Built-In Event Management
Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 update has nearly countless items to be excited about putting this release high on the list of most impactful updates so far. That said, we all have our favourites, and as a marketer, you can guess which one is mine. Dynamics 365 for Marketing brings big changes to your marketing function with the opportunity to create dynamic, static, and compound customer segments; outbound and inbound customer journeys; and built-in landing page and subscription capabilities.
The biggest change of them all, however, may just be their new event management tool. With the ability to manage every detail of your event directly within the Dynamics 365 platform, even a small business with a one-man marketing team would be well-equipped to plan and run your medium to large-sized conference. Let’s see how an event record is broken down and what information is available.
Your Planning Hub
The General tab, as expected, covers your basic information, such as the name of the event, the location, event capacity, and auto-filled fields such as the registration and check-in counts. You can also use it as a hub to leave other team members notes on progress or list tasks that are next on your to-do list. You can also find date information on when it begins and ends, attendance goals, and the event URL to give you a quick snapshot of what the day is all about.
This is where the event management tool in Dynamics 365 for Marketing starts to get exciting. As any event manager knows, keeping track of your sessions, tracks, speakers, and sponsors can be spread across numerous spreadsheets and versions leading to headaches when changes are required. Not only is all of this neatly organized in the event record, but you have the ability to act on quality information. You can identify the audience and registration count for each session, helping you to adapt your event content or time slots to get the best session turnout. Finally, you can also maintain speaker costs and sponsorship details, which will automatically funnel into the financial details section of the event record.
You can get very detailed about the venue from listing the capacity and layouts of each room and the buildings they’re in to whether or not there is parking, toilets, or disabled accessibility. To make sure no stone is left unturned or forgotten, you can also list if a room requires additional supplies such as whiteboards, easels, and more. After all, the last thing an event manager needs is a room full of customers waiting for a presentation only to be missing a projector. Dynamics 365 for Marketing ensures every detail is accounted for.
Registration & Attendance
With registration built-in, you can forget about the hassle that comes with third party applications. You can create tiered passes with different price points to offer various levels of value that fits every attendee, be it the early-bird offer, VIP access, or including/excluding meals. In addition to maintaining a database of event registrations, as you approach the big day, you will want to get your attendees to check-in to make sure they’re still attending. Having all of this in Dynamics 365 allows for easy manipulation of email lists when it comes to sending event notices, reminders, or registration offers and eliminating the mix up of sending the wrong offer to the wrong audience.
The Financials section allows you to compare all target and actual event revenues, such as registrations and sponsorship, to costs, such as the venue, activities, and miscellaneous items, to give you a summary of whether or not you met budget expectations. What’s important to recognize is how easily this information comes together. By having all of the information stored under one roof, the data you input when filling out the location details, sponsorship information, or the data gained from the automated registration process all gets fed into this summary. No longer do you need go digging through the various documents to pool it all together.
Finally, you can create and manage event surveys and responses, whether you want to create a quick survey for each session, track, or just one at the end of your event. By having people register for individual sessions, you now have the opportunity to create customized surveys seeking feedback on specific topics rather than sending the same general survey to both technical and non-technical audiences. Not only can you use this information to improve on future events, but you can also act on any potential opportunities and follow up, with the contact being directly tied to a given survey response. Information is power in marketing and with the event management tool in Dynamics 365 for Marketing, the power is in your hands.