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Understanding Orchestration




By Laura Graham

4 minute read

We at Manifesto talk a lot about the importance of engagement in the World of membership. Despite it being the key measure of success for most organisations, revenue is actually a lagging indicator, you only know you’re doing well a few weeks or months down the line when you see the money (hopefully) rolling in. Engagement however is the leading indicator, if you’ve got deep engagement in your products and services, and are effectively monetising it, you know that the commercials will follow.

We’ve noticed that our clients are increasingly looking to orchestration to personalise experiences for, and deepen relationships with, their audiences. So what on earth is it? And what’s needed to make it a reality?

Orchestration is a set of data-driven capabilities that creates seamless, smarter, and in some cases, more automated customer experiences across all of your channels and touch-points. Together they allow businesses to better identify and communicate with their audiences through unified and relevant experiences. This in turn increases the likelihood of prospective customers converting, and existing customers engaging more.

The commercial benefit is therefore an attractive one, a Forrester study found that organisations effectively using orchestration were 2.5 times more likely to increase customer lifetime value.

Making it happen

It’s not easy to do, even more so given we’re in a World where privacy around personal details is a hot topic, so we’ve done our best to keep it simple. Here are the capabilities that you’ll need to ‘do’ orchestration;

  • UNIFY: ingestion and integration of data
  • ANALYSE: data analysis and audience development
  • ACTIVATE: development of personalised experiences and journeys for deployment across channels. Performance measurement of interactions to aid optimisation
  • MONITOR: data governance and maintenance of customer data


According to another Forrester survey, 69% of businesses anticipate that they’ll increase their investment in orchestration platforms (or customer data platforms, otherwise known as CDPs) over the next few years.

A CDP is the hub that pulls data sets together to understand audiences across channels, segment these audiences and develop the most relevant experience for them. There are plenty of options out there, varying in their breadth vs. depth of capabilities (e.g. more focus identify resolution vs. building complex journeys), as well as the size of business and sector that they cater to.

The tech isn’t a panacea for success however, it only delivers the outcomes that you set it up to deliver. Be clear on what drives commercial value for you, the associated audience use cases and what your current capability gaps are to determine which route to go down.

Don’t forget the human component

Orchestration capabilities will already exist to varying degrees in most businesses, however what makes orchestration different is that to create a unified customer experience, it requires a unified organisation model.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change your organisation structure, but you do need to think about how you design ways of working that are centered around your audience. Your different teams need to work together, share data and tech, and align on objectives.

An operating model fit for orchestration requires marketing, operations, product and data/tech teams to be in lockstep. First and foremost, these teams need to align on priority use cases, metrics and the jobs to be done across functions. From there, process flows can be designed that identify key handoffs, team responsibilities and skills that each team needs to invest in.

One last thing…

Any customer focused organisation will know that expectations are always going to increase, and that they need to be ready for the next shift. There are many factors that need to be taken into account but the leading indicator to try and influence is engagement. Orchestration is the capability that allows businesses to develop and deploy products, services and experiences in a personalised way so that audiences keep on coming back for more. This is more than simply investing in the right technology, an orchestra inevitably needs a conductor, so make sure that your teams understand what they’re aiming for, they’re empowered to play their role in getting there, and are a single army moving in step in the process.