What technologies provide the foundation for mastering the engagement cycle?
OPERATIONAL SUPPORT PLATFORM
Integration of the marketing operation starts with the business assumption that all firms must find and serve customers, engaging their customers throughout the process of discovering, considering, buying, using, and disposing of branded products (or terminating branded services).
In practical terms, managing the customer lifecycle through each of these phases will require new or improved systems, new or reengineered processes, and newly defined or clarified accountabilities among management, staff, consultants, and trade partners (ad agencies, suppliers, etc.).
The figure below depicts four multi-element systems that provide the foundation for managing the engagement cycle—each system represents a subject that we examine elsewhere in this paper and related sites.
Content Management comprises its own value chain, consisting of Web content manager(s), text mining engines, source-content XML repositories, multimedia editorial production systems, multimedia DAM repositories, and collaboration workspaces.
Multichannel Analytics combine traditional database analytics with Web analytics, voice-of-customer insights, and social media analytics, correlating hard-data insights with customer lifecycle profiles and profit models.
Creative and Messaging Collaboration Platform defines the principal work of engagement planners and managers, including creative services and on-demand software-as-a-service applications from trusted partners: ad agencies, marketing service providers, promotional engagement systems, etc.
Message Execution Platforms incorporate all the functions of high-capacity newsletter and messaging platforms, as well as dynamic or on-the-fly personalization of newsletters, rich-media emails, immersive multimedia buying environments, dynamic configuration and pricing, and personal just-in-time, just-for-me landing pages and engagement theaters.
INTEGRATION OF LOOSELY COUPLED SYSTEMS
Automation and, thus, faster cycle times and higher quality of the engagement cycle require more than technology.
Automation requires a technical integration architecture, adherence to open technical and process standards, and a governance protocol.
A technical integration architecture represents a comprehensive high-level visual depiction of all the digital process components or SOA services that a marketing operation currently uses, plans to use, and might use over the next five years.
Action point: Commission an accomplished digital business architect (former CIO) to develop a CIO blueprint of your firm and its external business ecosystems. Hint: Don’t tell your current CIO until you have completed your own blueprint!
Do, however, understand and maintain adherence to the IT service management standards and governance protocols of your organization; deviate only at great peril.