I recently went to Walgreens to pick up a new prescription. On my bag was a message to go online at walgreens.com to order prescription refills and update my personal health history. A few days after I created an account, I received an email to download the complimentary mobile app to help manage my records while I’m on the go. Right before my prescription ran out, I received both a mobile push notification and email reminder to order a refill, which I do. A couple of days later, I received a push notification saying my refill was ready to pick up at the Walgreen’s pharmacy closest to my home. Five days later, I received an automated voicemail informing me that my refill was ready; this was extremely helpful since I travel a lot and had actually forgotten about my prescription. This was a consistent, relevant, and easy customer journey—all because I took a few minutes to set up an account that included my preferences.

The best way to nurture customers—and get them to keep coming back—is by delivering the right message at the right time. This is exactly what happened to me with Walgreens; any brand seeking to build meaningful and productive relationships with their customers should be doing the same thing.

To do this successfully, manual action will not work—as I mention quite often, there is simply too much data to do this. An organization must automate its marketing processes—everything from promotional, transactional messages to seasonal campaigns. Every interaction must be leveraged to sustain this relationship. This is called orchestrating customer journeys. By orchestrating all the campaign data, content, and channels, an organization can not only build personalized customer experiences but also gain significant program efficiencies. By automating your marketing approach, you are solving the following problems associated with a marketing campaign:

  • Time: Every second your team dedicates to the orchestration of your marketing campaign is time that could have been spent executing it. Automation frees your team to be even more productive to work on other, more proactive projects that will further your business.
  • Cost: In order to execute tasks related to the orchestration of your marketing campaign, you must allocate resources to get the job done. The less efficient you are with this, the more resources—and ultimately money—it will cost.
  • Efficiency: Automation (as opposed to a manual approach) jumpstarts your time and cost-efficiency, thereby reducing your overall cost.
  • Redundancy: Anything run by people is subject to human error. A common result of human error is redundancy, which not only means wasted efforts but could also result in sending the same customer a single message more than once. With automation, you are subject to less redundancy.

Campaign orchestration is one of the hottest topics I discuss with marketing leaders, and I always get the same question: “Where do we start?” My reply is always the same: Start with your customer’s lifecycle, identify the major steps every customer has to go through, and deliver value through all interactions.

I pose the following questions to you: What is of value to your customers on each interaction? How can you best communicate with them at each step of their journey?