Customer expectations are rising fast in the digital age — and marketers are struggling to keep up. Why? On the one hand, marketers understand that customers want to engage with brands in ways that are personal and effortless. On the other hand, they haven't yet figured out is how to scale that level of intimacy to a global audience.
Enter marketing orchestration. Marketing orchestration, which Forrester Consulting recently defined in this report, is a technology-enabled process that allows marketers to deliver the right personal messages to their entire customer base across any device consumers happen to be using at any time. Here, Scott Olrich, President of Marketing and Platform at Responsys, shares his insights into marketing orchestration — and its promise of both short-term performance boosts and longer-term improvements in customer experiences.
Rich customer experiences across multiple channels
In the era of marketing orchestration, consumers don't discover new products in 30-second television spots. They learn about them in email messages on their iPad while on the subway, display ads that follow their Internet browsing on their laptops at work, or text messages that deliver coupons or other deals as they drive by a local store.
For instance, Dollar Thrifty, the car rental giant, uses an orchestrated program today to remind customers of their reservations. After making a reservation, customers receive reminder emails and display ads, according to Olrich. Dollar Thrifty sends a SMS message the day of the reservation with information about picking up the car. Since customers don’t pay for the rental until pickup, Dollar Thrifty’s multi-channel campaign not only reinforces a positive customer experience, but also improves bottom-line performance, says Olrich.
Bryan Eisenberg, a digital marketing expert, agrees. The "cornerstone" of customer-centricity, he says, is an obsessive focus on meeting customers' goals and solving their needs. Says Eisenberg: "As Jeff Bezos claims about Amazon, they are not in the business of selling books but in the business of helping their customers buy books."
The call for orchestrated marketing teams
Orchestration benefits marketers, too. As the number of marketing channels has flourished to include email, display, mobile and social media, marketing teams themselves became less orchestrated and more specialized, according to Olrich. Marketing departments began to operate in silos, where specific teams focused on one channel — with little or no coordination with teams responsible for other channels. This internal structure made it impossible for marketers to focus on the whole customer experience.
In an orchestrated marketing department, different teams work together to create the optimal customer experience. But this level of coordination is now extending beyond the marketing function. Some marketers predict that marketing and tech roles are quickly merging. "The marketing team will become increasingly tech savvy and analytics driven, while the scope of the IT organization will extend beyond system delivery to measuring and optimizing marketing effectiveness," predicts Katherine Bahamonde, Chief Marketing Officer at women's fashion retailer C. Wonder.
Making the shift: It’s now or never
What's the future of marketing orchestration? Brands that embrace it will not only gain a significant advantage in terms of increasing customer loyalty and driving revenue, they will also begin to see the value of applying orchestration to all company functions — and not just marketing.
"Today, consumers need to be taken on a journey across all the channels they use, which when combined delivers them with their own personalized experience," says Paul Cross, President of Responsys Asia Pacific. "Those who fail to transform their strategies to foster long-term loyalty with customers risk getting left behind by their savvier and more nimble competitors."