The Dangers of Automation Without Orchestration

If you’re anything like me, the second you input your email address into a new website and for whatever reason you didn’t have to option to not subscribe to “special offers” and the like, you immediately open your email account and wait for that confirmation message to come in.

After that, it’s a quick scroll to the bottom and an even speedier click of the ‘unsubscribe’ button.


I live for a hefty voucher code I can use online, but my love for them is slightly outweighed by my love for a clean inbox and I hate hate hate gratuitous marketing emails. If I’m in a particularly bad move, even receiving just one can piss me off to no end. Don’t get me wrong, the irony’s not lost on me; I literally work for a martech company, but automation could well be the death of me.

Orchestration on the other hand? Oh boy gimme some o’ that good stuff oh yeah arooooga!

I suppose I should explain just in case you’re not 100% up to speed…

Automation is any form of marketing directed at a consumer that is automatically sent to them after rule-based prompts. The rules are defined by the company beforehand, and then fulfilled by the automation system. This could be promotional emails, direct mail, social and beyond and while it sounds great, it can get a little out of hand.

Here are some examples of rules defined for automation:

  • Email the customer once a week with a newsletter
  • Email the customer to make them aware of a sale
  • Email the customer with a voucher code if they leave the website with items in their shopping basket
  • Email the customer with exclusive discount codes and promotions
  • Email the customer if they recently browsed the website
  • Email the customer if an item they have “watched” gets low in stock
  • Email the customer when an item is back in stock

The list really does stretch on to the horizon and while, in general, these messages are well-meaning, because of the vague and rather simple rules of an automation system, in theory there’s nothing stopping a company “needing” to send all of these emails and more in the space of one day. If all prompts are met, that is.

This is where orchestration comes in. In short, orchestration stops all of that “spammy” nonsense from happening. First and foremost, orchestration doesn’t exist without automation, but it’s basically just a more refined and useful – albeit more complex – version.

Orchestration collates all of the cross-channel interactions a customer has with a company’s marketing team (as well as all of the internal and external data possible) and uses that to provide a more personalised and seamless shopping experience. Orchestration eliminates the problem of there being too many tools, and siloed teams, meaning everyone would be sharing the same data and not unknowingly "talking" over one-another to the same customer.

So what happens when companies implement automation without orchestration? People get really annoyed and more-than-like ignore you completely or stick you in their spam folder…

More specifically, you get things like this


Source: Reddit

Not a great look is it? In general, companies want to not look like me in my ex's inbox after a breakup and for the most part, it's orchestration that helps you stray away from that.

Does a company always need orchestration?

Welllllll... the answer is mostly yes, but with shades of grey.

If you're a little diddly company - basically one step above running an Etsy store - then it's true that you could probably get away with just having an automation service since the chances are that you wouldn't have either the clientele, nor the means or need to message customers with great frequency.

If you have aspirations of scaling up and reaching a wider audience and customer base however, then it's orchestration all the way.

I know what you're thinking; you're thinking "well gee Alfie that all sounds swell, but I still want to know more about Automation and Orchestration. What on earth can I do?!"

Luckily for you, I know exactly what you should do. You should sign up for our lovely #MarTechFestDialUp!!!!!! It's really good and you'll hear about all sorts there.

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