Who is a digital strategist?
A question which has bothered me every single day. More so now, because after all these years, my designation finally says “Digital Strategist”
Does that mean that I was not doing any digital strategy before?
Wrong! On the contrary, I was more immersed into digital strategy while I was doing hands-on execution.
Does that mean I’ve stopped looking into execution now?
Wrong again! I am doing a lot more sharper execution now since I’ve got a much broader perspective about digital.
I’ve tried searching many times in the past, here’s what google has to say about “The Role of Digital Strategist”
I guess the operative phase in that definition is “create and oversee the execution” of a plan.
However, the real problem Is..
When it comes to digital strategy, there are plenty of problems. Most of them are man made.
In some way, all of us in the business of advertising or communication, are equally responsible for contributing to the master problem.
Most of the brands hire their agencies / digital partners to answer the following question, “How to solve the complex digital marketing ecosystem?”
(Also Read : Gartner Digital Transit Map )
But the real question remain un-answered.
WHAT PROBLEM DO WE WANT DIGITAL TO SOLVE?”
And then, there are below questions which are never asked.
Because nobody bother to ask them.
Because everybody think nobody knows the answer.
May be they don’t even discuss. They do what they do every time when they don’t know, THEY ASSUME!
7 NAQs (Never Asked Questions)
Q. Is digital strategist someone who knows everything?
Ans. While startups and agencies are looking for a candidate “straight out of Marvel comic books”, I doubt if that is even possible? If yes, someone please tell me how to find such talent?
Q. Is digital strategist not supposed to execute things?
Ans. That would be disastrous, because in my opinion, no digital strategy can be created without keeping an eye on its execution.
Q. At what point someone becomes a digital strategist?
Ans. Buddha once said: “Everyone has a buddha inside”. In case of digital marketing as well, everyone has a bit of digital strategist inside.
Q. In that case, is digital strategist really a skill?
Ans. That’s a great question, but in order to answer this question, we must first answer “IS STRATEGY A SKILL?” (Read : Difference between skill and strategy). Role of strategy in digital ( and again, that’s just my POV ) is to have a strong aptitude to curate a solution for a marketing problem.
Q. Can we quantify the effort a digital strategist?
Ans. Quantifying the effort of a digital strategist is like quantifying the effort of a “Chief Chef” in the kitchen of a 5-star fine dine.
Q. Does the responsibility of a digital strategist gets over after a pitch is won or when the campaign is approved?
Ans. Ideally no, because he/she may not execute the campaign (also depends upon the seniority of the person), a strategist must keep an eye on the campaign / marketing metrics to see if his work is going in the right direction.
Q. How can a digital strategist own the end outcome of his strategy, if he/she is not executing things?
Ans. I personally like the analogy of a “Chief Chef” with Digital Strategist. Most of the times, a chef may not cook himself, but he does something more critical like defining the flavour of the day for his customers, hand-picking the supplies, ensuring quality control and work hygiene in the kitchen and most important, the presentation.
I don’t think it is either-or in case of Digital Strategy and Execution.
Depending upon the person’s experience, caliber, organisation requirement and team structure, a digital strategist may or may not be executing or managing the operations.
But, one thing all of us (as digital strategists) must own, is the end outcome of our work.