“I know there’s no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don’t care. I am me.” And I just recently watched V for Vendetta! My name is Jo Troxell and I occupy the role of Digital Strategist. Digital Strategy emerged as a top buzzword in the realm of marketing more than ten years ago and companies from all different industries are hiring strategists to take their digital maturity to the next level. But what is a digital strategist and what do their everyday tasks include?
A digital strategist will usually be asked to lead and oversee projects by defining success metrics, audience segmentation, capturing data after setting up integrations to ultimately support omnichannel profiling, create roadmaps and implement strategic plans for long-term digital transformation. Once implemented, the strategist will then monitor the metrics to gauge level of success and further assist in guiding teams when, where and how to continue to optimize.
Doesn’t this sound amazing? To give you more context on a day in the life of a strategist, let me take you through my typical day. With my alarm going off at 6:30am and after I snooze it and the next 10 alarms I have set, I spring out of bed, check myself out in the mirror to make sure I look human (lol), go to Starbucks and then get back to my desk to start the digital strategizing!
Before all else, I check my Slack and emails to make sure there are not any time-sensitive messages such as coordinating travel logistics or project tickets that are on dependent on me to respond back to and if there are no fires to put out, it is project time! I spend some time planning for the day and adjusting any plans that might have changed. I keep a to-do list and a Trello board to keep track of all the projects I am assigned and their tasks. Digital strategists are often juggling 2-3 projects at a time and involvement is typically from beginning to end since this role is involved in so many different areas like business analysis for digital strategy specific requirements or design for determining goals and personalization. When starting a new digital strategy project, I will gather a ton of information about the website, users who navigate the site and most importantly, the end goal by reviewing the website itself, requesting permission to analytics for review, reading any briefings provided by the client company and more! As a digital strategist, goals usually relate to personalization, gathering more user data to better understand the traffic on the site, how well the site experience is meeting customer expectations/needs or simply helping others make use of marketing functionality.
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I plan my day by blocking off chunks of time on my calendar to dedicate to different tasks. First up, pulling baseline analytics for a current website. After going into Google Analytics, I create a dashboard with some standard metrics to determine where traffic is coming from and what current users are doing on the website. Depending on the goal of the project, what metrics to track can vary but stats for pageviews, average time on page, pages per session, bounce rate, conversion rate, average session duration and user type data are a start and then additional metrics are added as needed. To get a decent sample and see how engagement has changed over time, I will pull analytics for the last year, last six months, last quarter and month.
A little before noon, stand-ups begin! Each project has a dedicated standup to update everyone on the project on what was previously worked on from the day before and what will be worked on that day. Once the standup(s) are done, it is back to project work.
When working on a new website or rebuilding (or re-platforming) one, I always start with reviewing design specifications. These design comp(osition)s not only show what a webpage will look like but also give insight into how the functionality on the page will work and how website visitors will interact with it. With the analytics retrieved and the website end goal in mind, I review the design to determine areas where applying tracking would provide better data and ideally, contribute to showing the end goal was accomplished.
After populating a few hundred lines on a Google Sheet and before wrapping up for the day, I try and read articles on CMSWire, check Google Marketing Platform product updates, continue a bit of training in new content management systems or start a new training. Right before last call, I check all sources of communication one last time, take notes on where I left off the day before and what to continue the next day.
This is not by any means all a digital strategist does every day but more one of the consistent days. If I am not doing any of this, I may be at a user group presenting, or at an event meeting potential clients, other digital strategy enthusiasts and trying to learn as much as I can. To quote a delivery manager at Brainjocks, “crazy, but good!”. And if you agree that all of this sounds pretty great, have questions about digital strategy or Brainjocks, leave a comment, submit the contact us form or catch me on LinkedIn or Twitter!