Move over Multichannel. It’s Time for Marketing Orchestration

Coordinating and integrating marketing across touchpoints and time results in “marketing orchestration” that builds on the ultra-connected nature of today’ consumer; but most marketers still rely on mass-marketing strategies, according to newly released research from Forrester Consulting conducted for Responsys.

Consumers are rapidly shifting their attention to mobile devices and social media. These ultra-connected customers demand orchestrated marketing, not the batch-based and calendar-based marketing campaigns of the past, Forrester says in the report The Rise of Marketing Orchestration.

The study is based on a survey of 200 mid- to senior-level marketers in the United States and the United Kingdom about marketing strategies and marketing investments.

“Eighteen percent said their marketing organization’s top goal was to grow long-term relationships with customers,” says Steve Krause, Responsys senior vice president for product management. And another 18% said their top goal is to enhance customer experience across channels or touchpoints. “But 61% were planning to increase paid search marketing. How does that grow long-term relationships with customers?”

Even with the proliferation of mobile and social media, most marketers are staying with mass-marketing efforts, like untargeted display ads (58% of respondents), mass email (59%), and search advertising. Some marketers surveyed are cutting social media efforts by 10%.

“We live in a world where marketers do what they have always done,” Krause says. “If direct mail produces a certain number of responses, then marketers send out more direct mail.”

Historically, marketers have focused on linear and sequential campaigns, but customers don’t interact with brands this way anymore. Rather than moving in a linear fashion from product awareness to product purchase, now customers might become aware of a product in a variety of different ways (social media, traditional advertising, etc.), and might journey back and forth between social media, Web search, catalogs, and ads before making a purchase, Krause says.

Eighty-two percent of consumers routinely search high- and low-consideration products, while a little more than half use digital channels to conduct their research. Customers look for deals (54%), free samples (41%), and to learn about the latest product or service offerings (33%). So, complex campaigns are the new normal, according to the Forrester report.

Rather than using traditional marketing campaigns, marketing orchestration calls for data interaction from multiple channels to drive experiences in digital and non-digital channels, such as an efficient buying experiences at a brick-and-mortar location or online. Marketers can measure their success in these efforts through customer experience metrics, including engagement, satisfaction, and lifetime value, across different points in the customer’s journey.

“If consumers are already using multiple channels, then marketing technology needs to keep up with that,” Krause says. “Orchestration matters because if you leave it to the individual [marketing] silos, the message is going to be disjointed.”

Silos have made sense from an operational standpoint, but not from a customer-centric one, Krause adds.

The research findings suggest that marketers need to use the right organizational structures and technologies to make sure that they give customers a great experience across time and channels, according to Krause. The right technologies can provide end-to-end communications with customers, so that they are engaged at every interaction. To do this, the technology must track all customer interactions across all media and should guide customers to successive lifecycle stages from a known person to a person who has a customer relationship with the company.

Consequently, marketers should shift from campaign-centric to customer-centric marketing methodologies, according to Forrester. This also means combining real-time tools and targeted media.

The Forrester report also finds that real-time measurement of customer preferences and needs will provide marketers with the necessary real-time information to fine-tune campaigns. But marketers can’t rely on traditional business intelligence approaches for this data. Instead, marketers will need deeper information, such as a customer’s browsing behavior, social sentiment, and predictive analytics.

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