Written by Natalia Bus | 28th July 2022
JOURNEY ORCHESTRATION: THE NEXT STEP IN EVOLVING THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
In the latest episode of Lab Leaders, Faye sits down with Darryl Delacroix, partner at Navigate UNLIMITED, and Ian Bobbett, Chief Analytics Officer at Realise UNLIMITED. They discuss what journey orchestration is, how it can help brands with the evolution of customer journeys, the data required to make it a success, and more.
What’s meant by journey orchestration?
Darryl: Journey orchestration is a form of customer-centric marketing, specifically, the co-ordination of several communications to the customer.
This could be as simple as a customer signing up for a newsletter or buying a product online and being entered into a welcome programme, where they are periodically served a series of communications.
Today, however, we want to discuss more sophisticated versions of journey orchestration, and how we can help our clients achieve it.
What’s the value of taking this kind of approach?
Darryl: The end game for clients is to be able to engage in a natural, consistent, and continuous conversation with customers, making sure it doesn’t feel forced. We focus on this end game, and plumb in the orchestration to make it happen.
It’s also about delivering a great journey with business KPIs behind it, exploring the imperative for the brand whilst providing an ROI for the time, effort, and expertise it takes to deliver. We cross boundaries of different departments and teams to create a customer-centric set of KPIs, which might not be traditional and will need continual revisiting and optimising.
Ian: Every journey orchestration is also different for every organisation, and there’s no one-size-fits-all. We have to understand a client’s touch points and requirements as well as relating to their goals and tone of voice.
Which components need to come together for journey orchestration?
Darryl: It’s the centralisation of data as well as data strategy – making a repository of information from different parts of the business. Every channel needs to be plugged into the same data source for that consistency, which is a key building block.
Information might also be needed instantly which requires real-time interaction management, particularly when engaging with inbound channels where you have to be in the moment. Here, you need as much up-to-the-minute data as possible to understand the customer’s need to interact with your business and their intent, so you can serve the correct message.
Do you need multiple data points to understand the context of the individual customer and their previous experiences, and how complex is that?
Ian: It’s getting more complex as time goes by, data repositories grow, and new sources emerge. Natural language processing is a great example of understanding the sentiment of someone you’re speaking with digitally, and responding appropriately. Here, latency is a critical issue, and you have to constantly balance having a data lake or data warehouse with inbuilt latency, with a need for a real-time solution.
Data, systems, people, processes, and knowledge form the foundational layer for clients, and we help them understand what they need in place to capture that data. Some clients also want to enhance their information as quickly as possible, combining customers’ historical information with a predictive, machine-learning perspective, which is very complex but also very interesting.
How do clients mask the complexity of journey orchestration and deliver a great experience?
Darryl: The starting point is always small. You might have the luxury of all kinds of data points at once, but actually, you don’t even need to begin with every single piece of information you know about a customer. Start with a defined journey and bring in or make data available for it, and make sure the channels you want to deliver are ready to support it.
It’s a waterfall approach. Rather than stretching the patience of clients for years before seeing returns, start small, demonstrate success, and then move on to something bigger and better.
Do you have any examples of brands who do a really great job of orchestration?
Darryl: Telcos and Utilities have a multitude of different kinds of messages which leads to a blend of marketing and customer service use cases. They’re probably leading the way with some heavy duty, complex journey orchestration tools that make them take longer to deliver, with things iteratively becoming very important.
These kinds of organisations tend to take journey orchestration very seriously – considering the abundance of offers, products, and services at play, there are so many permutations and reasons for people contacting them.
What’s your general experience of the necessary tools and systems for a business to begin journey orchestration?
Darryl: Having one place to store data is important, like a single brain having defined journeys. You then need to map out various journeys based on the kinds of activity a customer displays, and you need tools to offer customers a multitude of options, products, or offers.
It also all needs to happen in real-time, based on historical knowledge of the customer as well as their intent.
What’s the reality of making this possible from a data point of view?
Ian: It depends on the complexity. Telcos for example know a lot about their clients, so they have lots of data. Supermarkets do too, with loyalty schemes and CCTV footage allowing them to analyse and predict behaviours, which then helps them push the right offers at the right time. I think that’s the way the future is heading for orchestration.
There are lots of layers to orchestration and the level of intricacy will depend on the size, knowledge, and complexity of the organisation. It’s also important to walk the line between good experience and not making customers nervous regarding how much brands know about them.
What kinds of things can clients expect us to do in terms of journey orchestration from each of your perspectives?
Darryl: Firstly, it’s about identifying clients’ needs, their objectives, and what they want to deliver. We look at what technology we have to work with, barriers in place, investment requirements, and various other aspects to create a roadmap to deliver the set objectives.
It’s basic gap analysis to come up with that technological blueprint, and from that, we create achievable steps to progress along that roadmap. We can also come in at any point of the journey to help clients accelerate and make the most of things.
Ian, how would you approach these steps from a data perspective?
Ian: Our foundational layer is managing and democratising the data for each client. Knowledge is also hugely important when it comes to the foundations, but it’s often overlooked. We need to understand what the business currently knows, what it doesn’t, and how it uncovers it, all of which is critical to the journey orchestration process.
We then wrap that up in a capability acceleration to help clients ensure they’ve got those foundational data assets. Next, it’s about creating that achievable roadmap that meets business requirements and enables great customer experience.
We also ensure that clients structure measurement correctly, making good decisions and socialising them. A big part of our involvement is adding intelligence around how to go from where the client is to that next step. This revolves around the predictive machine and segmentation, and how to leverage their emerging data assets.
All of these are capabilities we wrap around data intelligence, which is the core technology that navigates us.
Journey orchestration with UNLIMITED
Hopefully this has offered you a window into some of the technology and data mechanics around how we improve conversion for our clients.
You can check out our Lab leaders podcast for more insights on how human understanding drives performance, and you can also find out more on our website here.
To reach out to our Lab Leaders host, drop an email to: Faye.Hawkins@unlimitedgroup.com.