5 Questions with Stephen Gogolak of Boston Private

Stephen Gogolak is the Vice President of Digital Marketing & Client Experience at Boston Private.

How do you define ‘digital strategy’?

It hinges on how you define “digital” in the first place. To me, going digital is the infusion of technology in all parts of business to establish connective tissue between seemingly disparate teams and processes. When digital tools are used, they can certainly bring greater efficiency, process and experience to the users, but they also offer the chance to connect to other digital tools to enhance the relevance of each system to the overall business. In marketing, digital tools started out as siloed applications, each enhancing a marketers ability to execute in a more timely, targeted and relevant fashion. Today, the value is more in connecting the tools to each other so that you can analyze data across tools and bring context across systems.

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

I have an iPhone 6. I used to have an iPad, but my son has claimed that as his at this point. I spend a lot of time in LinkedIn Pulse and LinkedIn, which I find the best source of relevant business news. Financial Aggregation is also hot right now and I’ve used Mint for a while to track daily budgets, but I’ve also started using a few others to compare how they work and what sort of experience the robo advisors are creating. And of course the obsession that is Facebook.

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

I think it is a reflection of the importance of digital transformation. Clearly different companies have positioned the role in different ways, but broadly speaking it is an acknowledgement that a paper-based business just won’t last long in today’s environment. Ultimately, it is also a recognition that digital is pervasive across all aspects of an organization. Good CIOs have known this for a long time and positioned IT not as a passive service center, but as a strategic leader. They were the original Chief Digital Officers, driving business strategy in close alignment with technology. To me, the CDO role represents an amalgamation of Operations, IT and Corporate Strategy; a three-legged stool of XQ, IQ and EQ that, when combined into a single person, is a very powerful agent of change.

What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?

For me, the magic has always been “in the middle.” What I mean is that singular focus and deep knowledge are important, but not nearly as important as understanding how all of the parts related to one another. Most people tend to out blinders on, consciously or subconsciously, and don’t want to have to figure out how their puzzle piece fits in. Digital professionals are all different. They thrive on the connections. My advice is to always be looking in between, keeping a bigger picture in mind.

What three publications – in any format – do you read regularly? ​​

The only pub that I get in hard format anymore is Harvard Business Review and I spend a fair amount of time reading through the entire issue. I also read Business Week, but I do that through the iPhone app. Business Week has paid particular attention to the user experience and I really enjoy the weekly video that describes how they arrived at the cover image. It’s a fun peek into their process. Beyond those two, I will pick up whatever happens to flow through LinkedIn, which I find the best way to stay current and alert me to something I need to do more research on.


For more information on Stephen Gogolak, connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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