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Digital Strategy and Digital Marketing Decoded


Understanding digital strategy

In the digital age, customers have higher expectations and the “right way” to conduct business is constantly changing. Companies are faced with a gap between their current state and where they want to be digitally. To close this gap, companies need to be able to execute a digital strategy as well as digital marketing initiatives.

What’s digital strategy?

Digital strategy is a form of strategic management that describes the process of using technology to improve business performance. Digital strategy creates the components a company requires to become a digital business (Liferay). This allows a company to better support its internal operations and the customer facing side of the business.

Steps to building a digital strategy

The first step to building a digital strategy involves creating a digital vision. Identify the gap between where the company is now and where you want to go. With knowledge of the direction you want your company to go, you can determine the right digital initiatives to take part in. Examine business processes, needs of business partners, and current trends.

This audit will reveal which company activities need to be transformed through technology. Once in place, these changes will allow you to gain new competitive advantages and opportunities for growth. A digital strategy is actionable. It provides a roadmap that businesses can follow to accomplish its digital initiatives, narrowing the gap between the company now and its digital vision.

What’s digital marketing?

Digital marketing is defined as all marketing efforts conducted through digital channels. This encompasses search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. Examples of marketing activities include paid search, SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing (HubSpot). Each digital marketing campaign plays a role to support a company’s goals.

Digital marketing tactics

Let’s take a look at how digital marketing efforts such as paid ads on social media, content marketing, and email marketing can work together. For example, take a small business using FB ads to support their growth objectives. The purpose of these ads are to increase brand awareness and bring customers to the company website. Once on their website, prospects can check out content such as company blog posts, customer reviews, and ideally reach out to the company to learn more. Prospects that connect with the content and messaging on the site will accept the call to action at the bottom of a piece of content by downloading the company white paper. Then, prospects are entered into an email campaign to learn more about the company.  

Digital Strategy vs Digital Marketing

There’s often confusion between digital strategy and digital marketing. This happens because digital marketing initiatives are part of what makes up a company’s digital strategy. Due to this confusion, companies investing in digital marketing may not see the need to also invest in digital strategy. However, the two are not the same.

The major difference is that digital strategy is a strategic initiative than takes place across company functions and is the process of the company becoming digital to its core, whereas digital marketing is a tactical initiative focused on marketing. Digital strategy involves defining long-term goals and objectives to transform your business into a digital company. On the other hand, digital marketing involves the delivery of marketing materials to your target audience through various tactics.

Where digital strategy and digital marketing intersect

While digital marketing is only one aspect of a broad digital strategy, it’s an essential component. Once a business uses digital strategy to set its digital vision, it can use digital marketing tactics to accomplish its goals. It serves as a delivery mechanism to express the company’s digital strategy to the right audience through the right channels.

As always, feel free to get in touch with us here if you have any questions about your digital strategy!

Emma Guimaraes

Author Emma Guimaraes

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