Home > Management, Strategy > Congratulations! You’re in charge!… Now what? (Part 2)

Congratulations! You’re in charge!… Now what? (Part 2)

June 12th, 2010

In part 1, I discussed the initial tasks when taking over the digital strategy for a company. As you start getting the analytics, interview your stakeholders and devise a plan for the quick wins, it’s time to start assessing the overall infrastructure. So, what’s next?

1. Get a list of all domains:
Chances are high that your company owns more domains than your main website’s name. Go to your IT group or your hosting provider to find out which other domains you own. There were probably several campaigns that had URLs purchased and are currently sitting unused or have outdated content. Also find out if you have any micro-sites or vanity redirects (i.e. www.yourcompany.com/campaignName) that are still live and have outdated content. In many instances, you’ll find sites that people have long forgotten about that have old prices, old logos and are still crawled by search engines.

If you don’t already own them, try to purchase as many mis-spellings of your main company name, as well as defensive names (CompanyNameSucks.com).

2. Internal Assessment:
Find out how the sites get updated. Who has to approve the content? Who writes it? Who creates the artwork? How long does it take the change a comma on the live site? To update a graphic? To create a new page? To create a new vanity redirect? Is it all done in-house? Do you rely on external people? Are you beholden to just one or two? The best way to do this is not to ask what the process is, but to live through the process. Make sure you have actually updated all of the above on your website(s) within the first two weeks to truly understand the processes. Chances are, the real processes are slightly different than what you’ve been told they are.

You also need to understand the reliability of your websites. What has the uptime for your site been for the last 12 months? What is the escalation process? When the sites go down, who finds out and how? Is there an automatic notification? Who’s on pager support? Do you get called? Do you have to take action, or is it automatic to get them back up?

3. Budget and ROI
How much money do you have to play with? What are your monthly costs for hosting? For resources? Do you have internal billing for IT help? For Legal sign-off? What is the process for justifying more budget? How will the executive level determine if you are making good use of your budget? What level of sign-off authority do you have? Can you pick your contractors and vendors, or is there a preferred list?

4. What is the importance of Online?
Finally, you need to determine how important the online properties are in the overall strategy. When new products are launched, is the online group part of the planning process? Or are they brought in when the strategy is already determined? Or worse yet, are you just given the collateral and asked to put it online with no input? Do the sites generate revenue (directly or indirectly)? Or are they just seen as a cost centre with no impact? If they are not seen as important, is that because of historical issues? If you show value, is there an appetite to change perceptions.

If the answers to question 4 are not encouraging, then your tenure may be frustrating and short-lived. However, if you sense there is an appetite to make the digital strategy an important facet of company strategy, you’re well on your way to making a significant and measurable impact to your company!

Categories: Management, Strategy
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