Chris Litster is the SVP of Sales and Marketing at Constant Contact, where he has served in a variety of senior sales and marketing positions, running the conversion, website, and product marketing teams, in addition to the EventSpot business unit.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“I define digital strategy as putting some order around the changing digital landscape. That means evaluating and prioritizing the growing marketing opportunities, making sure cross-functional teams are equipped to manage the evolution of the space, and keeping pace with new technologies and channels. Ultimately, it’s about being fast on your feet so you can take advantage of new opportunities as they happen.”
Question 2: What are the three biggest digital trends that will define 2014?
- “All marketers, from big brands to small businesses, making use of real-time customer data
- The reign of ‘Content as King’ continues, with customized content across digital platforms serving to build strong customer relationships
- Mobile friendly as the norm, not the exception, with everyone catering to a mobile audience – and using compelling visuals to carry the message.”
Question 3: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
“I have a Samsung Galaxy phone, as well as an iPad.
My favorite apps are: Zite, a news curation tool; Instagram, which has been great for sharing family pictures; and Waze, which has been an excellent tool for my morning and evening commutes.”
Question 4: What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role, and how do you think it will evolve over the next three years?
“The CDO role is critical to companies that are new to the digital space, as well as for global brands where it’s beneficial to have one person drive the digital strategy. For companies like Constant Contact, where digital strategy has been integrated into what we do from the beginning, it is quite literally woven into everything. For example, our product marketing team tracks digital consumption channels and that data impacts our product design and delivery, while also informing the strategy and approach of our sales and support teams who deal directly with our customers. So digital can be served either by one strategist corralling it for the company or, if the willingness is there, it can be distributed cross-functionally across a company.”
Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
“You can’t succeed alone. It’s important to have a full understanding of the digital impact across all aspects of sales and marketing. Then you need to make sure your company is ready to move forward and you need to be able to demonstrate the value to all key decision-makers. Of course, the digital world equals constant change so you need to stay on top of emerging trends and disruptive technologies. And lastly, you need to have appropriate success metrics in place for your business. For some businesses the number of views is critical, while for others it’s important to understand how digital contributes to the new customer funnel. Know your business and you’ll be able to set the best success metrics.”