Over the past decade, developments in technology and marketing have redefined the approach to stakeholder engagement.
Shifting from traditional stakeholder engagement channels to a digital stakeholder engagement approach brings many benefits: lower costs, greater reach, increased productivity and transparency of the process.
Here we talk about the main benefits of a digital stakeholder engagement approach and how it can improve your stakeholder management:
- Traditional Stakeholder Engagement
- Digital Stakeholder Engagement
- The Digital Stakeholder Engagement Benefits
- Modern Stakeholder Engagement
- How To Improve Your Digital Stakeholder Engagement
Traditional Stakeholder Engagement
The traditional way of doing stakeholder engagement relied heavily on mass media techniques that either targeted large groups of stakeholders as a whole or targeted even a larger group indiscriminately whether or not they’re stakeholders.
And it included informing stakeholders through printed newsletters, mass mailings, print advertising, and gathering data through written surveys.
Whilst these channels did work, they were costly, untimely and, as they communicate indirectly with stakeholders, they did little to form the necessary relationships essential for cohesive stakeholder management.
Digital Stakeholder Engagement
The introduction of digital channels and advances in digital business communications have laid the groundwork for a redefinition and broadening of stakeholder management.
This new approach has brought about a whole raft of benefits for both the stakeholders and the management process itself.
It’s no longer necessary for project managers to spend hours trying to set up briefings and organising face-to-face meetings or telephone calls with stakeholders only to see them cancelled and rescheduled multiple times until the information has outlived its usefulness.
This merging of digital channels is a growing trend in the recognition of the relationships between business processes.
It hasn’t just meant that it’s easier to manage stakeholders, but that stakeholder management can be done on a larger scale, more efficiently, and more projects can reap the benefits.
The value we get from digital stakeholder engagement is more cost-effective software solutions developed in an increasingly integrated environment.
The public sector in particular gains immense value in meeting the expectations of a broad and diverse set of stakeholders through digital means.
The Digital Stakeholder Engagement Benefits
A more digital stakeholder engagement approach reduces costs.
The traditional stakeholder engagement methods were more expensive due to production expenses, repetitive, labour-intensive activities, travel expenses, and lost time working on the project.
A digital approach to stakeholder engagement saves money on the acquisition of software and automates previously labour-intensive tasks.
All of these create more time to do direct work on the project, keeping everything on schedule and saving money.
The Personal Touch
Another value derived from a digital stakeholder engagement approach is the ability to manage your primary stakeholder groups at the individual level.
This means that stakeholder groups’ expectations can be met at a degree of understanding that ensures the strengthening of your relationship.
Plus, you are engaging these stakeholders in the virtual environment on a personal level just as if you were meeting them face to face and all without having to buy a train ticket or be away from the office.
More Timely Stakeholder Engagement
There are many communication paths for each of the primary stakeholders. The preference of how you communicate with each stakeholder is something that must be determined and used effectively.
We all have a daily routine that we love to execute. Any distractions or interruptions to that routine are frowned upon unless the nature of the business is important enough to justify it.
A digital approach to stakeholder management opens up the power of cross-channel and multichannel marketing for the project manager.
The marketing tools allow tracking the customers' (stakeholders) journey in the digital world to the extent that you can use predictive analysis to determine the probability of your stakeholders being in a particular place at a given time.
This information becomes the opportunity to deliver information to each stakeholder that is personalised, concise, and most likely to be read.
Some stakeholders won’t like emails and relegate the reading of those to a delegated assistant. Others will avoid social media and prefer a business means such as Slack or SMS to receive news.
Those personal preferences are all part of the business intelligence gathering that marketing tools today offer as a standard product.
The value for you is a more positive reputation with each stakeholder and the chance to mature a trusting relationship that will get your messages read quickly and feedback returned to you upon which you can take action.
Transparency has a direct correlation to establishing what stakeholders can expect from you and entices them to become engaged.
The more stakeholders are aware of the engagement process and method, the more you’ll find that they’re already on the lookout for information and more eager to engage.
Thus, it’s essential that you’re consistent in the way you engage each stakeholder, and the quality of the information you provide must be relevant to their interest in the project.
If a stakeholder is interested in the cost of a project, they’ll want to receive cost information to date as well as potential cost drivers. Sending them assessments of shortfalls won’t be relevant even if it will eventually have an impact on the schedule and cost of a project. That stakeholder will want to know how the budget has been affected and will want to know that and just that.
The benefit of using digital tools and channels is that all these conversations are auditable, and the project manager can easily access the audit trail if there is ever a need to present the information during a project restructuring or public enquiry.
Modern Stakeholder Management
Modern stakeholders use digital tools and channels and expect to be kept informed via digital means. They want the information personalised to their taste and delivered at a time and place of their choosing.
You run the risk of damaging the progress of the project if you lose sight of the importance of building positive and trusting relationships with your stakeholder community.
Implementing digital tools and channels for your stakeholder management not only makes the engagement process smoother and easier but also promotes the kind of engagements that are necessary for making a project worthwhile. Your authority and reputation as an organisation depend on it.
How To Improve Your Digital Stakeholder Engagement
The digital stakeholder engagement approach comprises a range of digital channels.
From emails and SMS to online meetings, surveys and more, the Tractivity stakeholder engagement and management system covers all your digital stakeholder engagement needs within one complete solution.
Contact us today for a free demo today and discover how you can quickly improve your stakeholder engagement and management with our tools.