Are you delivering a connected customer experience?

The mantra ‘right message, right channel, right time’ is imprinted into every digital marketer’s brain. Understanding customer identity, and being able to respond to this, is the driving force behind journey orchestration.

With the rise in connectivity driven by smart devices and digital services, 84% of customers now say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, and more than two thirds (69%) expect connected experiences. That’s according to Salesforce’s ‘State of the Connected Customer’ research.

Understanding customer identity, and being able to respond to this, is the driving force behind journey orchestration. By necessity, this framework transcends pure marketing comms. Every touchpoint – from web visits, to transactional app push notifications and call centre conversations – must be considered within each customer’s journey as part of the value exchange from the data that individual has shared. These interactions require centralised orchestration to deliver the consistent, hyper-personalised engagements that drive the connected customer experience.

The benefits of this approach also require a shift away from typical campaign-level performance metrics. Effective journey orchestration is best measured through increased customer value, driven by purchase frequency, loyalty and advocacy. At the same time, this centralised approach delivers operational efficiencies that help to generate ROI.

There are several fundamental challenges to true journey orchestration from both a functional and operational perspective.

Breaking down operational silos, as with almost any change management project, is the first and often most insurmountable barrier to delivering true journey orchestration. Traditional distinctions between marketing and advertising, digital and offline, and sales and service all impose critical handover points in the customer journey that should be invisible to the recipient but are made clear through inconsistent communications.

Effective journey orchestration is best measured through increased customer value.

Consistently identifying a customer across multiple touchpoints is a significant challenge for many organisations. This is before attempting to resolve that customer’s latest behaviour against their existing profile and deliver the most appropriate message for them at that time. Legacy data architectures and disparate systems make even identifying the customer journey a significant hurdle.

Once it’s possible to observe your customers’ journeys, the next challenge is actively managing these. Journey orchestration tools can be expensive, time-consuming to set up and require specialised skill sets to operate effectively. A complex world of marketing automation tools, customer data platforms, data management platforms and more are frequently vying for investment, often with overlapping capabilities and channel-specific execution tools to integrate with or replace.

Defining a long-term, customer-centric communications journey strategy is a fundamental requirement for true journey orchestration. This informed, data-led, end-to-end view of a customer’s experience takes time, collaboration and expertise to develop. In order to manage this change, businesses should focus on developing an iterative, incremental roadmap, prioritised based on business value and current maturity to ensure time-to-value, enabling clear business case justification for the investment needed.

In Merkle’s first whitepaper, ‘Enabling Performance Email at Scale’, we described four capabilities necessary for the activation of performance email. Alongside this, there are three fundamental capabilities necessary to deliver a shift away from pure channel-based campaigns and towards the orchestration of customer journeys: audience management, decision management and journey management.

Download Merkle’s second paper in the series, ‘Evolving from Campaigns to Customer Journeys’ which explore each of these capabilities and their technical and operational enablers.

Source – marketingweek.com