Supplyframe Maturity Model Stage 3: An Integrated Approach to Customer Engagement

Paul McNamara Author

Hello and welcome back to Supplyframe’s third installment of an in depth series covering each phase of our Digital Customer Engagement Maturity Model. 

We developed the Maturity Model after surveying nearly 200 leading companies in the electronics supply chain to see where they stood in terms of the transition from decades old marketing tactics to dynamic, data-driven customer engagement at scale, on a digital level. From their answers we developed five levels of maturity across three areas: Digital Engagement, Technology & Analytics, and Organizational Structure.

If you’re new to the idea and would like an overview, here’s an excellent place to start. 

The average score for our survey came out to 2.4, placing most businesses in between Stage Two: Opportunistic, and the topic of this article, Stage Three: Integrated.

Right now would be a fantastic time to take the survey for your organization and see where you stand on your journey towards delivering the right content, in the right place, at the right time:

This stage is particularly relevant to anyone in the industry, as reaching it means you’re leading against your competitors in reaching your customers in the digital arena. Let’s take a look at what happens in Stage 3: Integrated

New Horizons: An Overview Of The Integrated Business

Stage One of the Model earned the name Ad Hoc because it was characterized by reactionary content without much planning or forethought. Stage Two we named Opportunistic because firms in that stage are beginning to take major steps forward and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. They’ve created a plan for their content and are proactively building meaningful relationships rather than reacting to marketing events and one-off instances of content creation.

Stage Three is the Integrated stage in the Model, because these businesses have made digital customer engagement a high priority across all the appropriate verticals, teams, and departments. There’s an entire digital team in place, and they’re raising the bar.

An evolved customer profile includes goals and motivations to help targeting. Analytics and automation are in place, campaigns run on multiple channels, and de-siloing across departments adds context that ultimately benefits customers.

Let’s take a closer look at the exciting changes in Stage Three: Integrated.

Digital Engagement In The Integrated Organization

There’s enough two-way communication in Stage Three that an Integrated firm has a much more developed and always evolving customer profile. They’re working with more nuanced intelligence like goals and motivations and adapting their content to suit. Teams in Sales, Marketing, and Product Management are sharing information to boost content relevance and timeliness.

Customers see Integrated businesses publishing this hyper-relevant content across a number of channels, as well as virtual events. They’re meeting customers in their inboxes, on social media, and sharing videos that help meet business needs and add value where their clients need it most. When they gather with customers online, or hopefully in-person again soon, the conversations are guided by reaching a deeper understanding of how they can help. It sounds simple, but it certainly isn’t easy. 

So where, then, does the Stage Three business fall short if everything is going so well? It’s almost a matter of splitting hairs, but there is definite room for improvement if an Integrated business is going to make the jump forward into Stage Four. 

Insights gain automation at the next level, and this helps the team produce content from an outside-in perspective. Campaigns not only run across multiple channels as in Stage Three, they’re also automated at this high-achieving Stage Four in the Model.

The supplier-partner relationship at stage four is deep enough that it takes on a community feel, with helpful interactions happening across social platforms organically. Stage Four is aspirational, and so we’ve named it Optimized.

Technology And Analytics At Stage Three

Deploying enterprise grade analytics constitutes the most impactful upgrade a group undertakes as they enter the Integrated stage of the Model. Targeting in particular jumps in quality as they begin to make more informed decisions about what to say and how to say it.

Along with the jump to CRM and automation tools we saw in Opportunistic businesses, Stage Three groups integrate personalization into their relationship management for the first time.

As already high performing Stage Three businesses look to improve their technology and analytics and move into the rarefied air of fully optimized Stage Four, they’ll find the answer in additional personalization. At the next stage we see each customer gaining their own behavioral model as opposed to the advanced, but standardized, analytics we see here.

Organizational Structure In The Integrated Business

Big changes here and they add up to something much greater than the sum of their parts. There’s now a fully staffed digital engagement team and they are highly skilled and making their presence known. Sales teams based in different markets and geographies are working together on campaigns and go-to-market activities using centralized operations and collaboration between sales, marketing, and product is the order of the day.

Resource management obviously plays a huge role in building out the team, and at this point they’re still in control of activities, as budgeting is still based on run rates over previous years.

This marks a major point of differentiation between stages Three and Four. Three looks backward to decide upon future requirements. Stage Four creates a 12 month plan based on strategic needs with ROI as a secondary criteria. This roadmap-driven strategy confirms the belief in the importance of digital engagement, and technology’s role in implementing it.

Returns, as in compensation, is another area where the Stage Four business, Optimized, stands out. Collaboration across verticals is not only encouraged, but compensation is tied to shared goals. After all, the best people don’t come cheap, and at Stage Four, the digital engagement team is industry leading.

Becoming Best In Class

Businesses running at Stage Three are already leading firms, there’s no doubt about that. But as we pointed out, there are a few key shortcomings holding them back from becoming truly best in class with their digital engagement.

Be sure to take the survey yourself and then come back as we tackle the next phase in the Model, Stage Four: Optimized.

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