Digital Transformation vs. Digital Strategy vs. Digital Marketing

A growing number of firms are embarking on digital initiatives like digital marketing programs on social media, email campaigns, RWD website design to reach customers across any devices, mobile apps, etc for their customers. Whether these are all part of digital transformation strategic effort, or just digital marketing tactic approaches is debatable – every stakeholder might have a different answer to such questions.

Digital Transformation in a nutshell

“Digital Transformation is the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises” (Source: MIT Sloan). Digital Transformation is about rethinking business model and building new ways of growth from scratch leveraging principles of innovation (artificial intelligence, robotics, sensors, analytics, cloud computing, mobility, open-source, etc), design thinking, agile development (embracing change, fast and lean development) and establishing digital culture.

Digital transformation approach should entail 1) greatly improving and/or recreating customer experience 2) digitizing operational processes and 3) recreating new business models.

Digital Strategy in a nutshell

Digital Strategy is about leveraging digital technologies to meet strategic objectives either at organization level or line-of-business level. It’s basically about answering – “Where do we want to be in next 3-5 years?” (long-term future). Few examples of Digital technologies include automation of email marketing, CRM integration, provide self-service to customers, personalization, etc. Delivering a consistent, intuitive user experience is one of the key goals of digital strategy i.e. digital strategy should be customer-focused.

Unlike traditional business or IT strategy with annual budgets, digital strategy is focused on short-term objectives, near-term budget with constant learning, improvements and innovation.

Digital Strategy is a 4-step process

  1. Digital Review: Understanding business objectives, consumer insights, SWOT analysis, competitive analysis
  2. Digital Vision & priorities: Digital vision (future-oriented statement of intent for how digital channels and technologies will be used to drive business), Prioritized list of Year 1, Year 2, etc. activities
  3. Digital Plan: Tactics; Digital Customer Experience Development including customer journeys, personas, user interaction, etc.
  4. Measurement plan: A framework to measure success and performance

Digital Marketing in a nutshell

“Digital Marketing is a marketing tactic used to attract, engage and convert customers online”. Below are some top 10 digital marketing tactics

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. SEO
  4. PPC (paid search)
  5. Advertising Management
  6. Lead Generation
  7. Remarketing
  8. A/B Testing
  9. Affiliate Marketing
  10. Analytics, etc.

Digital Transformation and Digital Strategy is strategic in nature, whereas Digital Marketing is very tactical or operational in nature.


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