May 28, 2014
Enola Labs

Enola Labs creates custom strategy and products for mobile and web.

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A digital strategy is imperative for businesses today, no matter how big or small. Mobility and web recognition have become the new normal, and digitization has changed the way users interact with businesses- more and more often, users are looking at a business’s Facebook page before their own website, or downloading an organization’s app to stay connected. In order to maintain the connections a business has with its clients, customers, or even its own employees, a path to digital must be paved.

However, a digital strategy is not just about making a Twitter account or creating an app. It is a transformative shift for businesses to create a user experience that reflects the priorities, values, and vision of the organization. It is a large undertaking to plan, execute, implement, measure, and maintain a digital strategy, and before a business takes the first plunge into digital or mobile, the first step should be to ask yourself 10 key questions- and find the right answers. A digital strategy can be a disaster without planning and framework ahead of time, and these questions will put you on the right track.

Today’s post will cover the first five vital questions your business should consider before developing your digital strategy:

What is your organization’s digital purpose and how is it connected to your strategic initiatives?

Defining your business goals is one thing, but making sure that your digital goals align with your overall business values is an entirely different animal. Business goals are typically large umbrella goals, such as “increase customer engagement.” However, when defining your digital or mobile goals and aligning them with these, you need to create more specific goals to create accountability and measurability, such as “increase customer engagement by 25% by the end of the second quarter.” This creates an exact measurement for whoever is in charge of your digital strategy to focus on, and aligns your digital goal with an overall goal for your business.

You also need to make sure your digital goals and what you’re hoping to achieve through the web and/or mobile supports your organization in reaching its objectives. If your digital strategy and your business strategy are not parallel, it could create confusion and flimsy goals, which will make it difficult to see if your digital strategy is even improving your business.

What business problems are you attempting to solve with mobility? What are we looking to achieve for our brand through a digital function?

After aligning your business and digital goals, it’s imperative to determine what exactly you’re trying to do by going mobile or improving your digitization. These goals should be clear and value-based, whether your goal is to increase your employee productivity, increase the quality of service to your clients, develop more brand recognition, improve connections online with consumers, or simply to increase revenue. The clearer you are about what exactly you’re trying to achieve through your digital strategy, the easier it will be to answer questions about KPIs, governance, and goal priorities.

Who will own the “digital” function? How will it be governed and monitored?

Knowing who is responsible for monitoring, implementing, maintaining and measuring your digital strategy is crucial- whether it’s an entire team or just one person. Not only will someone need to be elected ”in charge” of all or certain aspects of the digital shift, but their specific duties need to be outlined and prioritized. It also needs to be clear what your policies regarding the digital sphere are- what kind of material can be posted to social media? What type of content do you want to produce for your blog? All of these questions and areas that could possibly create confusion need to be fully developed before implementing your strategy.

What is the intended budget to create this strategy? Where do your priorities, in terms of budgeting, lie?

You can’t avoid talking about money when it comes to your digital strategy- everything needs a budget. Especially if you’re going to look into app development, allocating a budget and prioritizing certain aspects of your plan will help senior management see exactly how far their dollar is stretching. It is also important to frame your budget in the sense of “ongoing development,” since the web and mobile technology are constantly evolving, and updates and changes will need to be made throughout the life cycle of your strategy.

This is also where you can determine if you will be developing everything you need in-house or if you will be seeking outsourced work, perhaps on a mobile app. This could involve a pretty flexible budget, as pricing for this will vary. Budgeting digital work is never simple, but this is an important process in ensuring your digital strategy is not only well thought out, but financially prepared for.

Who is the intended target market for your digital strategy?

This question is the backbone of your social and overall digital strategy- who are you appealing to? Who is your target market? Defining this and creating your entire digital strategy around this is crucial. Take a look at who your customer base already is, and who is already sharing your brand. This is most likely your market, and this is who your entire digital strategy needs to appeal to. In addition, if you’re developing an employee-facing application as part of your digital strategy, you need to be in tune with what your employees expect from you and what they both want and need. Create a persona for your market and let it be known to everyone so that all materials throughout your digital strategy reflect this persona.

What This Means for Your Digital Strategy

Asking the tough, important questions like these before diving into your digital strategy is crucial for a coherent, viable, and effective web and/or mobile plan. Keep an eye out for Part 2 of the most important questions you should be asking, which will be posted next week.

Jump to Part II