How to Automate Birthday Emails?

How to Automate Birthday Emails?

Sending an Automated Email to a Contact on their birthday – this can certainly be achieved with Dynamics 365 and ClickDimensions. However it is not as simple as it might first seem.
Here we compare two different methods of achieving this the Next Birthday solution and the Birthday Today solution.

1.Next Birthday solution

This method is probably the simplest to achieve but will require user input and exporting data to Excel to update and then re- import.
This approach hard-wires a Next Birthday date into the Contact’s record. This field can then be used in Views in the same way as any other date field to filter and show Next Birthday this week, this month, Today, Tomorrow and so on.
From there, Contacts can be selected and added to the Birthday Marketing list and automation or workflows can be created to fully automate the process.
    1. Create a custom date field for Next Birthday. (This will need to be entered manually or by exporting to Excel and re-importing, see point 3 below).
    2. Set up a Business rule to make the Next Birthday field mandatory if the Birthday field is filled in.
    3. Update the Next Birthday field for existing Contacts: Export to Excel and use the Date formula =DATE(2018,MONTH(E9),DAY(E9)) to generate the Next Birthday date.
    4. Set up a simple ClickDimensions Campaign Automation to start when a contact is dropped into a Birthday Marketing list.
    5. Create a view of contacts with a Birthday Today. Select those contacts and add to the Marketing list OR create a workflow to add contacts to the Marketing list when Next Birthday = Today.
 

2. Birthday Today solution

This method does not require user input or exporting to Excel, and is not quite as fearsome as it sounds. It requires custom fields, a custom activity entity, workflows, the use of a recurring bulk deletion job and the Dynamics Objects Workflows plugin.
What you need to do:
Create Custom fields
  • Today – calculated Date and Time set to Now
  • Today Day – number
  • Today Month – number
  • Birthday – Date and time
  • Birthday Day – number
  • Birthday Month – number
  • Send Birthday email – Yes / NO
Create an Activity entity e.g. Job Trigger (This is key to the automation, as deletion of a Job Trigger record starts the workflow to check if today is the contact’s birthday.)
 
Create workflows:
  • Workflow to extract the Birthday Day and Month from the birthday field using the Dynamics Objects workflows dates functions.
  • Workflow (on demand) to create the first Job Trigger Activity and to set the Send email field on the Contact record to YES.
  • Workflow to fire on DELETION of a Job Trigger record.This workflow will:
      1. Check if Today Day and Birthday Day are the same – if so add the contact to the Birthday Marketing list and set the Send Birthday email field back to NO.
      2. If the days are not the same a new Job Trigger activity is created.
 
Create a Bulk Deletion job to delete Job Trigger records to run daily – this will trigger the whole process.
Automated Birthday Email
You can then select contacts and add them to the Birthday marketing list to start the automation. This approach can also be more fully automated through customisation and workflow.
 
Some considerations
To run these workflows against all contacts, every day, could put pressure on your system, so to minimise the number of Contact records that the workflow runs against each day we would suggest a semi-automated approach.
 
This would be to create views of Contacts with Birthdays in each month, then run workflows against those Contacts to set up the first Job Trigger record and set the Send Email field to Yes. There would be no further manual intervention needed but would mean that workflows were only running against one twelfth of your contact database.