I cover digital commerce marketing, but when you compare digital commerce vs digital commerce marketing, what’s the difference? What’s in a name? Are we talking semantics or is there a real difference? The short answer is, it depends.

Digital Commerce vs Digital Commerce Marketing; What's in a Name?

What is digital commerce?

Digital commerce is made up of product catalogs, Web storefronts, shopping carts, and product recommendation and personalization engines. As commerce has evolved to encompass Web, mobile and social channels, the number of components and point solution integrations has increased.

But, digital commerce is more than what happens “behind the glass”. Companies must also concern themselves with “front of the glass” experiences. As my colleague, Jake Sorofman, wrote in his blog post, “Who needs storefronts and shopping carts when experiences themselves can be merchandised?”

What is digital commerce marketing?

Digital commerce marketing involves using digital marketing technology, techniques and channels, such as digital ads, email, search,  mobile and social marketing, along with data-driven insight and digital content, to achieve commerce objectives, such as revenue and profitability.

But, digital commerce is bigger and broader than just an e-commerce site—a topic I explored in greater depth during my latest webinar. It includes the numerous channels, data inputs and content outputs and requires marketers be adept at using technology to orchestrate multichannel commerce experiences.

What’s the difference? Is it all in a name?

In some companies, there is no difference. A single leader or team is responsible for marketing—identifying buyers, guiding them through the purchase process and managing post-purchase engagement, as well as selecting, integrating and managing the underlying digital commerce platform.

But, in many companies these functions are managed by separate teams that, hopefully, collaborate for better results. There may be a cross-functional, marketing-led team that’s responsible for customer-facing decisions and collaborates with others to decide technology strategy.

In other companies, marketing’s digital commerce responsibility extends further, across customer-facing decisions and the underlying digital commerce technology strategy. Maybe they have the final say on vendors, or maybe they define requirements, which impacts vendor selection.

As long as there remains separation between marketing or customer-facing activities and commerce or the underlying technology, then there’s cause for distinction between digital commerce marketing and digital commerce, even if it is all in a name.

Whether you view your role as digital commerce or digital commerce marketing isn’t important. What is important is collaboration across functions—sales, marketing, customer service, IT and even finance and operations, to develop and deploy a consistent and cohesive digital commerce offering.

When you fail to collaborate or remain entrenched in your own organizational silos, customers can see the cracks in the foundation, like product ads that lead to the home page rather than the product page or email campaigns that fail to recognize a customer’s relationship with your company.

This creates friction that undermines everyone’s efforts and erodes customer and company value.

Who takes the lead? 

Once again, it depends. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. In some organizations, digital commerce marketing is still in its infancy, where they should remain focused on developing a digital commerce marketing strategy and partner with others, if possible, to develop the technology strategy.

In other organizations, digital commerce marketing is more mature. Marketing knows how their activities contribute to digital commerce revenue and profitability and they may be better positioned to lead technology strategy, including setting requirements, selecting and managing vendors.

Which category do you fall into?

1 Comment
  1. April 14, 2015 at 9:12 am
    Kumar says:

    You are absolutely right. Whether you view your role as digital commerce or digital commerce marketing isn’t important. What is important is collaboration across functions—sales, marketing, customer service, IT and even finance and operations, to develop and deploy a consistent and cohesive digital commerce offering.

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