All types of brands and businesses have seen various levels of success with their strategic digital work, often depending on how strategic they are in planning and execution. Digital marketing strategy is more of a science than an art and, in this digital first age, brands are beginning to place a premium on executives who  know what they're doing.

I recently spoke with one such executive --  sports business veteran Joe Puglisi -- who has been a leader in providing strategic leadership in developing high value content as well as helping teams establish their digital footprint from The Players' Tribune to BuzzFeed to now joining the team at digital strategy firm Rebel Ventures. The most important takeaways seem to be not taking yourself too seriously and to think about your audience first.

Inspire people to share your content.

It forces you to think about the fundamentals of why people interact with things they like.

"The building blocks of that--identity, emotion, and information--still ring true today, many years after we wrote that story to sell the idea of BuzzFeed," says Puglisi. "The digital sharing economy has forced many brands to look in the mirror and face the reality of how people actually perceive them."

Puglisi is of the position that interruptive advertising isn't just dying now; it's been ineffective for decades. The age of additive advertising is signaling a new generation of brand transparency and honesty in telling their story. Those who can't adapt will continue to lose market share.

As audiences continue to fragment, the best way to reach them is to give them a way to communicate with like-minded people through creative that helps them connect.

Don't take things too seriously.

As Puglisi puts it, digital marketing is really just advertising.

"If you're not having fun, the consumers definitely won't," says Puglisi. "And take advantage of the free lunches!"

While I can't opine on the free lunches part (although it sounds like a good deal), connecting with consumers requires a degree of levity. No one wants to be pitched by someone who is constantly serious or incapable of connecting on a joke.

Give the modern consumer a premium experience.

This is true for everyone from the Netflix binge watcher to your friend who tunes in to TNT every weeknight in this part of the year to watch the NBA Playoffs. All organizations, but especially sports franchises, are just beginning to scratch the surface of how to harness the new digital ecosystem to provide valuable and meaningful experiences for their fans that also drive revenue.

Organizations should think less like old-school marketers and more like innovative publishers, with passionate and engaged audiences already built-in.

The name of the game will not only be engagement in the near future, but premium engagement, especially with so many options for consumers and the list only seeming to grow by the day.

Published on: May 8, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.