Whether your business is already well established in the digital marketplace or is starting a fresh it's important to define a tight digital strategy that will focus on driving your key commercial goals. Your business priorities may include boosting revenue, increasing efficiency, reducing cost, raising your profile, training your staff or communicating better with your customers. They are important for all companies, but without a single all-encompassing strategy you could end up spending a lot of money with little return.
Over the years we've developed a common sense approach to shaping digital strategies for our clients that result in defining prioritised, cost-effective solutions that deliver a measurable return on investment. This approach works for both small and large scale projects and can be summarised in the following phases.
In this phase our digital consultants will work with you to get a thorough understanding of your business, products, customers, infrastructure, challenges and business goals. This will include group interviews with senior management, marketing and sales, IT and operations. We will review the impact and effectiveness of your current digital technologies and investigate what your competitors are doing well.
This process helps us to identify the opportunities and/or challenges your business faces. We then identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure and evaluate the success of the online strategy. These KPIs enable the project team to shape and prioritise solutions that will provide maximum impact and effectiveness to suit your budget, timings and internal resources.
Digital Marmalade is a big believer in planning. A well thought out plan that integrates design, functionality and digital marketing against the identified KPIs will save the project time, effort and ultimately money in the long run.
The planning stage is a collaborative process which results in the formulation of a project blueprint in the form of a functional specification document. This document identifies the technical architecture, initial project timelines, cost estimates and key deliverables for all parties, alongside wire-frames for the entire site. For more complex projects we take the wireframes one step further by producing interactive prototypes, which can be used for stakeholder buy-in and concept/user testing before the build stage begins.
For those of you reading who live in our geeky world, we employ the 'Waterfall' project methodology during the initial planning phase, in order to define as much of the project, in advance, as is possible. As the project develops we allow for a more 'Agile' approach to ensure there is room within the budget and timeline to fine tune and enhance functionality whilst it is being built and tested.
Once the functional specification document has been signed off then production begins, in line with the project timeline and wireframes. Initial designs are produced and published to a proofing site for the steering team to review. These designs are refined and signed-off before being rolled out to all the pages and converted to HTML.
In parallel to the designs the programming and development work begins. Depending on the size of the project and complexity of the programming we work in 2-3 week 'sprints'. After each sprint we meet with the client and review the completed work. This allows the client to review and test as the project develops and if there is a commercial case for changing functionality then those changes are discussed and phased into the timeline.
While the project evolves the project manager will be preparing and working with the client on the subsequent sprint while the programmers and designers finish their current sprint. This approach works well for each and every part of the project as long as the timeline allows for some flexibility. It is also a good approach when development includes third party system integration (email engines, social media integration, management information systems etc).
Digital Marmalade will ensure the website is structurally optimised for search engines, has a logical architecture, intuitive content management system and is user friendly. If agreeable we will build the project within the Marmalade Suite's framework, which is an ideal solution for larger, more complicated projects.
As the project gets closer to completion the complete site gets promoted to the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environment and testing steps up a gear. This is the perfect opportunity to do some final usability testing, actioning any feedback, final bug fixing and making the site ready for go live.
Now the site is live, we focus again on the KPIs, which will more than likely indicate a shift in emphasis onto Digital Marketing. Digital marketing should be viewed as a single marketing medium which can be split down into SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing, online advertising, conversion optimisation, email marketing and so on. You may already have an in-house or external agency to deal with this aspect of your business. Digital Marmalade can support any marketing initiative or take the lead for you.
With what seems to be the never ending introduction of technology and opportunities on the web, many companies now agree that a website can never actually be termed 'finished'. Functionality that didn't make it into the initial build can now be reviewed and scheduled for production. It might be worth considering mobile, social media apps, YouTube videos etc. Digital Marmalade will help you strategically plan your digital future.
Over the years we've also developed strategic relationships with third party companies that naturally fit with our services. So we can help you with the following:
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