What is a Digital strategy? How do I structure it?

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An introduction and examples of how to use a the plan strategy for business digitalization, with examples

The article below you’ll find out what you should include in a digital strategy of businesses and how to establish goals and plan it. We will also discuss the differences between the digital marketing strategy as well as discuss some examples of digital strategies.

How do you define digital strategy?

Analysts in technology Gartner (2023) mentions this when they define digitalization in which they focus on improving the business model instead of process. But, to me digital strategy, we should take into account the digitization of both business processes as well as business model innovation.

While “digital strategy” typically is focused at technology and innovation, it’s crucial to include practical implementation concerns of managing resources and data to deal with the changes that occur in the introduction of technology. This is why digital strategy usually requires reviewing the strategies for digital transformation.

Seven Ds of Digital Marketing that you must take into consideration

In order to determine the possibilities of taking a strategic approach in online marketing, it’s useful to consider the different types of digital interactions with our audience we have to be able to manage and understand through marketing communications. Digital marketing today involves managing more kinds of interactions with audiences than just an email or website for a business marketing. It requires harnessing all these other ‘7Ds ‘ of managing interactions with digital marketing’ that are outlined in the image below.

The marketing activities that are related to the 7Ds and should be analyzed in a strategy approach, which are discussed in greater depth in our article on what digital marketing is:

  • Digital goals.
  • Digital audiences.
  • Digital devices.
  • Digital platforms.
  • Digital media.
  • Digital data.
  • Technology that is digital.

What are the objectives in digital-based strategy?

The purpose of a digital strategy is to increase the effectiveness of an organization’s operations. It should aim at simultaneously increasing efficiency AND efficiency.

Although the term “digital strategy” can be used to describe “digital marketing strategy,” a complete digital strategy, or digital transformation strategy will define how to enhance various business functions, including:

  • Marketing, including digital marketing
  • Sales, in conjunction with E-commerce sales, or through digitally assisted sales
  • New product development
  • Manufacturing of products
  • Management of the supply chain, including procurement
  • Other functions of business management that are not operational

In Smart Insights we focus on helping businesses improve their Marketing effectiveness, with particular emphasis in digital advertising. In the book I wrote Digital Business and E-commerce Management we discuss all the elements of the digital strategy.

Related: Why Most Digital Marketing efforts fail?

How can you develop an online strategy

The process of creating digital strategies is similar to other strategies that involve a fundamental procedure of analysis of the situation and performance evaluation, strategy development and execution. We at Smart Insights, our RACE digital growth strategy suggests these three steps for the creation of digital strategies:

Opportunity Review of Situation including an examination of digital maturity, including the current efficacy of media, technology, data, as well as objective creating the business case and establish goals

Strategy Review the options for strategic planning and chooses the most relevant digital initiatives

Act The strategy for Implementing the strategy as an ongoing series of 90-day plan

In their article on the five principles of digital strategy The Boston Consulting Group recommendations fit in this OSA procedure. They include:

Review the Strategic impact in Digital. They state: “Good digital strategy starts with a thorough understanding of the competition and the way it’s likely to alter”.

Get Your Digital Goals to be High. This highlights the importance of energizing the company to realize digital transformation.

Place Big Bets. They suggest focus on one or two of the most profitable applications to provide more clarity and produce the most effective outcomes. They advise to prioritize initiatives in an overall portfolio, and then start implementing the ones that have immediate impact first.

Create new strategic Muscles. This is a reference to the need to create digital talent and abilities within an organisation and incorporate digital in the existing strategies.

manage transformation actively. This is a reason to consider designing a digital transformation plan.

Related: Great Digital Marketing Tips to Attract More Customers

Digital strategies are a few examples

An excellent example of a business that has implemented digital strategy via digitalization is Adobe changed from its software for physical design into its Creative Cloud online cloud service. This required a review of its business model as well as improving efficiency of processes, such as by updating billing software or software changes.

Digital strategies are also implemented at an national level by the government to help businesses innovate by embracing digital technologies and digital transformation initiatives. Take a look at, for instance the digital strategy of Britain.

The article by BCG provides these instances of setting a bold digital strategy vision:

Starbucks, the coffee chain Starbucks has embraced digital technology to help boost sales in the same store. They have found innovative options for people to place orders and purchase their coffees through a mobile payment application and launching loyalty programs for customers that use digital technology. Mobile sales grew two times as fast as store sales.

The automaker Renault set, and has achieved its goal of driving an increase of 25% in EBIT through their digital-first strategy. It launched 15 digital pilot initiatives throughout all departments–from marketing to production to determine where digital can provide the most value.

This video, by McKinsey consultants who contributed to this article Economic foundations of Digital Strategy along with some examples, offers an interesting approach to discussing strategies to digital strategy with students.

It is less focused on process digitization and more on the evolution of business models enabled by digitalization.

What will Smart Insights help support your digital strategy?

Smart Insights membership is designed to assist businesses across sectors and with different sizes quickly review their digital strategies and create an implementation strategy with a focus specifically on marketing via digital.

We suggest that you start with our free digital maturity assessment that is a great tool to determine potential and weaknesses, and then create goals to improve your abilities.

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