Supplyframe Maturity Model Stage 4: Achieving an Optimized Organization


Welcome back to our latest installment on Supplyframe’s Digital Customer Engagement Model. This is the fourth in a five part series chronicling the stages a business passes through on their way to world class digital engagement.

First, if you’re new to the idea of the Digital Customer Engagement Model, here’s a bit of background. In 2021 we commissioned a survey to discover how effectively businesses in electronics were connecting with their customers across all channels. After asking questions across  We discovered five distinct phases organizations pass through on their way to market-leading digital engagement, with the “average” business in the industry scoring at a 2.4.

We use information across three areas–digital engagement, technology & analytics, and organizational structure–to come up with the score. If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to take the survey and benchmark yourself.

Now let’s take a look at Stage 4: Optimized. We’re in pretty rarefied air at this point and some special things start happening.

Moving Ahead of The Pack

Our last deep dive covered Stage 3: Integrated, and reaching that point as a business is something to celebrate. You’re operating above the industry average of 2.4, and very much meeting customers where they are digitally. Technology and people are working well together, and digital engagement is integrated within the organization. Most of the framework for world class marketing was there, it just needed to be at the next level.

It needed to be Optimized, which also happens to be the name for Stage Four of the Digital Customer Engagement Model, since a number of the changes we see consist of improvements of programs already in place in Stage 3, but boosted by marginal gains across the organization.

Firms in Stage 4 not only personalize content, but behavior models and channel strategy as well. They’re taking full advantage of account based marketing or ABM– itself a method of personalization.

People, though, not technology can take most of the credit for the progress made in the step to Optimized digital engagement. Organizational structure, cohesion, KPIs, and compensation are aligned closely enough in a Stage 4 firm that there’s a strong throughline of collaboration towards meeting well defined and effectively shared goals. 

Our Digital Customer Engagement Maturity Model surveyed businesses across three areas: Digital Engagement, Technology & Analytics, and their Organizational alignment towards reaching their customers on all channels. It’s time for a closer look at the upgrades made in the jump from Integrated to Optimized.

Digital Engagement in Stage 4

Digital Engagement within the Optimized business borders on world class. Data driven personalization abounds, customer interaction is naturally collaborative, and all of this inspires content creation.

Customer knowledge, while already excellent at the previous level, is more accurate and timely in an Optimized organization. Automation is one of the heroes here, as it is now implemented to deliver insights into a customer’s progress through the funnel, and further contextualized with direct communication around needs.

A customer’s unique needs and place in the design cycle inform and inspire the content a Stage 4 business creates. Channel strategy was well in place in the Integrated stage, and it’s taken another level of evolution here. How? Automation again. Campaign management is in the hands of technology now, placing each piece of content on the proper channel at the correct time. 

No look at Digital Engagement within Stage 4 would be even close to complete without celebrating the way customers, suppliers, and peers interact together online with an Optimized business. They’re talking on social networks and company sites, becoming front of mind, and even having fun together.

To find issues with how well a Stage 4 business knows and interacts with their customers requires a deeply granular examination of the processes in place since they are largely successful at this point. 

There aren’t too many firms who can honestly say they are fully at Stage 5: Intelligent. But some of the improvements we could see as an Optimized organization up-levels are: working with clients to link their journey to your business strategy, and acting as enough of an authority that customers request content.

Technology & Analytics In Stage 4

After boosting their analytics deployment to enterprise-grade in Stage 3: Integrated, the Optimized business takes advantage of even more advanced technology to develop customized models of customer behavior in support of digital marketing communications.

Sales and Marketing work together to see their customers as “markets of one” using Account Based Marketing. They’ve identified their relationships with the most potential and create content just for them. Retargeting puts their brand and content in front of key accounts regularly.

To make the leap–and it’s a big one–to Stage 5: Intelligent, we’d need to see a group roll out custom data models that inform real-time content creation. A tall order for sure. The already effective ABM adds lead scoring, attribution, along with advanced measurement systems.

Organizational Structure In Stage 4

The Optimized business proves the old adage that together everyone achieves more. At this level the entire organization is moving in the same direction–with Sales, Marketing, and Product departments sharing the same compensation structure tied to the same goals. This marks a key departure from Stage 3, which featured collaboration, but not in compensation. 

Optimized firms don’t take ROI into account when designing a roadmap toward the next year of marketing activity. Let that settle for a second. They work with strategy to set the goals and then execute against them.

What’s next for a business operating in Stage 4 looking to create a world-leading Stage 5: Intelligent organization? A team that goes beyond industry expertise and adds value as industry experts. Tightly integrated, the Stage 5 team defines cross functionality with common metrics, methods of execution, and planning.

The Pinnacle of Digital Customer Engagement

Simply put, Stage 5: Intelligent is so impressive it almost doesn’t exist. Some of the technology necessary to make it work hasn’t matured to the point that it can scale to meet enterprise needs. Assembling that many true innovators in one organization might be feasible There are hundreds of reasons why it would be difficult–but someone will eventually make it happen.

Come back next time when we see how they’ll do it with a deep dive into Stage 5: Intelligent.

Paul McNamara
Paul McNamara
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