Digital Strategy and the Emergence of Design Thinking

Digital Strategies, Part 2
By Tiffani Robinson, IP&L Guest Speaker | Digital Marketing Expert
If you have ever encountered me in person either in a crowd or in passing, more than likely you will notice how inquisitive I might be. It’s not that I am trying to intrude into your personal life. It is my attempt to understand exactly who it is in front of me and, therefore, connect. This is something I have learned to perfect in recent years because it is necessary for me to focus on various subjects in singular forms to prevent me from becoming scatterbrained from sensory overload. It is my desire to make everyone feel like they are the only person in the room and hopefully through mere conversation, or what we discussed in part one of ‘Digital Storytelling,’ leave an impression that will resonate long after that conversation ends. This organic impulse is a subtle form of empathy that I have come to admire about those who have mastered it.
One of the ways I honed in this now learned ability was in my digital strategies. If you are looking for a formal name for research for conservation sake, Stanford University patented it as “Design Thinking.” Although the definition has evolved into numerous forms, in a nutshell, it is a marketer’s attempt to deeply understand the targeted consumer, with solution-based tactics rooted in empathy.
Let’s take a deeper look at what that might entail. I will use myself as an example. If I am blind and you are trying to persuade me to utilize your on-demand driving service app, it’s not enough to just market it as a means to “get around town.” By taking the additional time to understand who I am as a person, you vastly open up the barriers of communication and potentially an opportunity for a lifelong consumer relationship. I am not just a blind person. I am a woman, an entrepreneur, social butterfly, advocate for social cause, traveler, intellectual, and so much more. Lazy marketing doesn’t work for the products of the information age. You are not selling me a service or a ride. No. You are selling me my life back… freedom… liberation at my fingertips. By understanding the everyday struggle of a visually impaired individual, you will quickly recognize the significance of autonomy. The very essence of that is what you want to bottle up and back your strategy and efforts for.
The cool thing about Design Thinking is that you can implement however many steps into your strategy as you want, but this takes time identifying how your team brainstorms. Here are the steps my team and I use for effective results:

  1. Goals – What objective have you been given? This is where we look at our goals and see if they align with not only the direction of the brand but those invested in it.
  2. Identify – Who are you trying to connect with? When you build personas* from your databases, utilize those profiles to accompany your overall research to assure you and other departments are thoroughly knowledgeable of their target demographic.
  3. Understand – How are we going to accomplish our goals? Brainstorming is imperative in your strategy. Throw as many ideas in the air no matter how outlandish or irrelevant they may appear. Once you have done this “mental dump,” begin to pull the feasible ideas and connect them to other ideas for fluidity and cohesiveness. If this cloud you have created reflects and understands the consumers’ wants and needs, you can take the next step in your strategy.
  4. Learn – What have we learned? You might notice the frequent use of research in this blog. I love research. Show the receipts! Look back over past marketing strategies. Identify the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to create your key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are the “white lines” on the highway of your marketing plan. They make sure you are on track to meet your intended goal and act as a benchmark for your plan of action.
  5. Test – Test your strategy. This part of the method requires what is known as agile marketing or making adjustments to your promotions, campaigns, or plans on the fly. Data Analytics is great for real-time consumer behavior and information. In this way, you can make the necessary changes so that you effectively and efficiently execute your efforts for a great impact.

The steps do not have to be executed in a consecutive manner as mentioned before; customize these steps to fit your organization’s culture and workflow.

In the final blog of this three-part series, I will discuss Visual Listening and how it will change everything you know about social media.

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TPH Web Dev

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