Digital Customer Engagement Post 1: The Changing Landscape

October 22, 2014 Jeff Small

Digital marketing technology options have multiplied exponentially over the past few years. Navigating the platforms is daunting, but knowing what to do with them can be even more harrowing. Jeff Small, One North’s Director of Technology Solutions, will give tips and techniques to build a solid digital marketing foundation to connect you with clients and prospects, enabling a seamless customer experience across channels.

It’s a great time to be a marketer. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of digital tools at your disposal to connect with customers to create a 1:1 digital dialog. With a better understanding of the customer, marketers can tailor the digital experience to the user across channels with a consistent voice and brand from your organization.

Customers know more about you earlier in their decision-making cycle than ever before. According to the CEB (Corporate Executive Board Company), 57% of B2B buyers have already made their decision before contacting a partner. Marketers need to reach clients and prospects with the right content earlier in the decision cycle. Reaching people at the right time, in the right medium, with the right content will build the trust needed to capture that person.

General Counsel are telling us the same thing. In our last GC survey, respondents overwhelmingly told us that they want easy access to relevant content. The most important features of a site, for them, were clear and usable navigation (34%) and relevant, valuable content (31%). Additionally, GCs noted high use of social media to obtain information about firms — 35% used blogs with 28% using LinkedIn.

Technology has given marketing the opportunity to use digital channels as business development tools instead of only communication platforms. Firm objectives can be tied directly to marketing plans and driven using a multi-channel marketing plan.

In fact, this is becoming the standard way of execution. Again, according to the CEB, digital spend among professional services companies can be as high as 15% of the total marketing budget, with some large organizations claiming to invest more than one-half of their marketing budget in digital programs. The number of channels and tools available has grown exponentially, making digital marketing an essential part of a robust marketing plan.

It can be hard to know where to start and how to get the most out of these powerful marketing tools. The Customer Experience Maturity Model provides a roadmap for firms to take the right incremental steps to build a solid customer experience focus. Though created by Sitecore, this framework provides a path for all marketers to think about how to adapt to the changing digital landscape.

Content Experience Maturity Model

The majority of professional services fall somewhere between the Radiate and Align phases. They have a strong web platform and have begun to create a social presence. Many firms have also implemented analytics and data capture tools, however, are not getting the full benefit from that information.

According to research done by Sitecore, 67% of organizations fall in the first stage—Initiate—of the Customer Experience Maturity Model, with only 18% in the Radiate phase. This means there is incredible opportunity for firms that take steps toward a more integrated digital marketing approach.

In this series, we will dig deeper into the Customer Experience Maturity Model, looking at tools, techniques and processes required to grow a digital foundation to connect with clients and prospects in order to create a seamless customer experience across channels.

Curious to learn more about growing your digital foundation to connect with clients? Learn what digital offers for the world of business development in one of our latest posts: Why Business Development Should Care About Digital.

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Jeff Small

At the time of publishing, Jeff Small was One North's Director of Technology Solutions.

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