Gerry Murray is Marketing Operations Research Manager at IDC, where he serves as both a researcher and consultant to senior marketers in the IT vendor community.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“In some industries where digital is transforming production and distribution, like media and publishing, digital strategy is an operational issue. But for everyone else, digital strategy should be woven into overall marketing strategy. Companies need to be careful not to draw another line across the marketing organization with digital. It must be tightly coordinated with non-digital activities, because convergence is not only occuring within digital in terms of social, mobile, web, email, etc., but it is coming together in single platforms with unified analytics. It is also happening between the digital and non-digital worlds. Mobile point of sale, showrooming, and clientelling are all good examples. Customers experience brands in all mediums and are highly sensitive to inconsistencies and discontinuity. Design digital around the customer just like the rest of the marketing strategy.”
Question 2: You’ve been focused on doing research at the intersection of marketing and technology now for years — what do you think about the recent so-called ‘rise of the chief digital officer’?
“I think the dialogue about the role of CDO is good. It signifies the growing importance of digital and the need for digital mastery to permeate marketing at all levels. IDC predicts digital spend to be 50% of the marketing program budget for global high tech companies by 2016. Companies that hire a CDO tend to have extensive non-digital marketing activities under the CMO. If the CMO cannot manage the transition to digital or if it is just too large of a remit due to the scale of operations, a CDO is a good addition.”
Question 3: The very existence of a CDO at a company creates conflict among the CDO, CMO, and CIO. Any advice for CEOs who have to manage this troika?
“The key to managing a CMO, CDO and CIO is to have specific written responsibilities for each and a set of shared metrics related to business performance. The most fundamental decision will be how far to either side will the CDO’s responsibilities go? Are they going to be a digital marketer with program budget? Are they going drive the digital infrastructure with an IT budget? It will depend on the unique needs of an organization. If corporate IT is still in cost take-out mode, then an infrastructure CDO can help serve the dynamic needs of marketing much more effectively. If the CMO is consumed with global brand management and huge media buys, then a digital marketer would be in order. Ultimately, the three roles should have mutually exclusive but collectively exhaustive duties.”
Question 4: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
“My main mobile device is my iPhone, but I also have an iPad and Andriod phone.
My favorite apps are: Pulse, TED and Luminosity.”
Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
“To be effective, a digital leader needs outstanding skills in at least one of three areas (and good exposure to the others): 1) the technical skills specific to emerging digital channels; 2) the analytical skills needed to gain insight and optimize performance; and 3) and the ability to coordinate an increasingly specialized and fragmented workforce. You might think of those as a career progression: get exposure to digital marketing technology which will force you to develop analytical skills; then grow and expand your knowledge of both over a variety of roles: web, social, mobile, advertising, customer data management, etc. After doing this, you’ll have a strong foundation to manage each role and coordinate their activities.”