Ameeta Soni is a veteran marketing executive with a unique combination of both large company and venture-backed start-up experience. Currently a CMO-for-hire at Chief Outsiders and active with TechStars and the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, she was previously SVP & chief marketing officer at VFA, Inc.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“For me, digital strategy is the ability to best leverage all current and future digital technologies to grow a business. With the rising use of digital channels such as social media, mobile and cloud computing, the customer, today and going forward, is behind the steering wheel. We are now increasingly seeing digitally connected products and services like cars, buildings, industrial products, running shoes or learning solutions. They create new market and business models while enhancing the customer experience. As the search for information or content gets more sophisticated in terms of the device used, timing and follow-up, digital activity of customers strongly influences their actions. Every business needs to have a digital strategy that anticipates the rapidly evolving choice of solutions available to their customers, and that can be executed effectively on the most relevant platform.”
Question 2: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have…
“iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and phablet. I can’t live without my iPhone and use it the most for both work and fun.”
…and what are your three favorite apps?
“Waze – crowdsourced traffic information to help me maneuver Boston traffic.
Flipboard – ‘digital magazine’ and news aggregator that links to social accounts and top content sources across the web.
Evernote – I use it for notes and to-do lists and save articles to read later. It syncs automatically across devices and is a big time saver.”
Question 3: What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?
“For many companies, digital can be a major driver of revenues. A Chief Digital Officer is key to realizing this revenue growth effectively. The CDO focus can be different depending on the type of company and address everything from online commerce to digital marketing to connected products. Importantly, the CDO will be the change agent for digital transformation across the organization.”
Question 4: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
“Start with becoming very familiar with current and future web, mobile and social media technologies. In addition, understand how these digital technologies are driving customer awareness, engagement, and monetization as well as the resulting innovation in products, services, market and business models. Reflect on how you seek digital information that is relevant for your life – work, shopping, and relaxation; with an emphasis on what helps you accomplish what you want in the most effective manner. Try to translate your experience to what could be important for your customers and business associates.”
Question 5: What are the three most significant digital trends that will define 2015?
“1. Enhanced focus on improving the customer experience:
Technology has enabled collection of vast amounts of customer data. Translating this data into personalized customer experiences is a big part of enhancing the customer experience. Customers also want easy access to information via mobile devices and unified service experience across channels.
There are lots of digital services out there today, but they can become ‘noise’. How do we manage all of these? Digital ‘hubs’ will be important in consolidating and integrating various services so we can best optimize our digital experience. IFTTT is a great open source platform allowing for collaboration across these digital apps & services.
3. IoT and conversely cybersecurity:
Seemingly every device and appliance is becoming connected, but innovation in the digital world raises cybersecurity concerns as well. Strong brand loyalty and customer trust are for all companies. Customers want to be reassured that their personal and business information is protected. This reassurance is a critical part of the customer experience.”