The traditional marketing model—in which the email, display, and mobile departments work in their respective silos and each team’s success is measured on revenue per message sent—is fundamentally broken. When roughly 40% of revenue comes from returning or repeat purchasers, brands should be optimizing the complete customer experience, not individual campaigns or interactions.
In this campaign-centric world, however, as revenues diminish the logical response has been to dial up the volume of marketing messages—because, historically, as volumes increased so did sales. But what’s missing from this equation is the individual on the receiving end of those messages. A consumer who’s inundated with untimely and often irrelevant email, mobile, social, and display messages from a brand, and not to mention all its competitors, is understandably fed up—who wouldn’t be? In fact, a nonprofit institution Responsys works with found that sending just one additional email per week to its most engaged subscribers cut its retention rate in half—meaning that half of its best customers opted out. When two additional emails per week were sent, retention went down by almost 80%.
What we need to improve customer experiences and increase revenues are orchestrated marketing organizations. Orchestration occurs when silos are broken down, enabling the company to make better decisions and optimize a customer’s entire journey with a brand.
In a perfect world, your CMO would take charge and mandate orchestration between and within departments. She would reorganize teams around the customer journey, not individual channels, and declare that success would be measured by lifetime customer value, not revenue per individual interaction.
I’ll be the first to admit that this sort of broad-sweeping change is hard to do and isn’t likely to happen overnight. The good news, however, is that there are some more tactical changes that anyone—regardless of job level—can start implementing now to get their organization on the path to orchestration.
1. Stop thinking of your job in a silo. Marketers have a tendency to fall back on selling a specific product, service, or promotional offer, but, really, marketers should be focused on optimizing customer experiences. To do that, you need to take yourself out of your channel silo and think about where and how you could increase customer value, while pursuing revenue goals. For example, when Responsys customers layer display messages with their email programs, they typically see a 70% lift in conversion rate.
2. Change your title. Some companies, like computer and electronics retailer TigerDirect, have considered updating titles—from the traditional, such as “email marketing manager,” to titles that better describe the evolving roles and functions in this new era of marketing. A change in title declares to the organization that you’re serious about orchestration—and it holds you accountable to your goal of prioritizing the customer experience.
3. Establish a customer experience task force. Convene your peers responsible for other channels to discuss opportunities to improve the customer experience. The simple action of getting the right people regularly talking about cross-channel coordination and integration can inspire new initiatives and progress. Grainger, a Fortune 500 industrial supply company, for example, has seen success with bringing together the email, display, Web, and mobile teams to discuss the cross-channel customer experience and the steps necessary to improve orchestration.
4. Invest in customer analytics whenever possible. Most brands have basic campaign analytics, measuring open and click-through rates, but few have insight into what drives specific behaviors throughout the customer journey. If your budget allows for it, make an investment in more robust analytics—they’ll reveal a great deal about how and when you should be interacting with your customer to generate the best return.
5. Share and celebrate success. Host a town hall or a lunch-and-learn session to educate the broader organization about what you’re doing to reorient around the customer experience. Be sure to highlight successes—however small they may be at first—and discuss the best practices you’re learning.
With a grassroots approach to developing an orchestrated organization, you’ll not only generate excitement and enthusiasm from the ground up, you’ll propel your own career forward by expanding your skill-set and becoming known as an innovative marketer who’s not afraid of inciting change for the benefit of the customer.
Scott Olrich is president of marketing and platform at Responsys