A Primer To Channel Orchestration

October 11, 2017

Channel orchestration is a technique by which marketers can intelligently sequence different marketing channels for a given segment of users to maximize both positive user experience and also user engagement.

Most marketing clouds/technologies offer features like “Journeys” etc. These allow the marketer to create a sequenced multi-channel campaign. E.g. you can start off by shooting an email to a segment, wait for 48 hours, look at respondents. And then to the remaining users, send an SMS. And so on.

This approach has one major limitation. It does not account for an individual user’s channel responses and preferences. And therefore pushes message at every level of the journey to a large number of users.

Let’s take the example of two bank customers.

Sam is active on the bank website. He visits the bank website multiple times every week to do various NetBanking transactions. Also, the bank has sent him at least 10 promotional emails in the last three months, none of which he has opened. Also, Sam is frequently present on Facebook, but has never clicked on a NewsFeed ad though the bank has shown multiple ads.

If the bank wants to send a message to Sam, the ideal channel sequence is: Try the bank Website. Then target him on Facebook. Email is the least preferred channel.

Anna, on the other hand, does not visit the bank website more than once a month. However, she has opened three of the 10 emails sent to her in the last three months. She has also signed in for the bank’s browser push notifications and has clicked each and every one of the three push notifications she has received. She is rarely on Facebook.

For Anna, the ideal channel sequence is Browser Push, then Email, then Website. Facebook is probably not a good idea and should be the last resort for Anna.

With user level orchestration, marketers can ensure that both Sam and Anna experience a unique journey most consistent with their channel responses. This has two major benefits.

  • The most obvious benefit is in the form of increased engagement. By ensuring users get targeted across channels where they are most likely to engage in, marketers are getting the best engagement in the most efficient way possible. In fact, Vizury’s work with a Top 5 global bank showed that there is a 2X efficiency that can be achieved.
  • As you dig deeper into orchestrated experiences vs. standard journeys, there are major cost benefits too. Traditionally adtech (paid media) and martech (owned media) have operated in silos. The same set of users could be getting targeted across both these channels for the same message. This creates a pretty large cost inefficiency. In the example above, neither Sam nor Anna actually need to be targeted on Facebook, which is a paid channel, till owned media channels are all used up. Orchestration allows you to intelligently sequence your paid media channels after free media channels.

Increasingly, the fragmentation that used to exist in the digital world of your users is vanishing. And as they do, channels become “dumb” end points. User data, as well as channel selection, becomes centralized. Algorithms overlaid on this central data platform can take intelligent decisions on orchestration. This is the next big frontier in marketing that you should be aware of and tap into.

And the best part? In the next blog post, I will delve into how you can organize your best of breed marketing software stack to achieve orchestration.

To know more about Channel Orchestration and its use cases relevant to your business, please feel free to reach out to me at