Update: August 26th, 2007 (one year later) I’ve evolved this concept, please see Web Strategy: The Three Spheres of Web Strategy (and the skills required)
Let’s define what a Web Strategist does.
Web Strategy is the long-term iterative process of defining the direction of a Web Site or Web Product. The Strategy must meet three goals: 1)Users, Business, and Technology to be succesful.
Every website has a strategy, and many different folks can help shape it. In a startup, it’s a hat worn by many within the company, from product teams to marketers. At a larger corporation you’ll find this role to be in the Web Manager or Director type of role.
The Three Elements of Web Strategy:
The Web Strategist must understand (by using a variety of techniques and tactics) what users want. This is commonly known as User Experience Research which will create and craft a ‘mental model’
A website that is not aligned to business or market objectives is ultimately doomed to fail. The User and Business requirements will often match, but will rarely ever be a perfect fit. The Web Strategist) will need to obtain business requirements from stakeholders, whether that be execs, sponsors, sales, or even shareholders. Understanding the market, competitors (and key milestones) and other external forces are also required –a business requirements model will be formed, these are you objectives.
Lastly, a Web Strategist needs to know how each and every tool and technology work, they’ll need to know the strengths, benefits, limitations and costs. This also applies to human capital, and timelines. Often technical limitations will reduce the scope of User and Business needs, so you’ll need to incorporate this going forward.
While I continue to simmer on this –love to get your feedback.