Tom Hubbard is the Director of Digital Marketing at Kaspersky Lab, the $600+ million IT security company. He manages global digital marketing initiatives including SEO, SEM, Media and analytics, for both the B2C and B2B lines of business.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“The word ‘digital’ covers so many things that I am not sure if there is a difference between ‘digital strategy’ and ‘strategy’ anymore. But in the interest of pinning it down, I would break digital strategy down into three parts:
1. User Experience: How do you craft a user experience across all digital channels to meet the goals of both the business and your audience?
2. Data: How do you leverage data for a competitive advantage, to make smarter and faster business decisions, and anticipate changing audience behaviors?
3. Infrastructure: How do you build an underlying infrastructure that maximizes the value of your staff, your reach in the market, and your organizational efficiency?”
Question 2: What are the three biggest digital trends that will define 2014?
“For hardware, I see continued growth in wearables. The idea of turning your body into data that can be analyzed and optimized is fascinating and has enormous positive implications in health/fitness and medical care. I am not sure how quickly this market will expand in 2014 given available products and current price points, but the long-term opportunity here for many industries is incredible.
For data, I think we will see a bit of a reality check on ‘big data’. That was the hot topic in 2013 but I think most companies are realizing that the reason all this data has been fragmented is that it is really, really difficult to consolidate a continually expanding data-set and then even harder to actually do something with it. For many companies, I see steps toward expanding the data available, particularly at the program level where immediate impact can be seen, but settling short of the ‘big data’ aspirations of comprehensive data consolidation.
For digital marketers in general, I think the biggest trend is privacy and its implications. Consumers’ value of privacy is clearly on the rise, as is consumers’ awareness of their data and the value of their data to others, both of which present major challenges to marketers. The one trend I hoped we would see heading into this year, but I am not sure we will, is for DMPs [digital management platforms] to start fulfilling their potential. There is a lot of value currently on the digital media side, but the long-term opportunities of real-time segmentation and targeting across all channels could change how we operate as marketers. I am not sure these platforms would get there as stand-alones, so the recent acquisitions of companies like Aggregate Knowledge and BlueKai will hopefully allow DMPs to start integrating with other marketing platforms, though I am not sure it is realistic to expect that in 2014.”
Question 3: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
“Two iPhones (separation of ‘church and state’) and an iPad.
My favorite apps are fairly pedestrian. Twitter is where I get most of my news and information. Skype is immensely valuable because I work in a global team and it is by far the most efficient way for all of us to communicate. Netflix is perhaps the most valuable because in the hands of my children it can buy my wife and I 15 minutes of peace and quiet.”
Question 4: What do you enjoy most about being a digital professional? And dislike?
“I enjoy the constant change. New opportunities and new challenges emerge so frequently, it is impossible to get complacent. I like that being a digital professional requires you to constantly evolve yourself and expand your knowledge.
I dislike that the constant change sometimes comes at the expense of focus. There is always a new shiny bauble, and one of the skills every digital marketer needs to learn is how to sift through the massive amounts of things constantly getting thrown at him or her, to figure out what is really important.”
Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
“First – do as many different things as you can in your first 10 years. Move between client-side, agency-side, and consulting-side environments. Get exposure to different ways of thinking, ways of approaching challenges, and business models. Work for different types of managers, and with different types of teams. You will then enter your second decade of working with the ability to think holistically, execute in various environments and the strong interpersonal skills that are necessary to advance your career.
Second – always think about the ROI of your employment to your employer. Constantly look for ways to improve your value to the organization. Learn to be diligent about focusing your time toward delivering against business goals. Over time, this will help you build an incredible story for future employers and train you for success in whatever position you are in down the road.
Third – make sure you enjoy your work. If you don’t, it is better to make a change early in your career. Life is infinitely better when you enjoy your job.”