5 Reasons Why Your Digital Strategy is Failing

By David Sauter, CEO

Published: December 20, 2013

You think if you build it, they will come. If this sounds familiar, you’re in for a rude awakening as your digital strategy continues to fail, consistently yielding less than acceptable results.

The interactive strategist experienced enough to know this isn’t how the internet works, will always tell you “if you build it, then promote the hell out of it, even manufacture traffic to seed it, then people might come.”

Tablet with Graph Digital Strategy

On top of lacking a cohesive promotion plan, here are 5 reasons why your digital strategy is failing. If any of these sound even vaguely familiar, get help.

1. You have unrealistic expectations. Any doctor understands the importance of diagnosing BEFORE prescribing treatment. Any digital strategy must be predicated on accomplishing one or more key growth objectives.  Clearly lay out and vet your core objectives prior to solidifying any digital strategy.

2. There’s inadequate budget. As consumers we are the happiest when we clearly understand the differences between our needs and our wants. I need a car, I want an Audi. If I move through this analysis and have clear vision as to what my budget can support prior to making a purchase I will likely be much more satisfied with my decision. Any digital strategy needs to identify needs vs. wants and ensure there is adequate funding to move forward.  Meet all needs first then add the wants as budget allows.

3. You’re forgetting about the people.  Many good strategies fail due to lack of resources and buy-in by stakeholders.  Growth requires change and people hate change – especially if they do not understand why the change is important.  A digital strategy must tie into the overall company vision and both must be shared with everyone. People are more apt to adapt to change if they see the big picture.

4. You’re not developing a strategic process. Many digital strategies fail because a company first purchases technology and then tries to make it fit. Bad idea. In order to successfully deploy any strategy, first clarify and document the process. This is heavy lifting and includes workflow and business rules. Often processes evolve over time and are never well documented. It is not until your team is well into the implementation phase that they realize many processes were overlooked or ignored. Failure to consider process will typically result in unexpected spending and elongated timelines.

5. You’re focusing on technology first. It’s not about the technology! Too many times we get enamored with a piece of technology and convince ourselves that it is the key to solving all of our current problems. Technology is not the answer – but it is an enabler. Sound technology is essential to business success but not until thorough diagnosis has occurred, the strategy includes consideration of needs vs. wants and has also considered the people and process components. If all these vectors play into the final decision with regard to a technology purchase then the strategy is likely to succeed.

Think about the digital initiatives you’ve been a part of in the past that failed. Now think about why they failed. There’s a good chance they failed because the idea wasn’t initially seeded, planned, bought into, or promoted well enough to provide an initial lift. Sure, there are other reasons, but “launch and hope” without a sound strategy in place considering all the points above is an unfortunate habit of many big brands today.