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5 principles of web strategy implementation

31 August 2020James Scott-Flanagan

Welcome back to the third and final edition of our web strategy series.

This is the one where you execute on your strategy and put it to the test. But before you continue, do you agree with the following 2 statements?

I have a clear overall strategic vision for my website which is broken down into achievable objectives. I also understand how I will track progress.

If the answer to this one is ‘no’, check out this foundational article first.

I understand how to use my web building blocks (content & data) in order to bring my strategy to life on my site.

If no, check out this article first.

If you are still reading, congratulations! You must be confident that you have already made good progress in your strategic journey. Now for the ‘easy’ bit… creating your site. ‘Easy’ may be an overstatement but, by following our 5 principles of web strategy implementation you’ll find it as easy as it can possibly be:

Principle #1: Align your team & ways of working

Great! You have a new strategy and the latest technology, but do you have a team that is up to the task?

Does your team have the right skillsets?

Your team skillsets will need to align to your strategy. For example, if your strategy is commercially driven and relies heavily on ‘converting’ customers to purchase, you will need an e-commerce expert. Lack of the right skills may lead to the eventual failure of your strategy as your team may not be able to achieve those e-commerce goals past initial implementation.

However, panic not! This does not mean your strategy is doomed to fail. You can either leverage your partners or other teams within the business to temporarily fill the capability gap; you could train up a team member who is keen to learn in this area; or you could hire externally. Although these options will incur a cost (some more than others), you should think of this as an investment and remember the long-term strategic benefits.

Are your team working together in the right way?

You now need to consider if the people in your team, looking after different aspects of your site, are successfully collaborating and working together through the same streamlined processes. Usually when our clients implement new strategies, there is also a need to rethink how they ‘do’ things. This is because their processes are engineered around their old strategic goals. This may be a good opportunity to tweak some processes or even rollout a completely new operating model that better aligns with your strategy. We find that in order for a strategy to succeed, the organisation often needs to evolve with it.

Learn more about how to transform your operating model here.

Principle #2: Ensure your team has the right tools at their disposal

Whilst ensuring you have the right skillsets and processes at your disposal, it is also crucial to consider the tools that the team is working with.

With so many new, shiny tools on the market, catering to so many different needs, it’s hard to identify which will best suit your needs (there is no one size fits all). We challenge you to think about the way your team works and choose the tools that will best compliment their way of working and mindset. Granted some tools may be very specialised so you may not have much choice but, think outside the box, how can you get your team to work together in the best possible way.

Top tip: A tool doesn’t need to be a technology; a tool could be a playbook or a centrally created ‘knowledge library’ that will enable your team. Once again, it doesn’t need to be expensive - be creative!

Principle #3: Leverage your partners

You are not alone! You will have various partners who can help you achieve your ambitions. Traditionally we may think of partners as creative or production based agencies (if you have agency support, fantastic!). However, you probably also have internal partners, such as central digital teams or other brands who are at different stages along their web strategy implementation.

Seek advice and help from your partners, whether it’s an agency temporarily augmenting your team, or it means working more closely with a similar brand in your organisation. You may even want to involve your partners in earlier stages of your strategic journey (e.g. defining your vision), as more often than not they may be able to see the problem from different perspectives which, when combined with your brand expertise, can lead to some very interesting blue-sky thinking.

Having great partners and knowing how to get the best from them is a real winner when it comes to executing on your strategy.

Principle #4: Have a plan

As technology has advanced so has the mode of delivery. We have seen the popularisation of ‘agile’, with teams working iteratively rather than towards one big waterfall event. Our advice? Don’t try to do everything at once.

Think about phasing. What can you do now, next and later? How you phase your implementation will depend on your goal, do you have a long term goal that requires steady growth in a number of areas, or are there short term wins that are high priority (for example, a rapid shift to e-commerce as the result of an event such as COVID-19).

Once again, work with your partners and teams to ensure you have a ‘strategy implementation roadmap’, this will act as your field guide for the execution of your new strategy.

Sticking to this plan is important. However, if you need to make adjustments to suit new contextual information or circumstance that is also fine. Just make sure you adjust your roadmap to reflect these changes as well as make any resultant anticipated future adjustments.

Principle #5: Manage the change

This may be the fifth principle, but it is something that you critically need to manage from the very outset.

What do we mean by manage the change? It’s the way in which you ensure your new strategy is successfully embedded within your team. Both from a physical perspective (on your site) but also culturally (within the mindset of the business). On an individual site basis this may be easier than on a wider digital transformation programme, however it is equally important.

Take your team with you on the journey. If you engage the team at the outset, they are more likely to buy into the ambition and be more engaged when trying to drive it forward.

Be transparent, if it’s not going to plan and you need to make changes, keep your team in the loop and let them help build out new contingency plans.

Learn more about change management here.

Our principles of web strategy implementation diagram:

principles of web strategy implementation diagram


Thank you for joining us on this web strategy journey. Hopefully after reading this series, you feel more confident in your ability to plan, build and execute your web strategy, and ultimately feel you can generate more business value from your site. If you would like to talk to us about realising your web ambitions, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash


Author: James Scott-Flanagan
Published: 31 August 2020
change managementcontent strategycustomer experiencedigital transformationpersonalisation

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