“A lifetime is too long to find out what your customer’s lifetime value is”
For some companies, it seems to be taking a lifetime to figure out how and where marketing and technology leadership will be sorted out in the digital age. I attended a great session at IRCE today, led by Jason Roussos of USGB, who shared some hard-learned lessons on establishing the role of a Chief Digital Officer – a mashup of skills and points of view we’re seeing established in many of our client organizations as well.
Jason cited a couple of great statistics that put the spotlight on some of the tension between old school marketing and old school technology teams:

“38% of CMOs don’t think much of their technology counterparts but 31% CIOs say marketing peers are ill-informed about technology

So, in this era of digital transformation, digital disruption, and digital everything what exactly does a CDO to bring this tension to happy medium? Jason cites a few responsibilities on the CDO’s desk:

  • Digital marketing strategy
  • Digital business models
  • Digital assets and data
  • User experience
  • Multichannel delivery
  • Transform business agility
  • Recruits digital talent
  • Reports to boardrooms

A great list, and if there was one area I would add it would be change management.  A great CDO is as much an internal advocate, educator, and enabler as anything else. We see the lack of alignment as the single greatest barrier to most digital transformation efforts, and the CDO who can capture the hearts and mind of her peers and colleagues – as well as her customers – is halfway there.
In reality, the CDO role is early in its evolution. The Financial Times cites that only 6% of the top 1,500 organizations have even named a CDO. But as digital-first becomes the norm and the digital business simply becomes “business,” these responsibilities will continue to become more critical and more complex.

About the Author

Jim Hertzfeld is Principal and Chief Strategist for Perficient, and works with clients to make their customers and shareholders happy through insanely great digital experiences.

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