David Taub is Co-Founder and President (East Region) of R2i, located in Baltimore. He is a bona fide “digital professional”, in that he has the rare skill set that encompasses creative, technology and strategy.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“We live in an always-on, multi-channel world in which customers are using a variety of devices at all hours of the day to access information and make decisions. A digital strategy has to take into consideration all the ways in which a customer behaves online, it needs to account for the non-linear customer journey, it needs to be tied to metrics and it needs to be integrated. The digital strategy within an organization captures the overarching business objectives, applies the brand messaging and positioning to digital assets.
Digital strategy also properties and uses the appropriate channels and marketing technologies to reach a target audience at the right time, with the right content. The digital strategy includes tactics and channels such as SEO, paid search, social marketing, email marketing, content marketing, website development, mobile marketing, web analytics—but the strategy itself is what enables meaningful, results-oriented customer experiences.”
Question 2: What are the three most significant digital trends that will define 2014?
- “The collision, and collaboration, of marketing and IT. Whether it’s at the CMO/CIO level or the breaking down of silos within departments, marketing organizations and IT teams are coming together to create solutions that work for the end customer, the internal stakeholders and the technology requirements of the organizations. Companies are reorganizing to accommodate this trend and respond to the demands of digital marketing and it takes these two teams working in tandem to create the best solutions.
- The mobile-first mentality. This is more than just cool apps or SMS mobile marketing—this is a shift in how consumers access and engage with content across all digital properties and brands are responding by creating responsive and mobile-optimized sites and content. Understanding that mobile is often the first impression of the customer is driving how marketers create user experiences, digital assets and engagement touchpoints.
- There’s some good competition for third-place. Wearable technology has been a hot topic but it’s still in concept mode for the first part though it has certainly laid its foundation in the tech world this year. At an enterprise level, the acquisitions and consolidations among marketing cloud platform providers has reached a defining point—brands can adopt a singular cloud solution (i.e., Adobe, Oracle) to support fully integrated marketing requirements which relates directly to the trend of reorganizing and bringing marketing and IT together. And at this juncture, it’s hard to ignore the trend and power of viral social marketing from crowdsourcing campaigns to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Social marketing is thriving within social communities and brands have had to adjust their strategy to be extremely targeted, to use more paid social advertising and to really understand how their audience behaves socially in order to participate in the conversation.”
Question 3: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
“iPhone owner and favorite apps include:
- The Weather Channel
- Jetpack joyride”
Question 4: What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?
“It’s mission critical. It will take a while for this role to find its way into mid-level brands but at the enterprise level where digital marketing is receiving more budget, is tied to more sales activity and customer engagement, it takes a role like the CDO to bridge the gap between marketing and digital marketing. There will always be online and offline marketing but having a role like the CDO ensures that not only the digital strategy is working effectively but that it’s being executed efficiently and that the technology and analytics are in place for long-term scale, optimization and ROI evaluation.”
Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
“Follow success stories of brands of all sizes—pay attention to how they present/build/design their website, their social channels, how they deliver a mobile experience. Understanding how to tell a story that reaches customers at the right time in a way that drives engagement can be learned by paying attention to how you as a customer react to different digital experiences. Read a lot. Ask a lot of questions. Try to stay ahead of what seems to be trending today and question whether it will have a longer term impact on a digital experience and therefore relevance in digital marketing.”