The question is often asked – “what is digital strategy?”. There is an array of answers that include web design and development, social media, SEO and SEM, analytics and measurement, methodologies such as agile and waterfall, big data, and the list goes on. Many people focus on the end product so what happens is it gets funneled primarily into one of those areas. For instance, an agency may come into your organization to help you provide a digital strategy, but what they are actually focusing on is your web and social presence and putting other areas on the backseat.
I think the point is being missed.
After many years in web development and digital marketing, I have learned that digital strategy does not have a concrete definition. Digital processes and technologies change to rapidly for it to be definite…not to mention company goals, leadership and vision. Digital strategy is not about a product, process or capability.
So, how would I define digital strategy?
Incorporating a digital mindset into the DNA of an organization from senior leadership to entry-level staff using agile methodologies through mentoring and critical thinking that will result in innovative products and solutions, processes and thought leadership.
This definition will change over time, but for right now, a digital mindset, across the whole corporation, does not silo the digital strategy to just a responsive website or an inbound marketing campaign to gain awareness and leads, it is infused into the way the organization or employee thinks about a proposal, customer’s need, corporate brand and so on. Digital strategy is mindset-focused, not technology-focused (technology is the tool). It is creating free thinkers to look beyond the project, process or technology. The technology and products will evolve from your digital strategy mindset. I believe this is why Google and Apple are so successful whereas Microsoft, even as a technology giant, struggles. Google and Apple get it.
How is my digital strategy defined? Is it a concrete “waterfall” plan or does it leave room for evolution?
You should not be able to say that your digital strategy has an end date for implementation, because if it is truly agile, it will be an ongoing, evolving strategy.