Each year, our Gartner team works closely with clients to understand the most critical priorities, and most pressing challenges, facing marketing leaders. For 2022, one of the themes that has emerged for marketing leaders is: Customer Journey Orchestration.
No surprises there! Customer journeys are becoming increasingly complex for both B2B and consumer customers.
Changing Customer Behaviors
Consumers shifted to more online behaviors in 2020 and 2021, and the majority say they expect their pandemic shopping behaviors to stick:
And B2B buyers are also becoming more omnichannel. In fact, B2B buyers and procurement specialists indicate that they believe online purchases will account for 59% of sales by 2023.
Customer Journey Orchestration
Hybrid shopping must lead to hybrid marketing. Customer journey orchestration supports a fluid mix of online and offline touchpoints and experiences. And marketing leaders are shifting their channel priorities and investments – but it will take more than that to succeed.
In order for journey orchestration to be successful, marketers will need to deeply understand customer journeys. This includes abandoning the traditional linear view of the journey in favor of more realistic journey maps. Journey maps focused on how customers make decisions, and which decisions are inflection points, will help marketers find opportunities for intervention.
And marketers will need to create balanced portfolios. That means balanced between digital and non-digital experiences, but but also supporting the execution of decisions customers have already made…and supporting reflective decision-making. Increased decision support means customers can still make confident progress through the customer journey even on digital channels.
Not that sales reps will go away. In fact, Gartner B2B Sales research has found that customers who prefer to make purchases without a rep are actually more likely to regret their purchase after they’ve made it – there’s still a place for human support, but sales’ approach will probably need to change in tandem with customer evolutions.
More Than Next Best Offer
And that brings us to the knock-on effects of customer journey orchestration: not just investments in new technology and customer insight, but new ways of working. New opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, new emerging skill sets, and new combinations of human interpretation with AI and machine learning to orchestrate and deliver messages across the journey.
Customer journey orchestration is more than “next best action” or “next best offer”. And marketing leaders must view customer journey orchestration not merely through the lens of “the next operational challenge” or “the next buzzword”, but really as a strategic imperative in how marketing reaches customers, supports sales, and drives value.
I’ll be presenting brand-new research on customer journey orchestration, including “What Your Customers Really Think About Next Best Action”, and best practices and case studies for bringing customer journey orchestration to life in a useful, sensible, practical way, at the Gartner Marketing Symposium, May 23-25 2022, in Aurora CO. To join us, reach out to your account representative.