As manufacturers and suppliers scramble to adapt to a world of quarantines, shortages, and shipping delays, there’s another aspect of the global value chain that’s suffered total disruption as well—in person customer engagement. The digital-first approach to customer engagement that’s emerged in B2B electronics over the last decade is, out of necessity, the new standard.
New normals demand new strategies, and organizations without a cohesive engagement plan will quickly fall behind. Are you haphazardly pushing content without defined goals? Is your information in silos, so that marketing and sales can’t share vital data? And what about feedback—are you hearing what works and what doesn’t?
The answers to these questions may determine the success of your organization’s sales and marketing efforts across the product lifecycle.
What is a Customer Engagement Maturity Model?
For a closer look at what exactly a Customer Engagement Maturity Model actually is, Richard Barnett, Supplyframe CMO, sat down and talked with our friend Wendy Covey on her “Content Marketing, Engineered” podcast to define the five levels of customer engagement maturity, and offer advice to organizations wanting to grow the quality and quantity of their marketing communications.
With Covid-19 disrupting global supply chains at a previously unseen level, it is essential that businesses adopt a more proactive, advanced approach to engaging with their customers.
“The need has never been higher than right now to have these new forms of intelligence,” remarked Barnett to start the show.
What new forms of intelligence? Data of course. Delivered in real time across multiple platforms, transactions, and mediums.
“And the idea is to take the digital exhaust of all that engagement happening in real-time and then translate that into the context of how we make better decisions.”
And that’s why the Customer Maturity Model exists, according to Barnett, to help companies make better decisions.
“The core goal (is) to take a holistic look at how we define…the different dimensions of success as a company is growing through a journey.”
The Five Phases of Customer Engagement Maturity
Barnett went on to explain that a company undergoing a digital transformation typically goes through five stages of sophistication as they move through their journey.
- Ad Hoc: when no plan is the plan. This phase exhibits little integration and is primarily top-down content pushed at random or generic demographics. It relies primarily on inbound communications from potential customers
- Opportunistic: some clearly defined personas, more advanced reporting techniques, and the beginnings of two-way conversations.
- Integrated: responsive content that’s contextual to customer needs, adding in integrated CRM tools, a staff dedicated to digital transformation, and multichannel media strategies.
- Optimized: high levels of data driven automation, content tailored to a customer’s position in the design-to-source journey, and deep alignment between marketing and sales on goals and steps on the roadmap to success.
- Intelligent: the final step on the journey towards Customer Engagement Maturity happens when a business and their customers have a collaborative relationship built on dynamic content that embraces real-time and predictive analytics along with a fully cross functional relationship between sales, marketing, and product development.
The State of The Industry
So where are most enterprises on this journey? Is intelligent customer engagement only available to unicorns with a killer product? To find out, Supplyframe surveyed 180 companies representing most of the electronics value chain and accounting for nearly one trillion dollars in revenue.
The average organization scored a 2.4, so somewhere in between Opportunistic and Integrated. Not great, but not terrible either.
Supplyframe identified two factors critical to raising or lowering an organization’s score. The first is funding. Across manufacturing, the average marketing spend as a portion of top-line revenue is around 14%.
85% of businesses Supplyframe surveyed invested less than 3% in marketing, with a shocking 32% investing less than 1% of top line revenue in marketing.
The second factor was talent. Undergoing a digital transformation is a difficult process, and the electronics market is lagging behind overall. The businesses with the most successful digital transformation efforts have often brought in leaders from industries that generally have a higher level of customer maturity, like consumer goods.
“And we see that’s really a fun and critical catalyst because blending those teams with outside DNA, so to speak, with the folks that have been there for 20 years and know everything about the process and the organization. That’s kind of a nice combo for leadership and for moving forward,” said Barnett.
Where Does Your Business Stand?
As we head into 2022 and another year of supply chain difficulty, where does your organization stand on its journey to a mature customer engagement strategy? The first step to digital transformation is establishing your starting point.
Take the same survey we used to benchmark the industry and get your score, and begin your digital transformation.