting OK. Your resulting query is then shown in the Designer, just as though you had created it there (as shown previously).
In the language of Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights, entities are often referred to as profiles.
The following image shows the previous query midway through construction, where we're adding the account criterion. Note how the map colors indicate where you are, where you've been, and what you can (and can't) do next.
On adding the final Contacts entity to the expression we've been describing in this example, you'll be asked to choose which of the available paths to use.
The correct one is contact_account_accountid_<suffix>, which establishes how the contact entity relates to the account entity.
Combine segment groups
A simple segment might have just one group, but you can create and combine as many groups a need. As a result, you can create highly sophisticated queries in your Customer Insights database.
You combine groups, working first group to last, by using the following operators:
- Union: combines all members of a group with the results of the previous group.
- Exclude: removes members of a group from the results of the previous group.
- Intersect: removes all members from the previous group that are not also members of the current group.
When you're working on the Designer tab, use the + Add Group button to add a group and choose its operator.
The Flow tab provides another view of how your groups are combined. Here, you get a Sankey diagram of how your groups are combined, and how contacts flow into and out of the segment as a result of the operation from each group.
You can also add new groups while working on the Flow tab, which provides the same Explore view described previously for defining the group.
Create segments based on opportunities
The default Marketing setup does not sync opportunities with Customer Insights, which means that opportunities are not initially included in the segment builder, but you can add them.
After you add a new entity to Customer Insights, it will continue to sync and consume storage space there and can't be removed again. You should only add those entities you're sure you'll need.
After opportunities are added, you'll be able to create segments that query the opportunities entity and find contacts associated with those opportunities.
After syncing opportunities with Customer Insights, you'll also be able to use them in your lead-scoring rules by using the techniques described in Create advanced lead scoring conditions with traversals
Sync opportunities with Customer Insights
If your Marketing instance isn't already set up to sync opportunities with Customer Insights, talk to your admin about setting this up as follows:
Go to Settings > Marketing > Customer Insight Sync. (Admin privileges required.)
The Customer Insight Sync page shows a list of check boxes, with one for each entity that you can sync with Customer Insights. Find Opportunity (opportunity) in the list, and select its check box (if it isn't already selected).
Select Publish Changes to apply your setting.
Allow some time for the new setting to be propagated and the sync to be completed. After the settings have been propagated, you'll be able to see the opportunity entity in your segment designer, and can use it to define segments by applying techniques similar to those described earlier in this topic. An example is given in the following section.
An example of a segment that includes opportunities
Here's an example of how to define a segment that starts by finding a collection of opportunities and, as usual, ends by finding the contacts that belong to that segment. In this example, we'll find contacts associated with opportunities valued over $10,000.
Create a new segment (or edit an existing one) as described earlier in this topic, and then go to the Designer tab.
Start with an empty group. If you're creating a new segment with just one group, remove the default group by choosing its close box; otherwise, select Add Group to create your new group.
Your group should now start with a drop-down list set to Select a profile or relationship. Select Opportunity here, and then complete the row to create
Opportunity | Total Amount | Greater than or Equal To | 10000.
Select +And to add a new clause to the group. Now you must choose the relation between the opportunity entity and the contact entity, which is where we need to end up. Choose opportunity_contact_customerid_<suffix> and set it to All*.
Select +And to add a final clause to the group, which must end with the contact entity. Set the new clause to use the contact_<suffix> entity and set it to All* to find all contacts associated with the selected opportunities.
Your group will now find contacts associated with opportunities valued over $10,000.
If you leave the Designer tab and then come back, you'll notice that the middle (relation) clause has disappeared. Don't worry, it's still there in the background (and you can still see it on the Query tab), but the interface hides it to make the group easier to read.