digital strategy (digital media strategy) definition

Contributor(s): Emily McLaughlin, Nicole Laskowski

A digital strategy, sometimes called a digital media strategy, is a plan for maximizing the business benefits of data assets and technology-focused initiatives. A successful digital strategy requires a cross-functional team with executive leadership, marketing and information technology (IT) members. It involves breaking down the silo between information technology leaders and those of other customer-facing departments to deliver a consistent digital customer experience.

While traditional information technology strategies tend to focus on long-term road maps and budget forecasts that extend years into the future, digital strategies tend to rely on short-term, month-to-month road maps that are tied to actionable items and measurable business objectives. To be successful, the strategy should place focus on where the company value chain is vulnerable to disruption and could be made stronger and more economically viable from a digital reboot. One of the challenges for establishing a digital strategy is to figure out which services should be done in-house, which services should be outsourced to a third-party provider and which services require customization in order to be effective.

In some companies, the CIO is in charge of both customer-facing initiatives and the back-end infrastructure that supports them. In other companies, however, a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) may be appointed to create and execute strategies and provide management with data that demonstrates how digital initiatives are adding value to the company. Either way, a digital strategy should be customer-focused and address ways to improve the company's social media footprint, organic search results, customer engagement and brand recognition. It should also include strategies for reputation management. Useful digital tools for evaluating the success of a digital strategy include Cognos, Compete, Alexa, Google Analytics, Facebook analytics and SproutSocial.

This was first published in September 2015

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