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Digital Strategy Sit Rep

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 1/03/2016 Genia Stevens, MBA

This article has been republished with consent from Reagan Miller, Vice President of Chat Agent Services
I was never an actual member of the armed forces, but my Father was a Lt. Colonel in the Army, so I was "sort of" in the Army too. Among the many colorful words and acronyms, there was one in particular that proved to be highly valuable; it was "sit rep", short for Situational Report. When my Dad asked for a sit rep, it meant I needed to state my objective, observe my surroundings, assess my location, determine my operational status, assess any threats, determine a recommended course of action, and communicate all of this as accurately and concisely as possible to my commander.
The idea of the sit rep is also useful for the savvy business person. In fact it's something we do rather instinctively, although we sometimes do not deploy a disciplined approach to the task, and for my military Dad, that's just not up to spec (specifications for you non-military types). So how does all of this relate to my organization's digital interaction strategy?
Well, let's take a moment and "sit rep" it. Before you start to conduct such an analysis, you'll need a way to gauge your surroundings and look into the future. For this purpose I'd like to propose a Digital Channels Maturity Framework.
This framework will help you:
- Understand the current consumer digital interactions landscape
- Assess your current state relative to a defined maturity model
- Gain insight on what the future holds for digital channels and how you can adapt or perhaps lead among your competitors
- Develop a forward-looking capability roadmap
- Build a business plan for future investment
2016-02-29-1456766120-6172777-DigitalChannels.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-29-1456766120-6172777-DigitalChannels.png
There framework consists of four maturity levels; Siloed, Distributed, Connected and Federated. Each level in the model can be classified using a few essential descriptors:
Level 1 - Siloed: Few channels, consumer initiated, limited availability, not personalized, undetermined value
Level 2 - Distributed: Some channels, initiated by rules, availability inconsistent, not personalized, unclear value
Level 3 - Connected: Many channels, sophisticated targeting, right time, right reason, personalized with journey context, defined value
Level 4 - Federated: All channels, always on, context and personalization is persistent, all text based channels, cross channel / channel pairing, value is determined at journey level
In our engagements with some of the world's leading consumer brands, we found that they are in very different positions along the maturity continuum. This is often a result of the speed of change in consumer expectations, fast emerging technologies and disjointed strategies coupled with reactionary mandates to provide service in new channels. However, there are more than a few companies who seem to have performed their sit rep, driven by a groundswell of new leadership that are making bold moves to unify their digital channels strategy.
So what's next? Now that you have a framework for your sit rep, it's time to act. Brush up on those acronyms, get your war paint on, be ready to be brutally honest with yourself and your team and most importantly be ready to reshape your thinking.

MARKETING PLAN © Anatoliy Babiy via Getty Images MARKETING PLAN

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