4 Digital Strategy Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


It’s not a good idea to go all out for the Internet’s attention

Too many strategists these days believe that a good digital strategy should be based on a clever plan to win the Internet’s attention. That’s not a good idea. Here are four digital-strategy mistakes – and advice on how not to make them:

1. Titillating, not educating

It’s easy to win “clicks” by titillating people. And it might lend a dreary day a moment of relieved escapism. But it won’t help anyone. To do that, you must educate.

Not in the awful, misused corporate sense of the term – dully lecturing them about “product benefits” – but by helping them develop the capabilities and skills they’re going to need to live better lives.

2. Making zombies, not superheroes

Too much of digital strategy is simply turned over to the marketing department. And modern marketing makes zombies. Most of the time marketing is a tedious exercise in brainwashing.

Or at least a poor attempt at it. Here’s the problem with creating marketing zombies: Sure, they might raid your malls, but once they’re done, they’ll probably try to eat your head. By that I mean that when all you do is earn people’s attention without trying to earn their respect or trust, they can turn on you on a dime.

When a company asks “how loyal can we be to our customers?” they don’t ask marketers to brainwash them, and they don’t ask customers to behave like zombies. Instead, they want their customers to be superheroes with superpowers. Give them X-ray vision: Let them see further and faster than before. Give them telepathy: Help them understand the world better than they did before.

3. Infecting, not connecting

The holy grail of the digital marketing strategy is “virality.” But the goal of a digital business strategy is connection. One is shallow and fleeting; the other is deep and enduring.

4. Communicating, not elevating

Digital tools have given companies the ability to communicate incredibly quickly with a ridiculously large number of people at low cost. But just communicating isn’t good enough anymore.

The Internet is full of sound and fury … signifying nothing. The challenge isn’t merely communicating anymore. It’s elevating.