Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Marketing Attributes in C4C

An important feature of Cloud for Customer (C4C) is maintaining the characteristics of customers and prospects. Based on my experience in multiple projects, it is common practice to capture customer characteristics on newly created tabs and extension fields.
 
This can add up to a lot of fields, for example, different types of customers could have different characteristics. For example, an Automotive company might have different characteristics compared to for instance a Retail company. So even though they are both customers maintained in the system, the relevant data to be maintained might differ. This might lead to a lot of custom fields... Or is there a way out?


Extension fields

There are basically two options to store custom customer extension fields.
 
1. Maintain all customer characteristics in one tab. This will provide an uncluttered view because you see characteristics for all different types, while not all characteristics are relevant for all customers and sales reps. However all characteristics are visible and this could impede finding, maintaining and editing the characteristics that are relevant.
 
2. Spread the characteristics over several custom tabs so that each customer type has its own tab. This creates a clear line of demarcation for each customer type, but this will lead to creating multiple tabs. When a customer is active in multiple industries for instance, sales representatives need to switch between tabs to see, maintain and edit the information for each specific industry which won’t satisfy the sales reps because they can’t see all characteristics in just one view.

Marketing attributes 

So... Is there a way out? Marketing Attributes in C4C offer a better overview, where all account characteristics are maintained on 1 tab. It is a combination of option 1 and option 2. Characteristics that are not maintained for that specific customer are not visible and it is possible to maintain multiple sets on one tab. Besides that it is even quicker to create marketing attributes and sets than creating extension fields. Also there are standard reports available for marketing attributes in contrast to extension fields that you need to add to reports.


There are two possibilities to maintain marketing attributes for C4C. One option is to scope the integration with SAP CRM to replicate marketing attributes to C4C. If this is the case you need to enable this in the project scoping under: Integration of Master Data > Integration with SAP CRM for marketing attributes > Do you want to work in your system with marketing attributes from SAP CRM? Check the box “In Scope” regarding this question and confirm the project scope.


The other option is to maintain and create the marketing attributes in C4C itself. As an administrator you can create and maintain marketing attribute sets and marketing attributes using Silverlight: Launch C4C in Silverlight > Administrator > Sales and Marketing Settings. When integration with CRM to replicate marketing attributes is enabled there is no possibility to create marketing attributes in C4C.
 
For each marketing attribute, an ID, description and format must be selected. Depending on the format you can set the unit of measure, decimal places, currency and number of characters.



After choosing “Save and Open” you can create a list of values that your sales representatives can select from. Besides that it is possible to define if the following for this marketing attribute:
  • Mandatory
  • Multivalue
  • Negative Values Allowed
  • Intervals Allowed
  • Set a value as default
After creating a marketing attribute you need to release the attribute by choosing release in the actions menu. Marketing attributes can be grouped under marketing attribute sets.
 
When creating new marketing attribute sets it is necessary to define the ID, Description and Business Application. If the marketing attribute set is to be assigned to a contact or individual customer, select the Person Relevant checkbox. If the marketing attribute set is to be assigned to an account, select the Organization-Relevant checkbox.



Choose Save and Open. On the next screen choose Add to define all marketing attributes that you want to assign to the marketing attribute set. After adding all marketing attributes the marketing attribute set needs to be released as well. By using the action button it is possible to release the marketing attribute set.


 
To see the tab Marketing Attributes at accounts or contacts you might need to add this tab by editing the master lay-out. When adding an attribute set to the account all attributes with blank values will be ignored while saving and thus won’t be visible after saving.


Limitations

However there are some limitations using Marketing Attributes, but we expect that in new releases that the marketing attributes functionality will be enhanced due to the fact that we see a constant line of improvement in this functionality since the 1505 release. Therefore the limitations shown below are expected to be resolved in the coming releases. Limitations are:
 
  • In contrast to extension fields no tooltip can be maintained for marketing attributes. Therefore descriptions must be clear for the users.
  • There is no possibility to migrate / mass update marketing attributes in C4C.
  • Marketing attributes are depicted based on alphabetical order while this could not be the order needed.
  • It is not possible to delete marketing attributes. There is a possibility to set marketing attributes to obsolete, which will hide them from the customer overview.
  • Searching accounts via the advanced filter using marketing attributes is limited. The operator value “in between” isn’t available after selecting marketing attribute set and value. Therefore searching accounts based on numeric marketing attributes like “number of…….” with a value “between 100 and 550” is not possible.
  • There is no option to search accounts based “marketing attribute 1” AND “marketing attribute 2”…
  • When enabling integration with SAP CRM there is no possibility to filter which marketing attributes need to go from CRM to C4C.

Conslusion

Despite these current limitations, marketing attributes are easy to work with because it is quicker and easier to create them than extension fields. Also for reporting it is easy to use marketing attributes because there is a report that depicts all accounts including their assigned marketing attributes. In contrast to extension fields marketing attributes do not need to be added to datasources and reports manually. The marketing attributes maintained for accounts can be used for searching accounts using the advanced filter and for creating target groups. The main advantage of using marketing attributes is that only the account specific characteristics that are maintained, and therefore are relevant, are visible in one view for each account.

4 comments:

  1. Good work Okke!
    Work around till we get improvements from SAP, use Standard Report (Business Partner with Marketing Attribute Assignment) to meet some of the Limitations.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Hi Pavan. Thank you. Indeed, this report is the standard one that I mention. At our customers we indeed use this report which meets limitations like: searching on attribute 1 AND attribute 2 and operator value "in between". For us this report is crucial to create target groups.

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  4. Is there possibility to create Target Groups automatically based on combination(s) of attributes?

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