Are you orchestration-ready?


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Marketing orchestration is nothing new. In fact it is really quite old. It first came to prominence back in 2013, the year that HMV went bust, the horsemeat scandal shocked the country, Prince George was born and Facebook and Twitter both went public. Seems like eons ago, doesn’t it?

Over the intervening six years it’s been difficult to attend a meeting, listen to conference speaker or read an article – whatever your discipline, skill set or role – without at least a cursory mention of Orchestration, Customer Centricity and the Customer Journey.

So, you’d have thought that the concept – which moves us away from the quarterly delivery of standalone campaigns; towards the design of inter-related, cross-channel journeys that reflect individual behaviour, location, mission…to deliver a personalised customer experience would have become commonplace.

And yet it hasn’t.

Quite the opposite. In fact, things have gone quiet. A quick Google search yesterday revealed the most recent article on the topic was written back in March 2018.

Resulticks, a Martech company based in The States, has just released a new AI-powered orchestration solution which helps brands to manage outcome-focused omnichannel user experiences. It does this by auto-mapping the entire customer experience based on key occasions, communication goal and type, product type, and benchmarks.

After my Google search yesterday, I worried that Forrester was wrong back in 2013 when it authored the seminal report ‘The rise of Orchestration’. It didn’t appear to have risen anywhere.

But I believe that – as with so many fundamental shifts in behaviour (“the Internet’s a fad…” etc…) – that the market wasn’t mature enough for Orchestration.

It demands a long list of distinctly scary capabilities:

1. The recognition of individuals and identities across channels
2. The real-time capture and management of interaction data
3. Responsive customer journey design, testing, and optimisation
4. Right-time, cross-channel campaign automation and execution
5. Rules-based and predictive selection of next-best journey
6. Responsible preference and permissions management

None of which – to my knowledge – have been collectively and holistically addressed by Client, Social, Digital, Precision, Media or Creative Agency or Consultancy. Too difficult, right? Not core?

In 2013 orchestration was a good idea, but in practice it was all but impossible. It’s like the single customer view. For years, organisations eagerly pursued it, but most failed to deliver. It is only recently through the triumvirate of better data, better computational power and better technology that SCV is now achievable.

Moving forwards, to be orchestration-ready organisations must:

1. Address the need to move to a customer-focused culture
2. Organise cross-functionally around the customer life cycle
3. Invest in technologies that can manage the customer journey from end-to-end.
4. Move from canned responses to next-best journeys
5. Create and Curate assets – creative, product, service, channel… centrally

Still only a few organisations are able to tick all the boxes. And that’s where marketing specialists are playing an increasingly important role.

The most recent research from McKinsey shows that leveraging the customer experience has its benefits. Across industries, successful projects typically achieve revenue growth of between five and 10 percent and cost reductions of 15 to 25 percent within two or three years. Moreover, companies offering an exceptional customer experience can exceed the gross margins of their competitors by more than 26 percent while they make their employees happier and simplify their end-to-end operations. Therefore transitioning to orchestration as soon as possible should be a no-brainer.

Richard Calvert
Richard is the co-founder of The Thread Team and Marketing Strategist. The Thread Team is a data-driven agency with a difference. It is founded on the modern working practices and the latest technology. The Thread Team has no physical headquarters, instead its global team members connect daily with each other and clients using various web enabled comms platforms. This flexible structure means that The Thread team is able to offer clients the very best talent – no matter where they live, their personal circumstances or their stage of life.


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