Developing a Digital Strategy


A view of the galoo application with clients inside of a virtual meeting.

Digitization, digital transformation, virtual, hybrid, and metaverse have become part of our daily conversation. They represent what the future will look like for all of us. For museums, digital transformation represents an opportunity to expand your space beyond its walls and grow your venue without boundaries. Developing a digital strategy, especially for those not in the technology field, can be intimidating, but, if you follow the same steps you would take in developing a marketing or sales strategy, or a growth strategy, you will be able to establish a flexible approach to catapult you into the future.

I. Establish Your Digital Strategy Team

Include representatives from all departments. It is important to gather input from all impacted parties to gain buy in from everyone and ensure they are invested in the project and the vision. Everyone must believe in the process, the why and ultimately the technology.

The team should understand it is a long-term commitment versus a project commitment. Your digital strategy will need to morph and change over time as technology advances, new exhibits are installed, and new experiences and events are developed. Once the strategy and technology are in place and being used, invariably new ideas and a broader use will be found, and your team will need to stay formed to address those needs.


II. Industry Knowledge

Once your team is established it is important for everyone to understand the big picture and what is happening with technology in museums. Why is a digital strategy important? What are other museums doing? Make sure to explore what museums in other countries are working on. We live in a global community and there is innovation happening all around the world. Team members should sign up for resource publications and webinars to educate themselves. There are also consultants who can help educate and guide your team through this conversation.


III. Set Your Goals. What is your Why? What do you want to accomplish?

With any strategy development, determining the team goals is a crucial step. It provides you with a focus as well as measurable outcomes. Some examples of goals for a digital strategy are:

      • Increase Global Reach
      • Create New Revenue Streams
      • Make Collections Accessible to all in an Easy Format that all can enjoy
      • Make Museum Fun and Interactive
      • Create Interest for a Younger Audience


IV. What is your Budget?

Projects such as this can be expensive, but you can start small and grow as your revenue streams start to grow. It is also important to understand where the funds will be coming from. Is it a capital project, will it be funded by grants, or must it be self-sustaining?


V. What are the projects you want to start with?

Brainstorm. Brainstorm some more. Think big.

When considering digital experiences and technology it is important to ensure everyone is thinking outside of the box and not living in “how we have always done things” or what works in the physical world. What works in the digital world is vastly different, so do not let real world boundaries box you in. Do not worry about budget or other constraints at this point.

Ensure all voices are heard. Make sure to lay down the ground rules (bring at least one idea, be ready to speak up, the team leader should make sure everyone speaks).

Provide some questions prior to the meeting to get everyone thinking and the juices flowing. Some sample questions are:

      • What have members of your team been reading about?
      • What problems need solving?
      • Are there collections in storage that should be made available?
      • Is there a temporary exhibit that should be immortalized and continue to be sold after it is taken down?
      • What about guided tours for school groups from all over the world with live Q&A?
      • Do you want to provide virtual and live attendance for programming, social or educational events and experiences?

From your list of project ideas start to group them together and formulate the big picture of what your digital experiences will look like and which goals they reach. An example of this would be:

      • Digitize collections in storage and create experiences and tours with them.
        Goals addressed: global reach, new revenue streams, accessibility.
      • Create guided tours for school groups with live Q&A.
        Goals addressed: global reach, new revenue streams, accessibility, create interest for younger audience.
      • Provide experiences for adult groups, allowing them social interaction such as a guided group tour with a happy hour video chat at the end of the tour.
        Goals addressed: global reach, new revenue streams, accessibility.
      • Offer event/venue rental clients the opportunity to provide a hybrid experience to their guests.
        Goals addressed: global reach, new revenue streams, accessibility.

VI. Research the Technology

Now that you have your goals, budget, and project ideas determined, finding the technology, or technologies, to meet your needs is the next step. Assign each member of the team the responsibility of researching and bringing technology ideas for further research. Demo and test the technology. Determine the one or three that best fit your needs and your budget. Are there three that fulfill different goals? Can they integrate with each other to provide a full, well-rounded strategy and experience? And continue to ask yourselves, “What else is out there that will meet the needs to achieve your goal?


VII. What is your Launch Date? Develop a Project Timeline

Is there a specific event or date by which a portion of, or the entire project, needs to be complete (i.e., an exhibition opening date), or can the team set a date? Will it take multiple smaller projects to accomplish the larger vision? Once you have a launch date, develop a project timeline with milestones. It will be important to monitor progress throughout to ensure the milestones, and ultimately, the launch date, are hit on time.


VIII. Get Started and Have Fun with It!


 Building a digital strategy is a team project and an ongoing process. Do not hurry it. Make sure to address any hurdles that fall in the way (copyright issues, approvals) as they come along. Technology is changing quickly and there are many options entering the market that will satisfy different goals. Galoo is one that will help to consolidate some of the options to create amazing digital experiences for your guests. Most of all, have fun! Discovering new technology and new ways of doing things can be exciting!