Digital Strategies and the Art of Collaboration
By: Rik Walters 02/07/2014
What are the biggest challenges in your marketing organization today? Is it teamwork? How about team management? Communication?
All of these are challenging to be sure, yet each day I hear more about digital teams, their misalignment, and how to handle digital strategy from key contributors in marketing.
At one time, when you said digital, that was considered a room. Now with the birth of the web, digital is a marketing channel just like Television, Radio, and Print – all in one. Thanks to mobile and other web connected devices, digital is a consistent layer of our daily lives.
All media is now digital and marketing teams must now execute digital experiences through collaboration like never before. Most former ‘social media strategists’ have now fully embraced the digital strategist title and work well with other digital teams. However, I still observe a disconnect within enterprise departments around the relationship and management of each key contributor to the overall digital strategy.
In today’s enterprise, digital strategy begins with the marketing team, then partners with external creative, production, PR, web developers, and IT teams to initiate a new project’s strategy with consideration of budget, tactical, and execution planning. As each campaign or strategy scope changes, so too does inter-departmental relationships with marketing, as their roles become intertwined.
More than ever, enterprises must have a high-performance digital team (either internal or through an agency) to manage a holistic strategy with advertising, content, lead generation, community management, social media, including monitoring and analytics.
Start with the Right Talent
Get the right people onboard from the beginning. Build a high-quality team by recruiting those who have digital DNA, a track record of working and playing well with others, excellent communication skills, and transparency in their work ethics.
Fundamental digital strategy leadership is crucial in an organization to promote, coordinate, and manage internal systems for knowledge sharing, learning development, as well as organizational goals and objectives.
Define specific functions and expectations in the developmental plan, with clear guidance and benchmarks for successful execution.
Know why you are collaborating
This may seem obvious, but I still find people and most organizations have very different ideas about, and why they must collaborate. Many think that collaboration is a personal approach, while others think it is just about offering technology to aid communication.
Ask yourself and your team; what are the business behaviors my organization needs to have, in order to achieve the results that we want to achieve? To understand outcomes, set up expectations in advance to tie directly into results. Then you will know the why and how for successful collaboration.
Put the right person in charge
It is important to create a collaborative culture, and to choose a leader with the digital experience to identify collaboration opportunities and bring them to live systematically, by building collaborative practices into the fabric of the organization.
This leader is not an expert in one particular specialization, but understands the fundamental digital strategies involved with each department, and someone who is passionate about working with people, has high credibility among peers and, is sociable.
Enter today’s Digital Strategist.
Today’s Digital Strategist has the broad marketing experience to decide and portion each collaborative element, and then delegates who will be assigned a respective element based on customer expectations.
There is an evident appetite from collaborative partners to unite with marketing colleagues to influence web strategies and digital growth, but marketers I have spoken with are eager to retain ownership of areas such as mobile strategies, e-commerce platforms and marketing automation. The expertise of the Digital Strategy bridges these departments, and colleagues to bring out the best in the team, and a winning customer experience.
A Winning Strategy
The enterprise must be clear about their digital strategy. From the CEO to their executive teams, they must answer some of these key questions:
• How will digital affect our current business model and positioning within our industry’s value chain?
• How can we collaboration in the product development process to build digital and social capabilities allowing us to better listen to our customers and involve our digital teams early and often?
• Can we identify business strategies in areas where value can be created, both inside and outside of our organization?
• What areas of our digital business strategy are vulnerable to disruptions from nascent technologies, and how can we plan for them?
• What strategic capabilities must we plan for to become a leader in our vertical?
Winning collaboration and strategy needs great people to build all of the important creative, tactical, production and planning elements from the beginning of the strategy cycle. Building that team with optimum learning and development, and where there is a rich web of interactions is real collaboration in the age of digital innovation.
Let’s connect to discuss the digital innovation space on Twitter at: @RikWalters