The term “customer journey orchestration” is a very misleading one. Why? Because existing and potential customers own their journeys. From start to finish.
That means marketing teams can only meet individuals at various customer touchpoints with relevant, timely messaging based on their behavior, engagement, and interests (e.g., products or services purchased, calls to action clicked, etc.).
Having said that, marketers can orchestrate real-time, one-to-one, lifecycle marketing activities to target prospects and customers. How? With a lifecycle marketing program.
We’ve already explained the basics of this approach. Now, it’s worth noting why the notion of “creating” a customer journey orchestration strategy and “improving” the customer journey are outmoded ways of thinking for companies today.
The “customer journey orchestration” myth and how it affects your marketing
Turn anonymous website visitors into known contacts. Gradually engage those individuals across channels and touchpoints. Deliver a top-tier, end-to-end, mutually beneficial customer experience. Scale and streamline this engagement over time.
That’s every company’s goal today. And it’s an attainable one. (With the right focus.)
In the past decade, growth-focused teams (e.g., marketing, customer service/customer support, ecommerce) have been focused on understanding their customers’ journeys.
For instance, many build visual representations of the average customer’s path to purchase. That is, they go through the (arduous) process of creating high-level customer journey maps.
The goal? To get an at-a-glance view of where and when buyers engage with them.
They even factor in customer feedback to learn what entices individuals to buy. For instance, a footwear retailer may send post-transaction emails after customers’ shoe purchases to determine what led to said purchase through surveys.
The thought process behind charting these journeys? They provide insights into customers’ interactions with brands and the sales process. (And even post-purchase.)
And they use these insights to enhance their “journey orchestration.” That is, marketing to buyer personas. (See: The concept of a customer, not actual, individual customers).
But, as noted, the concept of journey orchestration is a false one.
BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach noted how focusing too much on defining the stages of the customer journey distracts marketing from better engagement opportunities:
- “[T]oo much time gets wasted on abstractions about journeys rather than focusing on how to realign marketing activities and planning to understand and react to what is happening in a journey.”
Put another way? Mapping out the customer journey has its pluses. Namely, you can confirm assumptions about buyers’ behavior and better grasp their pain points and preferences.
But improving the CX for individuals across channels requires a more sophisticated, involved, and detail-oriented approach. One based on real-time customer data and insights.
Lifecycle management: A better approach than customer journey-based marketing
Many tools help growth-focused teams analyze disparate customer data across channels and platforms. These insights, in turn, help them draw conclusions about customers’ journeys.
The problem is these tools were built for data scientists. That is, not for marketers.
Why? Because marketing has historically lacked the data science skills necessary to pull data sets from journey management software. They can’t run algorithms or import that data back into the solution to construct useful journey visualizations.
Marketers face two problems with customer journey orchestration tools:
- 1) The tools weren’t built for everyday marketing pros. That means the solutions require additional skill sets or resources to use them properly.
- 2) Because they’re disconnected from activation tools (e.g., web personalization tools), marketers can’t actually respond to journeys in real time.
The solution? Marketers now use systems that enable lifecycle orchestration. Notably, tools that help them implement one-to-one messaging in relevant lifecycle stages.
As analytics expert Weiwei Hu noted for Toward Data Science, the right customer lifecycle management framework enables the most effective orchestration efforts:
- “[Marketers] need to understand the behavior of customers vary by different persona segments at each key stage in their lifecycle so that they can identify opportunities for engaging with these customers.”
And they can implement this approach in a customer data platform (CDP).
Abandoning customer journey marketing — and embracing lifecycle orchestration
Lifecycle orchestration with a CDP is your path to better personalized marketing. But crafting a lifecycle strategy starts with using first-party data as your main marketing resource.
You can only build a marketing program that meets your customer when and where are in their customer journeys when you leverage unified, consented first-party data.
And, ideally, data that updates in real time. A key trait of pure-play CDPs like BlueConic.
Our CDP can help you dynamically recognize and interact with individuals across touchpoints with the right messaging. (And ensure you don’t send the wrong messaging.)
With lifecycle orchestration, all interactions are an explicit response to where each individual is on their unique journey. It puts the planning and execution of workflow-based, static, outbound campaigns to work in service of journey-based marketing.
- In BlueConic’s pure-play CDP, for instance, retargeted social media ads can be shown to customers based on their most recent product interests and purchases.
- And specific rules can be set up in their Lifecycles to ensure these people are only served these ads after certain thresholds are passed/criteria are met. (In other words, you can ensure only the right message is delivered. Never the wrong one.)
- With Lifecycles, marketing teams with BlueConic’s CDP can utilize the unified profiles for each contact in their tech ecosystem as the basis of their engagement programs. They can promote or suppress messaging based on customer behavior or as time goes by.
- Marketers can also define any number of lifecycles and related stages with the goal of moving customers from one mutually exclusive stage to the next as they convert/time passes (e.g., as they click CTAs or reach the midway point of an onboarding period.)
Translation? These individuals advance from one lifecycle stage (which differ from customer journey stages) to the next as they engage with touchpoints defined by marketing. (And other touchpoints they may not have even defined within a given lifecycle.)
Taking your targeted marketing to the next level with BlueConic’s CDP
Take a customer-centric approach with a CDP. That is how today’s companies can better leverage their first-party data. That is, how they can better liberate data.
Meeting your customers where they are in their unique journeys can greatly improve your marketing metrics and overall business goals. Whether that’s generating more revenue, increasing customer lifetime value scores, or driving better buyer retention rates.
But, more importantly, embracing this approach is how you can transform your business, accelerate revenue growth, and enhance your day0-to-day operational efficiency.
Ultimately, creating better customer experiences for your audience by understanding and reacting to individuals in your marketing funnel in real time will help you meet your goals:
- Construct a more scalable, streamlined marketing program.
- More easily and efficiently engage with your target audience.
- Improve loyalty and relationships with your customer base.
- Continually enhance your CX — and grow your bottom line.
- Ditch all dated marketing efforts that only lead to low ROI.
The transition from customer journey marketing to a lifecycle orchestration strategy doesn’t happen overnight. But marketing’s evolution is constant. That means you must evolve too.
In 2021 and beyond, it’s clear your best opportunity to build fruitful, lasting relationships with customers is through one-to-one marketing. Specifically, marketing based on their real-time activity and that aligns with their unique wants, needs, and interests.
And BlueConic’s lifecycle orchestration capabilities afford you this opportunity.
Watch our lifecycle marketing webinar to discover how to orchestrate more relevant and timely individualized customer experiences with your first-party data.