Monu Kalsi is a the Head of Digital Zurich North America, where oversees digital marketing and digital transformation for the United States and Canada.
How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
For me, digital strategy is best described in the way you serve people online. For product-based companies, one way of ‘serving’ is creating a seamless way to get your products noticed by target customers, and then later on taking them through the whole customer journey: from first point of contact, to engagement, and then a purchase. But service isn’t done after that, just as a digital strategy shouldn’t stop post-purchase.
After the purchase is support – ensuring new and existing customers can use the product to solve their problems. In digital, this can translate to providing easy and responsive customer support channels, like FAQs, social support, email-based customer service, and more.
The same could be said for service-based businesses like SaaS platforms except, instead of marketing a product, you’re doing it for software.
If we explain digital strategy this way, using simple business concepts instead of technical terms, it will be easier for CMOs and CDOs to convince others of digital’s importance to the business. It will help them view digital as more than a techy new way to communicate online, but a lasting way to engage customers and create new multi-channel sales initiatives.
What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
I have more gadgets than I care to admit! I’m an Apple addict and have pretty much every device they rolled out, including the iPhone 6, and three versions of the iPad (Mini, Air and iPad 2).
At work, my team and I have a ‘gadget bank,’so we can test the apps and other digital assets that we create on real devices – not emulators. This way, we know exactly what our customers and readers experience across different channels, browsers, and devices.
My three favorite apps are FlipBoard, Twitter, and Whatsapp, and I use them all regularly. Beyond those three, I’m always installing and trying new apps, sometimes as many as 2-3 each week. I do this to satisfy my curiosity and investigate the latest trends in mobile user experience (UX), as this field evolves at an alarming speed.
What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?
The CDO’s role has become increasingly important as technology infiltrates every facet of the business- in sales, marketing, customer service, ecommerce, and even talent acquisition. If marketing and sales were previously the main responsibilities of the CMO, with technology in play, the CDO has to step in to ensure that marketing and sales campaigns are up-to-date and using the latest technology and techniques.
A CDO’s job involves much more than overseeing the company’s online reputation. Increasingly, CDOs are responsible for driving web-based revenue generation, as well as guiding digital’s role in processes, assets, online systems, and even customer needs analysis (big data).
What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
Find great mentors, network with people that interest you, and then carve your own path.
Be ready for change and repeated obsolescence. However experienced or widely-read you are, with new apps, programs and tools launching by the minute, it won’t be long before your up-to-date techniques are considered out-of-date.
You don’t have to be aware of every little change in the field, as it’s impossible to keep up with everything happening in digital. It is, however, important to pick a segment that excites you and learn the fundamentals of that category. From there, you can build targeted expertise in a technology, process, or industry, and a personal brand along the way.
What three publications – in any format – do you read regularly?
I read a lot but have a limited attention span for lengthy articles, so I tend to read in small doses. I regularly read Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and Advertising Age. Aside from that, I prefer aggregated outlets like FlipBoard so I don’t have to scroll through ten articles just to find one interesting headline.