Over the past decade, developments in marketing have redefined the approach of stakeholder engagement. This means as well as lower costs, greater reach, increased productivity, transparency of the process you can now have the ability to meet stakeholder expectations on their turf, online!
If you think about that, the days are gone where you had to spend hours trying to set up briefings and meetings with stakeholders only to see them cancelled and rescheduled multiple times until the information has outlived its usefulness.
This merging of technology to serve more than one purpose is a growing trend of the recognition of the relationships between business processes. 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.
What are the Cost Benefits for the Digital Transformation of Stakeholder Engagement?
The traditional methods of stakeholder engagement were expensive due to production costs, repetitive, labour-intensive activities, travel expenses, and lost time working on the project.
A digital approach to stakeholder enagegement reduces production costs, saves money on the acquisition of software through repurposing of tools 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 approach to stakeholder enagement is the ability to manage your primary stakeholder groups at the individual level. This increases the possibility of meeting stakeholder expectations at a degree that can only benefit and strengthen the 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 plane ticket or be away from the office.
More timely Stakeholder Engagement
There are many communication paths to 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 multi-channel marketing. The marketing tools exist to track 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. The highest probability becomes your 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 like the plague and prefer a business means such as Slack or SMS to deliver the news with attachment. 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.
More transparent stakeholder engagement
Transparency has a direct correlation to establishing what stakeholders can expect from you. The bottom line is, if they know the process and method of how you engage, then they will be on the lookout for information that you provide.
Thus, you must be consistent in how you engage each stakeholder, and the quality of the information you provide must be relevant to their interest in the project. Sending that stakeholder an assessment of shortfalls will not interest him/her even though it may affect them later on.
They won’t have the time to guess what the implications are, they want you to tell them directly and without beating around the bush.
All of these communications will be auditable and will provide you, an audit trail to defend yourself in the event of project restructuring due to known risks that were identified beforehand.
The modern stakeholder is ready!
The modern stakeholder expects to be kept informed via digital means. The body of work on using digital tools and channels proves that beyond the shadow of a doubt. Plus, they want that information personalised to their taste and delivered at the times and places of their choosing.
You can never lose sight of the value in building positive, trusting relationships with the stakeholder community. Your authority and reputation as an organisation depends on it.