Provide customized data to your users


Applies To: Dynamics Marketing

Use external entities in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing to map supplementary details for marketing contacts. External entities provide you with the flexibility to add customized information to your email marketing messages to inform your contacts about stores near their locations, rewards offered based on their recent purchases, or promotion codes matching their purchasing history. For example, you can have an external entity of type “Store” to track the nearest stores for marketing contacts based on their addresses in the database. When you send contacts an email marketing message, you can include the store details in the message so that the contacts know about the stores nearest to them. External entities reduce redundancy and improve maintainability by helping you keep the entity details in just one place instead of having them for every marketing contact. For example, if a store’s email address changes, you just have to make that change in the external entity representing that store and the change will be reflected in all the contacts that are mapped to that store.

Each external entity is associated with an external ID and an external entity type. Using the combination of ID and Type, you can associate an external entity with the contact, and identify it across different data sources and external entity types. Each contact can be mapped with the relevant data in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. The external entity holds data about itself. For example, an external entity of type nearest store will contain the address, telephone, or email address of the store nearest to the marketing contact.

External entities are created and maintained through Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. The external ID of the external entity is set by a Dynamics 365 system which talks to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Once the external entities are created, they appear in the External Entities list in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. The mapping between the external entity type (which is a category) and a contact field is created through the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing user interface. You can map a contact field to an external entity by navigating to Home > Settings > My Company > Company Settings. To know more about how to view external entities, associate an external entity with a contact, select a nearest store record for a marketing contact, or add the nearest store details to an email marketing message, see Set up external entities to provide tailored details to marketing contacts.

The XML format defines the schema of the external entity. The schema defines how the external entity data associated with a contact is accessed in email messages. For example, the Contact entity can have an additional attribute such as nearestStoreId that maps to the metadata. The XML schema has to be defined and uploaded to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing using the SDK. However, you can download the XML schema from the external entity maintain page available at Home > Settings > External Entities > Choose entity

When an external entity of a new type is added to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing for the first time, the category value is automatically created. You can synchronize mapping between external entities and contacts using Dynamics 365 Connector, or modify it manually using Dynamics 365 Connector and the SDK. More information: Connect Microsoft Dynamics Marketing to Dynamics CRM.

See Also

Developer overview of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing
Getting started with the SDK
Quick start with sample code
Sample: Create and update external entities
Set up external entities to provide tailored details to marketing contacts
Assembly included in the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing SDK
Web service and assembly reference