As Ben Franklin said, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” When it comes to effective partnerships between agencies and clients, strategy is the piece that holds everything together. Without this piece of the puzzle, you have a recipe for unhappiness and ineffective solutions.
What is a DAS?
Over the years, our team has developed a proven process to navigate the tough, but necessary questions that help lead us to helpful insights and strong recommendations for future work. We call it a Digital Alignment Strategy Session. So what is a Digital Alignment Strategy Session? This session is a roughly two-hour-long meeting between our team and key stakeholders within your organization.
Typically we like to host this meeting in person, but given the current climate, we conduct these virtually as well. During this meeting, our team starts with an exercise outlining your goals, plans, challenges, and timelines. Following this exercise, our team follows a process to explore your key buyer personas. Finally, a creative exercise is done to better understand your style and taste for future creative work. Below I will break down what each portion entails and what you can expect to get back.
The goals exercise sounds like a simple one, though it goes much deeper than you would think. Working with a digital agency you would think we want to know more about how much website traffic you currently get, and so on and so forth. You’d be partially correct. That information is valuable to us when putting together a recommendation moving forward, and we will certainly ask.
However, at this stage going a step further to discuss the actual goals of the organization at a high level is where we truly uncover the information that makes us dangerous. Does the company want to grow 15% per year for the next 5 years? Does the company need to maintain a certain level of marketing-qualified leads per month? Would you like to change your company’s positioning or public image? These examples of high-level goals help our team direct our digital expertise to where it would be most beneficial. This way we are all on the same page and moving in the same direction.
The planning stage is a crucial element of this exercise. At this stage, our team wants to know what your organization has planned for the future. This helps us prioritize our work. For example, if you are planning on closing physical stores in the next three years, our team will want to put a heavy focus on bolstering your e-commerce capabilities. If you are planning on growing your business, our team can make more accurate recommendations on how you approach your pay-per-click advertising. This approach gets both of our teams aligned for what might be happening next, in order to make our efforts in the digital space reflective and timely for optimal business results.
Challenges are pretty straightforward, but oftentimes your challenges help our team navigate workarounds, or ways to help mitigate risk. This portion of our session helps make our team aware of the parts of your business that we may not know about. You are the subject matter experts when it comes to your business, but our team needs this information to help us and you avoid any unforeseen roadblocks. We may even have a solution for a challenge that you might not be aware of.
The timeline discussion is very similar to the plans section, however, we’ve seen cases that differ. A great example that comes to mind is a client who came to us in the digital alignment strategy session and let us know that their current website CMS would be reaching the end of life in 3 months. This was very important because our team then understood that the majority of our work in the first few months would be focused on developing a replacement website. Understanding your business timelines helps our team direct resources where needed, and contributes to an effective relationship.
When it comes to working seamlessly with an agency, having them understand your target audience carries a lot of importance. When working with a digital agency that is developing content, this importance is magnified. This exercise helps our team dig into the psychographic, geographic, and demographic information that helps us paint a better picture of who you're trying to reach or communicate too.
Once we uncover this information with your team, our agency takes it a step further by doing research about these personas on our own. We look at where these individuals spend their time digitally, their communication preferences, and many other facets that help us tip the scale in your favor. Lastly, a few weeks later our team will provide a detailed report of your buyer personas and their key attributes.
Brand Style and Voice
One of the last topics covered in our meeting is dedicated to creative style. We may cover this last, but it definitely doesn’t lack importance. As your digital agency, our team will be creating numerous items for you. We want to make sure these all reflect your brand from a creative standpoint, but also from a writing style. In this exercise, we cover your preferred brand voice that we will use in blogs or social media, along with your creative style preferences and brand standards.
If you are working on a website with our team, we like to discuss what websites and elements you like, and ones you aren’t wild about. This helps us create work that aligns with your organization's preferences, and content that resonates with your key buyer personas. A few weeks after our meeting, our team will provide a creative map that covers our discussion and gives you the opportunity to make sure we are aligned.
Make Vendilli Part of Your Plan
Our Digital Alignment Strategy Session has provided numerous companies with roadmaps to leveling up their digital marketing efforts. At Vendilli we believe that working together from the beginning provides you and us with the best chance for success. If you would like to learn more about our strategic planning process, or if it sounds like your digital marketing could benefit, we would love to hear from you.