With customer demands and expectations at an all-time high, the rewards for brands who meet and exceed these expectations have never been sweeter. In fact, according to McKinsey’s Next in Personalization 2021 Report, companies that excel at personalization stand to generate 40% more revenue than companies that deliver average customer experiences.
So, what’s fueling the most successful personalization strategies?
Achieving exceptional personalization starts with unlocking the potential of the data that already exists within your marketing ecosystem – and this is where decisioning and orchestration play a central role.
Decisioning and orchestration drive almost every personalized interaction that takes place between brands and their customers. By taking a joined-up approach to data and implementing decisioning and orchestration processes, brands can extract value from data and deliver relevant and meaningful experiences to customers at scale.
What is decisioning?
Decisioning is a technique that blends data, rules, and predictive analytics to make smart decisions about what to talk to customers about, on what channel — essentially, it allows organizations to maximize every customer interaction.
How does decisioning work?
Data is key to decisioning, but it is used in a very specific way. While data-based segmentation is used by organizations as a tactic to underpin CRM campaigns — think targeting a specific cohort with special offers or relevant newsletters, data-based decisioning is a process that is used to pinpoint the most relevant, next-best experience for customers by connecting the dots between historical and live customer data, operational data, and business data.
The role of AI and machine learning in decisioning
When powered by AI and machine learning, decisioning has the potential to deliver customer experiences with such accuracy that they feel intuitive. By training machine learning algorithms with data such as words, log data, time series data, or images, a model and variants of the model are created and tested to determine which variant best achieves business goals. The process can be refined further by adding logic based on criteria such as the customer’s age or an AI model fed with real-time weather data. Connecting with customers’ realities in real-time means brands can successfully deliver the type of in-the-moment relevance that today’s consumers demand and expect.
What is orchestration?
Working hand in hand with decisioning, orchestration coordinates the delivery of next-best actions determined by the decisioning engine. Orchestration allows marketing departments to share information between channels such as social media, email marketing, and customer relation management systems to ensure the right experiences are delivered across every relevant digital app, platform, or channel using the right message, at the right time, in the right place – it’s the essential step for creating joined-up omnichannel experiences.
Driving engagement, conversion, and loyalty
By directing the right experience to the right channel, orchestration also drives conversion. Anonymous users become known users, known users become engaged users, engaged users become customers, and over time, these customers become loyal and repeat customers. But decisioning and orchestration are only as effective as the organization’s CDP – especially its ability to aggregate data and create unified customer profiles. When AI, machine learning, and attribution models are layered upon a solid foundation, they create the types of customer experiences that improve brand reputation, increase customer loyalty, and drive revenue.
Decisioning and orchestration within Sitecore CDP
Sitecore CDP is an advanced customer data platform that combines customer profile unification and segmentation with AI-driven decisioning and orchestration to deliver game-changing results for organizations.
Four key processes work together within the CDP to deliver personalization at scale:
1. Data management
During the initial stage of the personalization process, the CDP focuses on aggregating data and tracking customer activity on every touchpoint, before connecting and consolidating this data to give a single, accurate, 360-degree view of each customer. By tracking every customer interaction, the CDP can organize this information into a unique, actionable timeline for each customer.
2. Prediction and decisioning
Once data has been aggregated and consolidated into a single customer view, the next-best action for the customer is decided by building decision models and decision model variants based on behavioral data, historical data, transactional data, and the company’s operational data such as risk, pricing, and inventory. By adding rules, AI, and programmable logic, brands can deliver the most relevant experiences in real-time.
This is where the CDP determines which decision models are working. Sitecore CDP’s built-in A/B testing allows brands to test how different decision variants compare against each other. Experimentation settings also allow you to choose who and where people see your decisions. Silent testing makes it possible to test decisions on every applicable user without interrupting the current offerings, allowing brands to see what decision would be made if a particular variant was live in production.
Lastly, the orchestration stage brings together data, decisioning, and experimentation to deliver the most relevant experience for your customers on the most relevant channel. Every interaction can be personalized to provide your customers with the offers and information they need on the right channel at exactly the right time – in the case of an airline for example, this might mean delivering a booking confirmation by email or a message about a last-minute flight delay by push notification.
Real results for brands and customers
By tapping into existing data and employing the CDP’s data-crunching, AI-driven decisioning, and powerful orchestration capabilities, brands can look forward to delivering the types of exceptional experiences that benefit both their customers and their balance sheets.
Fiona Hilliard is a Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn