Bin your digital strategy

I get an email newsletter from a guy called Gerry McGovern called New thinking. It’s worth a look if web strategy is your thing.

In his latest newsletter he mentioned something called the long neck. Now I’m familiar with the Long tail but the long neck and that intrigued me. So I went and had a look.

The baseline concept is the 25:5 rule:

The 25:5 rule states that at least 25 percent of demand is for 5 percent of tasks; that 5 percent of content is read by 25 percent of people.

If you graph that idea out then it produces a steep ‘ski-slope’ type graph or the long neck that Gerry talks about (You can see the graph and read more about it on his site.) But essentially it comes down to the idea that a lot of what your site does is redundant. As he sums it up “5% of the website delivers 25% of the value”.

In these days of thinking about web sites as resources that help readers accomplish a task, find the news, buy a boat or whatever, it’s not a bad concept. Okay, it looks a lot like the long tail but it got me thinking about digital strategies and where they focus.

Do you have a digital strategy? I hope so. Yes? Great.

Is your digital strategy based to a greater extent on embracing/putting in place digital technology? I suspect a lot of organisations are.

Does that investment in technology reflect what your business does well?
I would imagine, and the constant debate about journalism coming low down the agenda of some organisations pursuing a digital strategy bears this out, that the honest answer to that is no,

A large part of what many journalists talk about is compelling storytelling and engaging with community. Compelling content targeted at a mature audience who recognise the brand. Everyone would see that as core to driving the business.  Right? But in truth it seems to be a very small part of the outworking of peoples digital strategy.

So is it time to get rid of digital strategies and move forward?

Perhaps what we need now are community or editorial strategies that take in the whole range of outputs and investment. Strategies that take digital as much for granted as print or broadcast. 

Look at that apparently small part of your operation that’s generating all the activity – the 5% producing the 25%. Do they make up the smallest part of your digital investment?

Even if they don’t and a digital strategy is where you are at is it putting the money and infrastructure where the successful output is?

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