Digital-First Communications: Some Considerations

I recently wrote a post about preparing to switch to digital-first communications. (If you missed it, you can read it here.) If you’re considering digital first, you may be thinking about the implications it has—both for your internal organization and for your customers. Let’s explore a few, splitting them into two categories: internal and customer implications.

Internal Considerations

Many digital initiatives are driven by an organization’s desire to improve the overall experience it delivers to its customers. Yet one of the issues frequently faced is a lack of clarity within the organization over who is truly responsible for the customer experience. Perhaps there’s a chief customer officer, or the chief marketing officer has ownership, or maybe it’s ownership by committee. Regardless, you must develop a common vision of your desired customer experience and ensure that your communications are aligned with that vision.

Firms have been wrestling through their mobile strategies, at different levels of maturity and implementation. Mobile communications and delivery of content to mobile platforms will drive perhaps the biggest change within your digital communications plan. Using responsive design techniques can help address differences in form factors, but you also need to think through how you’ll deliver content through “apps”. The traditional document container is no longer the only, or even the primary method of communicating with your customers.

An additional consideration you’ll have to address is the simplification of your template inventory. Ask yourself if you can deliver the experience you want for your customer across all the channels they desire using an old, bloated, inefficient set of document templates.

Customer Implications

More important than the internal preparatory considerations, ensuring your digital messages are effective in the eyes of your customers is of paramount importance. Consider these five key characteristics for ensuring that your digital messages serve your customers in the way they want:

  • Simple: Speak in plain language, minimize the legalese, and don’t try to do too much within a single message or document.
  • Concise: Be brief but comprehensive; attention spans and patience in the digital world are far different than in the print space. Long-winded digital messaging will frustrate and turn away customers.
  • Timely: Customers expect their data at their fingertips when they want it. Taking multiple days to deliver a message doesn’t cut it anymore. It starts upstream in your admin systems, but the pace of communication in the digital space is much quicker.
  • Accurate: You can’t reach your objectives if you’re delivering the wrong data or message, even if it is concise and timely. Your message, your data, and your offers to the customer all need to be accurate. Nothing will lose you credibility faster than delivering the incorrect data.
  • Consistent: Finally, you’ve got to be consistent across messages and channels. Coordinate messaging across lines of business or geography, but ensure that customers are getting a consistent experience, irrespective of channel.

Granted, this is a lot to be thinking about—much less to take on. But digital-first is no longer just a glimmer in some marketing underling’s eye. Make sure your customer communications strategy reflects this new reality, going forward.




Rich Medina
Tom Roberts
I’m a Principal Consultant for Doculabs with more than 25 years experience, focused on delivering strategies that improve clients’ enterprise content management capabilities, with an emphasis on customer communications management strategies.