Demystifying Digital Stategy

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Many people ask me how do you define your Digital Strategy?  Well cliche I know, but it depends…

Who is the ‘your’? Are you a large corporation governed by standards and regulations? Are you a small charity and you don’t think you need any digital strategy? Are you a business owner and don’t have the time or think it’s important?  Well here’s some thoughts on  this area. One digital strategy does not fill all types of business, sizes or organisations or industry areas. Customising and applying a best approach is what’s required.

Here’s some examples. So you’re a large corporation… Next question would be what industry segment do you operate in?, what preferred suppliers do you need to work?, what’s your architectural landscape and of course what’s the longer term business plan with the associated approved budget? If you know the answers to these you can develop a 1 to 3 year digital strategy. I’ve had a lot of experience in developing programme or IT strategy and often key is developing it with your business goals in mind, why else are you there as IT staff in the first place?

So what about if you’re a NGO. The questions here would be different, what is the geographies the charity operate in, does the organisation rely heavily on volunteers? What’s the NGO’s objectives, could be activism or social change? Again once you have the answers a strategy can be thought through. In my experience so far, many charities run their organisations with volunteers, volunteers often don’t have all resources available to them so everything they do is with little or no cost and available online. This results in a type of digital strategy that gives autonomy but can be available anytime, anyplace, on demand, tools and services allowing collaboration.  Think freeware, in the cloud and internet based.

You’re a small business owner? You want to use digital tools to promote your product, business and build your customer base, maybe create a professional shop window about your business. I see successful one’s again developing it based on what your needs are. Just need more customers into your shop for example, setup a simple Facebook fan page, post a few photos a week and bring people in, get your business on twitter, you might think what’s the point, what a waste of time but a simple and effective tweet could sell more products, you could use the tools to promote, show products and build followers. I’d always advise you on investing in setting up your own web site. You should own as a business owner, your relationship with your customers, by having your own site you are in charge of what they see, signing up to your email mailing list. If you use Facebook, don’t be fooled into thinking well it’s free. It’s not, they limit how much of your audience see your updates and before you know it, you will be paying Facebook to advertise for you.  Again though, I’d recommend a digital strategy custom to your business needs.

I was reading about HMV and their digital strategy and they’re focusing on a mobile application launch… well I have to say, they are a bit late to that party, but at least recognising it’s importance.

That’s my key advice whether you’re a corporate, charity or business owner. If there is one area your digital stategy probably is under-resourced, not even thought about or doesn’t even have, is a clear plan around building good content for mobile applications.  How many times have you as a user, thought I will check out that page from my emails, whilst on the train, between meetings, picking up your kids… and I will just do it from my smartphone. You get to the page and you can hardly read the page, let alone do anything because that page has not been designed with a mobile user in mind. What if you have your business site setup, but the payment pages aren’t setup to work on a mobile, then you’ve just lost some business. My advice digital strategy needs mobile in it, don’t overlook it!

Get in touch if you’re looking for IT consultancy for your digital strategy or please leave comments for discussion, I love to hear from you.

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