Demystifying digital strategy

Often self absorbed in my own digital strategy work – I sometimes forget far I’ve travelled and the level of transition the advertising industry is in over digital strategy. 

I’ve been doing digital strategy for years – though at IBM, we called it e-business strategy, then marketing strategy, then customer experience strategy & design and now, due to how broad digital has become, digital strategy.  (I know.. its really just strategy but to limit scope, allow for digital).

When asked what a digital strategy is – my elevator answer is that digital covers mobile, social, web, apps, etc. and strategy is the ‘how’ to achieve a gap between where a company or brand is currently and where they want to go.   Arriving at a digital strategy & plan is more complicated than I’m making it sound but essentially it is a gap analysis done right.  (not minimizing the difference between strategy and good execution).  Simpler – I say that digital strategy is identifying which of the 20 digital opportunities facing a business are the right ones for business, brand and marketing.   (long elevator ride right!)

Back in late 2009 – early 2010 – I thought myself quite progressive by labelling myself a digital strategist but the actual role, its qualifications, the job description and deliverables are much confused today.   

And this was the topic of tonight’s discussion with a meeting of the minds with Paul Crowe at Bnotions , @pcrowe – a growing dev/strategy/start up into cool mobile, game things +.  Among the audience – @Ianbarnett, @michaelnus and Rick Jacobs  – all very bright, articulate and seasoned folks.

Couple great gems coming out of our dicussion. 

1. we debated over a framework for developing a digital stategy.  It was a different lense than I’ve used but it actually worked well and I’m grateful to see a new perspective.

2.  we spoke about a digital strategist being a rather senior, long tail digital/strategy experienced individual – though not to say that there isn’t a need for junior strategists and career path for this senior role.

3. there are tiers to digital strategy – that sometimes the deliverable is large and other times quite small. (or the timeframe to complete is tight)

4. I spoke of the role of a digital review or business review plays in arriving at a digital strategy.  A digital strategy often has optimization of existing digital assets as a goal and this is only best understood by reviewing performance.

5. I also spoke of how the strategy needs to be separated from the plan – which is what my own ad agency/planning department has teased out of me – forcing a focused strategy from the planning/roadmap stage.

Anyhow – the popcorn is ready.. I welcome your thoughts on the matter.

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