Posts filed under ‘web strategy’
Exactly one week after ASAE’s annual meeting, the line that’s sticking with me came from the final keynote speaker, Peter Sheahan: “Nine times out of 10, it’s the unsexy stuff where innovation happens.”
That’s the game I’m playing right now.
A few months ago, I was given an additional title: Chief Digital Strategist. No one ever had the title before, so I have the privilege of defining what that means. Right now, I’m focusing on bringing order to chaos, helping everyone prioritize what they need, and securing the resources to get it done.
As the weeks progressed, I noticed something else that was really interesting. I got a sense that our real problem wasn’t time, money or myopia. I realized that we weren’t paying attention to the basics. These included:
- Clean data about our members
- Confusing workflows on our website
- Email address acquisition and maintenance
- Landing page optimization
I know – how geeky!
But these issues are putting a serious drag on our efforts to grow and improve. How? Well, if our member data isn’t clean, we can forget about meaningful personalization on our website, let alone effective market segmentation. And if the current workflows on our website confuse people, we’re losing money and customers. And if we don’t keep our lists up to date, those emails that we labor over are only half as effective as they could be (or worse).
Don’t get me wrong – we’re definitely working on our future. We’re currently choosing a new content management system for the website, with requirements that will provide an entirely new experience for our members. That’s exciting new stuff. But if we fail to address the basics, we’re digging ourselves into an deeper hole.
Is this work innovative? Probably not in the most common sense of the word. Many organizations figured out this stuff a long time ago. But we are now having conversations across business groups that we’ve never had before. We’re making promises and keeping them. We’re hoping to build confidence and trust in this new approach, one step at a time. If this works, we’ll all be very successful.
And that is very, very sexy.
The blogger Dan Blank last week used a scene from this season’s great final episode of Mad Men to illustrate the tensions in media today – and he could have been talking about associations, too.
To recap Mad Men … for those not yet smitten … it’s 1963, just weeks after JFK’s assassination. As we know from our vantage point, the world is poised to change.
Roger Sterling and Don Draper are two of the lead managers in a New York ad agency. Roger inherited the agency from his late father, and he’s been coasting through life lately. Don is a scrapper, self-made, brimming with ideas and energy, who senses something is changing but not sure how.
Their agency was recently bought out by a bloodless British megafirm. But Roger and Don have had enough of being drones, so they quit the agency in an exhilarating coup, took some of the best talent with them, and formed a new shop.
As they leave the old agency office suite for the last time, they turn around. Roger says, “How long do you think it will take us to be in a place like this again?” Don shrugs, “I never saw myself working in a place like this.”
Roger doesn’t know the old privileged world that he loved is already dead. Don, as usual, can’t hit the reset button fast enough.
In associations, we see similar tensions. The old fuel of associations (trade shows, magazines and meetings) still brings in dollars, but it’s not enough anymore. Just like newspapers, TV, music, and books (only a matter of time), the money is bleeding out of the association business model. The new world – which includes the virtual world – has yet to completely manifest itself, but we know something different is coming. We just don’t know what.
We can either pine for the past (Roger) or get jazzed by the future (Don).
My money’s on Don. He’ll have it figured out before anyone else.
Which one are you?