Everyone has a plan, until
Everyone has heard the old Mike Tyson quote “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. It’s a good quote and is quite true, but I’m starting to hear it more and more in the context of strategy and I have to strongly disagree. If you are devising a strategy, digital, business or otherwise, that cannot stand a ‘punch’ then it really isn’t the right strategy. A sound strategy is a fluid one and not one that is stringent to the letter of the law. Below are some examples of strategy adjustments that we often prepare clients for when that punch happens.
Back in my college days my roommate got a job at American Eagle and he remarked that at his orientation they showed him an image of some dude wearing AE clothes with captions saying; Male, 18-34, SUV-owner, and avid outdoorsman. But what happens when AE produces a line that is no longer ‘hip’ to that audience? This is punch #1. Focus on what you do/make best and adjust audiences as you go. You may have the same audience for decades, or you may find a new audience pops up and vanishes just as quickly. Be on the lookout in Google Analytics for Demographics & Interests to see if perhaps a new audience group is emerging OR an old one is falling behind.
“Hansel is so hot right now.” Insert any tactic for Hansel and you have an ever changing digital environment. What I recommend today may not be relevant 6-months from now. This is punch #2. Monitor your Channel Groupings closely each week and each month and dig into each one to see what is driving the change. You may even discover issues with how Google is categorizing your channels. An example of this was that Google was categorizing Weebly and Blogspot referrals as ‘Social’ for one of our clients, inflating Social visits and engagement. Keeping a close eye at the Channel Grouping level helps you adjust to where the puck is going OR allows you to tweak a tactic to be better targeted.
Your digital strategy plan is a fluid document that will change over time. Your goals and product/service offering should stay consistent (with the obvious understanding that you may adjust the latter for business reasons), but how your visitors engage with your brand will most certainly need to be adjusted. So when those punches come, don’t drop everything and start swinging. Instead anticipate these areas may change and perhaps include your action plan for what to do when they inevitably pivot in multiple directions!