The Key Stages of Digital Maturity

Digital maturity means having multichannel digital marketing in place, providing a consistent experience across all channels.

What Do Associations Marketers Really Want?

According to an Aug. 2015 report by Demand Metric, titled "Association Marketing: 2015 State of Digital Marketing in Associations," the top two marketing leadership resource desires were staff and funding, while more time and more training were new additions to the list in 2015. Other notable resource desires included:

  • Better data
  • Improved collaboration
  • More strategic thinking
  • More technology expertise
  • More agile IT
  • More independence from IT

A recent survey also shows that 87 percent of companies think digital transformation is a competitive opportunity, but most consider their current IT systems one of their biggest obstacles.

Over half of senior executives cite a lack of familiarity with technology to be a barrier to digital transformation. Ultimately, association marketers are describing digital maturity. Let's take a look at the key stages of the digitally mature association.

The Key Stages of Digital Maturity

Stage 1: Drop Static

Stage 1: Drop Static

A static brochure site limits our ability to provide our members with unique, custom and personalized content. It also makes it difficult to broadcast that content across multiple channels. As a result, our members are likely to find what they are looking for elsewhere.

Marketers that have attained digital transformation have three commonalities:

  • They have someone — like a CMO — setting the vision and leading the digital transformation charge.
  • They have a digital transformation team, or a group of individuals assigned to these tasks.
  • They are customer-centric in all that they do.

Challenges of a static brochure site:

  • Digital efforts fail to align with strategic objectives.
  • CMS loosely integrated with other technologies.
  • Difficult content tools or stale or duplicate content across channels.
  • Little to no ability to measure marketing effectiveness.
  • Strong reliance on page views and social media to measure engagement.
  • Difficulty understanding the “quality” of traffic or user journeys on the site.

Stage 2: Enable Experience

Stage 2: Enable Experience

By Stage 2, we have done our research, selected the right platform and key technologies, and obtained executive buy-in. We are starting to apply the tools and technologies to enable the ideal member experience and have aligned our digital marketing strategies to our organization's goals.

Here's a glimpse of what digital transformation in Stage 2 looks like:

  • An enterprise-level CMS that is integrated with multiple channels.
  • Content management that enables repurposing of content across any device or channel.
  • Digital marketing technology capable of content personalization and optimization.
  • A full-featured AMS that can be tightly integrated with the CMS.
  • Integrated systems that tie into all of the major channels for customer interaction.
  • A digital strategy incorporating content, campaigns, and technologies to test and measure.

At Stage 2, the correct platform and technologies are in place to deliver digital marketing processes and strategies, and marketing and IT are empowered to deliver positive and relevant member experiences across the board.

Stage 3: Optimize and Personalize

Stage 3: Optimize and Personalize

By Stage 3, we are ahead of our competitors. We have all the key technologies in place to support digital initiatives and are now focused on analyzing data and enhancing systems and process for the best possible results. We may also be looking at enhancing website personalization to predict and curate content most relevant to a given user.

At Stage 3, new challenges and opportunities for improvement may include:

  • Enabling the site to dynamically adapt to real-time behaviors (i.e. user actions).
  • Employing automated triggers to nurture conversions.
  • Using personalization to present contextually relevant content and offers at opportune times.
  • Enhancing analytics to measure and report on the true level of user engagement.
  • Automating A/B testing and running and optimizing multivariate tests.

Stage 4: Leverage and Nurture

Stage 4: Leverage and Nurture

Way to go! Digital Marketing Transformation is taking shape. Members are enjoying fresh, personalized, relevant content. Now it is time to understand how to build relationships and conversations across their preferred channels. This really means looking at data and letting the data speak for the member. At Stage 4, we can allow the data to guide and determine future interactions and conversations and delivery channels.

Some associations get caught up at Stage 4 by the following:

  • Insufficient system for managing and use of the vast amount of data collected.
  • Inability to recognize the gaps between the online and offline data.
  • A lack of a single data repository able to manage and merge disparate sources.
  • Lack of automated conversions and user journeys.
  • Questionable ability to fully predict visitor behavior.

Stage 5: Analyze, Measure and Engage

Stage 5: Measure and Engage

By Stage 5, our members and potential members are actively engaging with our organization, and the systems and tools are in place allowing us to collect, connect and use all of the data from their visits combined with all the rich member data inside our AMS.

Because our AMS and CMS are integrated with our customer experience technologies and channels of communication, we are now able to deliver relevant content and measure and adjust marketing data and campaigns in real time.

Because our CMS and AMS is unified and working seamlessly, we can deliver an ideal experience for those both behind and in front of delivery. Our Association website and marketing team is fully prepared to predict member needs and deliver consistent personalized online experience, at any time and on any preferred device; the result being proud, loyal, happy members who endorse, support and promote our organization.

Stage 6: Move Toward Predictive Intelligence

Stage 6: Analyze and Predict

By predicting visitor behaviors, we can make better decisions to drive and improve conversions, meaning more new members, more donations, more event attendance and more member engagement with and support for our organization.

Global marketing intelligence firm IDC predicts that by 2018, predictive analytics will be a standard tool for marketers. Early adopters of predictive analytics are already reporting amazing results from discovering hidden segments that have a high probability of converting.

We have now established the multichannel infrastructure needed to streamline and automate our interactions with members. Association marketers now view individual member data, interactions and transactions across all channels.

Ready for Digital Maturity?

Putting it all together can be a major challenge for the best combined efforts of Association Marketing and IT teams. The big challenge for most associations is the cultural shift and political challenges involved with digital transformation.

[A] is dedicated to demonstrating how digital marketing and the related technologies can improve the bottom line — an important step to gaining the support of executives and board members.

About [A]

[A] is a content technology integrator with proven experience delivering operational cost savings, faster time to market and revenue generation. National association clients include sporting bodies, advocacy groups, trade groups, accrediting bodies representing millions of members. We are dedicated to demonstrating how digital marketing and the related technologies can improve the bottom line — an important step to gaining the support of executives and board members.

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