Customer journey orchestration. What is it and how does it work?

Here are the goals and core capabilities of customer journey orchestration solutions.

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Customer journey orchestration (CJO) software lets marketers connect real-time data points from across channels, touchpoints and systems, allowing users to gain insights into the customer journey over time. This gives marketers the data they need to analyze the customer journey. 

Basic CJO categories

There are three main categories of CJO vendors:

  • Newly architected solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of CJO.
  • Vendors that are building upon expertise in other channels, such as call analytics or customer intelligence, through development or acquisitions.
  • Enterprise application providers with established customer bases that have been adding CJO functionality to their offerings.

Industry watchers expect to see additional entries from pure-play start-ups, as well as the repositioning of vendors in adjacent categories such as customer data platforms, marketing analytics and real-time interaction management (RTIM). 

What defines customer journey orchestration? 

The phrase “customer journey” has been a part of the digital marketing dialogue for years, which may contribute to the lack of clarity around what exactly customer journey orchestration is, and what it isn’t. The following core areas have emerged as critical to getting an actionable picture of the customer journey and taking action to improve it. 

Customer-focused, outside-in approach 

Marketers may have an “ideal customer journey” in mind, but a true customer-journey analytics approach acknowledges customers use many different channels and tailor interactions with businesses to their own preferences. Customers are in charge of their buying journeys. Therefore it’s important that marketers use data to find out what that journey is, rather than sticking to a preconceived idea of how people come to make a purchase. 

A focus on the lifetime value of the customer 

Instead of focusing solely on the awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation and purchase stages — aka the “classic marketing funnel” of the buyer experience — customer journey orchestration nurtures the relationship between the customer and the brand into repeat purchases and brand advocacy. 

Cross-channel data

To achieve this big-picture view, marketers must be able to bring in data across every customer touchpoint, including information from call centers, chatbots, in-store interactions and more. 

Real-time or close to real-time data

The basic goal of customer journey orchestration practitioners is identifying and eliminating customers’ roadblocks. But the ultimate goal is much more ambitious — delivering contextually relevant experiences to customers at their preferred touchpoints. This requires gathering data in real-time and responding in real time. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning 

Developing insights, determining what the next best action should be for a particular customer, and setting that experience in motion are unlikely to occur in real time without the benefit of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Making use of those technologies is key to customer journey orchestration.

Download the full MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Customer Journey Orchestration Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

Customer journey orchestration: A snapshot

What it is. Customer journey orchestration lets marketers connect real-time data points from across channels, touchpoints and systems, allowing users to gain insights into the customer journey over time. This allows marketers to explore the customer journey using data.

Why it’s hot today. Businesses know they need to be customer-focused in each aspect of their marketing operations. As a first step, brands need to understand how consumers are finding them. Whether it be via search, advertisement, or word of mouth, the medium used will set the trajectory for the rest of their journey.

Meanwhile, the average person uses many devices to access the internet, and Cisco forecasts that the number of devices connected to IP networks will increase to more than three times the global population by 2023. With so many devices, people shift back and forth depending on the task at hand and their current environment. Consumers and business buyers turn to an average of nine channels to browse product inventory, look for advice, and make purchases.

Capturing their interactions post-discovery, such as communication with a call center or visit to a retail outlet, helps brands see which of their assets are helping them along their path. What’s more, brands need to know what those who convert do post-purchase–this information helps companies win repeat business and encourage customer advocacy. Customer journey orchestration tools do just that.

What the tools do. The majority of vendors offer one or more of the following capabilities to give marketers an understanding of the customer journey: data gathering from a wide variety of channels and touchpoints; analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning, and customer journey visualization.

Many vendors also offer customer journey orchestration (CJO) capabilities, which allow users to act upon the insights and actually deliver the next step in the customer journey in real-time.

Why we care. Customers expect to have consistent experiences at each of these touchpoints. They want personalization, a trend that continues to grow. Tools like customer journey analytics software give brands the ability to gain insights from their audience and act on them.

Dig Deeper: What is customer journey orchestration and how are these tools helping marketers?

About the author

Pamela Parker
Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media's Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She's a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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