Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
CMOs all over the world agree that when it comes to interacting with customers today, single-channel campaigning won’t cut the mustard. What isn’t as clear is how marketing leaders get their organisation to adopt and action an integrated customer approach.
A new piece of research conducted by Forrester on behalf of marketing software vendor, Responsys, attempts to draw the marketing transformation roadmap under the newly minted term ‘marketing orchestration’.
According to the The Rise of Marketing Orchestration: A new post-campaign model to deliver personalised and orchestrated customer experiences paper released in October, an ‘orchestrated’ approach to marketing has become vital for CMOs looking to not only attain a single view of the customer, but also deliver unique and relevant experience to today’s ultra-connected consumer.
Marketing orchestration is grounded in the knowledge that short-term campaign activity is no longer sufficient in generating sales or long-term customer loyalty, and that marketers must deliver consistent customer experience in the face of complex digital and mobile engagement channels.
Forrester defines marketing orchestration as ‘an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns, but instead on optimising a set of related cross-channel interactions that, when added together, make up an individualised customer experience’. In other words, look first at the customer journey, not which product or service your company wishes to take to market.
There are six critical components to marketing orchestration: Recognition of individuals and identities across channels; real-time capture and management of interaction data; responsive customer journey design, testing and optimisation; rules-based and predictive selection of next-best journey; right-time, cross-channel campaign automation and execution; and responsible preference and permissions management.
Plenty of industry discussion centres on the need for marketers to embrace a customer-led view across all methods of engagement, but Responsys Asia-Pacific president, Paul Cross, claimed marketing orchestration goes beyond recognition and technology and focuses on action.
“This matches the view that every message sent to customers is personalised, automated and through their channel of choice,” he told CMO. “What marketing orchestration is about, however, is optimising these interrelated channels for an enriched customer experience.”
While marketers are recognising the need to create unified experiences across touchpoints, and the value of building long-term relationships, Cross said many still don’t know how to achieve it. Using data from a survey of 200 marketers in January, Forrester found the top goals for marketers are growing long-term relationships with customers, and enhancing customer experience across channels or touchpoints, yet these same marketers fail to achieve this because they continue to invest in mass marketing and single channel campaigns.
Responsys’ latest Asia-Pacific Cross-Channel Marketing Report, produced in association with Econsultancy, also found 60 per cent of respondents agreed they should put greater focus on retention marketing. Yet just 26 per cent are ‘very committed’ to relationship marketing currently, and 20 per cent are not conducting any relationship marketing at all.
In addition, 51 per cent remain focused on customer acquisition, against 36 per cent primarily focused on retention, even though it’s common knowledge that retention is more cost effective than acquisition.
“The surprise is always the gap between what marketers know they need to do to be competitive, and where their investment is actually going today,” Cross commented. “Marketers need to be taking ownership of these interactions.”
The challenge for CMOs
What the analysts are telling us is that marketers with an optimised set of related interactions with individuals will outperform those that don’t. This was the case in IBM’s recent State of Marketing 2013 report, which highlighted the performance of ‘leading marketers’, or those proactively using customer experience, marketing technology and cross-channel optimisation, against their less data savvy peers. That report found leading marketers are 1.8 times stronger in terms of three-year gross profit growth, and 3.4 times stronger in terms net profit growth.
Cross also claimed ultra-connected customers will reward marketers who treat them an individual for the purpose of providing value.
“The challenge for CMOs is how to plot out that journey to achieving individual customer experience. This means moving to a more dynamic and responsive set of individual programs tailored to every customer,” he said. “It’s about smoothing out the seasonal variations, and reaching the consumer when they are ready to spend.
“Every marketer has an opportunity to do targeted marketing through single channels. The next step is to move to single channel automation, and I’d argue many marketers currently sit between these two steps. The third step is providing customer journeys. If you capture more data, we you can build that next best journey for each individual.”
The CMO’s focus must also extend to helping the rest of the organisation understand how addressable customers are moving between these channels, and why there’s a need to identify them individually.
“Some marketing investments are short-term and some long-term and it’s up to CMOs to outline these. Marketing orchestration is the skeleton to hang this vision on,” Cross added.
Achieving marketing orchestration: Forrester’s key steps
- Create a customer-focused culture first: Marketers who take a customer-focused approach understand that they must combine strategy, real-time tools and targeted media.
- Organising around the customer lifecycle: This is about creating the next-best journey for the customer, rather than delivering mass messaging and automated responses in a linear way.
- Investing in technologies that can manage the customer journey from end-to-end: Marketers need a technology platform that can manage all addressable media used in the cross-channel journey, but also track a customer’s state as well as provide real-time automation to address that customer in successive lifecycle stages.
- Moving from canned responses to next-best journeys: Again, this is tied to utilising real-time measurement of customer affinities and needs to understand what will motivate an individual in the future. To achieve this, Forrester advised CMOs to invest in customer strategies and data scientists to help ‘ferret out the signals’.