CIO Decisions

Master a multichannel customer engagement strategy

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Why multichannel customer engagement strategies matter

Interactions with brands across many avenues are now the norm for consumers. Enterprises looking to capitalize must get their multichannel customer engagement strategies in order.

As those who know me can attest, I'm a huge Boston Celtics fan. I keep tabs on my favorite basketball team daily through a number of avenues -- including social media like Twitter and Facebook -- and, of course, by watching the games, both on television and in person, and seeking highlights and game recaps online when I miss them.

And that's just the "work" I put in. The Celtics organization reaches right back out to me, both through its broader email list and by showering me with personalized emails and phone calls promoting ticket packages.

In short, I am the not-so-mythical multichannel customer -- and the analytics-minded Celtics organization is well aware that keeping hangers-on like me constantly in touch with the team benefits its bottom line.

"Optimizing revenue is what we're ultimately trying to do," said Jay Wessland, the team's vice president of technology, at a recent CIO summit I attended on using data analytics to improve the fan experience. In addition to targeting already-engaged fans, his IT group is trying to focus on individuals they're not hearing from today, and there's a big push on social media, especially fans who are at the games. "It's easier to keep fans happy than to go out and get new fans," he said.

It's a lesson many organizations are learning as the spread of mobile devices, geolocation targeting and more precise data collection and analytics tools translates to an increased number of customer touch points. It's no longer enough for enterprises to only cross potential customers' minds when they're in the process of making a purchase or contemplating making a charitable donation -- enterprises need to be ahead of the game.

"Fundraising is not all we do, but all we do depends on fundraising," explains CIO Jay Ferro of the American Cancer Society (ACS) in the cover story of this month's CIO Decisions ezine. "In order to get to those donors and to all our constituents -- which is anybody who is passionate about our cause -- we have to have a sophisticated multichannel engagement strategy."

In addition to case studies of multichannel customer engagement strategies at the ACS and retailer Talbot's, this issue includes features on CIO pay and happiness; 10 steps CIOs can take to prepare for the Internet of Things; and chief digital officers on how CIOs helped craft their role.

Fear not, Celtics brass: I'd never abandon my team. But your IT group's efforts to engage me through various channels definitely bolster my passion -- and keeps me coming back as a paying customer.

Please write to me at

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What multichannel customer engagement strategies does your organization employ?
It's no fuss that trying to engage with prospective customers through social sites such as facebook, twitter or StumbleUpon is a tough process. To ensure my organization engages with customers, I use data analysis of current customers and customers who may appear to be dormant. This is a great targeting strategy for selling the organization's interests, while interacting and making customers happy. Such a multichannel strategy helps the organization reach wider audiences by igniting socialization.
Hey, the Celtics need to do something to keep on fans' minds during the down years...a good reminder that engagement is something that takes constant work. You can't 'set it and forget it', as the environment is constantly changing and the competition is fierce.

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