Cyclical Planning Model In Digital Strategy
Cyclical Planning Model ensures that results from campaigns and activities are consistently being implemented into new activities and campaigns.
Everything in your organization’s digital journey should be cyclical. It is an iterative process where learnings can be noted and then applied. At every step, positive and negative results can impact future performance. Long-term strategies should live for years. As a result of recording data long-term, analyzing it at specific periods in the year will allow you to learn, iterate and evolve.
The Digital Marketing Institute’s 3i principles; Initiate, Integrate and Iterate will specifically help you design a cyclical planning model.
The factors attributed to the success of long-term strategies are:
- Consistent Measurement: Make sure that your teams are recording all agreed information and data, reporting on it regularly. Using the same measurement long-term allows for more effective pattern analysis.
- Regular Performance Reviews: Ensure that at a low level, reporting is carried out daily/weekly/monthly. More importantly, ensure that reviews are in place that occurs quarterly/bi-annually/annually because it is at this level long-term decisions can be made for change.
- Maintaining Pace: Ensure that you and your team are constantly asking yourselves ‘what’s next’ and ‘what’s new’. How well you can maintain pace with the digital landscape will affect your ability to innovate and evolve with it.
- Increasing Investment: This one can hurt, but it’s scary sometimes when you meet brands that tell you they have invested the same levels in digital for a number of years. If digital is still seeing exponential growth, why aren’t budgets growing? This is regularly because digital is not connected to business performance, but you won’t have this problem because you have baked-in measurement! Ensure you are asking the question annually, ‘are we investing enough?’
Quarterly reviews for your strategy are important because they address performance, but also allow you to address the pace of change. Is there a new format or channel that didn’t exist when the strategy was being developed and should these be implemented into the strategy?
There are a number of key methods for addressing change in your organization:
- Annual Reviews: at the end of every year the whole team should gather and discuss the previous year. This open forum should allow everyone to discuss highs and lows, positives and pain points. This review with overall performance review will massively assist with your next iteration of strategy or the following calendar/financial year. It is important you host these reviews away from your office if you have a team. Make it informal and encourage team members to be honest.
- Trend Analysis: Quarterly, you or a member of your team should be responsible for reporting back to the team on trends. What are the new platforms, their audience and behaviours? What new consumer trend featured in the last quarter and what did we learn from it e.g. Ice Bucket Challenge. What are we learning about specific demographics?
- Team Audit: Bi-annually you should be addressing your resource. Do you have enough people? Are you structured correctly? Should you move from a flat structure to a tiered structure? Are there processes that are causing delays that can be improved?
- Team Input: Create an open environment. You should encourage a culture that allows your team to make suggestions, identify opportunities and reward it. This will grow a passion within the team and a curiosity.
A Digital Champion is a highly effective method of assigning team members specific areas of digital that they are responsible for championing and keeping the team informed. It delegates the job of keeping pace with the landscape to one individual but also makes those individual wizards in a specific area e.g. Snapchat, Social Video, New Platforms, Tech. Following these practices creates a sustainable learning model for your business. It builds a team that never stops learning, that has an appetite and a passion for what they do.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve so to does the resource requirement. It is important that as you progress your use of digital, that you continue to invest accordingly. If you do not continue to increase resources, you might find your competitors making headway in channels, formats or activities and you will have to catch up and won’t have the resources.
Brainstorms are one of the most under-utilised team functions. It involves a group coming together with a specific challenge and then ‘throwing ideas around’. As team members come up with ideas other team members naturally manipulate and change the ideas to add to them. No negative language is allowed. There is no such thing as a bad idea but an underdeveloped idea. NO one is allowed say ‘that’s not a good idea’, your challenge is to see where you can take an idea you don’t think can work and add value to the idea to make it work.
Fast Idea Generation: this involves setting a rule at the start that you have 15 minutes and the goal is to fill a grid 6X6 with ideas. You have to be fast and you don’t dwell on ideas you move on. This results in a large grid to work on condensing ideas after the session and identifying themes.
Revolution: This involves starting from a point in the opposite of what you want to do. Break the rules and make new rules and see where your thinking ends up because you are breaking some of your pre-conceived constraints. What if we had $1million? Airline? What if we had no planes? What if the product did this instead of this? What if there was no Facebook or Twitter Page. It forces you to think outside of the box.