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A few of the teams who select us to be their partners

Building strategies and capabilities for healthcare charity Marie Stopes International

"Combining training in classic marketing strategy, with training about the digital toolkits"

Marie Stopes InternationalMarie Stopes International, nurse in AfricaDigital Product Development Strategy Academy
Leading international healthcare charity450 clinics in 38 countriesProduct development strategy

"Marie Stopes International is a world leader in healthcare provision with 450 sexual and reproductive health centres in 38 countries. As an NGO we have a complex mix of stakeholders because as well as talking to the clients who use our services – both in the UK and overseas, we also need to maintain relations with governments, donors, healthcare agencies, and a diverse group of journalists and audiences who could be interested in reporting news about us or referring in clients to us. It's a tough communications challenge, and our websites and online communications need to work extremely hard and be at the heart of all this activity.

We'd just completed a technology rebuild when we approached Digital's team to help develop our strategies for using these new tools. We're no strangers to the web, but we felt that email, blogs, websites and online content could be working much, much harder for us. With the technology platform in place, we wanted to know how we could use it to accelerate and expand awareness of the whole organisation.

That's where Digital Strategy Consulting and the Digital Training Academy came in. Their training team raised the awareness of the potential for online communications among stakeholders across our organisation. They then took a group of key players who would be involved in the projects moving forwards and drilled down on the needs we had to ensure our knowledge about the marketing communications models was at the level we needed. This meant combining training in classic marketing strategy, with training about the digital toolkits themselves. In particular we wanted to explore what was possible with blogs, page design, email, relationship marketing, online video content, tagging, search engines and page content. We also quickly realised that we needed to focus on building a larger database of key stakeholders so our email communications could be effective.

Adobe Flash Player is requiredSome of our team were already strong on internet technologies, while others came from a marcoms background and were much stronger on how to communicate. What surprised us in Digital's team was the way they could deal with such a diverse group and bring us all to the same level. Their language was simple and their examples relevant. We were quickly working on really big picture issues of our future communications strategy, in a practical, hands-on, 'how-to' way. Their fusion of insight, strategy and training had us soon writing draft copy for new blogs, designing the content and templates for prototype email publications, writing the keywords and phrases for search engine marketing, and building out action plans for new sites and sections we could launch. They also made us rethink all of our communications through the lens of a dozen target segments we have to talk with, ensuring that we were not simply using the new tools, but that the content we were developing was on message for the specific needs of each audience. Rather than an off the shelf course that just talked about general principles, the Digital team used our own issues, materials and challenges to craft something that was just right for us. They also changed the topics and approach during the programme when we spotted new opportunities, and that flexibility meant we got more from the project. When the political situation deteriorated in Kenya (one of the countries where we have clinics and teams working) they worked on harnessing this as a live activity we could respond to.

When the project closed they worked through a debrief that ensured we had what was needed to take things forwards. They also followed through with action plans on the key issues and helped us coordinate ourselves to be able to plan effectively for how we'd take these things forwards. How did we feel at the end? More educated and confident as individuals, more aligned as a team, and with our thinking and theirs combined into clear practical plans for how we should move forwards."

Diana Thomas and Tony Kerridge: Marie Stopes International

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