Bill Bradford is the chief digital officer at Beachbody, creator of the popular P90X and Insanity home fitness products. Previously, he held senior positions at Fox, Yahoo! and AOL.
Why was the CDO position created in your organization?
A new business unit was created within Beachbody to take existing media and extend it to digital distribution. This required a new group and singular focus with a leader focused on digital technology, which is separate from the traditional eCommerce business.
How long have you been in the position?
What’s your background?
I have experience in digital product management and general management, with a blend of strategic business management and technology. I spent seven years in a digital leadership position at Fox Broadcasting prior to this job. Before that I was at Yahoo?, AOL, and Oracle, following my time as a U.S. Army Officer.
Who do you report to?
I report to the CEO.
Who are peers in the organization and how do you work most effectively with them?
The chief marketing officer (CMO), chief operating officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO) and general counsel (legal).
I work most effectively with them through collaboration, partnership, and demonstration of progress that supports the company mission, not just my individual business unit.
How is your role resourced in terms of staffing and budgets?
My group is authorized to staff up to 40 people; budgets are a healthy investment to execute on our mission.
How is your performance measured?
I am measured primarily by the number of subscribers to our on-demand service, retention rates, and average revenue per user (ARPU).
What is your most impressive accomplishment so far?
That I’ve played an important role in building a team from scratch while executing on bringing Beachbody to a digital subscription platform – within seven months on the job.
What are your key challenges?
Ensuring that the digital business supports the overall mission of the company and maximizes the opportunity without taking away from the existing business. Transforming from DVD distribution and an ownership model to a subscription model requires thinking through implications on packaging, marketing, revenue recognition, costs, etc. that requires collaboration across just about every other part of the company.
What do you think it takes to be a successful chief digital officer, and how would you say the role differs from from that of a CIO or CMO?
A successful CDO has industry relationships with digital technology and marketing companies and leaders that are different from traditional functions in tech or marketing. A CDO needs to be able to change quickly, fail fast, and respond to data-driven customer activity.
We operate in a different realm than traditional CIOs, which don’t have has much room or tolerance for testing because organizations like mine depend on their systems to function properly in so many areas of the enterprise. Their installations need to just work, and with that requirement comes a very different set of variables.
With the CMO specifically, there is definitely overlap, in that we’re both involved in digital marketing and need to be experts in reaching customers on digital platforms. It’s critical for us to be collaborative, and not territorial.