MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Aligning your Digital Media Strategy

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 25, 2010

Is there any other word other than “align” that says what we mean when we say align or alignment?  We know implicitly that when we use this term, that something is out of sync.  It could be goals, people, things, projects, budgets or tactics.  A colleague of mine, Kristin Kaufman of Alignment Inc., provides leadership coaching techniques to align individuals and teams to an organization's strategic direction.   She takes a 360⁰ view to align internal and external factors.  Working with Kristin validated my thoughts on the importance of alignment when it comes to establishing digital media strategies.   It is crucial that you look at your “current state” and validate that perspective before planning for your “future state” and aligning necessary resources (people or financial).

You’re thinking, well sure, we all know what our goals are, we are in agreement on how to move forward, we have alignment!  But do you?   As you’re thinking about the benefits that digital media can provide to your organization, are your goals in sync with those of the other business units that may be impacted?  Does your digital media plan support your key corporate initiatives?  Have others been considering the use of digital media (i.e., video conferencing, social networking, employee generated video, product training videos). If so, do they already have a plan in place?  Do they understand what they want to accomplish and how to track and measure their success?  Have they assessed vendors?  Have they already invested their budget?   

Digital media solutions can impact several groups within a business.  Here are some thoughts on some of those groups and their role in gaining alignment to a digital media strategy:

Executive Office –Your C-level executives (or at least one of them) must support and champion new initiatives.  Whether it is blogging, video conferencing or internal social networking, without their support digital media projects may never realize their true potential.  The executive suite will not necessarily be involved in the implementation, but they will benefit from the deployment and use of digital media.

IT – This group will likely own responsibility for assessing the functionality, features and performance of specific solutions.  They will want to understand the alignment of these solutions with existing infrastructure from platform, operating system, integration, management, security, support and budget perspectives.

Network (this group may be part of IT in some companies) – this group will want to assess the impact of the solutions on bandwidth and firewalls.  Is the solution internally focused, externally focused or both?  They will want to understand if there will be changes required to the network architecture.

Marketing/Corporate Communications – this group may be the group leading the charge.  They will probably see these solutions as an extension of the solutions they employ already.  This group understands the impact of digital media in the communication cycle.  However, are they aligned in setting priorities for usage?  Can they define at least 3 use cases or business cases for how digital media will be deployed and how it supports corporate goals?

Customer Support – If the goals for digital media include enhancing customer loyalty or retention.  This group has the most insight into the challenges customers are facing.  They are the front line providing resolution to customer questions.  Digital media may provide them with alternatives to address some of the most frequently asked questions.

These are just a few of the internal groups that should be aligned.  Others such as finance, legal, product engineering, R&D should also be involved depending on the focus of the project.    Gaining alignment requires a time investment to review goals, define benefits, review options, assess resources, determine metrics and prioritize tasks. Most importantly, it requires listening and honesty.  By working across impacted groups to gain alignment, teams can move forward with confidence as to plan and implement digital media strategies.

Creating a digital media strategy is important.  Leveraging the plethora of tools that will help your company connect, collaborate and communicate with bring drive incredible tangible and intangible benefit.  Don’t sabotage your best intentions by forgetting to gain alignment.

What’s your perspective?