Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest blogging on a new site - why do it?

My guest blog post for SEMRush.com went live today.
How to Get 6800% ROI from a Single E-commerce Marketing Campaign

It is already getting quite a few mentions on Twitter and the post has had one positive comment so far.  This is my first post for this site and it will be interesting to see if this builds followers or traffic to my site.

One question I have mostly asked myself recently is why I decided to write this post for SEMRush rather than: my own blog (this one), my column on The Drum or even as a direct post on Linkedin (which I have yet to do yet, but for some reason I am apprehensive about doing).

In short.. I wanted to try something different and in a slightly vain way I wanted to be read by a different audience.

Let's see if this actually happens

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Using a Press Release to get the message across

Yes, I have used a good old fashioned Press Release to announce that we had recently won some work:

I'm still trying to find out the entire value generated by spending this $89 - but already the story has been picked up by different online news sources, including:



and a bunch of other sites

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are you really a digital strategist?

It's quite funny to me to see the term 'Digital Strategy' appear in job descriptions for roles across the online world, including those I now help clients fill.
Note: it's even funnier to see what some candidates actually think constitutes the creation and delivery of a Digital Strategy and in-turn make them a Digital Strategist.

I therefore thought it would be useful to highlight those activities and approaches that I believe a digital strategist might use in their role.
(Of course, it would be easy to start listing out all the things they are not, but then that list might turn out to be quite long.)

So here's my list:
  • Think strategic
    Always keep the vision of what digital technologies, processes and marketing can do for your organisation and how this change applies to the company aims and objectives. This means that you have to understand the end game, but also how you are going to close the gap between that and whatever you have now.
  • Align the digital strategy to the business strategy
    No strategy exists in a vacuum and yours can add the most value when it aligned with the other competing needs of the business.
  • Champion the digital strategy
    The best person in your organisation to be the digital champion is you (and your team, if you have one). Your managerial peers will need a central senior person they can consult with who 'gets this digital stuff' and can help them. This doesn't mean you suddenly need to exhibit youthful enthusiasm or a stoic 'all knowing' air - you just have to be approachable and communicative to all level. It also means you are the senior stakeholder who works with the different business units to help them contribute to the digital strategy.
  • Own the digital roadmap
    Having the vision and strategy is one thing, having a plan of how this will be achieved (including the key milestones, dependencies and other influencing initiatives across your organisation) is something else. The creation and management of this plan is a key artefact in the communication of how your end game is going to be delivered.
  • Grow internal digital capabilities
    You are not going to achieve your goals by yourself and you therefore need to build the required expertise within your company to take digital forward. Growing individuals and digital teams doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone, but you can also help across different functions by outlining what skills and experience are needed in both the short and longer term

Monday, January 26, 2015

Probably the best placed online advert

Back in 2010, there was a viral video going around from on-board a cruise ship during a bad storm. The clip gave various shots, including a passenger area, where people are flung about.

However, it wasn't the online video that gave me to biggest laugh, but the advert posted alongside it. Advertising the services of EuroTunnel, which runs under the English Channel and avoids the stormy waters above it.

If this was done on purpose... it was brilliant placement.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Align your Digital Strategy and Business Architecture

Your Digital Strategy should be a vision and roadmap of how customer-facing online content, functionality and technology initiatives will be implemented and managed across your organisation.
But so far there is no common framework for describing the creation and delivery of a digital strategy. 
Note: I'm not too sure why this is, the discipline of digital is now pretty mature. Perhaps it is because online covers such a wide range of subjects from tactical digital marketing techniques through to programmes that transform businesses and create significant customer channel shift. 

Business Architecture is a description of an organisation's structure, usually in terms of governance, services and information.  The Business Architecture Guild (somewhat nebulously) describes it as "a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands". The discipline is full of strange terms such as TOGAF, OMG & Zachman and there are a number of approaches used to describe an enterprise / business architecture. Each of them trying to align the technical architecture and practices with the larger organisational strategy. 

However... what is clear to me is that very few organisations align their digital strategy with their business architecture. Which means that the two are possibly working in silo'd isolation or at the very least not joined up in thinking, delivery and (more worryingly) in their representation back to the rest of the business.

Hasn't the time now come to correctly align the two?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Building a high performance digital team

I've been in this digital game a long time (in dog years, I should have been put out of my misery by now). I've therefore been part of and have personally built-up teams of digital specialists on both the agency/consulting side and as part of client organisations. From a crack development unit that managed to construct a financial services website from scratch in just a few weeks, through to a digital marketing department (starting with just one member) that managed a multi-mullion pound acquisition budget… I've hired, fired, seconded, acquired, procured and borrowed people from all manner of disciplines. And yes, building some wonderful and useful online stuff in the process.

I've therefore listed out the factors that I think are needed in the creation and development of a high performing digital team (plus to help me, I have also asked the team at one of my current clients to add their suggestions too).

A ‘can do’ attitude:
“I've done so much with so little for so long, I think I can do anything with bugger all!” was once the line mentioned to me by one team member over a decade ago. This partly sums up the sort of ‘can do’ attitude that can make all the difference in a smaller team. It is often not the tools, the processes or the technology that makes the difference, it is the mental approach of the individuals.

Yes sure, the phase “work smarter not harder” is often used in management circles, however sometimes you just need a team to bear down on an issue and work at it for a while. This can be especially true when the work in question is a little more mundane or repetitive (e.g. when proof reading content or carrying out user acceptance testing – thanks JM!)

I know this kinda goes without saying, but I did want to mention it. Working with a bunch of smart people who not only know their onions, but also can develop their skills and experience on the project (without affecting it) is usually a pleasure.  

So what do you think? Have I missed anything?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Customer Journey Catherine Wheel

In an earlier post I explained how the Customer Journey for an organisation should not be a linear progression, but a cycle. To illustrate this I used a simple piece of ready-made clip art from PowerPoint and quickly inserted this into my content.

However, given a bit more time, I have now pulled together a better diagram to illustrate what I mean.

In this diagram I have used the same 5 segments to show the cyclical path a user takes (Awareness, Interest/Desire, Action, Experience and Advocacy). But I have also added an inner section that represents the running of Internal Process and an outer ring that represents the tasks that customers perform.

I've used various and more specific versions of this diagram in previous consulting work for clients, but I think this diagram represents a more generic approach which can be adapted as the need arise.
The only real problem I now have is… what do I call it?

For the time being, I think I'm going to use the term Customer Journey Catherine Wheel. A diagrammatic version of the popular firework that hopefully explains the round and spinning nature of both this model and the physical namesake.

What do you think? Is it a silly name? Can you come up with a better one?