What is Digital Strategy?

In thinking through the case study for the EXL’s Digital Medical Device West conference I decided pretty early on that I wanted to use the new Drupal website we had developed.

I also knew that wasn’t enough. There had to be more to the story than how we built a new website and why. The answer came to me as I found myself continually surprised by how many people didn’t understand the difference between having a strategy and using tactics. I’d had several personal experiences and saw a fair number of posts on the topic, so I was pretty sure this was not an isolated issue.

This led me to focus my presentation on How to Introduce a Digital Strategy through a New Website.

I’m starting the presentation with a Lombardi like “this is how I define digital strategy.”

For me, digital strategy is an approach to utilizing digital technologies in order to meet corporate goals in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Digital strategy is different than online marketing. Online marketing is a sub-set of digital including website, email, banner advertising and all other web related activities.

Without an approach, you have chaos – replication of work, conflicting platforms, increased costs, the list goes on.

Plus, a digital strategy allows you to be efficient and agile, while growing and expanding in a logical and well-reasoned manner.

Our over-arching digital strategy is composed of our vision, goals, and principles. This gives us direction. We then have an implementation plan that includes strategies and tactics.

Internally we have traditionally worked in silos by sales group. As a result, we duplicated work and did not have the same assets available to each group. We also didn’t categorize and organize consistently.

These pain points led to our principles and the website process was an excellent exercise in teaching them.

  • Universal application: Build solutions that will work for multiple product teams, specialties, and sales groups
  • Utilize consistent taxonomies and categorizations across all businesses: need to be able to find and use the data and content you have
  • Self-reliant & autonomous: To respond quickly, we need to remove layers, marketing has to be more hands on and less reliant on ITS
  • Develop agile and scalable solutions: Change is our constant and the better we organize our data, the more we will capture, so we have to be agile and scalable
  • Report on Everything: Need to be able to report results, gain insights, and make data-driven decisions
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