In this, the first of a six part column contributed by Precedent to PSMG magazine, considers just where to start when creating that perfect digital strategy.
As strategic guru Michael Porter once said, “The essence of strategy is that you must set limits on what you’re trying to accomplish.”
How many of us have asked or been asked, ‘should we have a blog?’, ‘why aren’t we on Twitter?’ or indeed, ‘why do we need a website at all?’ All these questions are impossible to answer if a firm fails to take a strategic approach to their online presence; what are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to reach? Why would they visit your website? Where can you most effectively influence them?
We are passionate about identifying and leveraging the individual value that an organisation can create with its digital activity; something that comes from having a clear and concise strategy in place. When working this out with our clients, we stick to a six point plan which over the coming months we will tackle here with you.
So let’s get started.
Understanding how digital activities can contribute to your firm’s vision and mission
We constantly encounter grand, abstract organisational objectives such as ‘increasing brand awareness’ or ‘creating real dialogue with customers’; yet the objectives that really focus senior management teams, marketing teams and agency partners on results are much more tangible and potent. We like specific, measureable, achievable goals, linked to organisational objectives.
For a law firm, this might mean focusing on a specific practice area with an objective to increase leads by 100% through the online channel; for a management consultancy, it may be to become the ‘go to place online’ for thought leadership on a trending business topic.
This is challenging, as the temptation is to be diplomatic, representative and even handed across all your business activities. However, as Michael Porter also said “strategy is about making choices, it’s about being deliberately different”; this is hard to do if you are determined that your website will be all things to all men.
By committing to a few tangible, specific goals a business can stand out from the crowd. Focus in on one objective, make it successful – really successful, demonstrating the difference to the bottom-line, and senior management will pay attention, while other parts of the business will queue to join the revolution. The website and web team, rather than being a marketing cost, will become a powerful business engine, delivering real business value.
First published in PSMG magazine, January/February 2011.