Do we need a digital strategist before we create a social media plan/new website/mobile app?
OK, full disclosure, I AM a Digital Strategist – so you may think the first thing I’ll say is “Yes! Of course you need a digital strategist! Now give me some money!”
But the fact is, sometimes you just need to take a step back and look at your online plans from a different perspective before considering engaging outside help.
Applying digital tactics before accurately determining a business problem you’re trying to solve (be it loyalty, preference, growth etc.) can be a big waste of money. Falling in love with the idea of launching an Instagram account because it’s cool and “all the kids are on it” rather than using digital methods to help answer your business problem is rife in many digital plans I see.
So what’s an easy fix? Step away from the shiny new digital channel and set aside five minutes to define an important business problem you want solved.
Our Business Problem: the broadcaster needs us to create a website to support our new show but we feel no one will visit this page.
Great! Next step. Answer the WHY.
Why is this our Business Problem? We’re concerned about spending money to create a website that no one will go to. We want to explore other promotional channels to drive visitors and figure out how to make money from it.
Nice work. That helps define your strategy and explores the business problem in a bit more detail, which is crucial. Next part is easy – or it should be…
Who is our Target Demographic? Kids ages eight to 12.
What does this tell us? These simple three questions gave you a goal and a target: You need to create a supporting website for your show, and you want to make sure it gets visits and explore potential ROI. Great. Now share this with everyone who might work on this digital project so everyone understands the goal and can participate in the solution.
While this is very simple, five-minute exercise can create more questions than answers, that’s the point. You’re ready now to enter the second stage, where you can look to a digital strategist to help make sense of it all, or you can get your hands dirty and figure out what content is needed for kids to visit a show page, or engage in a competitive analysis to see how others drive visits to their showsites and make money. This is putting the cart after the horse, which ensures the time and effort your team spends to make a digital project will be worth the money and solve your problems.
Keep in mind: very few companies actually ask these three questions before diving in. If you answer them honestly, you’re already on the right path.