“Every Agency Says They Do Digital Strategy, But Few Do It Well”

“Every Agency Says They Do Digital Strategy, But Few Do It Well”
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece Malcolm Alder from Sydney-based digital strategy firm Orchestrate argues all things digital is the mantra of agencies these days but are many merely flogging a product?

Companies embarking on their digital transformation journey need to think holistically about the implication but have to be very precise ideas about where to begin. Leaders need to gather perspectives widely and encourage a diversity of thinking, but everyone involved needs to leave their acronyms at the door and agree to speak in a common tongue

The need to think holistically about your business and its challenges.

There’s no shortage of people and agencies in the market who say they “do digital strategy”. Our observation is that a lot of them have a pretty narrow field of vision when doing so. Frequently, it’s essentially a marketing plan for the digital version of a product or service.

This is legitimately the domain of digital and advertising agencies. The limitation is that defining digital strategy at this level means it’s not a C-suite issue.

Some description

Nor does it have any regard (or permission) to consider a wide range of other highly relevant enterprise activities that should be considered within a genuine, corporate level strategy for the digital world. Other areas of digital activity include:

  • Procurement and supply chain, compliance and security,
  • Industry intelligence gathering,
  • Governance and of course,
  • Staff interactions in areas such as recruitment, training,
  • Knowledge sharing, aids to productivity.

Drawing on direct experience and from reviewing a wide range of approaches to digital strategy development, Orchestrate has created a holistic framework that provides a sound basis for thinking about and analysing the entirety of an organisation’s digital activities and interactions.

Identify a small number of carefully defined projects

Using the Model of Digital Business provides a holistic, single framework for all subsequent analysis, development of future options and making strategic choices.

Ideally, the process starts with a CEO conversation using this framework. (Depending on the CEO’s level of understanding, it may be preceded by providing some trends or data points to set an appropriate context for the industry and company.)

The first step is to explain all the relevant elements of the framework e.g. interface v enabling technology and why they are separated, or, who “followers” refers to as a stakeholder group.

Secondly, the CEO identifies areas that, in a digital context, will be most important to the success of the organisation over a chosen time period, say two years. Thirdly, the CEO rates their perception of current performance in those key areas.

Logically, where high importance to future success coincides with current performance being lowest, identifies the areas for immediate, defined projects. Assuming the organisation has the capacity to embark on, say, two initial projects, preferably one should be from the left side of capability/culture which are largely internal facing, and the other from the right side of enabling technology/insight which are external facing.

It’s important to recognise that there’s no inherent conflict between starting off a couple of digital projects in parallel with developing a more comprehensive, longer term corporate digital strategy using the classic model of:

  1. “Where are we currently?”
  2. “Where do we want to get to?”
  3. “How are we going to get there?”

In essence, the high level framework analysis described above delivers a short-cut version of the first two steps of classical strategy development in a digital context. The most important thing is just to get moving quickly and start learning, iterating and building confidence and understanding as a leadership team.

Include a diverse range of perspectives in the projects

One of the ironies (and potential pitfalls) of today’s digital world, is that in most large non-technology organisations, typically, it’s the most senior people with the most power that are the least digitally savvy individuals.

For evidence of this, the two reports below from Sensis and EY provide great Australian data.

Sensis Social Media Report May 2015 

Digital Australia: State of the Nation

This experience misalignment is just one reason why there’s great benefit to be gained from including people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives on digital project teams.

Certainly in any business that has B2C or citizen interaction i.e. government, team diversity should be non-negotiable. Diversity should include not only gender, age, seniority and ethnic/social background but also geography, role, disability and even personality orientation if possible eg. stances on risk, optimism, and sociability for instance.

Nor should this necessarily be confined solely to employees. There’s nothing like involving customers, suppliers or business partners to help blow away false assumptions and sacred cows from the outset.

Use a single, common language; plain English

If you have good team diversity as suggested, there’s little option but to ensure all communication is in plain English.

However, even if that’s not the case, it is good practice. Jargon, geek speak and excessive use of three letter acronyms should be minimised if not banned.

In all but the most technical of industries, such terms don’t matter to customers so eliminate them early. If you’re in the C-suite, you can set the tone on this.

Don’t accept anything that’s not expressed clearly in plain English. Challenge anyone who can’t express something in plain English to go away and return when they can. This is one area where any lack of technology understanding can be used shamelessly to your advantage.

Next steps

Whether you intend to go straight to a full blown digital strategy development program, or start with a couple of modest, defined projects, or both in parallel, you may need some help. You may not have the necessary skills internally, or don’t have any spare capacity, or you may just recognise the value an external, independent party can bring through constructive challenge.

One area that can be particularly challenging for companies that are not too experienced in the digital realm is when the time comes to select business partners to help you. Whether you’re considering senior level, independent advice or a hands-on digital agency to build websites, apps, or e-commerce platforms  the third part in this series provides practical advice on how to go about finding and selecting the right digital business partners for your organisation and its culture.

This article was originally published on B&T’s sister site www.which-50.com

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Freeview Recognised At International HbbTV Awards
  • Marketing
  • Media

Freeview Recognised At International HbbTV Awards

Freeview Australia has been awarded Best Marketing or Promotion of an HbbTV Based Service at the inaugural HbbTV Awards, announced last week in Rome. Run by the HbbTV Association, the global awards attracted 71 entries from 17 countries and recognise the best adoption of HbbTV (hybrid broadcast broadband TV), technical excellence and commercial advantage. Freeview […]

D’Marge Partners With Virgin For New Edition Of ‘Shut Up & Take My Money’ Mag
  • Media

D’Marge Partners With Virgin For New Edition Of ‘Shut Up & Take My Money’ Mag

After its debut attempt at print, Aussie publisher D’Marge has rolled the dice again on its first ever print product. Shut Up & Take My Money flagrantly celebrates materialism and the good life, with the new edition seeing the magazine’s editorial team travel to Apple’s futuristic new headquarters in Cupertino, California for the launch of the iPhone […]

New Conference To Reveal Purchasing Power Of Aussie Mums
  • Marketing

New Conference To Reveal Purchasing Power Of Aussie Mums

Australian mums are a powerful, highly educated, cashed-up and discerning group that are using the power of the internet and social media to make – or break – brands. Mums don’t just buy a brand because of its price or availability – they use the power of online reviews, their knowledge about brand’s ethical behaviour […]

How The AFL Won The Social Media Grand Final (But The NRL Scored With Macklemore)
  • Marketing
  • Media

How The AFL Won The Social Media Grand Final (But The NRL Scored With Macklemore)

As AFL’s Richmond Tigers and NRL’s Melbourne Storm bask in the glory of their Premiership victories, another war was waging across social media. Sports social content platform 20FOUR today revealed the winner in the battle of the footy codes, declaring the AFL victorious over the NRL in audience engagement during this year’s grand final. Just over 3.5 million people tuned in to watch the […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Female Industry Leaders To Help Launch Unique Walking Tribe In Melbourne
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Female Industry Leaders To Help Launch Unique Walking Tribe In Melbourne

After successfully launching in Sydney and Brisbane in the past year, Mentor Walks has announced it is expanding to Melbourne with the help of some female industry leaders. How Mentor Walks works is through a small group of senior female executive leaders who agree that, when they are available, will be part of a monthly […]

The Core Agency Wins Key Pharmaceuticals Creative Account
  • Advertising

The Core Agency Wins Key Pharmaceuticals Creative Account

Key Pharmaceuticals has announced it has selected The Core Agency to manage strategy and creative duties for its stable of brands, following a competitive creative pitch. The Sydney independent agency will become the lead agency for all Key Pharmaceuticals brands across Australia and New Zealand, which include Blistex and Hamilton. A spokesperson for Key Pharmaceuticals […]

App Annie Announces New Managing Director For APAC
  • Technology

App Annie Announces New Managing Director For APAC

App market data and analytics company App Annie has announced the appointment of Cindy Deng as its new managing director for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Deng joins App Annie with more than 18 years’ experience in enterprise IT, digital advertising, data analytics, and data management. In her most recent role at Turn, she was responsible […]

New Editor For GQ Australia
  • Media

New Editor For GQ Australia

Unfortunately, it's no more Lowes or Roger David for Michael Christensen after being named fashion organ's top tamale.

QMS Goes West With ‘The Leeder’
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Goes West With ‘The Leeder’

QMS Media continues to expand its digital portfolio across Western Australia, switching on an iconic billboard in the heart of Perth. Following the launch of two new digital billboards in the major WA regional centres of Bunbury and Kalgoorlie in recent months, ‘The Leeder’ further delivers on QMS’ digital expansion strategy out west. Positioned at […]

PR Firm Text100 Wins NetApp Account For APAC
  • Marketing

PR Firm Text100 Wins NetApp Account For APAC

Global marketing communications agency Text100 has announced it been appointed by data management company NetApp to drive its brand transformation effort across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Following local competitive pitches conducted across the region, Text100 has been appointed as the APAC lead agency out of Singapore, and as the local agency of record in Australia, […]

MFA Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

MFA Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

B&T once again donned the tux, applied the Brut, and primed the liver for last night's MFA Awards in Sydney.

Concrete Playground Launches Voice-activated Nightlife Guide With Google Assistant
  • Media
  • Technology

Concrete Playground Launches Voice-activated Nightlife Guide With Google Assistant

Digital publisher Concrete Playground has unveiled a new app that helps Millennials plan their night out using voice control – the first of its kind to become available in Australia. Concrete Playground’s Guide to Tonight now works with Google Assistant, making it available on a range of Google devices and helping people to decide what […]

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins

Independent agency Inlight has announced it has won the digital account for Benetas, a not-for-profit aged care provider in Victoria. Following a competitive pitch process, Inlight was chosen to handle Benetas’ new website design, build and ongoing optimisation. Richard Barker, marketing manager at Benetas, said: “We wanted an agency that could be our true digital […]

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Marketing

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

With almost 30 awards handed out, B&T predicts plenty of numb bottoms at last night's AMI Awards in Melbourne.

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits
  • Advertising

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits

Sure, B&T flashed the news of Andy Pontin quitting this morning. White lies aside, he's actually still got six months.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record
  • Advertising
  • Media

Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record

B&T's journo is reporting live from the annual Adobe Summit in Vegas. Although, "reporting" is somewhat of a stretch.

Opinion

by David Hovenden

David Hovenden
Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses
  • Marketing

Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses

The Australian College of Marketing is collaborating with the Digital Women’s Network to bring new short courses aimed to provide the latest skills across all aspects of the Digital landscape, kicking off in Melbourne and Sydney in 2018. Course content will focus around various topics related to the digital marketing landscape. All courses will run […]

Man working at office desk, looking at computer and scratching head
  • Technology

Where Are Digital & Tech Skills & Salaries Headed?

The rapid pace of technological change in the digital sector is seeing demand for those with the right skill sets outstrip availability, both locally and globally. The individuals who have kept their skills up to date are being well-rewarded financially. Now, Digital + Technology Collective’s expanded annual Skills and Salary Survey will put some numbers and context […]

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams

Disney and ESPN have formed an even closer bond, announcing a new alignment of the two properties through their media sales and partnerships teams. Instead of entering through three doors, Disney ESPN Media Sales & Partnerships will give media buyers and marketers a refined, singular point of entry for Disney, ESPN Digital and Maker. Nik […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends

Sydney-based adtech start-up Muzaara has announced a new strategic partnership with performance marketing platform Commission Factory. Together, Muzaara and Commision Factory are providing SMEs with a secret weapon to skyrocket their online brand visibility and effectively manage and maximise their online advertising campaigns. This partnership will allow both online marketing companies and their impressive roster […]