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Don’t Just Automate: Orchestrate

As an unfortunate mishap recently experienced by a large retailer clearly demonstrates - automation without orchestration leads to chaos. Smart marketers should acknowledge the need for an inherently intelligent system to make sure all parts are synced and optimized

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness. More specifically, trying to be a little bit more cautious in the way that I use my phone. But every now and then, you find a real gem during those mindless roams, like this funny thread on Reddit, seen a few weeks ago.

I’m not trying to shame anyone here at all, I just thought that this was a really great example of why orchestration is so crucial. Orchestration is essentially how we keep all our messages and automations harmonious – how marketers make sure that the customer receives one, holistic experience.

Forever and ever

If you haven’t gone over the thread, I highly recommend it– not to gloat but to see how customers – who are now more educated and sophisticated than ever – are identifying and reacting to bad customer experiences.

The main point is that Forever 21, the American fashion retailer that operates in more than 700 stores worldwide, sent over 20 emails in 24 hours to one confused customer, who shared this experience on Reddit.

As you can see, a ton of different emails were sent – promotions, offers and discounts, reminders, newsletters – informational emails, and much more. It doesn’t really matter who was responsible for this faux-pas but it sure does stress an important consideration when building your marketing strategy, or rather looking for your next automation solutions.

Automation without Orchestration is chaos. While marketing automation has promised a lot and delivered a certain amount of value, it seems that many still use the terms orchestration and automation interchangeably, when in fact the differences could not be more apparent.

The act of marketing automation is the ability to give instructions, later duplicated at set intervals or based on set triggers. Sounds great right? Wrong. Rule-based automation can go horribly wrong as witnessed when Forever 21’s marketing channels fired off 20+ email campaigns to an unsurprisingly dismayed customer.

A little on the extreme

So how did this happen? Let’s envision a well-intentioned and eager marketer trying to imagine all of the moments when they may want to engage with their customers:

  • Did the customer abandon cart? Email a promo.
  • It’s two days since their last purchase? Send them a request to review.
  • They just browsed a new category? Target them on social media.
  • A product they like is back in stock? Let them know asap.
  • Price drops in their favorite category? A message is ready.

Great. But what happens when all of these happen during the course of one day, within 24 hours? While the ill-fated example of almost one campaign per hour for an entire day may be a little on the extreme side, to say the least, I would still make an educated guess that any person reading this who has a quick look at their “promotions” tab, will find a brand that has sent them more than one message today, and that’s just email. What happens when you add in social, display, direct mail? Things quickly fall off track for most brands, which is almost always, bad marketing.

Seems obvious, right? So why is this still such a challenge for brands? Because they still rely on traditional marketing clouds or marketing automation tools that are trapped in the old “journey based” and “batch and blast approach“. True orchestration requires you to be able to seamlessly prioritize your messages while properly excluding to your heart’s desire. Sending the right message at the right moment through the right channel is the essence of Relationship Marketing.

Choose the right conductor

At Optimove, we combine the most advanced Customer Data Platform with the most advanced and intelligent orchestration. But the important word here is most definitely orchestration. A retailer should likely acknowledge that they need an orchestration system to make sure all systems are synced and optimized for maximum response across all channels.

Our marketing calendar essentially allows marketers to simply create a system of prioritization and exclusion, which adapts to every single customer’s best action, empowering marketers to implement a systematic approach to planning, executing, measuring and optimizing a complete marketing plan. One that is highly personalized, and effectively addresses each individual customer.

To learn more about how you can use Optimove to achieve highly successful relationship marketing, request a demo.

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Yoav Susz

Yoav Susz is Optimove's VP Revenue in the United States. After a career in Public Diplomacy, Product Management and Law, Yoav found his true calling helping businesses find the best way to engage their customers. Yoav holds an LLB from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU.