Chances are, you’ve got a story you could tell about a time you launched into a project without a solid strategy. Whether it’s technology, product development, or customer acquisition, good strategy is at the heart of good business.

Without a solid strategy, you will spend a lot of time and money chasing tactics.  When you get to where you’re going, you’ll realize you’re in the same place, just more tired. That’s why we start with strategy when we start working with new clients.  We want to be sure the solutions we pursue together fit your desired outcomes.  As you think about clarifying your own business strategy, there are three things you consider.  Here are three things good strategy needs.

#1 – Strategy Needs a Clear Audience

A documented digital strategy should focus on a goal and outline specific plans, but one of the most important parts of a strategy is clarifying the audience.

In other words…who is all of this for?  When you ask many non-profit leaders who they are trying to reach, many say “everyone.”  This is an admirable but not-at-all-helpful answer.  

As you build your digital strategy, you have to get really clear about who you are trying to reach.  This strategy should include constraints, reminding you what’s off-limits or out of scope for now.

#2 – Strategy Need Specificity

Imagine a professional football team saying their strategy is to “win.”  Or a church saying their strategy is “reach people.”  Or a not-profit saying their strategy is to “change the world.”

These concepts are too vague to be helpful.

Too many organizations deploy gibberish masquerading as strategic concepts.

Today, everyone loves to use the word “engagement.”  Like the word “relevance” from a decade ago, this word is now virtually useless.

For a strategy to be effective, it must be specific.  You must talk through what winning looks like and have specific, concrete plans.

#3 – Strategy Needs Simplicity

If you search for “strategic plan” you’ll find two things.  

There are a lot of basic articles on why strategy matters and how you should have a purpose and some measurables.  Blah, blah, blah.  You know all of this. You’ll also find a lot of examples, probably created with the help of an expensive consultant over multiple meetings and using a lot of words.  

Nobody is going to follow a complicated strategy, so don’t bother creating one. Is the strategy you’re creating, clarifying, and communicating simple enough for everyone to understand?  

If not, you’ve got work to do.

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