List management and segmentation

 

Updated: November 1, 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.

Lists and queries enable you to create collections of contacts for targeting automated campaigns and marketing emails. Use them to implement your market segmentation strategy. You can also use them as a basis for collecting and organizing other types of marketing initiatives.

Lists are static; contacts must be manually added to each list. Queries are dynamic; you must define a set of criteria that automatically recruit contacts into the list. When you use a query, for example in campaign automation of email blast, the query is run at execution time, so it will always be up to date and include all relevant contacts from your database. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing treats lists and queries identically; use them interchangeably when creating mailing lists, sending email messages, or managing campaigns.

To work with static lists, you must have Edit/View List Manager and Edit/View Lists privileges.

To work with queries, you must have Edit/View List Manager and Edit/View Segmentation privileges.

More information:Work with user accounts and staff contacts.

To work with queries and lists, go to Marketing Execution > Marketing Lists > Marketing Lists. This brings you to the Lists/Queries list page, which provides many of the usual controls for searching, sorting and filtering the list, plus toolbars for creating, deleting, importing and viewing the records. See Learn how to work and get around in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing for more information about the standard controls available here. See the following sections for details specific to Lists/Queries list and maintenance pages.

The Lists/Queries list page includes both lists and queries, as indicated by the Type column. Select any list or query here to edit it. You can also create lists and queries here by selecting the New button in the toolbar, then choosing a type (List or Query).

Whenever you create or edit a list/query, you will be on the List or Query maintenance page, each of which provides the following settings:

Field

Description

Active

Select this check box to activate the list/query, clear the check box to deactivate it. Inactive items are hidden by default on the Lists/Queries list page and are also unavailable for use elsewhere on the site. When you delete an item from the Lists/Queries list, it is actually set to inactive, not permanently removed from the database.

List

Enter a name for the list/query. This name will appear to identify the list/query in other areas of the site, so choose a name that will be easy to identify when you need to use it.

Contact

By default, this is set to the user that created the list/query. However, you can change it to allow someone else to manage the list/query.

Synchronize with Dynamics 365

If your site is integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365, then select this check box if you would like to synchronize the current list between the two systems.

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This setting is only available for static lists, which can be replicated and synced in both directions between Dynamics Marketing and Dynamics 365. Dynamic lists created in Dynamics Marketing can’t be replicated or synced with Dynamics 365. However, dynamic lists created in Dynamics 365 are replicated to Dynamics Marketing, where they appear as static lists.

Enable for testing

Select this check box if you would like to make the current list available use as a send list when testing email marketing messages. We recommend that you only use short lists for testing purposes (typically, ten contacts or fewer). More information:Validate, test and send messages

Description

Enter a description of the list/query.

Qty

Displays the number of contacts in the list/query.

Subscription

This setting only appears for static lists, not for queries. Select the check box to make this list available to subscription-center and one-click-subscribe plug-ins. All marketing emails must include a link to a subscription center, but one-click subscribe links are optional. See also Create a subscription center and One-click Subscribe plug-ins

Suppression

Select this check box to use the list/query as a suppression list. Suppression lists have a negative effect when used on the campaign canvas, i.e., any contact that is included on a send list will not receive the campaign if that contact is also on a suppression list that is added to the campaign.

Company

Enter the company that the list/query belongs to. The company must already exist in the database (type-ahead help is provided, or enter “%%” to select from available companies). You will only be able to add marketing contacts to the list/query that also are configured with a belongs to setting that matches this company. Likewise, you will only be able to use this list/query with campaigns and emails also associated with this company.

Details > Market

Select the market that the list/query reaches. More information: Markets

Details > Language

Select the language used by the contacts on the list/query.

Details >Default Phone Number

Select a default phone number to be used in campaigns that the contacts use to respond.

Details > Expense Account

Select the default general ledger account to use when working with expenses and purchase orders for this list/query.

Details > Billing Account

Select the default general ledger account to use when invoicing clients for this list.

Once you have saved your list/query at least once, you will be able to see the related-information tabs below the dotted line. Use the drop-down list at the top of this area to change the tab. These tabs show various types of information that is related to your current list/query. You can add new items here to automatically associate those items with the list. Usually the tabs here are views into other areas of the site (such as jobs, invoices, leads, etc.) and work the same here as they do on the main list and maintenance pages for the relevant features, except that they are filtered to only show records that are associated with the current list/query. See the relevant topics of this online help for more information about how to work with these various tabs. Of special interest for lists are the Contacts, Campaigns and Marketing Email tabs, which are discussed in the following sections.

When working with a static list, use the Contacts related-information tab on the List maintenance page to add and remove contacts—this is where you will probably do most of your work when setting up a static list. Many additional tools for analyzing and interacting with the contacts are provided in the toolbar here. These controls match those provided on the Contacts maintenance pages, see Manage contacts for more information about them.

For queries, the Contacts tab displays all of the contacts that match the query logic, but you cannot add or remove the contacts manually.

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There are three ways of adding (and one way of removing) several contacts to/from a static list at once:

  • Create or add to a list based on a query: When you set up a query, the Contacts tab displays all of the contacts that match the query logic. In addition, there are two extra buttons: Add to List and Make List. These buttons provide a handy way of adding the results of a query to a new or existing static list. Once you have added contacts to a static list using this technique, you can freely delete or change the original query without affecting the static list.

  • Use Mass Update to add or remove several contacts: Go to Marketing Execution > Marketing Database > Marketing Contacts to open the Marketing Contacts list page. From here, use the sort, search and filter controls to find the contacts you want to add or remove, and then select the check box for each relevant contact. Now click the Mass Update button Mass Update button to open the Contact Update window. From here you will find controls to add and/or remove the selected contacts to/from any number of specified lists.

  • Import directly to a list: When importing new contact records, you can add them all to a list at the same time by using the Import button on the Contacts tab for the relevant list. See also Prepare and import data

The Query maintenance page includes the expandable Query section, which is not present on the List maintenance page. Use the settings here to establish the logic that determines which contacts will be included in the query.

Start building your query by using the How do you want to query contacts? drop-down list to specify the type of query you want to create. This establishes the basic scope and foundation of your query; if you change this setting after setting up specific logical expressions, then your existing logic will be lost and you must start over.

Each query type enables you to use information from all of the fields of each contact record (including custom contact fields), plus one of the following types of information:

  • Event Attendance: Selects contacts based on event-attendance records.

  • Contact Behavior: Selects contacts based on their interactions with your websites and email messages. More information:Behavioral Analysis

  • Contacts: Uses contact attributes only.

  • Email Marketing: Selects contacts based on how they interact with your marketing emails. More information:Email marketing

  • Leads and Lead Interactions: Selects contacts based on the leads or lead interactions associated with them. More information:Manage leads

  • List: Selects contacts from existing lists or combine existing lists.

  • Opportunity: Select contacts based on opportunity records associated with them. More information:Create and manage opportunities

Once you have established the basic query type, use the buttons below the How do you want to query contacts? drop-down list to build your query logic. This area will grow in detail as you add logical expressions and groups to the query. Eventually you will construct a full, hierarchical tree that represents your query logic. One good way to illustrate these controls is by example; the following sub-sections provide a few examples and other pointers for how to build your query logic.

This simple example shows how to build a query that finds all contacts from towns whose name contains “Miami” (so it would also find Miami Beach, North Miami, etc.).

  1. Select Filter on contacts from the How do you want to query contacts? drop-down list.

  2. Click the Add expression button Add Expression button in Dynamics Marketing to add a new expression line to the query, then configure the new expression as follows:

    • Open the field-name drop-down list (which initially shows Contact ID) and choose Contact City.

    • Open the operator drop-down list (which initially shows Equal To) and choose Contains.

    • Place your cursor in the value field (which is on the right side of the expressions and is initially blank) and enter the name of a city where some of your contacts live (for example, “Miami”).

  3. Click Apply to run the query and see a list of matching contacts. Note also that at the bottom of the expression tree, Dynamics Marketing shows a text version of your full query using standard logical notation.

Simple query example in Dynamics Marketing

A more complex query might have multiple expressions combined by a logical operator. For example, if you wanted to combine contacts from the cities of Miami and Palm Beach, you could create query logic such as this: (Contact City = 'Miami' OR Contact City = 'Palm Beach').

  1. Select Filter on contacts from the How do you want to query contacts? drop-down list.

  2. Click the Add expression button Add Expression button in Dynamics Marketing to add a new expression line to the query. Then, as in the simple example, use its drop-down lists and input field to configure it as:
    Contact City | Equal To | Miami.

  3. Click the Add expression button Add Expression button in Dynamics Marketing again to add another new expression line to the query and configure it as:
    Contact City | Equal To | Palm Beach.

  4. At the top of the logic tree, open the operator drop-down list (on the left) and choose the OR operator. This operator will apply to combine the two expressions you just added at the top level of the query.

  5. Click Apply to run the query and see a list of matching contacts.

Example of a query with multiple expressions in Dynamics Marketing

Use groups to build complex logic with multiple expressions that work together using a variety of operators. To add a group, use the Add Group button Add Group button, which creates a new node with its own Operator, Add Expression and Add Group buttons, which you can use to add new expressions and/or subgroups to the new group. All expressions in a given group are combined using the same operator, as defined on the group node.

For example, if you wanted to select all contacts in the city of Miami in postal code 33130, plus all contacts in the city of Palm Beach in postal code 33480, you could create two statements linked with an OR operator like this: (City = Palm Beach AND Postal Code = 33480) OR (City = Miami AND Postal Code = 33130). In Dynamics Marketing this query would look like this:

Example of a complex query with multiple groups in Dynamics Marketing

For the most part, dates in query logic work the same way as other types of data. However, you need to specify dates using the correct format, and you can also use relative values to compare dates to the current date or to part of a date (such as a month or year).

When entering specific date values, use the date and time formats that are standard for your country/region, as set in your personal preferences. More information:Configure your preferences

You can also set up query expressions that test date field values in relation to a partial date and/or the current date. This can be useful for finding people based on their birthday, membership date, or other date values. To set up these types of queries, use the date placeholders listed in the following table. Three types of date placeholders are supported: the specific-date placeholder, which represents today's date;date-part placeholders, which represent just part of today's date (year, month name, or day number); and specific-date-part placeholders, which enable you set a specific value to a date part (such as a month or a specific year).

Date-part placeholders

Specific-date-part placeholders

Specific-date placeholder

Placeholders

  • TodayDay: Represents dates where the day number is equal to the day on which the query is running.

  • TodayMonth: Represents dates where the month is the same as the month in which the query is running.

  • TodayYear: Represents dates where the year is the same as the year in which the query is running.

  • TodayDayMonth: Represents dates where both the month and day are the same as the date on which the query is running.

  • MONTH(n)Represents dates where the month number matches the integer n. For example, MONTH(3) matches all dates in March of any year.

  • YEAR(n): Represents dates where the year matches the integer n. For example, YEAR(1999) matches all dates in the year 1999.

  • MONTH or MONTH(TODAY): Represents dates where the month is the same as the month in which the query is running.

  • YEAR or YEAR(TODAY): Represents dates where the year is the same as the year in which the query is running.

TODAY: Represents the date on which the query runs (finds matching day, month, and year, but ignores the time).

Date calculations

You can do addition and subtraction using integers. The unit matches the unit of the placeholder, so TodayMonth+1 is next month, while TodayYear-10 is ten years ago.

You can't do arithmetic with these placeholders.

You can add or subtract days, months, or years by using D, M, and/or Y units, respectively. All integers are supported (not just 1). If you don't include a unit, then days is assumed. For example, TODAY-2Y is two years ago; TODAY-1 is yesterday; and TODAY+3M is this date three months from now. Non-existing dates are handled appropriately (so a result of Feb 31 resolves to Mar 3 most years, or Mar 2 in leap years).

Supported Operators

All equality and inequality operators are supported.

All equality and inequality operators are supported.

All equality and inequality operators are supported.

Examples

  • To find all contacts added to the database since last New Year’s Eve:
    Contact Create Date | Equal To | TodayYear

  • To find all contacts whose membership expired any time during the last calendar year:
    Contact MembershipExpires | Equal To | TodayYear-1

  • To find all contacts whose birthday is today:
    Contact Birthday | Equal To | TodayDayMonth

  • To find all contacts whose membership expired sometime this calendar year:
    Contact MembershipExpires | Equal To | TodayYear
    AND
    Contact MembershipExpires | Less Than or Equal To | TodayDayMonth

  • To find all contacts celebrating a birthday in May:
    Contact Birthday | Equal To | Month(5)

  • To find all contacts that were added to the database in 2014:
    Contact Create Date | Equal To | Year(2014)

  • To find all contacts added to the database during the last 365 days:
    Contact Create Date | Greater Than or Equal To | TODAY-1Y

  • To find all contacts whose membership expired within the last 30 days:
    Contact MembershipExpires | Greater Than or Equal To | TODAY-30D
    AND
    Contact MembershipExpires | Less Than or Equal To | TODAY

  • To find all contacts aged 16 to 34:
    Contact Birthday | Greater Than or Equal To | TODAY-34Y
    AND
    Contact Birthday | Less Than or Equal To | TODAY-16Y

Although the easiest way to create a birthday query would be to use TodayDayMonth, you could also create one by combining criteria that use TodayMonth and TodayDay, such as in the following image:

Query example with relative date values in Dynamics Marketing

(Note that the Birthday field used in the above example is not available by default; you would have to add it as a custom contact field to create a feature such as this. More information:Create custom contact fields for market segmentation.)

Email marketing queries (those set to Select based on email marketing behavior) are a bit different from other types of queries because they show two separate logic trees in the Query section: one for specifying interaction dates and one for all other types of criteria. They work as follows:

  • Basic query: This logic tree works just like it does in most other types of queries, and includes many different types of criteria for identifying contacts and various types of email result counts (such as number of opens, clicks, forwards, bounces, etc.).

  • Additional email interaction criteria: This logic tree can only include criteria that check the dates of email result records (such as individual opens, clicks, forwards, bounces, etc.). The criteria here are combined with those from the basic query (using the equivalent of an AND operator). This tree is separated from the basic query for technical reasons that result in better query performance. The criteria you establish here limit the set of interaction records considered by the basic query. For example, if you use the criterion Email Marketing Interaction Date | Greater Than Or Equal To | January 1, 2016, then only interactions that occurred on or after that date will be counted by the basic query. So if the basic query is looking for Email Marketing Total Clicks | Greater Than Or Equal To | 3, then only clicks that occurred after the specified date are counted; clicks from before that date are ignored. The same date limit is applied to all other types of email marketing counts included in the basic query (such as opens, forwards, or bounces).

The Query maintenance page features a collection of processing buttons at the bottom of the page, below the related-information tabs. These are not provided for lists. They work as follows:

  • Refresh: Runs the query again to update the Contacts tab. (This is the same function as the Apply button in the Query fold-down area; it is provided here as a convenience for when the Query fold-down is closed.)

  • Make List: Generates a static list that contains the contacts that are currently part of the query, thereby “freezing” the query as a new list.

  • Add to List: Adds all of the contacts found by the current query to an existing static list. You will be prompted to choose an existing list to augment.

  • Save as New Query : Makes a copy of the existing query.

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These buttons provide a fast and convenient way to add a large number of contacts to a new or existing static list. Start by setting up a query that includes most or all of the contacts you need and then click Make List or Add to List. Once you have updated your static list it will no longer rely on the query, so you can freely modify or delete the query if you don’t need it anymore.

To see which campaigns and marketing emails actually use the list/query currently shown on the List or Query maintenance page, open the Campaigns or Marketing Email tabs, respectively.

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