Kurt is the senior vice president of marketing and corporate development at AnchorOps, a software firm that helps customers streamline their media payment and financial management processes. He recently joined the company from Courion, where he was the vice president of strategy.
1. How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
I believe a digital strategy is one that looks at digital from the perspective of the entire business. This goes beyond using digital to improve marketing and the customer experience, but how digital impacts every aspect of the business including how companies interact with their clients, improve R&D, and even how digital can enable new revenue streams. The digital strategy needs to encompass how to reinvent the marketing activities in light of the new digital experiences our customers have with our businesses.
2. What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
I’m on the Apple bandwagon. I have an iPhone 6 and an iPad. My three favorite apps (other than email and calendar) are,
1) Noteshelf – I’m a prolific note taker and having them now available to me in a way to better organize, share, and re-use has made my business life easier
2) Waze – I hardly use my in-car GPS anymore; I like to see what the traffic experience will be and which route to use
3) Yelp – As a frequent traveler and food lover it has found me more great places to eat that I never would have found on my own
3. What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?
I believe the Chief Digital Officer is an absolutely critical role. While finding the right people may not be easy, having the kind of person with the technology and business skills to weave digital into the core business strategy is vital and presents an opportunity for companies to truly distinguish themselves. Even though digital is driven by technology, the role is different from a CIO and not as much concerned with the infrastructure and availability of data and more concerned with exactly how the data is being used. Meanwhile, they also have to go beyond looking at digital only from a brand and advertising standpoint like the CMO, and see digital across the entire business and its impact on customer behavior. It requires an innovative type who enjoys keeping up with the ever-evolving landscape.
4. What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
Make friends fast. This includes those in the company and outside. There are so many different views of what digital strategy means that getting everyone across the company on track is a difficult task. But, it’s critical to get the cross company buy-in and enable strong collaboration to ensure the digital strategy is woven into the overall company strategy. In addition, given how few and far between the CDO is today, finding friends from other companies in a similar role, or working with experts in the consulting and pundit ranks, will help greatly in the ever-evolving role. Learning from others successes and mistakes can be a great resource for someone taking on the CDO role in their organization for the first time.
5. What three publications – in any format – do you read regularly?
1) Wall Street Journal – still my go-to source for understanding what’s going on in the world of business and beyond
2) Sports Illustrated – still my favorite read
3) Wine Spectator – no need to explain