CoreMotives and CRM Digital Marketing


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Part 2: Web Analytics and Pricing

In Part 1 of this series on CoreMotives’ digital marketing suite for Dynamics CRM, I focused on the e-mail marketing functionality. In this article I cover what it does in the area of web analytics, which according to Wikipedia, “…provides data on the number of visits, page views etc. to gauge the popularity of the sites which will help to do the market research.”

The first time I saw a demo of this product, I totally got the benefits of e-mail marketing integrated in Dynamics CRM. It took me longer to appreciate the advantages of having web analytics inside my CRM, after all, like most site owners I already use Google Analytics, and why should I duplicate all that information inside CRM?

Now that I get it, it seems like it should have been obvious from the start:

The main reason it makes sense to have web analytics inside CRM is that all those visits and page views are important customer activities, and if all those data are off in Google disconnected from your customers you’ve got a seriously incomplete view of customer activity. It’s really the same argument for having your e-mail marketing integrated within CRM: if an e-mail response is important enough to attach to a contact record, why isn’t a web page visit?

Setup and Implementation

Once you’ve got CoreMotives up and running, turning on web analytics is easy: just like with Google Analytics, you take a snippet of JavaScript code (from CoreMotives) and drop it immediately in front of the closing Body tag on any web page you want to track. For my WordPress-based blog (this one, that is: ) it took me a few minutes to remember that if I dropped it in footer.php it would track every page in the site, so that’s what I did, at about 9:39 in the morning on March 12, 2010.

How do I know that? Was it that once in a lifetime moment that you always remember forever and ever like your first Led Zeppelin concert or when your kids were born or when the White Sox won the World Series?

No. I mean it was good, just not quite that good. I know it because I just followed these steps:

  1. Clicked on Marketing in the site map.
  2. Clicked on Web Page Views.
  3. Clicked on the View Date column heading, to flip the sort from Ascending to Descending, and saw the following view, with a value of “3/12/2010 9:40 AM” in the first record:

This illustrates another benefit of the approach CoreMotives has taken. They’ve really done a nice job of exposing web analytics in a way that will be immediately familiar to Dynamics CRM users, such as this Web Page Views custom entity, with easy to understand attributes like Traffic Source, Referring URL and IP City. It’s a “regular” custom entity, with all the attendant benefits: you can perform your own customizations on it, write custom reports for it, customize its views, and so forth.

With an entity like Web Page Views you won’t be surprised to find a Web Pages entity, nor to discover there’s a 1:N relationship from Web Page to Web Page View. Here’s my default view of the Web Page entity:

A few of my favorite things about this:

  • They’re tracking views of the URL, of course, but they give you the editable “friendly” name attribute.
  • You can customize the “Category” picklist to categorize your pages in the way that works for you.
  • Like any customizable entity, you can customize the views. For example, I customized the Active Web Pages view so it sorts in descending order on the View Count column. Sweet!
  • And of course, you can use Advanced Find to filter and sort, write custom reports with the Report Wizard, export to Excel…and everything else you can do with Dynamics CRM.

Marketing Integration and Customer Association

And of course, it’s not just about web analytics made convenient because they’re in your familiar Dynamics CRM environment – as good as that is, the real ROI’s probably in its integration with your marketing efforts and how your web site traffic is associated with your customers.

For example, here’s a different view of Web Page Views:

This view makes it obvious web page views can be attached to Dynamics CRM campaigns and customers. Here are three ways to do that, each of which can be seen in this view:

  1. When you send a CoreMotives Mailing (see the previous article on that topic) you associate it with a campaign. Opens, Clicks, Bounces, and … alas! .. Unsubscribes are all associated with the campaign.
  2. You can also attach a querystring to the end of any inbound link (that is: from some other site, to your site) that identifies one of your campaigns. Notice the “Twitter” campaign at the top of that view? Next time you click one of the short little bitly links in one of my tweets maybe you’ll get a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing you’re creating a web-page view record in my Dynamics CRM associated with the Twitter campaign. (Probably not, but if you do, I appreciate that!)
  3. The third column isn’t really “Con…”, it’s Contact(I just skinnied it down to obscure peoples’ names.) This very measurable response to a marketing activity and its association with a contact record is probably the single most important reason to integrate digital marketing within your CRM.

Finally, notice the Traffic Source column at the far right. Here’s how my traffic sources break out over the last six weeks:

A “Link” is an internal link (from one page on your web site to another), a “Referral” is a link from an external site, and “Email Marketing” is a link from a (CoreMotives) marketing email. There’s also a value you can use to track “Paid Search” if you’re doing Google, Bing or Yahoo search advertising. And notice the “Social Network” value: this tracks incoming traffic from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the other social media, and illustrates the important connection between analytics and “social CRM”.

I’ve been using CoreMotives digital marketing suite since a little over two months, and I’ve only started scratching the surface of what it can do. If my experience is typical, organizations will start with a tool like this for the integrated e-mail marketing capabilities, and then realize over time how important it is to have analytics integrated within CRM.

What’s Not to Like?

Here are a few of the things that go into the “can use some improvement” or “might watch out for” categories:

  • Currently the only page views that get resolved to a customer in my CRM (contact or lead records) are direct Email Marketing links, or after someone has filled out a form – everything else is “Anonymous”. I’d like to see more ways of knowing who’s coming in, although I understand this is a challenging problem.
  • This is probably obvious, but if you have a lot of web site traffic, you’ll get a lot of data in a hurry! Compared to most sites the Dynamics CRM Trick Bag has fairly low traffic (around 400 page views daily, trending up) but that’s still 12,000 records per month. If you’re getting lots of site traffic you’ll want to do some capacity planning, or maybe consider tracking only a subset of your pages (remember, I implemented the tracking code to track every page on my site, which is by no means a requirement.) For me, this goes into the “nice problem to have” category, and I’m not complaining about site traffic. Bring it on, I’ll figure out how to deal with all the data!
  • I’m not crazy about their HTML email template editor. It seems a little brittle, too easy to make mistakes in, and requires you spend too much time tweaking HTML.

Plus, it’s Just Plain Fun

And besides all that serious stuff, it’s really keen to have all these data in Dynamics CRM, since it makes them so much more accessible to Excel Pivot Tables, which I consider to be my data’s True Destiny. For example, here are the last two months of page views broken out by city of origin, for the top twenty cities:


Man, they love me in Highland Park! Istanbul’s giving Chicago a run for its money (thanks Mehmet!). And Bursa is the fourth-largest city in Turkey, the center of its auto-industry, and it became the first major capital city of the Ottoman Empire following its capture from the Byzantines in 1326. Read more about Bursa…

See, I told you it was fun.

Finally, the pricing model. Here’s a screenshot from documentation on the CoreMotives web site:

The $99/month Starter plan might be a good place to start…unless you’re already doing more email marketing than the 2,000 “credits” (one credit per email) that plan buys you. The number of marketing emails you send out per month is something you control. The number of “interactions” you will pay for (see “b” above) is outside your control, as are the “submission of a web page form” and the “tracking a web page view” (”c” and “d”, respectively).

So far, interactions to the emails I send have been running at about 23% (opens) and 9% (clicks). So the email marketing expense is relatively controllable.

The web page view tracking is a different story, however, and especially for organizations who a) have lots of web traffic, and b) are already perfectly happy if they’re getting it free from Google Analytics (or something like that), I’d guess they’d want to keep a sharp eye on the credits they’re burning up tracking anonymous site traffic. But that’s the point of all this, isn’t it? A pricing model like this makes you think hard about things like “what are web analytics worth?”, and “am I getting ROI for what I’m spending?”

My experience so far is that the value of the information I’m getting (and especially the value of having it integrated within my CRM) is considerably higher than what I’m paying. As my site traffic explodes because of the improved content I’m creating because of the information I’m receiving (e.g., maybe I’ll start translating selected articles into Texan, Turkish and German), maybe I’ll reconsider. Time will tell.

In the meantime, there are other add-ons with similar functionality without CoreMotives’ variable-price model. CRMInnovation (developer of the Web2CRM Internet lead capture add-on that I’m a big fan of) recently came out with a digital marketing add-on called…what else? … Email2CRM. I don’t know much about it yet, other than the pricing model being more controllable and that it uses VerticalResponse to create and send the emails. If you’ve got any experience with it, let me know what you think!

Richard Knudson

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Knudson
Richard Knudson is a Dynamics CRM consultant and instructor, and has a special interest in cloud computing and helping organizations realize the potential of social CRM. His company, IMG, specializes in helping businesses implement and customize the Dynamics CRM platform.


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