How can I import Marketing List Members into Dynamics CRM?

Problem: I utilise an external Data Warehouse to identify marketing list members for a mail out, how can I load these into CRM to utilise the campaign functionality?

Initially when posed with this question, I thought development as you can not use the standard import tool to do this, but when stood back and looked at Marketing Lists, I realised there was a simple solution. The solution hinges around the fact that Manage Members utilises advanced find to perform a search to identify members, so we just need to be able to have something to search on, without needing to update the existing record.

In fact their are 2 options, as follows:

  1. Create a new entity named “External List”
  2. Create a relationship (lookup) to Contact, Account and Lead if you are creating marketing lists for all 3 types.
  3. Create a second relationship to Marketing list entity as a n:1
  4. Save and publish
  5. Now from the external source export your list, that must contain a unique attribute for each record that matches what is stored in CRM
  6. Create a marketing list in CRM or copy the name of an existing one for which you want to import members into
  7. Add to the export you did in step 5 a new “Name” and “Marketing List Name”column
  8. In the name column enter a unique name for the external list records that the import will create. In the marketing list column enter the name of the marketing list created in step 6.
  9. Import this file into CRM into the new entity “External List”, mapping the new relationships created in step 1 and 2 to the appropriate column in the csv file. I.e. Map the unique attribute for the CRM record to the Account, Contact or Lead for which it refers to.
  10. Now open the marketing list created in step 6 and use Manage members to perform a search on all Contacts, Accounts or leads (depending on what you are referencing) where an External List record is associated to them that is related to the Marketing list you created in step 6.
  11. Add the found members to the List.
  12. You have now imported members to a marketing list, you can now always view which members were added via the external list process and which additional members were added via standard CRM processes
  13. As a time saver, save the data import as a new template for future use

The second option is similar to above but you instead of creating a new entity you use Connections and import a new connection linked to the marketing list and use this to perform an advanced find on. The only downside of this approach is that can muddy the water if you use connections for other purposes.

I hope this solves a common dilemma.

9 Responses

  1. Hi Steve,
    We (Local Government) have an Events Team that will liaise with a customer to assemble a Marketing List in Excel.
    When we Import that List (to the Contact Entity) we can then add the Successful Import Rows to a Marketing List. Where the Contact already exists in CRM, the row fails and we can’t, “thank CRM for finding the rows that DO already exist, but please add those (failed rows) to the Marketing List too, along with the successful rows”.

    Does your solution above overcome this issue? Your Step 5 mentions – must contain a unique attribute for each record that matches what is stored in CRM – has me thinking that you are aware of all your invitees prior. Thanks for the post, and look forward to your reply.

    • Hi,

      So yes my solution is based on the fact that you have an external data warehouse and you have the unique id of the CRM record in their, and you are doing this because you want to generate a marketing list from information that is not stored in CRM.

      Saying that I think I might have a solution for you:

      1) Beacuse you do not know who exists and who does not because you arre asking a Customer to compile you could do the import in two stages.
      2) The first import you do as normal and may create 75% of the records as new contacts and the remaining fail as duplicates
      3) With the failed ones you could export the list and then reload into the new external list entity as described into my post matching on the same value as per your duplciate checking i.e name or email or whatever
      4) You can now manage members and add teh external list members to the list of newly created contacts.

      Does this help?

      • Thanks Steve, in your reply above, I complete Step 2 and then the rest takes on a (painful) manual feel!

        Will give your suggestion a try – a relationship to Contact only initially – per your original post (Step 2).

        Again, I’d love CRM to take the fails (the rows that fail due to the Contact already existing) and then let me Select All and add those matched existing Contacts (the fails) to the Marketing List.

      • That would be nice!

  2. Hello. These steps are little bit unclear to me.

    Create a relationship to Contact, Account and Lead if you are creating marketing lists for all 3 types.

    What kind of relationship am I supposed to create?

    Add to the export a new “Name” and “Marketing List Name”column and populate with a unique name for the external list and the name given to the marketing list that you want to load the members into.

    Do you mean – Add to the external list…

    It would be nice to have some screenshots of the process for someone who is not so pro at CRM 2011.



  3. Hi Steve.
    Thanks for Publishing this howto.
    I am not sure if my question is at the right place here but i will try 😉

    We use Dynamics CRM 2013 online.
    We have some accounts and contacts (apr. 750 contacts).
    We will now send a Newsletter to the 750 cotacts.
    But in addition we have a List of “Top200” companies in our area to who we will send this Newsletter too.
    We created a Marketing list an added the 750 contacts to it.
    Is it possible to Import the “Top200” contacts into CRM without putting them to the contacts & accounts? We will first put those of the “Top200” contacts to our accounts&contacts, when they express their interest after getting the Newsletter.

    best regards


    • Hi, I would use the Leads entity to store them. You can then convert them to an opportunity, account and contact when they show interest. Leads can be included in marketing lists and campaigns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s