“The strategic role of digital is too often neglected, and usually related to a tactical role.”
Marketing consultancy firm Prophet’s vice chairman David Aaker made this observation as he identified imperatives in using digital technology to maximize a company’s marketing efforts.
First, Aaker said “augmentation” can create a sustainable advantage that must be nurtured through “ongoing innovation” and “aggressive branding.”
“When the augmentation is significant, a new subcategory can be created that renders competitors who lack that augmentation irrelevant,” he further observed.
Aaker cited Starbucks as an example, which has an app that allows fast purchases, tipping functionality, integrates a rewards redemption program, store locator and pushes personalized offers and other services. Competitors who do not have such an augmentation are at a disadvantage, he further noted.
Additionally, he said that marketing professionals need to create a “sweet spot” that will compel clients to access content and enroll in marketing programs, and increase customer engagement in general.
The marketing executive added that the sweet spot should not be centered on the brand and its messaging, although it should integrate these elements as well. Rather, he said it should leverage information culled from databases about the target market’s interests and lifestyle.
Thus, the sweet spot could, for example, be an interactive channel for a cosmetics company that allows clients to access make up tips, engage in live chats with beauty experts, and participate in promotions as a soft push for the company’s products.
“Recognizing that a digital program is strategic affects its organizational position, its resourcing and its management over time. In particular, there should be a broadly experienced senior person involved in creating digital programs, a person with breadth of capability and a link to the business strategy so that the strategic role of digital will be on the table. A stand-alone tactical team, no matter how good, will not be adequate,” Aaker further advised.