The proliferating digital platforms are at the heart of today’s global economy. According to a study by Adobe, 66% of marketers feel digital is critical to their company’s success and yet less than half feel highly proficient in digital marketing.

The European Union will announce a wide-ranging probe into how big technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook use their market power as it considers whether to regulate them more tightly. Politicians and businesses across Europe have been calling for the market power of dominant U.S. tech firms to be curbed to help Europe’s fledgling Web industry compete. The inquiry, which by its nature will inevitably focus heavily on U.S. firms, follows calls from France and Germany for regulation of so-called “essential digital platforms,” encompassing everything from e-commerce sites such as eBay to social media companies.

pic1A recent article in Harvard Business Review looks at the future of digital platforms and what it means for marketers. Marketers who want to understand the future of these platforms need to understand seven P’s: people, participate, personalize, product, process, pay, and partner.

  1. People.The world of platformization revolves around people and how people only continue to expect tailored, personalized convenience on their lifestyle platforms, as well as multi-channel access, especially as they are sharing more individual data.
  2. Participate. Strong digital brands don’t just know how to talk – they know how to converse, building relationships through their messaging and content.
  3. Personalize. Digital platforms do the work of making the experience more personalized, relevant, and meaningful.
  4. Product.The relationship between products and platforms is about to undergo a significant disruption according to the article and platforms will be more integrated into products and services.
  5. Process. Platform symmetry is causing companies to reshape other business processes, ranging from employee communications to performance management to professional development to adapt to platforms.
  6. Pay. Digital wallets are replacing the ease swipe to a greater convenience of – nothing. In the future, there will be a greater integration of e-commerce and social networks on digital platforms.
  7. Partner. Platforms and providers are going to partner and work together to deliver a compelling and seamless user experience. The digital platforms will move beyond software platforms to business platforms with associated ecosystems, creating new opportunities for brands to form unexpected alliances.

pic2Organizations will have to put their customers’ passions, goals, and inspiration at the forefront. Of the seven P’s, public relations professionals should continue to focus on people, participation, and personalization.  Engaging the audience, creating an authentic brand, and personalizing the story are the most important components of a successful digital platform. “Marketers see how PR firms bring a lot to the table with respect to navigating digital platforms, developing strategies across those platforms, and our historical strength in storytelling,” says Weber Shandwick’s CEO Andy Polansky.

Sarab Kochhar, Ph.D., is the Director of Research of the Institute for Public Relations.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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