The Digital Strategy Guide – Part 1

By Wayne Clouten, BPR

When considering the development of your radio stations digital strategy the key question is not so much about what you do but why you do it.  It is very easy to fall into the trap of focusing so much on generating activity that the strategic perspective is lost.

A fundamental consideration is the intent of your strategy. When it comes to an existing broadcasting business there are basically four primary options:

  1. Is it about defending your existing core business and brands?
  2. Is it about expanding your existing core business and brands?
  3. Is it about changing your existing business into something different and creating additional brands?
  4. Is it about creating something entirely new and separate from your current business?

While most companies will probably want to achieve all four outcomes, each of these strategic intents have different tactical paths.  It’s OK to want it all, however if you rush into the digital space without the priority of your intent being clearly articulated and understood by all involved then two things will likely occur:

  1. The ROI on the digital activity being generated will be poor because of duplication of effort and resources, pursuing dead-end ideas and creating never-ending construction sites.
  2. The people involved will become uncertain or frustrated about what they are doing and why they are doing it and friction will develop.

Point two is particularly worrying because it leads to people focusing on generating activity to justify the digital budget rather than measurable outcomes linked to the strategic intent.  It can also lead to a silo mentality where people become defensive when things become difficult or don’t work out the way it was hoped.  A symptom that things are not right is when staff start using the word “they” rather than “we” when referring to their colleagues.

There is a lot of pressure nowadays for media companies to have a strong digital narrative, particularly at a corporate and B2B level. This narrative normally entails a combination of vision and initiative statements supported by activity statistics. All this is great if you are achieving your strategic intent and not just misdirecting attention away from core business issues which are proving too difficult to fix.

Digital statistics are intoxicating. Anyone who knows me can testify that I have been leading the charge on radio stations embracing digital opportunities since the beginning of the digital revolution however at the same time I have developed a deep respect for how they can lead you astray from the two primary strategic outcomes for a media business, that being developing more usage of what you create and deliver and most importantly, increasing the profitability of your business.

In part 2 of this article on Digital Strategy we will look at some of the practical lessons learned.


Wayne Clouten has been working with media companies in the development of digital, listener relationship marketing and multi-media strategy for more than 20 years in markets such as the UK, Austria, Germany, Russia & Australasia.




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