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Public Administration and digital marketing: some advice and 3 examples

Often, the relationship between Italy and its Public Administration is seen more like one of the adversaries than allies, slow, corrupt, inefficient or at least unable to provide a fair level of services throughout the country. This perception is confirmed by numerous articles and reports that rank Italy at the bottom of the list in terms of the quality of bureaucracy.

A few months ago, a report based on the European Commission’s data for 2017 placed Italy among the European countries with the worst bureaucracy, along with Greece and Slovakia, far behind Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, which are at the top.

But what is the reason for this gap?

Obviously, there is not a single cause for this inadequacy. Instead, it is the result of a combination of factors.

In Italy, the number of employees in the Public Administration is about the same as in Germany and much lower than in Spain and Great Britain. For example, there are 5.5 public employees for every 100 residents, similar to Germany (5.7), but fewer than in Spain (6.4) and even fewer than in the United Kingdom where there are 7.9 public employees for every 100 citizens.

Another factor is the age of the employees. In line with demographic trends, the Public Administration also ages very quickly, while the generational turnover is practically zero. In particular, 27.7% of public employees are under 45 years of age, while the average age of workers is 50 years (according to 2015 figures) and this average increases by about six months each year. Making a short-term projection, in 2020 the average age will reach 53.6 years with as many as 232,000 people who will be between 65 and 67 and over 603,000 between 60 and 64 years. In other words, about a third of Italian public workers will, therefore, be leaving the workforce in just three years.

Another thorny issue is undoubtedly the level of skills and training opportunities within the Public Administration. In fact, in 19% of cases, staff do not have the necessary skills to carry out the tasks for which they are responsible, while in only 14% of cases does the employee’s educational qualification exceed that required by the position held. In addition, only half of Public Administration employees have a college degree.

The same is true when talking about digital skills. The Public Administration, in fact, would need technological, organizational, and managerial skills to be able to manage this evolution. However, in 2018 only 6 out of 10 public employees received professional training of this type. This is confirmed by the fact that, although the majority of operators in the Public Administration believe that they have an acceptable level of skills (if not higher than those required), these skills are mainly increased through self-training (48.5%) and on-the-job experience (31.2%), while formal training only accounts for 9.5%.

 

Digital transformation

Obviously, these aren’t the only problems that the Public Administration has to face. But there are also success stories and examples of those who are making the most of digital transformation.

According to Eurostat data for 2018 on the digital economy and society in Europe, the situation of the Italian Public Administration is not entirely positive. This is also confirmed by the level of digital growth, where Italy ranks 25th among European countries. Its score, at 44.3, is 30 points lower than the leader in this category, Denmark.

This data is the result of digitalization without a real united strategy that has not allowed homogeneous digital development throughout the country. Instead, the development is sporadic. Some areas seem to have been completely left behind, while, at the other end of the spectrum there are sectors and regions who are on the cutting edge of digital transformation, such that they can compete with other European countries. One example is the case of open data, where Italy ranks eighth among European countries. This is as a result of a major investment by central and local authorities and a strategically consistent approach.

Going forward, it is essential that this transformation is diffused as much as possible so that the country as a whole can fully exploit its benefits. It is no mystery, in fact, that digitalization brings significant advantages for the administration and for the entire territory.

In this regard, the example of electronic invoicing comes to mind. The obligation to switch to digital invoicing instead of paper invoicing has been a real revolution and has had a positive impact on state government. Electronic invoicing can make document management by the Public Administration faster and more secure, reducing paper waste and physical storage space for files.

Obviously, all of this translates into considerable economic savings. For example, it is estimated that the adoption of electronic invoicing throughout the country could lead, once fully implemented, to savings of €1 billion by the Public Administration. We must also add that electronic invoicing is a perfect tool to implement a digital marketing strategy designed for the Public Administration.

 

Digital marketing for Public Administration

But what does the digital transformation of the Public Administration have to do with citizens’ general sense of dissatisfaction with public services and digital marketing?

This is well explained by the Agency for Digital Italy which, in line with its function of guiding and coordinating the digital growth paths of the Public Administration, has just finished creating a site to raise awareness among professionals of the value of public communication of digital services in the transformation path of the Italian Public Administration. The agency’s site, comunica.italia.it, has different sections dedicated to Storytellling, Communication, and Marketing.

Digital marketing has a very important role in facilitating the digital transformation of the Public Administration, with all that follows.

Making public bodies more marketing-oriented means accompanying citizens in their daily relationship with public services in modern ways, delivering digital services more efficiently, and building a relationship of trust with citizens that helps them start embracing digital.

In other words, this approach allows us to implement the customer experience of citizens, improving the reputation of the PA and encouraging them to participate and exercise active citizenship.

 

What does the Public Administration have to do to be marketing oriented?

To achieve all these benefits, the Public Administration will need to take an approach that is similar to what private companies do; after all, this is exactly what citizens expect.

Italians are in favor of digital transformation in the Public Administration, as it will allow them to take advantage of new, more efficient and friendly services. In fact, 29% of Italians expect procedures to be simplified, while 25.5% would like answers to be faster, and with greater transparency, which is one of the principles to which all public bodies should adhere.

Digital marketing can play an important role in meeting these expectations, since it does not end with the simple management of a website or social profile, but involves real organizational change. In fact, the achievement of marketing objectives involves the use of digital technologies and media, the analysis of reference targets, and the joint activation of traditional and innovative touchpoints.

In particular, digital marketing requires that certain aspects be taken into account when building a strategy. First of all, it is necessary to carry out an analysis in order to understand the characteristics of the target audience, their typical habits and behaviours.

This also allows you to precisely customize the content, in terms of tone of voice, call to action, and the relevant ”keywords” that will be essential in accessing the content. This is not the only thing that can be established from the data: you’ll also be able to understand the channels where you should be present.

In general, digital marketing strategies have an omnichannel system. In other words, they aim to activate different touchpoints in an integrated manner so that the consumer-citizen experience is richer and more engaging, avoiding unnecessary overlaps.

 

3 successful examples of digital marketing in Public Administration 

As we said at the beginning, the road to complete digital transformation in the Public Administration is still long and it won’t happen all at once. However, it is possible to find some winning examples that show that when public authorities use digital technologies and correctly apply digital marketing strategies, the results are remarkable.

 

1. Trieste

Our first example concerns the Italian city of Trieste, which has succeeded in integrating digital skills and using social media to communicate in a way that is modern and effective. In fact, it has activated six separate social networks, giving each of them a different function, so as to build an effective and efficient flow of information both through multiple languages and through diverse content offerings. Each channel has assumed a specific strategic function and a clear communication identity that focuses on different targets, each with specific KPIs.

This is made possible by the fact that Trieste has officially recognized the role of the public social media manager. This is the person who professionally manages communication on social channels, building an editorial plan consistent with the objectives of the Public Administration.

The result of this digital marketing strategy is considerable growth in followers and appreciation for this strategy on the part of citizens and tourists, who use the channels to interact with the city.

 

2. ID card renewal

The second example shows how digital marketing can help the Public Administration provide all citizens with quality services and relevant information.The case in question concerns the collaboration between the Public Administration and Doxee, the Italian company leader in services and cloud solutions for the management of business communication.

According to Italian law, each municipality has two obligations: to inform citizens, three to six months in advance, that their identity card is about to expire, and to inform citizens of the obligation to replace the paper identity card with the electronic one.

To do so, they needed a tool that can capture the attention of citizens by making them perceive the content as relevant. To achieve this, the Association of Officials of Civil Status and Registry together with the National Transplant Center and the State Printing and Mint Institute has promoted the use of personalized videos using Doxee Pvideo®.

Doxee Pvideo® provided an effective solution, first by starting from the data available to the Public Administration in order to create videos that were highly personalized. Each video contained the name, number, and expiration date of the citizen’s identity card.

Secondly, the videos were constructed in a way that provides all the information necessary for renewal (such as telephone numbers, counter times, and links to web addresses) on a mobile basis, adapting to the format that is most widespread in Italy.

Finally, Doxee Pvideo® has made the CTAs easy and fast, allowing viewers to perform certain actions while remaining within the video.

The advantages for the municipalities that have implemented the Doxee Pvideo® have been many:

  1. Mandatory communication has been made more attractive and perceived as relevant by citizens
  2. Thanks to the analytics included in Doxee Pvideo®, it was possible to monitor citizens’ actions in order to optimize the effectiveness of communication, thus providing them with the services they need
  3. With Doxee Pvideo® Public Administrations have been able to realize savings in postal expenses, limiting the production and delivery of paper notices
  4. The personalization of the Doxee Pvideo® has made it easier to facilitate customer interactions with the institutions. This is demonstrated by the data: the campaign achieved a 91% view rate for the entire video and 31% of citizens requested an appointment directly from the video.

 

3. TARI tax

Our third example shows how digital marketing can be a fundamental resource for performing certain PA functions, supporting monitoring and traceability of processes. In this case, the needed to make it easier and faster to collect the TARI, i.e. the fee for the collection and disposal of waste.

Once again, Doxee Pvideo® has proved to be a very useful tool.

Some municipalities (including the cities of Milan, Genoa, and Bologna) have implemented this solution, which Doxee has offered thanks to the collaboration with some important partners, such as Engineering Group Municipality, and important IT players specialized in the management of processes for local Public Administration taxes.

The objective was to make communication more engaging and facilitate the payment of the tax. With Doxee Pvideo® all of this was possible.

The first part of the video content was dedicated to the bill, which showed the amount to be paid, the due date, and the option to pay in instalments. In the second part, the citizen was shown the calculation of the tax and, thanks to the extreme personalization of the video, different scenes were inserted according to the characteristics of the recipient. Finally, in the last part, the citizen was invited to perform actions directly in the video, such as leaving their contact information, requesting information about the tax, to recalculate the amount due, or, most importantly, pay online through PagoPA or through other integrations.

The results were surprising: the Doxee solution made it possible to monitor viewer actions so as to optimize the video and provide citizens with truly relevant services in the future. In addition, the level of involvement also increased.

In fact, 85% viewed the full video, and more than half of those who saw the video then proceeded with payment.

This shows that the use of a digital marketing strategy leads to extremely positive results when using digital tools such as Doxee Pvideo®, which are able to offer a memorable customer experience through data analysis, content personalization and activation of unexpected touchpoints.

In all this, we must not forget the importance of having a trusted and experienced partner like Doxee, who provides innovative solutions and guides organizations in the step by step creation of strategic digital communication that is attentive to results and truly tailored to the citizen.

Learn more about the implementation of Doxee Pvideo® in Public Administrations – download ID card renewal case study:

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