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strategy and business
 / Summer 2014 / Issue 75(originally published by Booz & Company)


How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Model

• Product Innovators use digital marketing to identify, develop, and roll out new digital products and services. These companies employ digital interactions with consumers primarily to rapidly gather insights that can shape the innovation pipeline. By helping nurture new sources of revenue, the marketing group increases the value of the company.

The Menu of Capabilities

These digital marketing models are not industry-specific. In fact, companies in the same industry can choose different digital marketing strategies with which to go to market. For example, in the telecommunications industry, Vodafone aligns most closely with the Digital Brander model, Verizon functions as a Customer Experience Designer, KPN/E-Plus is a Demand Generator, and Orange is a Product Innovator. Each of these companies has focused on a different set of capabilities to bring its digital marketing strategies to life, and each capability entails building the right combination of processes, tools, knowledge, skills, and organization.

There are eight basic marketing capabilities, which are more or less relevant depending on which of the four digital marketing models a company applies. (Of these eight, the first four focus on building insights and the last four focus on activation based on those insights.)

1. Segmentation and needs assessment, or the use of digital research tools to analyze transactions, identify customer pain points, and interpret non-transaction data (e.g., social media). By better understanding how specific subsets of customers assess, purchase, and use products, the company can more directly target advertising, promotions, and content along the path to purchase.

2. Measurement, or the development of consistent metrics across the full path to purchase (i.e., at home, on the go, and in stores). This capability also includes metrics for consumer engagement across paid media (e.g., advertising), owned media (such as the company website), earned media (coverage in other publications), or shared media (e.g., Facebook or YouTube). Implemented correctly, these metrics can help quantify ROI across the digital marketing program.

3. Real-time decision making, fostered by regular monitoring of social sentiment and brand health that enables adjustments during marketing campaigns—including branded media and in-store merchandising—to make them more effective.

4. Personalization and targeting, or the creation of a singular view of the consumer across sales channels and digital touch points through the integration of multiple data sources—including household data, shopping behavior, mobile data, and Web analytics. Companies can also augment customer profiles with social media data to improve target marketing and specific offers.

5. Optimized content, or the dissemination of branded content through multiple direct-to-consumer platforms (such as websites, mobile devices, and social media channels) that are easy to search and navigate. Optimized content helps the company engage consumers and drive registration and sales across a variety of formats, so that it can better provide relevant products and services to those consumers for specific occasions or phases of life.

6. Innovation, spurred by the leveraging of social media for richer consumer insights that fuel product development. Besides improving the product itself, these insights can enhance the customer’s experience with the product.

7. Social influence and advocacy, or the provoking of consumer engagement to create and share content, while also mining this social sentiment to further improve consumer engagement. Companies with strong social influence and advocacy can encourage consumers to create and share content about the brand within their social networks, and then use the resulting insights to optimize their marketing communications.

8. Omnichannel experience, or the implementation of marketing programs across channels. This capability also entails investing in technology, analytics, and talent to support seamless mobile, social, and e-commerce experiences, allowing consumers to engage with the company wherever and whenever they want. Omnichannel experiences also include integrated marketing programs with third parties, along with broader media and trade-promotion strategies.

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