5 Questions With… Greg Stuart of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

Greg Stuart is the Global CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, the world’s leading global non-profit trade association with 800 member companies from 50 countries around the world. Greg also serves on the board of The Advertising Council and is the former CEO and President of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?

“The best digital strategists have two approaches. First, they identify which current business or marketing strategies could be approached more efficiently or effectively using digital. Then, they identify the unique things that can be done with digital that can’t be done otherwise, and this is where the real opportunity lies and where a brand can find real gold. Within the Mobile Marketing Association board discussions, we continually discuss mobile as a means of ‘business transformation.’”

Question 2: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?

“Today, I have an iPhone 6 Plus and endure endless mocking of its oversize from my teenaged children. I’ve had everything from the iPhone, to a Blackberry, all the way back to a Motorola StarTAC flip phone in the early 90’s.

As for my favorite apps, I use Todoist for keeping myself organized and for making lists. I did a lot of research to determine which organizational app was the best, and I think Todoist is right on the mark.

Recently, I enjoyed my new Philips Hue app for controlling the LED lights that I installed in my living room over Christmas. The app allows me to use my iPhone to change the colors. I doubt that it will have a lot of on-going interest, but for now, changing the lights to suit my mood is fun. I was particularly amused to find apps to go with my Philips system.

My final favorite is not a single app, but the whole group of apps I use EVERY day to run my life, which includes United, Hilton, Nest, Evernote, Weather Company, Stocks, Dunkin Donuts Perk, Instapaper, WSJ – you get the idea. There are so many that really are critical to me on a daily basis. That’s the point.”

Question 3: What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?

“The emergence of Chief Digital Officer makes a lot of sense in today’s world when looking for competitive opportunities. It’s simple. Opportunities with the most advantage HAVE TO BE in the new areas of digital and mobile. Having people who understand the importance of digital and are able lead innovation are critical. People who are tasked (and likely overwhelmed) with other jobs that are essential to the company (e.g. marketing, sales) and who likely don’t have the combination of skills to be successful can’t be counted on to create and implement a digital strategy. This all seems obvious to me. I think the challenge, in part, is whether the company is willing to invest in this for future gains.”

Question 4: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?

“Get mobile. And get it fast.

When the world changes, you need to get there quickly and before others do. And the greatest change today in the world is clearly mobile.”

Question 5: Who has been the most influential person in your career development and why?

“There have been so many people that have helped me in my career. Broadly, I would say the most valuable thing you can do is consistently work with great people who inspire and can coach you by their example. For me, there are two people in the same role and one in a unique role that have been most influential.

Being a CEO, having a great chairman is critical to success. It’s funny, as CEO, no one else will know the company and all elements of the business like you do. However, having a chair that helps in managing the board is critical. Here, I’d highlight two great chairmen with whom I’ve worked. Shelby Bonnie, founder & CEO of CNET, was my first Chair at the IAB. He is an amazing man and was transformational to what we were able to accomplish. John Costello, President of Dunkin Brands, is my current Chair at the MMA. They both have been the right person at the right time in a critical role to me.

Additionally, I’ve had a business coach for several years and find him (her?) super valuable to my personal success. So much so, I pay for it myself. It’s the best return of any investment in my whole career. I don’t know how anyone succeeds in a high- level role without a great consigliere.”


For more information about Greg Stuart, follow him on Twitter (@gregstuart), or check him out on LinkedIn. Follow Mobile Marketing Association on Twitter (@MMAglobal) or visit www.mmaglobal.com.

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