Dynamics 365 Marketing: What’s New? 2021 Release Wave 1

Microsoft have announced new and exciting updates, changes, and features to Dynamics 365 Marketing in their latest 2021 Release Wave 1. These new features are all geared towards enabling users to take full advantage of the power of their data through the platform.

The focus of improvement to the 365 Marketing platform is on giving users the ability to enhance and improve their customer experience through AI-infused functionalities, deeper personalisation, more channels and powerful analytics.

In this post, we will go over the key features to note and how they’re enhancing the platform for users.

AI-Powered Functionalities

Users will now have the capability to create engaging customer experiences using enhanced AI built into the platform. These new features will enable marketers to improve marketing campaigns and have a 360-degree understanding of customers. These features include:

  • AI-driven recommendations for images: provides context-based suggestions for images to make it easy to select and deliver the right images or media for campaigns. Includes contextual search and image suggestions for email messages.
  • AI-driven run-time channel optimisation: using AI, Dynamics 365 Marketing can now help you pick the best channel and messaging for each customer based on historical data, as they go through your customer journey, without requiring you to make design-time choice or define a complex set of conditions. With the power of AI, the platform will continue to learn the way customers engage with your marketing campaigns to help you maximise the number of customers that reach your intended goals.
  • Using natural language to create conditions for branching customer journeys: You can now use simple words and phrases to describe customer attributes, segment names and events. No need to use complex syntax to specify the exact conditions you require.


The analytics within Dynamics 365 Marketing have been optimised to improve results and help you achieve business goals. These features include:

  • Experiment with the next action in a journey to optimise for results: You can now create A/B test of the same message across different channels, different messages, or different next actions. You can set winning metrics to be message-specific (e.g. email clicked) or a journey goal (e.g. cart checkout). When testing, you can control the audience distribution across the two variants and choose to automatically end the test when you find the winning variant, or at a specified date.
  • Improve journey effectiveness with a built-in cross-journey aggregate dashboard: Built with Power BI, the cross-journey dashboard brings together metrics, views, and KPIs summarised across single or multiple journeys which gives you a deep understanding of journey, channel, and content performance. The dashboard is focused on engagement goals, which enables you to fine-tune the effectiveness of your journeys, channels, and content.
  • Monitor customer journeys and channel KPIs in real time: Now you can monitor your customer journey’s effectiveness with the help of real-time analytics updates. With the built-in Sankey chart, you can highlight flow density of journey participants, and analyse your channel performance with deliverability funnel and undelivered category pie chart breakdowns. You can also monitor goal accomplishment with the goal attainment chart. Overall, these new features will allow you to monitor journey operation health, identify any bottlenecks in your journey flow and determine why customers are engaging or disengaging with certain channels or steps.
  • Set business goals for journeys and measure progress: With this new feature, you can now measure the success of your customer journeys on an ongoing basis and make incremental improvements to reach targets quickly and effectively. Define goals that track customer engagement, satisfaction, general onboarding or drive a purchase. Optimise your A/B tests and channel sections based on the journey goal, and express goal targets in count or percentage to determine how well a journey is performing.


Reach customers with the right messages with more channels, power and ease. These new features will help you do just that:

  • Create emails quickly with low effort, personalise with ease and without compromises: There is now a completely new way of creating engaging and relevant email content for customers in Dynamics 365 Marketing. The improved email editor optimises for a productive workflow including real-time validation. The new editor has a modern look and feel and has been improved to be faster and more fluid. There is now more editing space, advanced image manipulation and editing capabilities, and reliable email previews and rendering.
  • Create and send SMS messages to any mobile phone: Enable fast, transactional communication and marketing messaging as part of campaign communication with SMS messaging through Dynamics 365 Marketing. Send SMS and MMS messaging via toll-free numbers and short codes and craft and end-to-end experience with personalised messages inside the SMS editor. You can also schedule the delivery of messages to mobile users.
  • Deliver push notifications to any Android or iOS app: You can now use Dynamics 365 Marketing to create beautiful, personalised push notifications to keep your customers engaged. Includes rich notification features such as messages with images, videos and sound. Ability to send push notifications in-app or outside of the app. Create push clicks that can lead to links or deep links, and craft custom action buttons that can link to a preferred action or page inside or out of the app.
  • Search, version, manage and tag digital assets with a new centralised asset library: The goal of this feature is to provide companies with a 360-degree view and management of company assets. You now have the ability to search, create, delete and replace images with this new asset library in Dynamics 365 Marketing. Search is improved with the use of intelligent, AI-based image tagging and the system is shared with Dynamics 365 Commerce as well.
  • Create and manage content-rich social media posts for Instagram: You can now use Dynamics 365 Marketing to schedule rich content to Instagram. Post single photos to Instagram (you are limited to one photo per post and video posting is currently not available). Insights are also available using Instagram-supported KPIs.


  • Event catalog with builtin and custom events triggering customer journeys: You now have the ability to leverage a set of built-in events from Marketing interactions, Dynamics 365 applications and external data sources to capture moments that matter and create engaging interactions with customers. Create custom events to orchestrate business-specific, real-world scenarios, track customer behaviours, or other signals to create a personalised, and meaningful experience for customers.
  • Real time, event-base customer journey orchestration: React to customers’ actions in real-time with event-based customer journeys. Can be triggered based on real-world interactions such a walking into a store or connecting to Wi-Fi. You can also trigger journeys based on virtual interactions e.g., visiting a shopping site. Because it’s in real-time, this enables you to respond to customers immediately and convert their expression of interest into a sale quickly. You can automatically add or remove customers from journeys based on their actions and personalise the journey for each individual customer.


There are a lot of new features that have been released to create deeper personalisation for your customer engagement. These include:

  • Use continuously updating, multidata-source segments from Customer Insights in your marketing campaigns: Discover Customer Insights segments instantly, see segment creation logic, and use segments for Marketing customer journeys. You can also save snapshots of Customer Insights dynamic segments as static segments in Marketing.
  • Hyper-personalise customer journeys using data and insights from Dynamics 365 Customer Insights: Dynamics 365 Marketing now enables deep 1:1 personalisation in customer engagement initiatives by seamlessly augmenting your CRM data with rich customer profiles and segments from Dynamics 365 Customer Insights.
  • Author personalised content across email, SMS and push notifications through a new point-and-click interface: As we addressed in the features above, you can now create personalised content with easy to use, rich-text editor for SMS and email marketing.
  • Participant engagement-based communication for online events powered by Microsoft Teams: For those that use online events to engage with customers, gain new leads and create opportunities, you can now get a deeper understanding of participant engagement which is valuable to know. Knowing your engagement levels will allow you to follow up with participants who started but did not finish a full webinar and provide you with more opportunities to close the loop.

There are certainly a lot of new features that will make Dynamics 365 Marketing an even more powerful platform for organisations.

If you need help navigating the new features in the platform or are considering switching to Dynamics 365, contact us. We are specialists in Dynamics 365 and Power Platform and provide consulting and solutions for organisations.