We are in the final days of our editorial focus on Web Engagement here at CMSWire this month. It's time to dive into the results of our latest poll "How advanced are your engagement practices?" After talking to vendors and people on the floor of conferences, the final results make sense and point to a lot of work to come.

The Votes are In, But There's No Clear Winner

Our informal poll took a lot at where organizations are with their engagement practices. If we had expected that many would come out about mid-range with Intermediate level practices, we would have been right, and wrong. It seems there is a split across pretty much all levels of capability, which is a clear indication that Web Engagement Management (WEM) is still in its infancy and there is a long way to go.


At the Basic of WEM

Of the 965 votes we received, 252 (26.11%) indicated they were really at the basic level of a Web Engagement Practice. Which means, they have a web content management system and a website, not much more. We call that Web Content Management 101.

While hanging out at the Gartner 360 conference last month, we heard this a lot -- even from some vendors:

Anthony Milner -- Product Manager at Elcom

I don't think that being at this stage means organizations don't think a broader WEM strategy is important. I think it might be more indicative of trying to get the basics down. The website is still a primary part of any Web Strategy, it is your front-door (even though many are starting to come in through the side or back door).

Matt Goddard, CEO is r2integrated, made a good point when he told me that there are still a lot of brand searches on Google. That's where people go to find your website. So you have to make sure you have built it properly and maintain it equally.

From Beginner to Intermediate to Expert WEM

So the website isn't dead. But you do need to distribute your assets in wide variety of places and ways other than just your homepage. And many organizations recognize that. In our poll, 21% considered themselves WEM beginners, 20% Intermediate and 19% Expert.

For beginners, this typically means you have started to branch out and put your brand on some social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Having a presence is a start. And doing some standard analytics will help you get a feel for how that's working.

For Intermediates the integration with social networks like Facebook takes you a step further, as does supporting mobile devices. You are starting to think cross channel/cross device and using your analytics and testing tools to figure out what works best.

Organizations that consider themselves experts are figuring out how to track their customers across channels and are building profiles (great read on this topic btw: WEM: 3 Steps to Cross Channel Customer Engagement). They are also using testing/targeting tools to provide a more personalized experience and they understand the importance of monitoring not just what's happening on their website but also across social media sites (see Is There a Must-Use Metric to Measure Web Engagement?).

Leading the WEM Pack

10% of respondents to our poll indicated they were experts. This is where many strive to be, providing a personalized, seamless cross channel/device experience for their users. It's about context, if you don't have that, you need to get it.

Doug Heise -- Product Marketing Director at CoreMedia

Most have a way to go before they get there though. And most WEM vendors are only beginning to offer the tools and platforms to support this customer experience.

From Web Engagement to Customer Experience Management

It probably doesn't help that there are many different ways to talk about Engagement today. Whether you use the term web engagement, web experience or the newest one, customer experience, it's still all about engagement. And it's still all about the customer.

Organizations need to invest in WEM practices. Customers not only expect it, they are starting to demand it. But it's still important to have the basics nailed. All this means that for WCM/WEM vendors, the need to support organizations across a wide range of readiness is critical for their success. The tools need to be available to help organizations get the basics down and then bridge the gap to developing the full customer experience.

Darren Guarnaccia -- VP Product Marketing at Sitecore

Do you think our poll is dead on? Or are most further along then we think?