Communication
August 6, 2014

What keeps government communicators up at night?

Smartphones and tablets have fundamentally changed how information is created, managed and measured. Because of this unprecedented access to content, the average citizen now has significantly higher expectations on how, when and where they access information. As a result, the mobilization of content and personalization of the online experience will become increasingly critical for citizen engagement. But as the mobilization of content continues to proliferate, the question arises: are government communicators and marketers ready to meet this new challenge?

Adobe recently commissioned a survey in conjunction with its web-series – What keeps Government Communicators up at Night? – to better understand government communicators and marketers’ level of preparedness for engaging citizens in the increasingly mobilized world.

Looking at what trends are impacting communicators and marketers in Canada’s public sector, the survey found that the vast majority (76%) agree that the methods of communicating have changed more in the last two years than in the last 50. It should come as no surprise that more than half don’t believe their department/ministry is engaging its target audience effectively. To further exacerbate the situation, almost two-thirds of Canadian public sector communicators and marketers feel they don’t have sufficient tools and resources to be effective.

However, while the current level of preparedness doesn’t sound particularly promising, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. While the majority of communicators and marketers don’t currently employ mobile optimized websites, apps or website personalization solutions, mobilization of content is fast becoming a priority.

As such, 73% of communicators and marketers consider reaching citizens or other public sector employees using devices like mobile phones and tablets to be an important issue, while more than three quarters of respondents (77%) believe engaging citizens over social media channels should also be a priority.

One key driver behind mobilization becoming a higher priority is the growing need for government marketers and communicators to demonstrate value and deliver a greater return on investment (ROI). In fact, 78% believe they will need to better demonstrate ROI in the next 12 months.

As the impetus to better demonstrate ROI grows, analytics/big data solutions are becoming invaluable tools for communicators and marketers as a means to effectively measure success. The survey found that 71% feel that social analytics will be an increasingly important tool for government communicators and marketers moving forward.

While a gap between where the government is and where it needs to be regarding its mobile content strategy still exists; changing the government’s mindset and understanding about how a content-driven approach can add value to its bottom-line and thereby improve citizen engagement, is the first step to closing that gap.

Thankfully there are resources available like Adobe’s What keeps Government Communicators up at Night? webinar series to help communicators and marketers understand how to better navigate the mobilized world through these new techniques and tools.

At the end of the day, are government communicators and marketers ready for this mobile world? At this point in time, no. However, with any new technology, adoption – especially within the public sector – takes time. At this stage, what’s more important is understanding the role digital content will play moving forward, and how successful citizen engagement will hinge on delivering that content across channels. To hammer in the point: an overwhelming 94 percent of Canada’s public sector communicators and marketers agree that using digital tools effectively will be critical in the future.

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