Ron Belanger is the GM, Americas, Social.com – which is part of Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. He’s held senior digital positions for the past 15 years at companies like Adobe, Yahoo! and Carat. Ron is a panelist at CDO’s upcoming executive roundtable in Charlotte.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“Digital strategy is your game plan for how you send customers on a journey with your brand. Marketing-led businesses are driving innovation in digital strategy. Every marketer is in the business of business re-invention, and companies have to come up with their future, not just campaigns. The best companies innovate with customers.”
Question 2: What are the three most significant digital trends that will define 2014?
“The customer journey is the biggest trend that will define 2014. The best companies plan messages based on interactions, creating a digital journey for consumers. Companies need to provide help when and where the customer wants it.
Another digital trend that will define 2014 is data. Data drives relevancy. Relevancy drives business results.
The third trend I see is mobile continuing to rise. As smartphone adoption grows at an unparalleled rate, brands that create the most interactive, personalized experiences for apps and overall mobile campaigns will capture consumer attention and secure a prominent place in consumers’ everyday lives.”
Question 3: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
“I have different devices for different applications. For work, I use both an iPhone 5s and an iPad. Best apps for those devices would include Salesforce1, where I can approve deals, get forecasts, and the like – all from my device. As I travel each and every week, I am reliant on the travel apps from my mos- used travel vendors, such as Delta, American Airlines and Amtrak.
On nights and weekends, I do a bit of gaming on my Motorola Xoom, usually with one of my two kids. Favorites there include Angry Birds Star Wars, Let’s Golf 3, Paper Toss 2.0 and various pinball emulators that mimic my favorite tables.”
Question 4: What do you think of the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer role?
“The emergence of the Chief Digital Officer is an interesting concept. The CDO is not an IT director, but it’s also not a marketing director – it’s something in between. It’s someone that in the same conversation can discuss content strategy, analytics, online advertising, infrastructure, data and social media.
Trends are emerging in how companies plan to connect with customers. In our recent ExactTarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing Survey, we found that two thirds of marketers around the world plan to increase investments in digital marketing in 2014. Additionally, 86% of marketers believe social marketing efforts will or do provide ROI. Digital is constantly changing, and the best companies are innovating with customers in real time to keep up.”
Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
- The best companies innovate with customers.
- Data drives relevancy. Relevancy drives business results.
- Marketing-led businesses are driving innovation.
- Every marketer is in the business of business re-invention.