22 Mar 2019

Understanding the Digital Process

Australians are very digitally connected, and are starting to expect more from digital products that involve healthcare. One in twenty Google searches are health-related in Australia, and 84% of people go online first for health information. 

It’s clear that digital health solutions are in demand, however at Tadashi we see many healthcare providers assume that digital projects equate to website or app builds. In order to provide truly useful solutions that meet user needs, successful digital offerings need to look beyond one-off products (like a website or app) and instead look at the challenges and drivers of their online audiences. 

This is why we help our clients from the very beginning of the decision-making process – before tech or apps come into play. Our method is to look strategically at the bigger picture before diving into development. By researching user needs and internal organisational hurdles first, we can drive impactful innovation in the health space by offering the right kind of digital solutions.

In this article, we discuss the key steps of the digital process to help you better understand what’s actually involved (and what order you should approach them in).

 

1. Branding

Branding will be driven by your organisation’s purpose and vision – what you uniquely bring to the world. It’s your brand voice, positioning, and visual branding. It’s important that branding is the first step in the digital process, because if your audiences can’t engage with your brand in the right way, the digital solutions you implement won’t be well received.

This first step involves an initial audit to assess current brand engagement and effectiveness. It often involves research and stakeholder workshops to get a picture of where you’re at. You’ll look at your brand’s assets such as your logo, colours and design elements, and get clarity around how you will communicate this to your audience, both visually and in writing. This branding work will help inform decisions that are made further down the track.

 

2. Marketing

When your brand is strong and engaging, your marketing activities should ensure that messaging is consistently delivered in the right place – at the right time. This step looks to define what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and on what channels. 

A marketing strategy should be created, based on customer research and stakeholder workshops. This will document your marketing channels and activities. Having looked at where your audience is and how you’ll communicate with them, you’ll create a plan for executing your marketing, which may involve anything from blog posts and email marketing, to social media and PR.

 

3. Auditing

Auditing is designed to uncover what your organisation is currently working with. That’s your digital assets, such as existing content and design elements, as well as your processes and systems. This is a valuable step to help you get clarity around what can be kept, what needs consolidating and what will be removed or deleted. 

Conducting an audit identifies what’s working well at the moment, and opportunities for improvement. This is an essential part of the initial ‘discovery’ phase of a project, and should be conducted once you’ve defined your brand and how you communicate with your audience, before moving forward. 

The auditing process is carried out through research, interviews and workshops, and can be used to support business goals and inform major projects. This step will identify gaps and opportunities for your organisation, and the findings can feed directly into your strategy. 

 

4. Strategy

Once you know the ‘why’ of your brand, and have identified the problems you need to solve, you’ll need to create a comprehensive strategy. This will typically include a summary of your specific objectives and goals, an explanation of the processes and tools you’ll use, an action plan defining timelines and roles, and methods for evaluating and monitoring your progress.

Strategy is a crucial step, and will drive the digital process, aligning your organisation’s goals and your users’ needs with the solutions you develop. The digital strategy needs to be outlined before diving into product development, as it will determine the overall direction you’ll take and provide a roadmap to get there.

 

5. Content

Another valuable part of the digital journey is mapping out, planning and producing quality content that articulates your unique offering in an engaging way. This step of the digital process looks at using well-crafted words, images or videos to communicate effectively with your audience. 

You can work with a content agency or specialist copywriters to create a content strategy, which will outline the style, direction and purpose of your content. This guiding strategy will help you effectively communicate your key messages on your website or digital product itself, and will also provide direction for future content and communication across all your channels. You’ll look to develop content pillars, identifying what types of content your audience will engage with across your website, blog, social media channels, digital advertising, email marketing and more. 

Copywriters can also help you craft a content plan, outlining what content you’ll produce, as well as when and how it will be distributed. This element of the digital process is likely to be ongoing, as you continue to communicate with your users, customers or patients by crafting useful content.

 

6. Website or digital product

This brings us to the all-important step of product development. It may seem like this is a long way down the list, but the digital product itself should ideally be approached once the steps above have been taken, to ensure it meets your users’ and your organisation’s needs. 

A website may be one of the platforms on which you interact with your audiences, however there are likely to be other touchpoints in the customer journey as well. You’ll identify these channels in earlier steps of the digital process, and marry them together when deciding on the final solution. 

This stage of the process will also look at how the digital product or solution will physically be created and will involve writing up the technical and functional specifications needed to build it. It’s important to bring this back to the auditing process and overall strategy, as the selection of what platform to use will be grounded in your broader challenges, user needs and business objectives. 

 

One of the traps people fall into when developing digital products is overlooking some of the vital steps or, mixing up the order of the digital process. They want a website, but they don’t understand their marketing strategy or haven’t conducted an audit. We commonly see this in health and are passionate about helping healthcare providers understand and develop effective digital solutions to meet their audience’s needs.

Get in touch to learn how Tadashi can help you effectively plan and execute innovative digital products.
 

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