Do you have a digital plan for 2012? Last week we sat in on a webinar hosted by digital strategist Dave Wieneke and organized by ISITE Design, which aimed to outline ways to successfully drive digital business strategy in 2012.

Why Do You Need a Plan, Anyway?

Technology and media moves so fast these days that by the time you devise a plan, it’s no longer relevant, right? Not exactly. To be most effective, it’s essential that your plan (and your company), whether it be for business or digital media, be flexible to survive the ebb and flow of emerging trends and tools. But creating fluidity doesn’t just happen. It’s cultural, organizational and infrastructural.

In the webinar, Insight to Action -- Five Moves for Digital Success in 2012, Wieneke chronicles digital planning beginning in IT. Each company has its own technological architecture, which dictates security, access and network capabilities. From there, marketing integrates a host of email, web and mobile applications designed to facilitate lead generation and manage community content and relations.

It used to be that IT and marketing would agree to disagree and ignore the requirements set out by the other. Now, however, a company’s digital strategy doesn’t just live with IT and marketing. It belongs to everyone, from customer relations, research and development to legal and human resources. Yet, how many of us are actually taking a holistic approach to outlining our digital strategies?

A Holistic Digital Plan

How many of your employees would know how to navigate their way through the business plan? It needn’t be so hard. With Wieneke’s visual business map, organizations can create, deliver and capture value so that department goals are aligned to meet both business and customer experience outcomes.

According to Wieneke's visual business map, organizations can create, deliver, and capture value
According to Wieneke's visual business map, organizations can create, deliver, and capture value

Of course, this all sounds delightful, but how do you actually get it done? Knowing the forces that can affect business change is a good place to start. Numbers usually help, especially if within your visual business map, you can help others see the big picture -- namely, what things cost, how much they save and what kind of revenues they generate.

Providing numbers can help drive business change
Providing numbers can help drive business change

The customer experience can also drive change. Companies that provide incentives, advantages and above all value for their customers will stand out. But to be valuable, you must meet your customers’ needs and provide solutions. Creating a valuable experience requires not just meaningful conversations with your consumers, but also with your company. To do so, Wieneke suggests weaving customer personas into your digital plan. But don’t just talk about it, show it visually. (In his presentation, he highlights the use of sketchboards).

Simplify & Be Human

Regardless of how you choose to incorporate your company in mapping out a digital plan, the best strategy is to keep it real. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! Your messages for both company and consumer should be tangible, approachable, personal and memorable to be most effective. Most important, it’s about people. Your staff should feel as connected to the company brand as your consumers, which means sharing annual plans, recognizing team members for their monthly accomplishments and accountabilities, and developing metrics and goals together.

By learning how to turn insight into action, creating digital strategies don’t have to be daunting – they need only to be purposeful and well communicated.