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Your customers now run the show—about when they shop, how they shop, and what messages or content they choose to engage with. They want to rub elbows with brands but on their terms, not yours. They expect a more individualized experience from brands than ever.

Yet too many companies, for all their technological prowess and brainpower, still rely on the mass-marketing techniques that have dominated marketing since the dawn of broadcast technology—delivering one message through a campaign timeline to the largest audience possible. A new study from Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Responsys, found that marketers value cultivating long-term customer relationships and enhancing customer experience across channels or touchpoints, yet they continue to spend heavily on mass-marketing, acquisition marketing programs. Nearly 60% of surveyed marketers plan to increase funding for untargeted email marketing and display advertisements in 2014.

In addition to remaining stuck in the campaign mindset, marketers are dealing with the corporate reality of channel silos—where email, mobile, display, social, and the Web are not integrated. As a result, messages are fragmented across touchpoints and out of context to the consumer. The study notes that to overcome this siloed model, marketers should embrace an approach called "marketing orchestration."

Marketing orchestration is defined by Forrester as "an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns but instead on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions, that when added together make up an individualized customer experience."

So, why aren't marketers orchestrating their marketing today? The reality is that many marketers find that it is far easier to fall back on traditional approaches that turn up the volume because when viewed in a silo, high-volume, campaign-based marketing is a cost-effective way to grab new customers and drive sales. But this approach only increases the noise and moves marketers further away from delivering truly valuable and unique experiences for individual consumers.

What this tells us is that there is a critical flaw in the way marketers organize and execute their marketing communications. The "campaign" era in marketing is over, and the post-campaign era is in full swing. For many marketers, that means coming to terms with some hard truths about what they’re doing and why.

  • Marketers today can—and should—be tracking and actively mining data that shows how and when customers are interacting with email and the Web, what they are buying and when, and their location, age and gender based on information they voluntarily disclose in their profile preferences.
  • Campaigns that revolve around a calendar—for instance, sending an email about tropical vacation destinations during the winter—aren't anywhere near as effective as sending an email that's based on someone's specific purchase intent, such as browsing flights for a specific destination.
  • Mass trolling for customers via email, search, mobile and social might scale well, but it has become a fool's errand when existing customers are a company's best source for future revenues and new customers.
  • Many departments are still operating in silos, with one team responsible for email marketing, another for display advertising, and so on. The groups don't coordinate their marketing methods, let alone even talk to one another about how to orchestrate the customer experience across all the digital channels. As a company transitions from campaign-centric to customer-centric strategies, integration and communication are critical to the marketing team structure.

Lenovo is one brand that is hard at work breaking down silos and making the shift to the post-campaign era. While most brands still think of a Welcome Program as a one-touch email when a consumer opts in, Lenovo is instead viewing it as multiple emails that unfold according to a consumer's specific behaviors. Today, this sophisticated Welcome Program is driving 50% of Lenovo's overall online revenue. Lenovo is also extending its email marketing with display and social experiences because it knows that consumers today interact with brands across a multitude of channels.

The bottom line is that marketers need to flip their models so that marketing is viewed as more than just a series of siloed campaigns, and all interactions are customized over time and across channels. Marketing orchestration is the answer to help marketers improve the customer experience, increase brand loyalty, and boost revenues. As 2014 approaches and consumer expectations rise, I hope to see the marketing world begin to move past the campaign era towards a truly orchestrated future.

Continue reading "Why Businesses Need to Embrace Marketing Orchestration" ... Read the full article

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image of Kyle Christensen

Kyle Christensen is the VP of Marketing at Invoca, the call intelligence company. He is a SaaS veteran, having spent over 15 years working in enterprise software. Before Invoca, Kyle was a VP of Marketing at Responsys.

LinkedIn: Kyle Christensen

Twitter: @kylechristensen

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