The ongoing discussion among marketers about how to measure engagement today is a bit anxious. Most marketers seem overwhelmed with the organizational challenges of measuring and analyzing ROI. The realities of having to interact with their IT departments may be more top of mind than how they can get their hands around new customer behaviors in a world of social media.

A June report from Forrester Research by Brain Haven and Suresh Vittal, “Measuring Engagement,” contributes to the ongoing conversation about how marketers should measure the behaviors of customers and relationships of customers to their brands.

Haven and Vittal lay out the four I’s of engagement: involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence. The easy-to-remember formula defines engagement as the level of the four I’s that a customer has with a brand over time.

But before we can better understand the customer’s engagement, which align with his or her buying process, Haven and Vittal note the realities that stand in the way of making and using a better measurement: lack of agreement on the meaningful metrics, trouble accessing data, inadequate analysis skills and trouble connecting the insights gained into meaningful creative content.

But before we throw up our hands and give up, Haven and Vittal offer a strategy:

• Define what an engaged customer looks like
• Audit engagement measurement capabilities
• Assess value of metrics
• Prioritize metrics

I can’t offer more specifics without violating my user agreement. Forrester offers this insight for a pretty nice fee.

I’ve got three opinions about this:

• An enlightened organization is one that will be able to work through the operational challenges and get to work on the 4 I’s.

• Technology will surely emerge to help this process.

• Staying engaged in this discussion is necessary for all of us in the custom media business.