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Stepping Up Digital (Part 2): The Discovery Phase

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Before launching a website or app, we begin our research in the discovery phase. In this article, we explore 5 questions about the digital discovery phase.

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“A problem well-stated is half-solved.” Those words, spoken by renowned inventor, engineer, and businessman Charles Kettering, summarize the intent and importance of the discovery phase in a digital project.

In order to launch a website or app that looks great, is intuitive to use, and drives strong ROI, we must begin by stating—and understanding—the problem. That understanding can’t be produced in a single phone call or email. It comes from the research and assessment inherent in the discovery phase.

What is a discovery phase and why does it matter?

The discovery phase is a thorough accounting of your brand’s existing website and digital marketing practices. It helps lay the bedrock of future work DKY will recommend.

In this phase, we’re gaining key insights that will guide our next steps. Skipping the audit can lead to guesswork and costly rework.

The kinds of deliverables produced from a discovery phase often include:

  • Confirmation of project goals
  • Digital needs assessment results
  • A detailed list of custom functionality
  • Development of audiences and/or personas
  • Heuristic analysis (to discover any usability problems)
  • Information architecture (site map and wireframes)
  • Clarified content and social media strategies
  • Tailored digital marketing strategy
  • Better-informed recommendations for CMS, CRM, and other relevant platforms

And perhaps, most valuably, clients can expect more dependable estimates around scope, budget, and timeline.

What’s at risk by not starting with a discovery phase?

By contrast, skipping the audit and moving straight into the delivery phase often leads to inconsistent progress and costly rework. It may also result in:

  • Unclear messaging and storytelling
  • A misunderstanding of user needs and behaviors
  • Poorly defined goals, and tactics that misfire without clear direction
  • A reliance on wrong assumptions and unproven hypotheses

What happens in a discovery phase?

All projects differ based on their respective goals, but in each case, we will:

  • Assess existing technologies, processes, and information
  • Identify and understand what’s working already—repeatable successes
  • Inventory digital functions that are broken, underperforming or missing
  • Present the findings to our client, along with recommendations

Who performs the work in a discovery phase?

The right combination of DKY team members are brought into an audit relative to the specific goals for each client and project. In a project focused on heightened brand awareness, for example, an assessment from our Social Media Manager would be included.

A successful discovery phase also depends on collaboration with the client’s in-house team. Those stakeholders typically include the Director of Marketing and the Director of UX and their team, an IT delegate, and possibly a representative from the front line of Sales—but may include others as well.

What will you gain from this investment?

By the end of the discovery phase, DKY’s client can expect to:

  1. Have a clearer understanding of their existing digital landscape, including what’s working, what isn’t, and how these factors contribute to the brand’s goals
  2. Know which opportunities are worth addressing, and in what order
  3. Understand the effect of these findings on marketing ROI, where applicable
  4. Receive well-informed, more accurate estimates for future work

DKY Helps Brands Get More for their Marketing Investments

We believe in the power of planning, and we leverage that discipline to help our clients invest wisely in their marketing efforts. There’s no better time to invite DKY to the table; get in touch with us today