Matt Borghi explains below:
A digital strategy, as I heard someone once say, is a business strategy. That’s partly true, especially in this day and age when digital and electronic tools are so readily available and so crucial to business. It’s also true that a digital strategy needs to be part of any organization or business’s overall strategy, but even still that definition is exactly right because it doesn’t capture everything. Generally, a digital strategy falls somewhere underneath an organizational strategy and/or a marketing strategy, and usually serves to meet the goals of those strategies in the digital realm by making use of digital properties, such as Web sites, mobile, social media, CRM, etc… Sometimes, though, organizations have not begun developing their digital properties, or the digital properties needed to meet their goals and in those cases a digital strategy determines how existing properties, channels and tools can be used to accomplish business and organizational goals and what digital properties still need to be developed. In fact, in the situation where digital properties haven’t been developed research and analysis will determine what needs to be developed, and it’s not always the newest, up and coming social media site or technology.
For me, I’ve found that a three-pronged approach works best. You start with research and analysis around organizational goals and from there move into the development of the digital strategy.
In the first phase of the process: Research, this is where you meet with stakeholders, review goals, existing documentation and digital channels; interview customers/clients and consolidate findings.
One the research phase is complete, you move into analysis. What are the goals? What do we have available to us in the form of documentation, digital channels and experiences and how can that knowledge be leveraged on the digital strategy level to successfully meet stated goals? Through this process you begin developing personas, which could also be referred to as defining the audience, where you learn as much as you can about primary and secondary audiences, if necessary, and what digital channels and approaches would appeal to them. Items for consideration are age, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic locations, hobbies/interests, etc… and any other significant items that have been revealed through the research phase and are relevant to the goals.
The final phase is the development of the digital strategy itself. With established goals, audience personas and the knowledge of what digital tools will work for what audience and what you have available to you, you can begin to put together the strategy.
In some instances, there will be development work that needs to be done to establish the digital tools and channels, and in other cases the channels will be in-place and ready to go.
One aspect of the digital strategy that is quite different from the one, five and ten year plans of many organizations is that a digital strategy, usually doesn’t exceed 12 months, and is constantly evaluated, retooled and altered to fit the changing digital landscape. Therefore, it’s crucial that an organization understands that a digital strategy isn’t just something that’s implemented and then reviewed a year or so later without care and feeding. The handling of a digital strategy requires an agility and nimbleness not often afforded to businesses and organizations. Some organizations choose to handle digital strategy in-house while others hire smaller boutique firms who are adept at maintaining the quick pace that digital strategy requires.
And that’s a digital strategy in a nutshell…