In a recent conversation with a senior executive of a large enterprise, we were asked about the differences between digital strategy and digital marketing. Our prospective client had a number of digital marketing programs on social media (mostly Facebook and Twitter), email, website and mobile app for their customers. With that amount of investments in online channels, the executive was concerned if we were going to just repeat what already existed. We then performed a quick assessment of the digital initiatives. Do not confuse digital marketing with a digital strategy. Digital strategy transforms your entire business model while digital marketing serves as a communication vehicle for your business.
Differences between digital strategy & digital marketing
There are 3 fundamental differences between a digital strategy and digital marketing.
1. Enterprise Level versus Departmental Level
Digital strategy focuses on the enterprise-level transformation of the core business while digital marketing focuses only on the marketing elements of the overall strategy. In our experience, most organizations synonymously refer to their digital marketing as their digital strategy. This is a common mistake organizations make. As a part of the overall business strategy and the strategic planning process, it is important to recognize the need for a digital strategy. A simple strategic planning question will clarify our point: “What would our business look like in 5 years with all the changes happening in the digital world?” As strategic thinkers, key leaders will recognize the need to start thinking of a digital strategy at an enterprise level.
2. Transformational Program Versus Delivery Channel
Digital strategy or digital transformation strategy focuses on all aspects of the organization, i.e., sales, customer service, marketing, product management, supply chain, human resources, finance, and administration. Digital marketing, in its current form, is functionally focused on marketing aspects and focuses primarily on social media channels as a communication, and a delivery mechanism to external stake holders. Digital marketing strategy is essentially defining and implementing a marketing plan for the business through tools and tactics (Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media (SM), Public Relations (PR), Search Engine Optimization (SEM), Content Marketing (CM)) to enable visits and conversions, and to engage customers. Digital marketing strategy is a critical component and a strategic vehicle to deliver messages from the digital strategy. Digital marketing strategy should encompass a comprehensive social media strategy, content marketing strategy, and integrated
closely to the business goals and objectives of the Organization.
3. Strategic initiative Versus Tactical/Operational initiative
Digital strategy is strategic in nature. It builds long-term goals and objectives for the organization to morph into a new digital enterprise in its ecosystem. Digital marketing is a tactical and operational aspect of the business and serves as a mechanism to deliver the right communication via the right channels to the right audience. Digital strategy begins with specifying the organization’s vision and its strategic objectives. In defining the digital vision, it is important to recognize that your business is a part of an ecosystem in which it thrives. Hence, remember the cross-impact to ecosystem elements like buyers, suppliers, partners, vendors, government,communities, and employees. Understanding the risks and contingencies, the assumptions and challenges and the possibilities versus probabilities is an integral part of the digital strategy definition process.
Key Findings after a Digital Strategy assessment
Techniques used for assessment:
- Interviewing executives responsible for the initiatives.
- Portfolio review of all technology and business initiatives
- Assessment of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube content
- Review of digital marketing strategy document
Duration: 3 weeks
Lack of consistency: The digital marketing strategy primarily focused on marketing the company’s presence via social media channels and soliciting customer engagement. Social media channels such as, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were effectively used to promote the company’s presence. Content in certain older channels had not been kept current, while content for the newer initiatives were current. There was no exit strategy for certain failed initiatives, and there was no one that associated themselves with the failed initiatives.
Multi-channel strategy: The relationship between the social media channels and the other channels (web and mobile) could not be correlated. Moreover, the digital channels and the traditional channels such as IVR, call center and print messaging were not coordinated. While messaging differed in these channels, the users on the web and mobile portals could not be connected to those that were giving feedback on social media channels. This was due to a lack of integrated channel strategy.
Mixed messaging: We found that there were messaging discrepancies across channels to the same audience. Digital channel messaging and traditional channel messaging needs to be synchronized to ensure that customer does not get mixed messages. The campaigns need to be coordinate across channels in order to ensure that the required customer action is connected with the intended business objectives. For example, social media objectives and goals messaged customers differently with those that messaged customers on the transactional portals. There was no long-term social media strategy that could evolve into social business concepts.
Finally, the lack of a digital strategy became apparent. Lack of agreement on the channels to the same audience. Digital channel messaging and traditional channel messaging need to be synchronized to ensure that the customer does not get mixed messages. The campaigns need to be coordinated across channels in order to ensure that the required customer action is connected with the intended business objectives. For example, social media objectives and goals messaged customers differently than those that messaged customers on the transactional portals. There was no long-term social media strategy that could evolve into social business concepts. success criteria or business goals created pockets of different assumptions made across multiple initiatives. Many of the company’s initiatives had not taken into account cross-functional dependencies and hence, return on investments were double counted and sometimes triple counted. The portfolio management team had failed to interconnect the projects. As a result, efforts from requirements to training were duplicated.
About Our Company:
Digital Strategy Yoga LLC is a strategy and solutions company that uses Digital Strategy Yoga™ framework to build digital transformation strategies for enterprises. We help our clients reimagine and reinvent their business models for the new digital age. For more information, click here