5 Questions With… Lee Huang of Barnes & Noble / NOOK Media

Lee Huang is the Global Director, Product Management and Publishing Solutions at Barnes & Noble / NOOK Media. Before joining the Nook product team, he was a director of digital strategy at NBC Universal, and previously held a similar role at Nielsen. Lee is a panelist at CDO’s upcoming executive roundtable in New York City.

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

“A digital strategy defines a company’s digital vision, articulates their goals, and provides clear direction on what needs to be done across the organization and how to successfully execute everything in an integrated and coordinated fashion.

A digital strategy is comprised of 5 core components:

  • Business: revenue model (eg. subscriptions, product sales, ad sales, sponsorships, affiliates, licensing, membership), partnerships, competitive advantages, market landscape, competitive landscape, US/international, etc
  • Product: customer experience, platforms, visual design, innovative features that are differentiators, user personas, ecommerce, partner integration, community, social, loyalty/rewards, gamification, customer conversion, etc
  • Technology: scalable/extensible technical architecture, high performance databases and systems, reusable and optimized code, fast search with optimized SERP, consolidated content/asset management system, security, etc
  • Marketing: customer acquisition, advertising, promotions, social, offers (surprise and delight, bundles), digital/physical integration, digital out of home, product placement, community, analytics, etc
  • Operations: finance, legal, production, customer service, fulfillment, etc

If a company is a traditional business, then its digital strategy also needs to integrate and augment the traditional part of the business. If done successfully, a traditional business with a robust digital strategy will not just survive but thrive. By combining the digital and physical worlds it should create synergies.

A Chief Digital Officer should be knowledgeable and experienced in these areas and clearly understand how they all fit together in order to ensure that the right strategy for a successful execution. The Chief Digital Officer also needs to be able to speak the language of the different disciplines in order to bring all stakeholders together and agree on both the goals and strategy to execute.”

Question 2: What are the three most significant digital trends that will define 2014?

  • Social Commerce
  • Content Marketing/Native Advertising
  • Natural User Interfaces (NUI)

Question 3: What are your three favorite apps?

  • Chess by Mastersoft Mobile Solutions – great chess engine that allows me to pick my opponent’s rating so I am continually improving
  • Flixster – a single place that provides all the information I need to find on the next fun film to watch
  • Roku – makes it much easier to search for shows using the app compared to the Roku remote

Question 4: What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?

“I think its very important that this role has emerged because digital is core to every business.

As its a new role and still in very early days, finding people who have the right experience, perspective and skill sets to do the job properly will continue to be a challenge.”

Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?

“The digital world is an amazing world to be in because those who are in it are often at the forefront of creating the future. Digital brings together many different disciplines so there are always new things to learn and explore.

I advise aspiring digital professionals to just jump in. The technology is widely available to everyone – set up an account, build something, try it out, and learn first hand. Your experiences will build on itself and you’ll have a great time doing it.”


For more information about Lee Huang, visit the Barnes & Noble website or check him out on LinkedIn.

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