Prepare and import data

 

Updated: November 18, 2016

Applies To: Dynamics Marketing

System_CAPS_importantImportant

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is scheduled to be retired on May 15, 2018. After that date the service will no longer be available. Please plan accordingly. For details, see the blog post Microsoft Dynamics Marketing service will be discontinued, and learn what’s coming next.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing provides several mechanisms for importing data originating in external systems. These include the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics 365, the SDK, and the Dynamics Marketing user interface (UI). This topic describes the various ways you can import data from files using the Dynamics Marketing user interface. For more information about other types of integration, see Configure the SDK and Dynamics 365 Connector.

To import data from external files through the UI, the following conditions must be met:

You can import the following types of data from external files using the UI:

  • Activities

  • Contacts

  • Event staff and speakers

  • Leads

  • Landing pages

  • Source codes

  • Offers

  • Phone numbers

  • Media plans

  • Rate cards

  • Products and services

  • Marketing results

  • Media outlets and rates

  • Broadcast verification

Before you can import, you must have a suitable file with the required data. The following external file formats are supported:

  • CSV (widely supported format, easily exported from Microsoft Office Excel; the best choice in most cases)

  • TXT (plain text, better than CSV if you require support for Unicode characters)

  • XML (not supported for all types of imports)

  • DAT (not supported for all types of imports)

  • Kantar Media's Commercial 2 BVS (broadcast verification only)

Prepare the content of your file as follows:

  • The first row of your import file must contain column headers (field names) rather than values. This will be useful later when you are mapping the incoming columns against Dynamics Marketing field names. However, this also means that the first row of your import file won’t be imported to the database, so please make sure that no important data is saved in the first row.

  • To make the import procedure easier, consider making the column names in the first row of your import file the same as the field names in Dynamics Marketing. This lets Dynamics Marketing match the columns automatically.

  • If your import file includes date/time fields, make sure these are all set relative to the UTC time zone. Dynamics Marketing attempts to parse several typical formats of incoming date/time values. The format of incoming dates can either be en-US (month/day/year) or ISO (year-month-date); delimiters must be slash for en-US or hyphen for ISO; years can have 4 digits or 2; days and months can have 2 digits or 1; the time is optional and can be 24 hours or am/pm. However you can’t use time offsets—the time must be in UTC. So for example, incoming values are parsed as follows:

    • '7/21/2014' = 7/21/2014 12:00:00 AM

    • '7/21/2014 0:1AM' = 7/21/2014 12:01:00 AM

    • '7/21/2014 01:03AM' = 7/21/2014 1:03:00 AM

    • '7/21/2014 16:34' = 7/21/2014 4:34:00 PM

    • '2014-7-21 23:34' = 7/21/2014 11:34:00 PM

    • '2014-10-20T11:45:26+02:00' = 10/20/2014 11:45:26 AM

  • Check the size of your import file. If your file is too large, Dynamics Marketing generates an error when you try to import it. The current limit is 4 MB. If your file is larger than this, split it into multiple files. Be sure to include a header row in each file.

Nearly all types of imports that can be done using the UI follow the same basic procedure, as outlined here. For special notes that apply to specific types of import records, see the remaining sections in this topic.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, create the import file you’ll need, as described in the previous section. See also the following sections for important additional requirements related to specific record types.

  2. In Dynamics Marketing, go to the list page for the type of record you want to import.

  3. Click Import Upload button on the list-page toolbar. If this button isn’t shown, either you don’t have permission to import records or the record type you’re looking at doesn’t support import from the UI.

  4. Dynamics Marketing launches the import wizard. The wizard steps vary slightly depending on the type of records you’re importing. In most cases, you begin by defining the context for your import and choosing the import file. You will typically need to specify options such as import type and the company the imported records belong to. You must also choose your import File using a file browser. Depending on import type, you might see one or several pages here; click Next when you are done with each page of settings.

  5. You are now asked to map the columns from the import file (in the left column) to the field names used in Dynamics Marketing (in the drop-down lists). Use the drop-down lists to establish the mappings. Dynamics Marketing will suggest likely mappings based on your column-header text and similar previous imports (if any).

  6. Click Next. Dynamics Marketing displays a confirmation page. If the information is correct, click Next to begin the import. If the information is incorrect, click Back and make any necessary changes.

  7. When the import begins, Dynamics Marketing returns you to the page where you were working before starting the import, but will continue processing the import in the background. When the import is complete, Dynamics Marketing sends you an email message with details about the import, including counts for imported and skipped records. The email may also contain a hyperlink that lets you undo the import (depending on import type)—this lets you run tests or recover from a problematic import. If there is an error, the email will include a link to a page containing a detailed explanation of the problem.

For most import types, Dynamics Marketing checks incoming records against existing ones to identify duplicates. When a duplicate is found, Dynamics Marketing usually skips the incoming record, though some types of import wizards provide an option to instead update the existing record. For most import types, Dynamics Marketing compares the primary Name field values to identify duplicates, but some import types are more specialized. Contact imports, in particular, are special in this regard. See the remaining sections of this topic for details about these special cases.

Importing records, especially for the first time, can be challenging because there are lots of details to keep track of. Here are a few tips and hints to help you have a better first-time experience:

  • In the file to be imported, make the column names the same as the field names in Dynamics Marketing; Dynamics Marketing will automatically match the columns to the appropriate field.

  • Before you import a huge file, run a simple test to validate that your mapping is correct. When you import contacts, Dynamics Marketing sends you a confirmation email that includes a hyperlink to undo the import. This way you can run a test and then discard the test contacts you imported.

  • Dynamics Marketing contact records include three sets of phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses. Start with the primary phone number, email address, and mailing address.

Contact records form a central aspect of Dynamics Marketing, and contact import is a common operation. For these reasons, there are several special considerations to keep in mind when importing contacts.

To import contacts, you must have both Import/Export Contacts and List Manager privileges.

To import contacts, go to any type of contact list page (such as marketing contacts or client contacts) and click Import Upload buttonon the list-page toolbar. It doesn't matter which page you start on because the first page of the import-contacts dialog asks you to specify which type of contacts you are importing (marketing, client, staff, and/or vendor). All contacts imported using a given import file will be assigned the same type(s). Note the following:

  • The Type setting provides check boxes for setting incoming contacts as Marketing, Client, Staff, and/or Vendor. Usually you should choose just one of these, but you can combine client, staff, and/or vendor types. However, you can't combine marketing contacts with other types of contacts.

  • All contacts in the import must belong to the same company. Client, staff, and vendor contacts should all be set to belong to the site company, but marketing contacts can be assigned either to the site company or to any client company, depending on who owns them.

As with most types of imports, Dynamics Marketing checks incoming contact imports against contact records already in the database. However, duplicate detection is more sophisticated for contacts than for most types of records.

There are several options for identifying duplicate contacts. The method Dynamics Marketing will use for your site is determined by the Contact Options > Duplicate Detection setting on the Site Settings page. For information about the duplicate-detection settings that are available and how they may affect your imports, see Configure site settings.

When you start the import operation, set the Allow updating of existing contacts checkbox as needed to choose how to handle incoming records that match existing records according to the duplicate-detection rules set for your site. The two options here have the following effects:

  • Allow updating of existing contacts: When the check box is selected, incoming records that match existing records will update the existing records. Fields considered by the duplicate-detection setting can't be updated during import (if these don't match, a new record is created), and fields not included in the incoming file will keep their existing values.

    System_CAPS_cautionCaution

    You can't roll back a contact import operation if you choose the update existing option.

  • Prevent updating of existing contacts: When the check box is cleared, incoming records that match existing records are dropped from the import and existing records remain unchanged. A skip count is included in the email sent to you after the import is complete. The email also includes a rollback link that you can use to undo the import.

System_CAPS_noteNote

The reason that some of the duplicate-detection settings allow multiple contacts to share the same email address is because some organizations may have a shared address (such as purchasing@contoso.com), which may be read by any of several people. Dynamics Marketing is able to track and score each contact separately, even though they share an email address. For this same reason, Dynamics Marketing may send multiple marketing emails to the same address, provided more than one unique contact sharing that address is included in the send list.

System_CAPS_noteNote

When you delete a contact record, the record is marked as inactive and (usually) hidden, but is not removed from the database. If you import a record that is identified as a duplicate of an existing, inactive record, the incoming record will be skipped as usual. However, if you’re importing to a marketing list, the existing inactive record will be added to the list.

  • If your import file specifies a company name for one or more contacts, Dynamics Marketing will check for a matching company name in the database. If a match is found, then the new contact is linked to the existing company; if no match is found, then a new company record is created and linked to the relevant incoming contact(s). All contacts with the same new company name in a single import operation are associated with the same new company.

  • If your import file doesn’t specify a time zone for one or more contacts, these contacts are assigned the default time zone established for your site. More information:Configure site settings

To import leads, go to Marketing Execution > Lead Management > Leads and click Import Upload button. The procedure for importing leads is the same as for importing contacts, and results in creating both lead records and associated contacts and companies as needed. The new associated records are also linked with each other. The import operation attempts to identify existing contacts and companies referenced in the incoming leads; when matches are found, the new lead record is linked to the existing contact and/or company records.

For the system to identify and link existing contacts to incoming leads, your lead-import file must uniquely identify each relevant contact according to the duplicate-detection option you have chosen (for example, if you allow shared email addresses, then contacts must be identified by first name, last name, and email address; if your email addresses are unique, then email alone is enough). See also the Importing contacts section, earlier in this topic. The belongs-to company must also match in all cases, but you choose this as part of the import process rather than specifying it in the import file (so all records in a given import file will belong to the same company).

The import operation will skip duplicate leads. An incoming lead is identified as a duplicate if it has lead name, lead date, contact, company, campaign, program, and belongs-to values that all match a lead record in the database or that was already processed in the incoming file.

System_CAPS_noteNote

The import operation includes automatic lead scoring and assignment. All incoming leads are scored according to your existing lead-scoring rules, and any unassigned leads will be assigned a representative and territory according to your existing lead-assignment rules. More information:Set up automatic lead assignment and Set up automatic lead scoring

Activities are records that are assigned to a specific contact and scheduled for a particular time. They are shown on the marketing calendar. Event speakers and staffing are also activities, and are stored in the same table as other types of activities, but they’ll usually have an event and/or event session associated with them.

When you import activities, all of the activities are assigned to the user importing the file.

You can import activities and events staff/speakers in several ways. The method you choose affects how some field values are assigned in the imported records. Choose one of the following:

  • To import activities, go to Marketing Execution > Calendar > Activities.

  • To import event speakers and staff, go to Marketing Execution > Event Management > Staffing. (Importing from here is the same as importing from the Activities page.)

  • To import speakers and staff for a specific event, open the Event maintenance page and then open its Staff/Speakers related-information tab. When you import from here, each activity record created by the import will automatically inherit the Campaign and Event values of the displayed event.

  • To import speakers and staff for a specific session, open the maintenance page for the parent Event and then open its Sessions related-information tab. Click to open a session from the Sessions tab, and then open the Staff/Speakers related-information tab for that session. When you import from here, each activity record created by the import will automatically inherit the Campaign, Session, and Event values of the displayed session.

The following table provides advice for how to construct a valid import file and how other values of the created records are derived. At minimum, your import file must include valid values for all the fields marked as required.

 

Dynamics Marketing field name

Required

Notes

Category

No

  

Specify an activity category using its English (United States) value.

If you enter a non-existing or non-English category name, then a new category is created with the specified name set as its English (United States) value, and this value is assigned to the new activity record.

Company

No

This is the company that the event belongs to. Dynamics Marketing will match incoming values against existing company names and assign them if found.

Usually this should be the same company that is associated with the event, session, department, and/or division values for each imported record (if these are defined).

If you don’t specify a company, or if you specify a company name that doesn’t exist, the site company is used.

Campaign

Not available

If you import from the Staff/Speaker related-information tab for an event or session, then the campaign for the parent event or session is used for all imported records. You can’t specify a campaign in the import file.

Contact

Not available

The contact assigned to all imported activities is set to the user that imports the file. You can’t specify contacts in the import file.

Created By

Not available

The created by contact is set to the importing user for all records. You can’t specify the created by contact in the import file.

Department

No

Specify a department from the belongs-to company for each incoming record. Dynamics Marketing matches incoming values against existing department names and assign them if found.

If you specify a department name that doesn’t exist, then a new department is created for the imported record’s belongs-to company, and it is associated with the imported record.

Description

No

The value is imported directly.

Division

No

Specify a division from the belongs-to company for each incoming record. Dynamics Marketing matches incoming values against existing division names and assign them if found.

If you specify a division name that doesn’t exist, then a new division is created for the imported record’s belongs-to company, and it is associated with the imported record.

End Date

Yes

The value is imported directly.

Event

No

If you are importing from the Staff/Speaker related-information tab for an event or session, then the parent event is used for all imported records.

If you are importing from the Activities or Staffing page, then you can specify an event name in the import file. If you specify an event name that doesn't exist, the import will fail.

Name

Yes

This is the name of the activity. The value is imported directly.

Reminder Date

No

The value is imported directly

Session

No

If you are importing from the Staff/Speaker related-information tab for a session, then that session is used for all imported records.

If you are importing from the Activities or Staffing page, then you can specify a session name in the import file. If you specify a session name that doesn't exist, the import will fail.

Start Date

Yes

The value is imported directly

Status

Yes

Specify an activity status using its English (United States) value.

If you enter a non-existing or non-English status name, then a new status value is created with the specified name set as its English (United States) value, and this value is assigned to the new activity record.

Time Zone

Not available

The time zone for all records is set to match the importing user.

Type

No

Specify an activity type using its English (United States) value.

If you enter a non-existing or non-English type name, then a new type value is created with the specified name set as its English (United States) value, and this value is assigned to the new activity record.

User defined fields (UDFs)

No

You can map incoming fields for each UDF defined for activities.

For UDFs configured as categories, Dynamics Marketing matches incoming values to existing category values if they exist, and otherwise creates new category values.

To import products and services, go to Settings > Products > Products/Services and click Import Upload button. Then use the general import procedure outlined previously.

Unlike most types of imports, the products and services importer lets you decide what to do when duplicate records are found in the database. You can decide either to ignore the duplicates or update the existing records with incoming data. A duplicate is identified when an existing record has the same Name or Code value as an incoming record.

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