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Journeys vs. Customer Journeys

Note: This functionality is only available to users who have the D365 Marketing add-on/application.

It's important to understand the functionality differences of Journeys versus Customer Journeys when you want to plan a new user journey flow. There are capabilities that are only native to real-time marketing, where you can create Journeys, and there are functions that only exist in outbound marketing (Customer Journeys) at this time. Before you get too far into it, review this article to verify you can achieve your vision with your chosen entity, Journeys or Customer Journeys.


In general, the outbound marketing and real-time marketing areas of CRM are built with different ideals in mind. Outbound marketing is what it sounds like - it's geared for mass outbound outreach. Real-time marketing is built to be specific, personalized, and incredibly responsive to actions an individual takes with your organization.

1. Journeys in real-time marketing can be started based on triggers

Journeys can be based on triggers or a segment. If based on an out-of-the-box trigger or custom trigger, the journey will respond in real-time to actions the customer takes. Segment based journeys are best for outbound communication, but there may be use cases for inbound communication. If you want communications to take place quickly after a customer has interacted with your organization, use a trigger-based journey.

2. A Customer Journey (outbound marketing) audience can be people from a Segment/Subscription List, people who submitted a Marketing Form, or someone who updated their contact information.

As a note, segments in Customer Journeys can be created based on behavior, like an email being clicked (outbound marketing feature only). You can also combine segments and lists in Customer Journeys.

For more information regarding Subscription Lists, view this helpful article in our knowledge base.

3. Action tile differences

Within a Journey, you have the option to send SMS texts or push notifications, unlike in Customer Journeys. You can also add an attribute branch if you want to further segment your audience and what communications they receive based on data you have in your CRM pertaining to them, perform A/B testing, send messages through the right channel with artificial intelligence, and use custom triggers.

Contrary to Journeys, Customer Journeys give you the ability to create leads or start a LinkedIn campaign as an action.

You can also use the split action in Customer Journeys, which allows you to split your audience up into groups based on percentages. Each new path can have its own unique actions set.

4. Other Journey limitations to note

You cannot embed videos in the marketing emails for a Journey, combine segments and lists for your audience, or create segments for a journey that are based on customer behavior, such as visiting the marketing website or clicking on an email.

SMS texting and push notifications do not support images or video at this time.

Lastly, there is almost no lead functionality that can be used in a Journey.

5. Other Customer Journey limitations to note

In Customer Journeys, there is much less flexibility around event-based triggers. If you need to create a Customer Journey based on an event taking place, try creating a dynamic segment based on that criteria. Be cognizant of the fact that dynamic segments update every 15 minutes and a Customer Journey can take 15 more minutes to start for an individual. That means if you want to immediately send an email when the Customer Journey starts, it's potentially already been 30 minutes since that event took place. If truly instant communication is needed after an event takes place, consider using real-time marketing instead.