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Digital Channel Business Plan Overview 23 11 09
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Digital Channel Business Plan Overview 23 11 09
1. Digital Channel Business Plan Overview Graham Honeywill Amberbuzz Consulting Oy 23th November 2009 Version 1.0 Contents Introduction ....................................................................................................................................................2 What is a Digital Channel Business Plan?....................................................................................................2 Why is it needed? ...........................................................................................................................................4 How do you develop and launch such a strategy? ....................................................................................5 Digital Channel Business Plan scoping ........................................................................................................7 About Amberbuzz Consulting Oy..................................................................................................................8 ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 1 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview Introduction So you’re going to start a major web development. Before you start, take a moment to consider what makes the difference between some web experiences and others. Some web sites seem to be well constructed and thought through, whereas others are somehow disjointed and lack critical information. The difference is in the development of a clear plan that integrates that company’s vision and strategy with: • a clear understanding of the needs and objectives of visitors to the web site; • a deep understanding of the technologies and capabilities available; • an effective operating model to integrate the capabilities of the web site into the organisation’s own processes (especially critical for web 2.0 and mobile channel activities); • and finally a clear positioning between the organisation’s web site and existing social media sites such as “Facebook” , Twitter and “Linked-in”. The purpose of this document is to introduce the role of a Digital Channel Business Plan as such a document. On the following pages I will define what I mean by a Digital Channel Business Plan; justify the value in creating such a plan and outline the main steps and activities needed. I will then conclude with an outline of the capabilities and tools needed to support the creation and execution of such a plan. What is a Digital Channel Business Plan? Unlike many strategy documents that are created annually and then shelved until the following year, the Digital Channel Business Plan, if created properly, becomes the blueprint for all subsequent Digital Channel development tasks -including establishing an effective operating model and governance framework, creating business cases for development or marketing activities, creating a scorecard of KPIs and other metrics, building a content strategy for the web site, budget planning, core/context analysis, conducting vendor briefing and management (for example RFI and RFP projects), selection of technical platforms, development of a coherent approach to Social Media sites, search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. It is an actionable document that outlines the future vision for the web and a development roadmap to get there. It includes and integrates the following elements: Current state • Current scope (Internet, intranet, extranets; geographical scope; organisational unit scope; mobile, web 2.0 and social media sites) ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 2 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview • Who visits the current web site, what they try to accomplish, how this integrates with other channels and with the broader web experience • Online team operating model – extended team SWOT analysis – what works, what needs improving • Competitive analysis – what are competitors doing? What competing web site presences are there? • Business strategy and vision within which the Digital Channel will reside • Cross channel capabilities. How the Digital Channels integrate with other customer/visitor-facing channels • Corporate culture and brand essence – how does the business communicate, tone of voice and brand engagement strategies • IT/technical capabilities currently in place • Existing cost structure, including content creation costs, localisation and translation costs Vision Future scope (Internet, intranet, extranets; geographical scope; organisational unit scope; mobile, web 2.0, virtual worlds and social media sites) • Business case – what value will the Digital Channels bring to the business? What brand value, what commerce and support value, what communications value? • Personae and scenarios - who do we want to encourage to visit us? How will they find us? What capabilities and information will be available for them • High level operating model (core team capabilities, extended team capabilities, governance framework, processes and roles, technical capabilities, onsite and offsite) • KPIs – what success looks like to bring the business case to life Roadmap and next steps • Activities and projects by period for next 2/3 years, site developments, content strategy, KPI development including optimisation development • Communications plan (change management plan) • Immediate next steps and quick wins • Budget plan ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 3 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview Why is it needed? Digital Channels represent new and unknown challenges for many businesses. The capabilities and features available are in a state of constant flux and every web vendor or digital agency will have their own preferred approach, design, platform etc. By establishing a Digital Channel Business Plan you are able to steer through this complexity and ensure a clear and consistent focus on the needs of the business coupled with the needs of the visitor. In addition it becomes much simpler to understand and manage scope issues related to the inter- relationship between channels. One good example of this can be seen with development of a discussion forum. In order for this to be done effectively it has impact on the company internet (because you probably need to have external stakeholder comments in order to achieve the needed critical mass),the intranet (because you probably want to use this to engage a dialogue between employees and customers, to create a new type of communications channel between the business and its marketplace)and potentially also on extranets (because you might want to place special emphasis on your dedicated customers and business partners in such a discussion forum). A Digital Channel Business Plan that has already has the commitment and engagement from the internal stakeholder of these channels provides an effective framework to steer through the complex stakeholder issues that emerge from such a complex topic. In more detail, a Digital Channel Business Plan can support other activities such as: 1. Business case development to support the inevitable increase in operating and development costs 2. Ongoing stakeholder commitment to change, especially in cases where the existing capability is seen to be sub-standard 3. Input to subsequent development of the corporate strategy, brand strategy, f2f and sales channel strategies 4. Development of the site information architecture and content strategy based on an agreed set of personae and scenarios • Ensuring the site is “findable” from the internet and other channels where the visitors go now • Engaging visitors when they visit the site – so they stay longer, experience the brand, achieve what they set out to achieve and ideally take the next step – a “call to action” • Encouraging visitors to return to the site, bookmark the site, even make it their home page 5. Channel management activities including KPIs to monitor progress, identify and track quick wins and justify or prioritise further developments ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 4 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview 6. Organisational development. Deployment of an operating model to ensure the processes, capabilities, roles and technologies are in place both within the core team and the broader editorial and technical support teams that will manage topics like content renewal, moderation, call to action processes etc 7. Roadmap and next steps for a systematic plan and to ensure expectation management 8. Technical platform evaluation and selection 9. Testing plans 10. Vendor capability evaluation and selection How do you develop and launch such a strategy? The key to building such a strategy is effective engagement with the primary stakeholders, building on what already exists to create an objective and actionable plan that reflects the ideas and needs of the business. Loosely speaking, the overall process follows the following steps in 4 phases: Current state • Internal operating model review (SWOT analysis, stakeholder surveys, site audit) • Analysis of existing KPIs and web metrics • Survey of web visitors, (who they are, what they expect, what they experience) • Competitor and benchmark analysis (competitor site audits) • Desk evaluation of business scorecard, marketing, communications, IT, brand strategies and plans (Deliverable – current state analysis and baseline) Vision and target state • Vision and digital channel target state (brainstorming workshops) • Business case development • Develop personas and scenarios • Workshop and desk work for development of KPI framework (balanced scorecard) (Deliverable – target state, personas and scenarios, high level business case and KPI framework) Roadmap development and execution planning • Roadmap plan ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 5 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview • KPI targets by period • Digital Channel operating model (core/context analysis) • Enterprise architecture high level requirements • Web vendor selection (platform, design, build, operate, content creation, KPI, translation) (Deliverable – roadmap, immediate next steps, possibly also next project scope) Roadmap execution • Online platform development • Online process development (call to action processes, content development, launch and lifecycle maintenance process, content translation process, requirements handling process) • Content strategy development including search strategy • Information architecture • Brand development online>site design and template creation • KPI development • Test planning and testing (front and back-end) • Site build and launch Each of these steps needs to be carefully planned and can vary from a simple desk exercise of a few days to a project of several weeks, depending on the scope, complexity and current state of material available. Typically, these activities are carried out by the Digital Channel core team with external support as needed. Examples of external support services are: • Competitive analysis • Personae development • Workshop facilitation (preparation, conducting, follow-up) • Project management (ensuring the process flows) • Communications planning (internal stakeholders and site visitors) • KPI and business case development and guidance ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 6 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview Digital Channel Business Plan scoping Is this a strategy for the internet? What about your colleagues and employees – do they get special access rights and does this extend the scope across to the intranet? And then there are stakeholder groups like sales, after-sales care and partner companies... hmmm, extranets too? Getting the scope right is the first key issue in developing a Digital Channel Business Plan. This has become especially challenging and critical now with the advent of corporate network groups on social media sites where employees go to get news, network and discuss thinks, activities that are arguably scope of internal communications but which end up firmly within the scope of an internet strategy. Scoping can be seen in the following dimensions: Target audience scope: • Internet (site wide) • “microsites” • Internet (WWW and social networks) • Intranet • Extranet Browser /device scope: • PC-type browsers • Mobile • Events and exhibition stands Organisation scope: • Geography, country, region • Business entity • Sales and support • Vendors, partners In addition to definition of scope there are some stakeholder groups who will always need representation and input to a Digital Channel Business Plan: • Brand team • IT • Enterprise architecture ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 7 of 8
Digital Channel Business Plan Overview • HR/Values • Marketing and marketing communications Lastly, you need to consider what business, customer, consumer and partner mean within the scope of your organisation. For example, in a B2B business, is there also scope to create consumer awareness – as Intel has done (B2B2C). Conversely, in a B2C environment, such as Nokia, is there also a need to integrate distributors of the handsets (B2C2B). Once scoping has been done it is fairly simple to identify the stakeholders needed for this Digital Channel Business Plan exercise and to scope the necessary test, brainstorming, analysis, research and planning activities to develop the strategy successfully. About Amberbuzz Consulting Oy I am a small, independent consultant, based in Helsinki, Finland. I specialise in Digital Channel Business Plan development and execution activities including the activities described above. I have two primary modes of operations: 1. I will work directly with you and your company to provide independent and objective strategic services, tailored to your specific needs 2. I will work through Digital Media Agencies, either our own or as selected y our clients, to augment the agency skills with the necessary consulting (strategic and facilitation capabilities). For more information please contact me, Graham Honeywill at firstname.lastname@example.org ©Amberbuzz Consulting Page 8 of 8
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