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I have some friends who are Web designers. I hate them.

OK, not really. But I am jealous that they produce beautiful work over which clients unfailingly "Oooh!" and "Ahhh!" I, on the other hand, produce stuff that by comparison resembles a tooth extraction. It's not fair.

And it never fails that as soon as I get a new client, the first question the client asks is, "When will we actually be able to see something?" Ugh. Enter yours truly, the strategist, to talk about data, analytics, and user behavior. I'm like the teacher in a Peanuts cartoon: "Mwah, wah, wah... strategy... wah wah wah... analytics... wah wah wah... user behavior."

Even if it's boring to go through a discovery and strategy-development process, plunging headfirst into a Web redesign without doing so can result in solving the wrong problems—an expensive and time-consuming outcome. What's more, it leaves fewer resources for solving problems that could have a significant positive impact on your organization.

So, I do my best to get new clients through discovery and strategy development and on to the fun part (i.e., design) as quickly as possible. (I'll try not to let the door hit me in the strategy on the way out.)

The first step is to have a new client—usually a marketer like you—provide me with a variety of data inputs that will help me formulate a clear picture of the client's organization and its key business drivers. I creatively refer to that phase as the "documentation review" phase.

You can actually help expedite things by packaging some things for the project team in advance. (Try not to yawn while you're doing it; it might hurt my feelings.)

1. Your Strategic Plan

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pete Gaioni is strategist at iFactory, a provider of innovative, inspiring, and intelligent interactive solutions to the world's leading institutions. He can be reached via pete@ifactory.com.