Marketing Sense

A discussion of marketing tools and tactics with a common sense attitude

Departmental Convergence – How Digital is Changing Your Business

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on December 30, 2009

Traditional evolution of business has lead to segmentation by department for many companies. Marketing, sales, customer service, human resources, finance and fulfillment are some of the most common. But digital communications is creating a virtualization and convergence that is dramatically changing the way businesses operate.

How customers engage with companies has changed with the explosion of digital and social networking tools. Customers have wrested power to engage with companies on their own terms and in a fully visible environment. One-to-one conversations have now become open forum, placing greater pressure on companies to be well organized and prompt in response.

Customers can choose to engage on your company website using Google Sidewiki or your own message boards. They can also engage via social media outposts should you have a presence there. And if you don’t have social media outposts, they can still engage your brand in discussion whether you are present or not!

A service question, warranty question, sales question, human resources question, finance question or shipping question or concern can all be directed to the same place in the digital environment. Customers look at your company as one entity, not as a network of departments, and they expect your company to respond as one entity. The lines blur, the departments converge and at the end of the cycle only one thing matters – have you answered the customer’s question?

Your company’s success is based on the brand promise that you communicate to your customers. How well you manage customer expectations through their engagement with your brand, your company, ultimately determines your long-term viability and growth.

Step back and have a look at your organizational structure. Now look at all your customer touch points. Are you prepared to respond to your customers in an efficient, timely manner regardless of question? Do you have a strategy for managing customer interaction in a digital open-forum environment? Are your departments prepared and trained to work cross-functionally?

If not, it is time for digital strategy and social media strategy to integrate with your company’s management and planning process. Your customers are already converging. Are you prepared?

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