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The Digital Strategy Workshop

A look at a recent conference on leading a digital strategy workshop

I had the honor of leading a talk in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on how to drive creativity though digital strategy. Invited by Dreamplex, we worked with a small group of digital experts to help them achieve creativity with their own projects.

A well defined digital strategy requires the collaboration of all stakeholders of the company and agency. Though you may feel inclined to bring in potential customers to also feed the debate, I believe you should wait till you have a first prototype before seeking user feedback. Best results are achieved when users use your platform in a realistic context. Bringing them into a room too early and you may end up wasting more time than necessary.

In a workshop it is expected that companies have a grasp of their business needs and objectives. The agency role is to recommend solutions based on their experience, but aligned with the organisation’s stakes. The ultimate goal is to provide excellent digital service to the final customer, but it first must go through the process of understanding the complete eco-system.

Understanding the customer / company relationship

It’s not just about identifying your objectives, values, strengths, which are indispensable for a business plan. It’s about all those criteria, but in relation to the customer need. For example, when deciding to invest in a digital project, we direct our thoughts to certain KPI, such as generating more leads, or improving visibility. But KPIs only tell half the story, especially when you know that users do not think in accordance to your KPI. They have their own KPI, such as save time, save money, improve my quality of life.

Having a digital project is about the relationship between the organisation and the customer. Therefore, objectives, values, and strengths should be identified as they relate to the customer. Using Dreamplex as an example we could together identify the following criteria:

– offer easy access to contact us
– showcase our co-working offices dedicated to entrepreneurs
– we value inspiration and sharing
– we have a hard-working team, and good life-work balance too

We also look at proximity and define a unique value proposition to focus on the offer that needs to be clearly presented and to whom.

This leads us to the market segments with whom the organisation wants to attract. But some segments, like in a business plan, are more lucrative than others. Doing a growth-share matrix chart to identify your stars, cash cows, questions, and dogs, gives you a better vision with how you will want to position your brand and offer. During the workshop, this is a great time to use the whiteboard and get consensus on where the different segments lie. As we will see later, ultimately this will dictate the type of content you will want to produce.

Based on your unique offer, and your strengths, the goal is to identify those characteristics that define the stars and cash cows, as opposed to the questions and dogs. You can begin to see where certain content types will have greater impact.

A final segment growth-share matrix looks a little like this:

Market segments
A digital strategy workshop

Content Optimization

This is all about the user, your customer and target. What we want to achieve is efficiency in attracting the user and guiding them to their goal. Rightly so, personas are very useful to study. But personas themselves are under debate. How much behaviour analysis to the personas is necessary? While there may not be one right method, there is an optimum method to each context. It really depends on the size of the project ad how it helps understand the user journey.

So much is involved at this stage of the workshop, that much of it is theory for the company. There are ways to help them participate through SEO strategy reflexion as it pertains to the user journey. As the facilitator of the workshop, my ultimate responsibility is to help the company hone their vision within a digital context. In other words, what we as experts understand with user experience has to give meaning for the company in regards to structure and content.

The customer vision for the company, therefore, is driven through the content. All the work done to understand the relationship in the first part of the workshop is now put in relationship with the customer journey. For the personas, the think-feel-do method is quite simple in its approach and does allow you to have empathy with users and their needs and fears. Analytics, of course, of your current project can give you valuable feedback on what customers are seeking. SEO trends and patterns will give you insight on the vocabulary that needs to be integrated within your main content.

The workshop culminates by defining how and when on the customer journey map the user and your organisation meet. The user journey is about how your prospect goes through time, and when the need arises, can be attracted to your digital project and become a customer. The goal is for the customer to land on your site or app at a certain time, and achieve the desired results. This means your organization’s content, and the structure, is built to respond at one or more specific points in time on that journey.

At Dreamplex, they have a web project (this was a simulated event). We were able to position the stars and cash cows in relation to the user journey using the segments previously identified. Knowing this, we can then begin to see where and how we should structure the site so that content is optimized for the user.

Creativity driven by digital strategy

The end result is more than a core message and a site map. It is clear guide to creating content and beginning the user interface phase of the project. Every type of content can be dissected and structured so that the user experience is positive and drives the KPI of the relationship. Users are happy because they feel they are heard. Companies are happy because they have an image that is positive and guidelines to sustain the project over the long term. Initial KPI are a part of a bigger complex set of experiences and this strategy is one of those experiences.

See the full slideshow on slideshare.