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Rethinking Navigation for Better SEO



Image of a globe with the title SEO representing SEO practisesRethinking Navigation for Better SEO

In the new world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it’s becoming more about what you say than all of the technical ways that you say it. The new post-Panda and post-Penguin Google rankings, for example, are focused on finding subject matter experts on certain topics who are asked to write about that topic across multiple websites.

Search engines are looking for rich and varied content on your core subject within the body of your website. In our series on Search Engine Optimization, we’ve focused on how to pare down your expertise into one of a handful of keywords (or topics). Now it’s time to optimize your website navigation to help your audience find your valuable content more easily – as well as the search engines.

What is navigation?

Your site navigation, in essence, is how you choose to organize all of your content on your website. Most of us understand the concept of creating folders and directories that help organize all of our offline files. It’s no different with your website. Unfortunately, most business owners create their website navigation directory structure before they’ve created content – or thought strategically about what their core focus areas will be for that content. For example, your navigation is probably organized into the standard categories of:

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Products and Services
  • Contact Us
  • Blog

There’s nothing wrong with that structure from a user experience, but it’s not optimized for what someone might be interested in or how they may have arrived at your website. If they were searching for “wicker patio furniture,” for example, it may take the user several clicks to get there from your main home page. (“Products and Services” – Furniture – Outdoor – Patio – Wicker – that’s 4 clicks to get to the section they wanted.)

From a search engine’s perspective, it’s not much clearer. Nowhere in your navigation process do the words “wicker patio furniture” appear all in one string. (In the example above, the last page with all the search results might be called http://randomstore.com/products-and-services/furniture/outdoor/patio/wicker) If you had searched for “furniture outdoor patio wicker” (which is not how humans will normally search for things), this page might have been on the first page of your search results, since that’s how it was structured and how the search engine read it.

The Focus on Content Marketing Changes Everything

Again, these days it’s more about how helpful you are to your end audience than pushing out your products and services. Does your content answer their frequently asked questions? Does it inspire or inform them about key industry trends? Does it position you as a trusted advisor instead of a product brochure? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to rethink how you approach what the purpose of your website really is. If you do not want to change to optimize for SEO and content marketing, I promise that your competitors will.

You will always want to keep about half of the core elements in your navigation – home, about us, contact us – these are always universally used and useful to your end audience. However, the other areas should be about your core subject matter expertise and keywords – what do you want your business or your staff to be known for?

The business approach

If you want to focus on your business, try creating 2-3 areas in your navigation that sum up those core offerings you know more about than anyone else. In the example we’ve been using, I might select:

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Outdoor Living
  • Dream Kitchens
  • Clean Garden Spaces
  • Contact

Once those decisions have been made, I will want to move all of my content under one of those sections. The wicker patio furniture is moved under outdoor living, and I would continue to make sure that all sub-folders also followed a more “semantic” or natural flow (outdoor-living/patio/furniture). I would also take any blog articles or photos that were posted on the website in this area and feature them in this new Outdoor Living content section as well.

The featured expert approach

You can also poise your business around key personalities that have deep expertise in your subject matter. The risk to this approach is that unless those people are the owners of your business, you risk them building their own personal brands with your company and then leaving to build their own company (or work for a competitor). Great examples of this happen all the time; think Ty Pennington creating a whole brand from being a support carpenter on Trading Spaces. In this approach, my site navigation might change to:

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Jane Doe’s Outdoor Living
  • Dream Kitchens with John
  • Gary’s Garden Sense
  • Contact Us

Obviously in this scenario, the blog content will be more prominent in each of the sub-sections of your website. You will also want to supplement written content with rich media, such as video or photos of project work. The products that you sell will be recommended by your experts – and you will even want to go so far as to have every product have a short endorsement or story behind why it is recommended.

How this helps SEO

Organizing your content into your keywords around your subject matter expertise infuses them into every part of your website. If “outdoor living” is one of your most important keywords, every single page in that section of your website contains http://randomstore.com/outdoor-living in the URL by default. The old days of worrying about meta tags and keywords are gone – the search engines want to see the level of commitment to changing your URLs around your subject matter.

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Web Analytics Managers turning into Creative Directors



Web Analytics is a data-driven and figure-oriented discipline, yes. Web Analytics is a job profile requiring statistical exactness and data combination aspects, agreed. But what a Web Analytics Manager can also be is one of the most creative persons in the company. Recently the Harvard Business Review announced the Data Analyst to be the sexiest job in the 21st century. I partly agree. And would like to stress that being a Creative Director in combination with a Web Analyst might even be sexier … if that’s what you are looking for when talking about your role in your company.

Become a “Creative Analytics Director”

Why? In times of combining offline and online data, of adding value to a purely only focused campaign by acknowledging the impact for the offline world  or in times of data driven cultures and discussions around the smoking break or lunch time it is the duty of every Business Analyst to enrich his or her knowledge by checking in with the offline marketing world.

Have a look at one of the sexiest tasks of an offline Marketing Manager: choosing a model for the next bikini campaign for example. Well, that would be something for every marketing person, correct? It should be! At least for the Digital Analyst. And here´s why:  When planning the next shoot for the bikini promotion the offline Marketing Manager will consult his/her Model Booking Agency to check on their recommendations concerning the individual models and their selections from the current fashion line.

Then the (external or internal) Creative Director will decide on which models to use and choose them. Definitely with a big portion of subjective taste as it’s always been. This is fun! But ultimately it is wrong.

Sharing Knowledge with the Offline Marketing Team

Instead of this long used methodology the Digital Analyst should get on this stage and let the Offline Marketing Manager learn an important lesson: get more insights by looking at data! Or in other words: Data still beats Opinion.

The Analyst should be able to tell the Creative Director and the Booker of the Model Agency which models to choose. The criteria can be hair colour, size, skin colour, race or even added accessories for the shoot. Simply by checking in on the Analytics figures. Because it can all be included in the online analysis: do blond haired women sell bikinis better than brown-haired models? Do dark-skin models sell better leisure outfits? Do long-haired models sell business costumes better?

Image of two models and blonde barbie

Making money by asking the right questions and answering in a data-driven way is the Analyst’s job

To ask unusual questions and coming up with the data-driven answers is one of the main tasks of a Head of Analytics. The above is just a fashion example that by simply adding parameters of hair colour, skin colour etc. to the implementation will solve the problem of finding the right model for the next shoot. An easy way to create a unique and relevant campaign and delete gut feelings in the modelling business.

Business Success through Analytical Cleverness

A fashion customer at Webtrekk was able to increase their seasonal turnover – only for the bikini campaign – by 38% and therefore add $960,000 dollars to their revenue. How sexy does that sound?

No matter if it’s a model photo shoot or any other information that you can combine with Analytics data from the offline world use it to become a Creative Analytics Director for your business.

Collage with model in blue dress, weather map, building with american flags and binary code

Whatever Data there is – check on the relevant combination of offline data (shoots, weather, stock exchange, internal data from DWH, CRM etc.) and enrich the knowledge

And by the way: talking about the creative part in an advertising: Even good old David Ogilvy, one of the best Creative persons of the last century said, that “if an advertising does not sell, it is not creative.” But he also said: “Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.” Although he did not even have a clue about the testing possibilities around Web Analytics and the digital world.

Back to the models and their “value”: There will be a time when models walk around at castings showing their personal Online Revenue Dashboards and not just their latest Hawaii beach photos. It will happen. 

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How to link your blog articles to your G+ profile



We reckon that most of the Web Analytics World audience were early adopters with Google Authorship, however we recently received a request to show how to set it up and felt it was a good time to update our video guide.

Our five minute video walks you through both set up routes:

  1. For when your G+ email matches the website domain that your content is published on
  2. When you are guest blogging or when your email isn’t the same as your website domain

So if you’ve just never gotten round to it, grab a coffee and get the process started today. If you have any questions please do reach out to me in comments and we’ll try to help you get it working!

 

Image of a DVD indicating there is a video to watchVideo Transcript

Introduction

Google Authorship refers to the two way connection between:

  • Websites linking blog articles to the relevant author’s Google+ Profile
  • Authors linking their Google+ Profiles to the articles they write.

This is possible both when the author writes for their own blog and when they guest post on other websites and blogs.

The end product is seen in search results where Google can display the author’s profile picture and a link to the author’s Google+ page. This can improve the click through rates for your articles … think about a search results page, the pictures + text usually win out against plain text by drawing the web searcher’s eye to the profile picture and allowing them to quickly spot articles by known authors or industry leaders.

This video aims to provide an overview of how to get Google Authorship working for both your own website and for when you guest blog on other websites.

Google+ Preparation
The first step is to get your Google+ account ready:

  1. You want to use the same name on your G+ account that will be shown in the author name on websites
  2. Get a profile pic on there with a clear, recognisable headshot of you the person, (not your company logo)
  3. Check how your profile looks to others, add in relevant information and make sure the privacy settings are showing / hiding everything you want.

If your email matches the website domain
If you have an email address that matches the website domain you content is on, you can follow the steps described on this page:

https://plus.google.com/authorship

It really is as simple as adding your email and clicking “Sign up for Authorship” but I would highlight that at this point you may want to return to the privacy settings and make your email private.

When you are writing for other websites or your email does not match the website domain

For guest blogging or when your email address does not match the website domain you are writing for, you can still get Google Authorship working by linking your content to your G+ profile using this line:
Google+

Replace your profile URL with your Google+ profile, you will find your profile URL by visiting your G+ page, mine looks like this as I set it up before vanity URLs came out:

Angela Wilkinson G+ Author link

I could also use my vanity URL and it would still work:

G+ Author link with Vanity URL

Different content management systems allow you to do this in different ways, the key point is that each blog article is marked as belonging to an individual author.

In WordPress we used to add this link in the author bio’s for their user account as this bio is shown on every blog post and in each author’s archive page. Nowadays WordPress provides a G+ profile field in each user’s account where you just enter your profile URL.

The link tags my blog articles with the rel=author tag which connects it up with my G+ profile and brings this information into search results.

If we didn’t use a CMS which provided a G+ field , or an author bio field, we could just add a line of content to each post and add the relevant Google+ link there.

My final step is in this process is to jump back to my Google+ profile, go to the About page and edit the links section. In here I am going to add the URL of my author archives or the website address where my content can be found.

How do you know it is working?
If it is set up correctly and Google believes that showing your G+ profile pic will be useful to web visitors, you will start to see your G+ pic in search results against your articles.

Remember though, if you have locked down your G+ account so it is not discoverable in search results – you won’t get your profile picture showing.

Google started to send out “Welcome to Google Authorship” emails towards the end of 2012, so you should also receive an email and while you are waiting for this you can use the structured testing tool to see if Google can see your rel=-author.

Resources:

 Still can’t get it working? – Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help!

 

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Strong SEO Keywords are Key



The world of SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about helping the search engines find websites with expertise on what the user is searching for. The old world of search engine indexing focused on a series of computer codes that lived “behind the scenes” on your website and had names like meta tags, meta keywords, and meta descriptions. It was considered normal to repeat about 20 of the same keywords over and over on your entire website in order to “tell” the search engines that your website should be on the first page of search results for those keywords. However, this kind of behavior can get your website penalized in the new search landscape – so what do you need to know to make sure your site is ready for the new rules?

 Choosing the right keywords

Today’s SEO is all about subject matter expertise. Your first step should be to audit all the keywords you have competed on in the past. If, like most businesses that have internal SEO experts or have done business in the past with an SEO consultant, you have a long list of around 20 keywords, you need to pare those down. Best practice in the new search engine world is to narrow it down to no more than 3-4 topics. For example, you might have a long list like this (if you own a local coffee shop):

coffee shop coffee bakery coffee shop coffee bakery bakery and coffee shop
bakery on the main coffee shop bakery main st bakery music coffee shops
bakery on main street coffee and bakery shop coffee shop and bakery bakery main street
coffee house coffee mobile coffee shop coffee shop in main bakery
coffee shop franchise coffee shops in coffee shop coffee shop main street coffee shop

However, not all of those terms are going to be great at driving traffic to your website. In order to understand how best to get the list down to the top three terms, go to Google’s AdWords, select tools in the menu option and then Keyword Planner (used to be called Keyword Tools):

KeywordToolPlanner

Then enter your list of keywords into the search box along with your site information:

KeywordSearch1

Once you click on the blue “search” box, you’ll get back a list of results that look like this:

KeywordSearchResults_KeywordPlannerTool

The trick is to find high-volume, low competition keywords to foxus on. The “Local Monthly Searches” column tells you how many United States searches happen on those keywords every month. The “Competition” column tells you how many other businesses (like yours) are trying to rank on those exact same terms.

Based on the analysis we get back, we decide the best three terms are: coffee shop coffee, coffee shops in, and coffee bakery. (Keep in mind there is no one “right” answer, I’m choosing those three because I want to focus on my main product which is coffee, optimize for my local audience by focusing on my location, and also get more traffic for my baked goods.) The three that look best to you (where you are an expert) should be the three that you pick.

What if I don’t know which keywords are right for me?

If you aren’t sure which keywords best describe your business, you can use this same tool. Instead of cutting and pasting a list into the box above, put your website into the website box:

KeywordSearch

 For this exercise, make sure you check the “only show ideas closely related to my search terms” box before clicking on “search.” Google will then display a list of relevant keywords it has detected on your website in the list below. You’ll go through the exact same exercise of finding 3-4 that best describe your business’ main focus areas.

Implementing those keywords on your website

Once you have your short list of 3-4 key terms, then take a critical look at all of the writing on your website. If you find that you use the same terms more than twice on any page, delete redundant terms. Try to make sure every page of your website mentions at least one of the three keywords you have chosen. An example is below: 

A comparison of current text with SEO optimised text

Also, make sure your writing sounds natural – again, don’t sound like a robot or machine by repeating the same terms over and over. If it doesn’t make sense to you when you read it out loud, you probably shouldn’t have it in your website copy.

This article focuses on getting the right keywords and eliminating all the writing you may have on your website that doesn’t focus on those subjects. The next step is to restructure your content in your navigation to reflect these changes, which we will cover in the next issue.

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Everyone is an Analyst



Three men working on a project together using computers

Get a deeper understanding of data through real-time collaboration.

When I go back home to New York, I no longer have to tell family and friends that “I do web design.” A white lie told over the years to avoid explaining my job in analytics. What’s changed? The conversations over meals:

  • Bagels with a schmear of Adwords. A relative asks me how to spend a $100 credit from Google.
  • Sushi rolls wrapped in revenue. A friend speaks about redesigning a website and how she achieved a 50% revenue growth for her client (she still didn’t get paid – such can be the plight of freelance website designers).
  • Cocktails with a splash of engagement. The same friend wonders aloud, “What does it mean for BuzzFeed to report on their engagement metrics?”

Suddenly there is broad consensus that doing business requires analytics.

At Digitaria, our creative team says, “everyone is creative” and “a creative idea can come from anyone.” Let’s flip that around to say, “everyone is an analyst,” and “deeper understanding through data analysis can come from anyone.”

In our big data world, “trust your gut” is losing its resonance. Edward Tufte, a pioneer in data visualization, recently tweeted:

 Previously, non-analysts banked on their experience and instinct to inform decisions. They leaned away from the data. Reports went unopened. Analysts had to devise ways to independently understand fluctuations in website data:

  • Analysts watched TV. To shed light on social, search and website usage trends that are correlated with a TV commercial airing.
    • Without prior knowledge of any website references (URL, social icon, search term and/or hashtag) used in the commercial, the analyst jotted them down.
    • Without a schedule for which commercials aired when, the analyst backed into a schedule to correlate the impact of a TV commercial airing with how people acted online.
  • Analysts surfed the web. To capture campaign banner ad screenshots.
    • Without confirmation of the banner ad designs, the placements (which sites the banner ads lived on), or landing pages (the pages the banner ads linked to) used in the campaign, the analyst pieced together a representative customer journey through their personal observations.

Analysts also had to devise sneaky ways to encourage interest in the the deeper understanding of the data: aka the what, the so what and the now what. The very same tactic that content marketers use to gain consumer interest in products attracted content marketer interest in campaign performance. Analysts made infographics.

Times have changed. Instead of leaning out, everyone is leaning in for a deeper understanding of the data. Marketers are obsessed with “big data” and have an unquenchable thirst for interpretations of it. Analysts are developing new processes to improve their interpretations by capitalizing on the popularity of data. Here’s how:

    • Analysts access and share information in real-time. A few monitors displaying a few data sources is a sufficient beginning for a real-time data hub. Contributions come from the brand, the agencies and the analysts. Spotlight all of the data – not just social media data. Audience triggers, industry news, search trends, the weather, the traffic (whatever will enhance understanding) is included. Why this works:
      • Using real-time data as fast content.
      • Grabbing attention and helping focus decisions around campaign purpose and impact.
      • Sharing external factors that influence campaigns.
      • Representing everyone’s data.
    • Analysts get deep meaning from data through collaboration. Real-time data is helpful in the short-term, but for long-term studies additional rigor must be applied to understand business impact and actions required. Starting with a research question, such as, “how did our campaign do?” – everyone comes to the table to share information that will shed light on the business impact behind the data. The analysis is better because everyone buys into it, and faster because together actions can be decided. Here’s who is sitting together at the table:
      • The brand brings the original creative idea.
      • The agencies bring details on their activation strategies and executions.
      • The analysts bring the data.
    • Analysts reuse their data models. Creating reusable code libraries, templates and models makes reporting portable and scalable. Analysts set expectations for consistency in their approach by developing repeatable solutions. If a model worked once, it can be adapted and applied in different circumstances.

When I submitted my college thesis as a website (pre-Kozmo), my professors did not yet have internet connections at home. Now, popular culture and news stories are punctuated with digital data facts and figures. Analytics is part of water cooler conversations. Everyone is an analyst.

How about you? Have you noticed increased attention towards analytics among the non-analysts in your life?

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A Surge in Portal User Adoption – Get the Intranet Buzzing



SharepointIntranet

Image courtesy of www.lumaxart.com via Flickr

Encountering hundreds of Social Media discussions daily about how to increase portal user adoption seems almost banal to me some days. It’s about as common as breathing air for companies that are looking for ways in which they can revive their intranet usage and draw their users back in.  

Identifying the Gap – User Adoption Versus SharePoint Acquisition

What’s happened or changed in the last decade or so that has caused users to go astray and made them think that their portals just weren’t the destination for knowledge, resources and assistance that they thought they were? If over 20,000 workers have joined the ranks of SharePoint users, and Microsoft’s market research tells us that 78 percent of Fortune 500 companies are SharePoint users, then where’s the gap?

Identify Your Business Goals, Analyze, and Create a Plan.

Understanding a user’s needs, investing in training and tools that help maximize portal usability and actively encouraging user adoption makes all the difference. For starters, employees need to understand that SharePoint is an integral tool that is and should be a part of their daily activities.

Providing users with a concrete user adoption program converts them from passive to active users and allows them to see the system as an all-encompassing tool, rather than merely for file sharing. Starting out with a training program, workshops, and reaching out to SharePoint evangelists can all drive user adoption.  But after all that said and done which issues will commonly hold back user adoption?

Search No More! Making SP Search Your Friend, Not Foe.

If we want to identify commonly found issues that stump users we can begin with search fails as a logical starting point.  Failed searches can easily jar and jade users from even the hope that there’s a chance their intranet will give them what they need. 

Realistically, the only way you’ll ever know if you have repeated failed searches for the same information is with a documented record of analyzed portal activity; collecting one complaint after the other through word of mouth and delayed deadlines quickly becomes time consuming and decreases efficiency.  How do I come about such a lovely gem, you may ask? Easy: Analytics.

Identifying Failed Search with Analytics – and Then Optimize!

Failed Search Reports from a web analytics tool can provide an indication of where user adoption dropout rates are coming from, pointing to how many times a word, document or idea were searched, by whom, during which periods of time, and how these statistics may have changed with identical searches from one period of time to the next.  

Graph screenshot of failed vs successful internal searches


The above screenshot shows Successful vs Failed Searches from CardioLog Analytics, a Sharepoint tool.
Click image to be taken to the CardioLog Website

 

In his article on “SharePoint 2013: Fast Search Features Drive Enterprise Productivity,” Himanshu Sharma discusses the importance of saving time with Sharepoint 2013’s Search Capabilities now leveraged, such that SP 2013 “builds a single repository of index which allows users to provide a single enterprise search center experience and avoid the need for going to different applications to search for the same type of information.”

When you have the tools to make an optimal search experience, being proactive and efficient is easy. With users now able to index content from multiple site collections and new features like query syntax, query suggestions and a results preview pane, the SharePoint 2013 system could mean an increase in productivity and the acquisition of faster and more accurate search results. 

All that’s left is finding out how to fill in the gaps and when something has been missed that several people may be looking for.  Ultimately, it’s knowing what your users are searching for that allows you to maximize the use of your tools to improve your portal.  With crucial data that you collect from a powerful web analytics tool, Failed Search Reports, or search phrase reports, you can:

  • Identify which pages are clicked on
  • Learn what documents are actually used for which purposes and by who
  • Pinpoint interrelated search usage
  • People search usage
  • Can present users with segmented, customized search results 
Screenshot of Internal Search Phrase results


The above screenshot shows the Internal Search Phrase Report from CardioLog Analytics, a SharePoint Analytics tool.
Illustrating recent search phrases, frequency of search, results yielded, clicks and position.
Click image to be taken to CardioLog website.

 

Optimizing Your Portal – Then Increase User Adoption.

Find out what’s being searched, optimize portal design to improve search and content accessibility, and help your users feel that they’re an integral part of the organization’s portal community. If they feel their search is irrelevant, they might start to feel their task at hand is also seen that way, and that’s the opposite effect you want an intranet to have on its users. It’s intended to help, not discourage users. Making relevant changes to improve productivity will encourage their sense of relevancy and significance to the duty at hand.  Your intranet then becomes a destination for users, not an overlooked tool collecting dust, avoided for its redundancy.

For those of you using SharePoint 2013 how do you like the platform? Any tools you use that make your portal that much more awesome? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Sources:

How to drive Sustainable SharePoint Adoption in your Organization

SharePoint Social vs Yammer with User Interface, Looks can Kill

SharePoint 2013: Fast Search Features Drive Enterprise Productivity

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The Real Power of a Chief Digital Officer



Only some months ago no one really knew or had ever heard of the job function Chief Digital Officer or “CDO”, at least in Europe this job function is quite rare. Nowadays more and more enterprise companies are starting to hire candidates for this position. What do you need to take care of when searching for a perfect fit? What to take into account when it comes to reporting and team building? Here’s some advice to get an integrated and recognized CDO into place.

CDOImage

Profile – What does this person need to be?

  • We have seen a lot of new hires for this Chief Digital Officer position – so let us first have a look at the current candidates who took over this task.
    • McDonald´s the CDO role is filled by a former General Manager of Kindle/Amazon
    • At Axa Insurance the CDO was a former Global Business Development Manager at Colgate
    • New York State hired a CDO who worked as CEO of a citizen journalism platform.

Only three random examples already show that there is no clear CV structure for a role such as the CDO. So, what is it all about? Let me tell you: Digital Understanding and Management Skills. That is all – and yet that is so hard to get. We could break down those two main aspects into more detailed functions like responsibility for digital marketing campaigns, digital consumer experience, social media expertise, managing the online team etc. but with the two strong arguments of Digital Understanding and Management Skills all is said.

Decisions – What are their responsibilities?

  • So, what are the responsibilities? Even if we were not able to define it, we can all agree it will be a growing responsibility for sure. Tomorrow, in the next year, in 5 years the spectrum will grow. The team will grow, the relevance of the digital channel will grow (further). He/she has to have the full power of all communication channels and marketing channels. If you compare this responsibility to the tasks of the “normal” Marketing Director or CMO, the CDO is surely more advanced and on a higher hierarchy level.

Reporting – Who does the CDO report to? Who reports to them?

  • Well, the CMO should definitely report to the CDO. Although not all aspects are relevant for the CDO´s task (such as Event Management, classic PR, Sponsoring) the CDO has to know them all and include them in the digital channels and digital landscape. The CDO should – per C-Level definition – report to the CEO directly, not to the CTO, not to the CIO.

Team – Who are the main team members to support success?

  • The CDO’s main team members are:
    • Head  of Analytics
    • Head of Communication/PR
    • Head of Online Marketing
    • Head of eCommerce

And the Head of Analytics should report directly to the CDO, not to the Head of Online Marketing or CMO. This is the only chance to get real time figures and enable real time decisions in the digital atmosphere and to create a data-driven culture in a company: From the CEO down to every hierarchical level.

The Chief Digital Officer needs to be one of the most visionary characters in the company and in the Executive Team. Yes, the CEO should have that ability to, but less so the CIO or CFO. The CDO needs to be two steps ahead in his/her vision and the targets for the company and department.

A Definition attempt

According to Russell Reynolds the CDO “oversees the full range of digital strategies and drive change across the organization”. According to Gartner the CDO is “an individual who helps a company drive growth by converting “analog” businesses to digital ones, and oversees operations in the rapidly changing digital sectors as well as “wild” web-based information management and marketing”.

Both not 100% complete or correct in my point of view. Why would the CDO need to drive change across the organization? Yes, the digital channels are new and most of the employees around the CDO are not familiar with it, but this will change over a certain period of time, so there is no strong need to drive change. The second definition states that the CDO helps a company. No, the CDO should help his or her company, not a company – because this role needs to be embedded in the Executive level and  therefore can not be an external consultant. And does the CDO have to convert analog business in digital business? Again no: some analog business can only exist in the analog channel and is very well positioned in there. Like Events or congresses etc.

Let me try:

“The Chief Digital Officer is an Executive Team Member who manages the company`s digital touchpoints and educates about digital developments as well as actively influences the digital and analog future of the company.”

CDOPyramid

P.S. And by the way: I partly have to repeat my blog article from June 2010 – asking for a CONO (Chief Online Officer)

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