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Analysis

Five building blocks for enhancing digital engagement

“What is digital engagement?” Go ahead and highlight, copy, and paste that phrase (quotation marks too) into a search engine. The answers are diverse, and marketers around the globe feel pressure to build digital engagement. But, what does that even mean?

Digital engagement is a nebulous term. The definition shifts dramatically based on the stakeholders involved: A CMO will immediately picture customers as the focus of engagement, whereas a CIO or CTO will think about the tools employees use to engage—networks, software, hardware, or other resources. Technology has reshaped the way companies interact internally and externally, and the term “digital engagement” is a catch-all for how companies use their available technologies and processes to deliver great digital experiences and interactions to their customers.

The three C’s of digital engagement

So, before we get to the how, we have to answer what are the ingredients of great digital engagement. It boils down to the three C’s:

Consistent. The proliferation of personal devices caused a revolution in the way companies deliver information, services, or brand experiences. Ensure a consistent experience across any size screen or point-of-access location to keep your customers engaged.

Compelling. Even if you’ve aced the delivery of a consistent experience, users will dismiss it if it isn’t compelling. Whether it’s branded content for customers or personal analysis for employees, users will move along if they don’t see a reason to continue engaging with the experience. Give them something compelling to react to.

Contextual. Users expect relevant, contextual experiences as personal data collection becomes ubiquitous. Companies getting ahead of the competition are the ones engaging users through personalized digital experiences, pulling data from digitized customer records, metrics, and user trends through myriad technologies.

Five places to start to build digital engagement

Companies and marketers alike must assess their technology and processes through the lens of digital engagement—a trend that has given rise to the idea of dimensional marketing. Delivering consistent, compelling, and contextual experiences is now the priority for retaining users and customers. But once that paradigm is established, where do you start the actual delivery?

To achieve all this, we suggest starting with these five key areas:

1. Web, mobile, and social content enablement. Achieving a consistent experience will likely require responsive design and digital content that can be dynamically rendered and delivered based on the end user’s context. This starts with a robust content backbone—technically and operationally. Develop compelling content, but make sure you also have the technical resources to deliver it at scale.

2. Self-service and governance. Assess the technology needed to allow the business to create, deliver, and curate the content its customers and other stakeholders require. Keeping the reins close allows companies to enable personalization, monitor responsiveness, and ultimately deliver contextually relevant content across web, mobile, and social properties.

3. Ease of access. Assess not just the relevance, but also the accessibility of your content. Instead of holding content captive in a particular repository, unlock it. Consider the different dimensions in which the content is going to be delivered and ensure its relevance across multiple channels, countries, and stakeholders.

4. Digital IP and asset management. Do an asset audit to ensure you’re creating, controlling, and delivering the best possible experiences. Start with asking yourself the following questions:

  • What information assets are you managing?
  • Who controls them?
  • Where are the assets located?
  • How are they protected today?
  • Are there plans to monetize them?
  • Do you have the resources needed to edit and improve them?
  • Which parts of your business will become digital in the next two years?
  • What competencies and practices should be put into place to make that happen?
  • How do you manage rights for IP usage across and beyond the enterprise?
  • What new revenue streams are possible?

5. Cost reduction. Take inventory of your existing digital content. At what rate is new content being developed, and how does it break out by function? Is it optimized to be consistent, compelling, and contextual? Streamlining the creation, retention, and delivery of digital content, regardless of where it resides, is where you can begin lowering costs.

Marketers particularly need to prioritize digital engagement, as both consumer technology and marketing technology continue to evolve at a blistering pace. Any CMO who keeps digital engagement at the forefront of their mind will help ensure that the investments made in the marketing organization will provide the best return across people, processes, and technology.

For more on this topic, read our the Digital engagement chapter of Tech Trends on DU Press.

Published on October 12, 2015.

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