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Optimize Your Digital Strategy

Elisabeth Bradley

Vice President, Strategy, Forum One

Andrew Jurek

Marketing Demand Generation Specialist, Forum One

Your digital strategy is not something you can just set and forget. A successful long-term digital strategy requires consistent attention and optimization over time.

All the time and thought you put into creating a digital strategy doesn’t ensure its success. Regularly revisiting how your digital efforts are performing will help you make the best of your resources and maximize your strategy’s effectiveness. Below, we discuss three tactics that will help you maintain and optimize your digital strategy.

Develop clear goals and metrics 

Your digital strategy will produce a myriad of metrics, goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and other initiatives that can blur together and conceal your best path forward. Establishing a measurement plan is key in helping make sense of your data and how it tracks back to your institutional goals.

The what and why of a measurement plan

A measurement plan is a document that outlines and establishes clear metrics and goals that track back to your larger institutional objectives and help inform your strategy and implementation decisions. A proper measurement plan will allow you to align processes with goals and help keep all necessary parties accountable for performance while providing a structured approach to improve your outcomes and efficiencies. 

6 key steps to developing a measurement plan

  1. Document and define business objectives: Outline and establish the key institutional objective your organization is looking to achieve.
  2. Identify your measurement goals: Establish the questions you are looking to answer and what you are trying to learn from the data you collect.
  3. Establish KPIs and segments and set benchmarks: Select the digital outcomes and metrics that best help you gauge your success. Set benchmarks by using your organization’s historical data if possible, not by industry averages. Industry data is of limited use since there are many factors that influence digital performance, including staff size, paid media budget, and brand recognition. Using your historical data to set benchmarks will give you a better idea of how your digital strategy is working.
  4. Establish your measurement framework: Determine ahead of time what data sources you will use to get the data, what metrics you are looking at, what your internal benchmarks are going to be, and how frequently you will look at this information. 
  5. Determine reporting and segments: Determine how you will report on and share your data with stakeholders. Often the level of detail that makes sense for departmental leadership is too much information for executive leaders, so you might want to segment out your audiences. 

Quarterly evaluation and reporting

Your digital strategy plan requires consistent attention to ensure that it is successful. You will need to establish quarterly, or more frequent, meetings and reporting standards to determine and answer:

  1. What did we do well?
  2. What needs improvement?
  3. How has the organizational landscape changed?
  4. Plans for further implementation and changes

These meetings should be used to reprioritize what digital strategy work needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

Use an agile approach

Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to implementing and optimizing your digital strategy. You need to take a flexible, agile approach to be able to adapt and overcome any changes in your organization’s landscape and challenges that arise. Start by creating a cross-disciplinary working group and follow these three key steps to executing an agile approach:

  1. Build a prioritized list: Develop a queue that strictly prioritizes the work that needs to be done. Try to avoid having multiple top priorities and instead have discussions with the team to develop a consensus on what needs to be done first.
  2. Make the work visual: Use a Kanban board to show where each piece of work is on its path to completion. A Kanban board is a tool used to visually track tasks at different stages of a process using cards to represent tasks and columns to represent stages. 
  3. Stop starting and start finishing: The goal is to limit work in progress. Set limits on how much work can be in progress at any given time. Using your queue will allow you to accept incoming work without being obligated to start it immediately. Instead, you can add it to the queue and prioritize it against existing work so that you start on it when it becomes a top priority. Doing this will allow your team to focus on finishing work more efficiently by cutting down on wasted time. 

Keeping your digital strategy alive

Making sure your digital strategy survives and thrives over time is not an easy task. By designing an effective measurement plan, setting quarterly meetings for evaluation and reporting, and taking an agile marketing approach you can make sure that it does.

Written By

Elisabeth Bradley

Vice President, Strategy, Forum One

Andrew Jurek

Marketing Demand Generation Specialist, Forum One

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