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How do I create, organize, and write a digital strategy?

Nearly every time, good execution outperforms good ideas. For the most effective execution, it’s essential to have a strong underlying strategy. Try organizing an offsite multi-day retreat with a facilitator.

Ideally your facilitator is someone who understands business and digital strategy. Rather than doing the work for you, the facilitator should be able to guide you through roadblocks and personality conflicts to maximize the creativity and output of your team.

A digital strategy can include either only digital marketing strategy or a broader digital strategy that touches all aspects of the business/organization.

The first step is to clearly list your objective -- if possible its best to use the "S.M.A.R.T." format. If your strategy is successful, what does that goal look like in a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based description?

Once you have clearly defined the goals of the strategy, define an executive summary of the strategy. The executive summary will be something that anyone in the organization can clearly understand and refer to as they make decisions in the day-to-day scope of their actions.

Next, break out the elements of the strategy. If it’s simply a marketing strategy, then define the channels: PPC, organic, display, retargeting, etc. If it’s a broader organizational strategy, define the strategy in terms of functional area: marketing, finance, IT, etc. If appropriate, continue to break down by the next logical unit.

Anyone who is a manager within your organization should be able to read the executive summary and the piece they own, from there defining a plan of action. Once you have the specific plans of actions at the granular level, you can incorporate them (and the resulting timelines) so that when you are finished everything that needs to be done is included in one master document. It is ideal to have timelines and milestones so you can hold everyone in your organization accountable.

Nearly every time, good execution outperforms good ideas. For the most effective execution, it’s essential to have a strong underlying strategy. Try organizing an offsite multi-day retreat with a facilitator.

Ideally your facilitator is someone who understands business and digital strategy. Rather than doing the work for you, the facilitator should be able to guide you through roadblocks and personality conflicts to maximize the creativity and output of your team.

A digital strategy can include either only digital marketing strategy or a broader digital strategy that touches all aspects of the business/organization.

The first step is to clearly list your objective -- if possible its best to use the "S.M.A.R.T." format. If your strategy is successful, what does that goal look like in a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based description?

Once you have clearly defined the goals of the strategy, define an executive summary of the strategy. The executive summary will be something that anyone in the organization can clearly understand and refer to as they make decisions in the day-to-day scope of their actions.

Next, break out the elements of the strategy. If it’s simply a marketing strategy, then define the channels: PPC, organic, display, retargeting, etc. If it’s a broader organizational strategy, define the strategy in terms of functional area: marketing, finance, IT, etc. If appropriate, continue to break down by the next logical unit.

Anyone who is a manager within your organization should be able to read the executive summary and the piece they own, from there defining a plan of action. Once you have the specific plans of actions at the granular level, you can incorporate them (and the resulting timelines) so that when you are finished everything that needs to be done is included in one master document. It is ideal to have timelines and milestones so you can hold everyone in your organization accountable.

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Questions & Answers

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The first step to improving your digital strategy is understanding what’s not working with your current digital strategy. Are you not hitting your new customer acquisition goals? Revenue by customer?
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How do I avoid digital strategy pitfalls?
Like any strategy, there are more ways to find pitfalls than success. The first step in planning is to clearly articulate the overall strategy in a way that is easy to understand at all levels of the organization.
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