Customer journey orchestration: The next frontier of connected experiences

A decade ago, marketing was focused on guiding the customer through predictable stages of awareness, consideration, and purchase. We were relatively assured that if we reached x number of eyeballs, we could expect y number of responses and z number of conversions.

That world no longer exists. Eighty-one percent of consumers1 want to purchase from brands that get to know them, but nearly three-quarters2 are frustrated by tons of irrelevant content which makes them feel so disconnected. That feedback exposes how the customer experience is falling short and reminds us that it’s no longer enough to employ tactics that focus on volume, or even segmentation. Traditional approaches—campaigns, offers, and ads—exist in siloes. The customer journey doesn’t. It doubles back, skips forward, and spans digital and physical channels. The marketer’s approach should likewise cut across traditional siloes of existing functions, roles, or channels.

Brands should recognize these fundamental shifts and look for solutions that keep up with surging expectations. Customer journey orchestration in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing delivers an individualized, end-to-end experience to every customer, across all touchpoints—at scale. Each individual travels a unique path, based on evolving needs. The result is a refreshing two-way conversation that’s customer-centric, rather than brand-centric. Where one customer may need additional education and proof points, another may be ready to select among different models. In the past, they would both receive the same, predefined, offer after signing up on the brand’s website. This traditional approach falls flat, failing to take into account key contexts like previous interactions and intent. With customer journey orchestration, brands can harness everything they know about the customer, across all channels, and mobilize the organization to engage in the moment to deliver a fluid and seamless experience. For an organization with thousands or millions of customers, optimizing individual experiences at scale can have an enormous impact on growth through increased acquisition and retention.

According to BCG, organizations implementing customer journey orchestration have achieved3:

  • Revenue gains of 10-20 percent
  • Cost reductions of 15-25 percent
  • Customer advocacy score improvements of 20-40 points

Optimizing customer experiences with customer journey orchestration might seem daunting, but it helps to focus on three areas—data, decisioning, and delivery. Most organizations already have a lot of customer data, but they need to bring together the data to gain a 360-degree view of the customer. Then they can turn the data into actions with real-time decisioning to determine which offer to surface or what content to display or what kind of communication to send. Next is the delivery of the actions through alignment and integration with the MarTech stack.

Building a resilient data foundation

Journey optimization begins with a strong data foundation. With help from a customer data platform, organizations can create unified profiles to gain a single view of customers. Savvy organizations go a step further and consider the ever-changing nature of data—from new data sources to regulatory and compliance requirements that seemingly spring up overnight. Adapting by identifying and bringing in new data sources like digital behavior, customer sentiment, third-party enrichment, or emerging channels contribute to a resilient data foundation that easily flexes to the ever-changing environment. With always up-to-date rich and adaptive profiles, organizations maintain an edge by gaining a deeper understanding of customers—as long as it’s built with a privacy-first approach. Growing mistrust over data privacy has promoted big changes like the sunsetting of third-party cookies and data reform. A future-proof customer data platform needs to be designed from the ground up to be consent-enabled, allowing the organization to automatically honor customer consent and privacy across the entire journey.

Scaling with real-time decisioning

Decisioning enables organizations to automatically determine the next best action for an individual customer. The real-time nature of decisioning ensures immediate action, converting an expression of interest (or dissatisfaction) into continued engagement. Based on signals that reveal customer intent, decisioning determines, at the precise moment, the exact interaction to optimize the customer experience. Decisioning goes hand in hand with customer journey orchestration, mobilizing data and AI to decide how best to design and adjust individual journeys to increase customer lifetime value while decreasing cost to serve through intelligent automation and scale.

Delivering connected experiences

The focus on the longer journey, instead of a single touchpoint, is the key to elevated experiences. This end-to-end approach requires continuity and context—every time. Decisioning works in tandem with customer journey orchestration to move analytics outputs and insights through the MarTech and AdTech stack, informing activation in the application layer, resulting in a cohesive journey—bubbling up the next best offer, content, conversations, and experiences seamlessly for each customer, regardless of the place or time.

Looking ahead

Brands that recognize the fundamental shift in customer expectations are boosting their customer experience capabilities. Learn how the new customer journey orchestration capabilities in Dynamics 365 Marketing can make one-to-one experiences a reality. Visit the Dynamics 365 Marketing website and sign up for a free trial.

1-“From me to we: The rise of the purpose-led brand,” Accenture, Dec. 5. 2018

2-“Harness change to create 360° value,” Accenture

3-“Customer Journey Programs Are Hard to Get Right,” Bharat Poddar, Yogesh Mishra, and Prateek Tandon, BCG, Jan. 29. 2020