I’m sure others cleverer than me have done this better elsewhere, but as part of some work I’m doing (and as a precursor to potentially revisiting That Venn Diagram on this blog later) I thought I’d try and write down some definitions of digital stuff:

Digital Communications involves the use of digital channels – yours and other people’s – to convey messages and publish information. Sometimes this is with the aim of getting feedback, sometimes not.

Digital Engagement uses digital tools and channels to find, listen to and mobilise a community around an issue, maybe getting them to talk about it, give you their views or take action in pursuit of a cause they care about.

Digital Marketing is about getting your message in front of other people – often by paying directly or indirectly for access to their online spaces, inboxes or phones – and then getting them to sign up, buy or donate to your thing.

Digital Public Services are ways of dealing with government through digital channels so people can find out the information they need, choose and/or pay for something.

Government IT covers the systems, processes and supplier relationships which deliver the technology-based services which power digital public services, digital communications platforms and the back-office systems which theoretically enable public servants to do their jobs.

What do you think?

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This is the best definition of digital engagement I’ve seen I reckon – useful to make it distinct from digital communications and to emphasise ‘mobilising’ and ’cause they care about’. Very good, this really works for me.

Also very helpful to define digital public services as a separate activity in this form of words. Would amend the description of it slightly to cover reporting/registering – find out the information they need, choose, report and/or pay for something.

Will be very interested to see how you would translate this into a management structure in your more recent thinking. Whether marketing and engagement are in some way a subset of communications; or perhaps you’d have engagement overlapping with public services and communications.

This is the clearest, most succinct definition I have read. However, the result will be to encourage colleagues to use, and understand, the web in each of these ways. Then the difference will be crystal clear.

Steph, good clear definitions.

Regarding your definition of digital marketing, it’s true that access is often bought, but the objective for many digital marketers is now to earn that access.

Today’s best in class examples are campaigns that engaged and entertained consumers, generating on and offline WOM without extensive spending on media. The Fun Theory is a brilliant example: http://www.thefuntheory.com/, as is Whopper Sacrifice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXd0UoxK-Ik.