Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions, an initial comparison. Microsoft has released their Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing module, this article is an initial review of the module and high-level comparison to ClickDimensions (the other mainstream marketing automation option for Dynamics 365).
Availability - There are a few different subscription options for the Marketing module. Let's first compare the pricing models between Dynamics Marketing and ClickDimensions.
Dynamics Marketing is priced based on the number of contacts. There has been a lot of um let's say feedback on this model. As a partner we work with many Dynamics 365 clients, we see even small businesses that have lots of leads/contacts in their Dynamics database. Often times there is a large number of leads/contacts that will never be marketed to, under Microsoft's pricing model you are paying for these leads/contacts even if you don't market to them. The upside to Microsoft's pricing is that there are no upcharges for functionality, you get all the goodies with any subscription level.
ClickDimensions has two pricing/subscription levels, Basic and Advanced/Business, different levels of functionality. Also, the levels include certain numbers of email sends, Basic includes 50,000/year and 200,000 with Advanced/Business. An email send is each copy of an email you send, for example, if you have the contact Bob Smith in your database and you send 4 different email campaigns that include Bob that is 4 email sends. Basic is priced at $499/month, Advanced/Business is $699 per month. You can purchase additional email sends ($100 for 100,000, $200 for 200,000 etc.)
The Advanced/Business subscription level adds functionality - Automation, Landing Pages, Lead/Contact Scoring, Event Management, Surveys and Subscription Management. For a fair comparison with Dynamics Marketing you should use the ClickDimensions Advanced/Business subscription level.
ClickDimensions also offers Social Engagement that is an add-on, $250/month for Basic and $600/month for Business. Microsoft includes their Social Engagement tool in the base price of Dynamics Marketing. The Social components of each solution are different so look at each closely to determine which solution meets your Social needs.
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Pricing/Packaging
Standalone - The Marketing module is offered as a standalone option. This is a differentiator, ClickDimensions is only available as an add-on to Dynamics 365. The standalone marketing module also includes Microsoft Social Engagement, Voice of the Customer for Microsoft Dynamics 365, 1 Portal, Non-Production/Production Instance, and Storage. Pricing is $1500 for the base package with 10,000 contacts. You can add more contacts for $250/month for 5000 contacts.
"Attach" Plan - If you already have Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement plan licenses you can attach Dynamics Marketing to your subscription for $750/month, 2000 contacts included. Additional contacts cost $600 for 1st 8000, then $250 for each additional 5000. If you already have Dynamics 365 application licenses (like Sales Enterprise vs the full Customer Engagement Plan licensing) you can attach Marketing for $750/month, includes 10,000 contacts and $250/month for each additional 5000 contacts.
If you license the Marketing module standalone you get Microsoft Social Engagement, Voice of the Customer for Microsoft Dynamics 365, 1 Portal, Non-Production/Production Instance, and Storage. If you are a Customer Engagement Plan customer you get portals, Social Engagement with your Customer Engagement subscription. If you have the Sales app. licenses you don't get Social or Voice of the Customer, they can be added on to your subscription.
Dynamics Marketing limits the number of emails you can send monthly, 10 times the number of contacts in your database each month. You can also have up to 100 active customer journeys.
To truly compare pricing you will need to know the number of leads/contacts in your database and the number of emails you plan to send annually.
Confused? We can help you determine the proper solution and subscription level.
ClickDimensions leverages standard Dynamics 365 functionality (Marketing Lists for example). ClickDimensions looks and feels like any other area of Dynamics 365.
Dynamics 365 Marketing is deployed in the new Unified Client (if you try to access the functionality via the standard browser interface you will be confused as all the functionality is not there(at least not that we could see). There is no clear instruction on this, to access the Marketing functionality log into your portal - login.microsoftonline.com, click on Dynamics 365, then find the tile for Marketing, this will get you to the unified client.
I have used Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365 for over 14 years, the Marketing module is different. Yes, it looks very new and fresh but that comes with a learning curve. When I first logged into the Marketing tool I could not easily perform simple tasks (like building a segment, more on that later). I had to revert to the documentation.
Things are different and the standard Dynamics 365 entities are not used in some areas. For example, Marketing Lists. If you have put a lot of time and effort into building Marketing Lists and try to use them in Dynamics Marketing you will likely be upset as you cannot use them unless they are set as a "subscription list" (not that we could see anyway). Here comes the new "fresh" functionality... lists in Dynamics Marketing are called Segments. Ok, no problem I go over to the Segments. You would think that Segments are built using Advanced Find right? Nope... whole new system for querying and adding Leads/Contacts to a segment. Again if you spent a lot of time and effort building Advanced Find queries you cannot use them (again not that we could find). Going to a Segment and then clicking on Definition will let you build a segment:
You can build your query one of 3 ways, Designer (point and click), Flow or Query. I cannot understand why the standard entities like Marketing Lists and Advanced finds are not used. Now users need to learn multiple ways of querying.
ALSO - I found the Marketing module not to work with Microsoft Edge.... I had to open it in Google Chrome.
You cannot just pull together a list and send an email, you must build a Journey even for one-off emails. The Journey functionality is nice and I think will ultimately prove to be a good tool. ClickDimensions has very similar functionality in their campaign automation (very similar UI for building Journeys/campaign automation).
Pages, Forms and Websites are pretty nice in Dynamics 365 Marketing. Very visual and drag/drop based editing. LinkedIn lead generation is also built-in allowing you to create forms on LinkedIn to collect leads. There are some advantages in these areas over ClickDimensions in our opinion.
Reporting in Dynamics Marketing is good with some builtin dashboards. There is a PowerBI content pack also available however we could not get it to connect to our Dynamics Marketing instance. ClickDimensions also has builtin dashboards available as well as a PowerBI content pack, builtin views.
All-in-all we are impressed with the Microsoft Marketing offering, especially for a V1 release. I like that it is available as a standalone application for businesses that are not ready for full CRM or just need a marketing application. I am not thrilled about the pricing model (based on leads/contacts), that will limit sales in a lot of accounts who are smaller but with large databases.
I admit I am biased having used ClickDimensions for a lot of years. I try not to let that sway my opinions. I am a Microsoft and Dynamics 365 evangelist, I love what Microsoft is doing with the Dynamics 365 platform but our job and first loyalty is to our clients and to help guide them to the best solution for their needs/requirements. From where I sit today we will need to spend more time with the new Marketing module and will be writing additional reviews on the solution.
If you would like guidance on selecting the best marketing automation platform for your business, a demo of Dynamics Marketing or ClickDimensions please reach out to us - 844.8.STRAVA (844.8.7282) or email me at email@example.com
About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. In 2017 he founded Strava Technology Group, a firm that is focused on helping businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM and Dynamics 365. To reach David connect with him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Strava Technology Group visit www.stravatechgroup.com