Defining Strategy: an Interactive Road map
Organizations can realize meaningful competitive advantage by developing formal digital strategies that support key business and marketing objectives. By proactively designing, measuring and optimizing these digital strategies and programs, maximum return on dollars invested can be achieved.
Organizational investments on Internet-oriented marketing and sales initiatives over the past 15 years have increased from virtually nothing in the mid-90s to millions of dollars annually. Today, digital activities run the gamut from multi-functional websites, search and email marketing, banner advertising, web-enabled multimedia, and, of course, social media.
This seismic increase in spending is not without good reason: digital marketing works – for new customer acquisition, lead generation, and brand building. However, given the speed at which the interactive marketplace has evolved, it should come as no surprise that many organizations now find themselves with sprawling, disjointed digital marketing operations that lack a central vision and useful measurement systems. ~ Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist, AmiTec Consulting.
As a result, organizational leaders find themselves struggling to devise, measure, monitor and optimize the performance of these scatter shot interactive programs – which now have the full attention of the entire team. And subsequent digital strategy and budget planning discussions are often overly reactive and disorderly, lacking a structured framework and methodology to guide the process.
The Building Blocks of Digital Strategy
While the digital medium provides leaders wit h a dizzying array of exciting new tools and techniques, it hasn’t fundamentally changed the way most organizations do business. As such, digital strategies need to be considered within the context of an organization’s top-line objectives.
Discovery. Establish a sound understanding of the organization’s underlying strategies and personality, including: unique value proposition, industry nuances, target audiences, sources of competitive advantage
Competitive Analysis. Evaluate the organization’s digital operations vis-à-vis the competitive landscape. Specify competitor strategies and spending levels. Identify relevant secondary research and conduct primary research. Determine industry best practices and applicable best-in-class tactics being employed in other sectors.
Recommendations. Deliver specific concepts that can be employed to support organizational objectives and which can be measured. These can include: innovative techniques for deployment, and integration opportunities, budget re-allocation, and organizational adjustments. Establish measurement frameworks, and digital goals and objectives.
Each phase of this methodology, while interdependent with the others, can be pursued in parallel in order to streamline the process and be completed quickly. Core tenets of this approach are a 360° perspective of the issues, the combination of quantitative and qualitative inputs, and specific recommendations that can be measured and optimized over time.
AmiTec Consulting Group works with clients to pursue digital transformation initiatives that result in new revenues, competitive advantage, and more efficient operations. Please contact Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist at AmiTec Digital. Connie@amitecdigital.com or at 352.281.2681.
Net Gain for Obama
President’s Online Supporters Pivotal to Pushing his Agenda
President Barack Obama’s top asset in promoting his agenda is not his Cabinet secretaries or aides, but rather his online network.
Obama’s political email list tops 13 million names, a digital force that the White House can tap to push for his legislation, tamp down critics or bolster popular support. It is also a way for Obama to reach into every state, every city and every neighborhood.
A study released last month found that a quarter of Obama voters said they would continue to work online to support the new administration. The nonpartisan Pew Internet and American Life Project also found 62 percent of Obama’s voters said they would ask others o support Obama’s policies.
Welcome to the Democrats’ new permanent campaign, one planned online and executed on Main Street.
“INTERNET: Legions of supporters can be rallied at the click of a mouse”
With a well thought out mobilization strategy in place, the White House will marshal hundreds of thousands of phone calls within hours if it looks as if the president were losing a policy battle. With the click of a keyboard, Obama’s aides could ask supporters to flood the phone lines of Congress, making it untenable to ignore the clamor.
Obama’s unmatched database gives his administration a clear advantage over its Republican rivals, who have seen decades of data mining overcome in a matter of months.
During past election cycles, campaign Web sites were little more than digital versions of their campaign pamphlets. During the last few elections, campaign strategists have turned to the Internet as a way to reach more voters, typically, the uninvolved or youth, and their donations. Now, Obama’s team is turning that strategy into governance.
Howard Dean’s primary campaign in 2004 brought together massive first time online support and donors, but that did not translate to real world votes. Similarly, John Edwards tried to mobilize his supporters in the name of national services ahead of his second presidential campaign; those single-issue voters wee not thee, however, when Activist Edwards became Candidate Edwards.
Obama, though, he has been the most successful so far. Obama’s online supporters raised over $500 million for him, created 2 million online profiles at MyBarackObama.com used his database to make phone calls during the campaign’s final days.
According to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, 59 percent of all voters took part in the campaign online, whether it was sending e0mail, reading political blogs or researching candidates. Obama clearly had the advantage.
The Pew survey asked 2,254 adults about their internet usage and politics from Nov.20 to Dec 4. The margin of error in the overall sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Among the 1,591 Internet users, the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
It has been a careful dance between Obama and his supporters. His aides have avoided bulk email and have tailored each message to its intended audience. For instance, Latinos and Hispanics who supported Obama received an email announcing Linda Sanchez would be co chair of Obama’s inauguration committee.
It is the only way to break though bulk emails that load voters inboxes, consultants say.
“I think we have seen them think critically about every single email that they send”, said Connie Amidei, an Internet Strategy Consultant who worked with Obama’s online campaign.
For decades, politicians have sought ways to harness public sentiment to outflank troublesome opponents, news organizations and rival interest groups. Obama’s network is a powerful weapon. Progressive organizations have joined the constituency management effort. MoveOn.org sent an email to some of its 4.2 million supporters asking them to get involved.
Obama’s strategy could send phone lines crashing within minutes of a declared protest. Similarly, the instant communication of the Internet and cellular phone text messages could end it just by typing one word: “Stop.”
That power gives Obama’s online advisers, the netroots a potentially bigger role than many of his cabinet picks and major hires in pushing through his agenda.
Since the election, millions of Obama voters have visited his transition Web site http://www.change.gov to discuss ways in which they can support strategies for change according to Pew. The day after the inauguration, Obama’s transitional site disappeared and replaced by launching his interactive presidential presence http://www.whitehouse.gov where his campaign for change continues to engage millions of new users daily.