Chief Digital Officer: Here’s What 14 Experts Said You Need to Know to Grow

Dozens of chief digital officers, digital marketers, mobile marketers and other industry thought leaders took to the stage at the CDX Mobile Innovation Summit at Mobile World Congress Americas to share what they’re thinking about now, where they think the industry is headed, and what it really takes to achieve digital growth.

In this post, we’ve pulled together pearls of wisdom from 14 must-follow marketing minds. Read on for their advice about achieving more and better digital growth.

What advice do you have for brands looking to grow? Share the wealth: leave a comment here or connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn!

1) Don’t Make Users Adapt to You: Adapt to Them


Mike Vladimer, Co-Founder, IoT Studio Orange Silicon Valley:

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve been trained to have our actions match the requirements of the computer. In the future, they’ll be matching to us.”

2) Put UX, Not Channel First


Paulo Melchiori, SVP Executive Creative Director, R/GA:

“My advice to developers is don’t think about the phone or device. Think about the user experience. Find ways to create more natural interactions, and truly user-centric experiences.”

3) Be Open or Be Obsolete


Jean Turgeon, VP & Chief Technologist, Software Defined Architecture, Worldwide Sales, Avaya:

“It’s an era of open ecosystems. You have to be able to integrate different technology to transform experiences, so openness is critical. When you see companies that keep trying to resist this, it’s a trap.”

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4) Talking Will Be the Primary Way We Interact With Computers: Think About Implications for Your Brand


Sam Liang, Co-Founder & CEO, AISense:

“How often do you talk to Alexa or Siri today? You probably talk to them maybe 10 times/day. Compare that to often do you talk to humans. Voice is a natural way of interacting. Eventually people will want to be able to talk to smart assistants without having to say a hot word.”

5) Don’t Hurt Your Brand With Mobile Ads That Create a Bad CX


Devin Quinn, Digital Strategy Manager, Campari:

“People have been trained to ignore a lot of mobile ads. I’ve seen some where they’re gamified. You can only put so much lipstick on that. Just because it's viewable and onscreen doesn't mean people are watching an ad — or enjoying it.”

6) Change is Accelerating: You’ve Got to Stay in the Game


Armando Ortiz, Partner & North America Mobile Leader, IBM:

“What’s keeping me up at night is that this is the slowest moment we’re going to be in. The pace of change is just accelerating. It’s difficult to have a strong authority about what’s going to happen next, but the key thing is to participate. New tech and new ideas will always be emerging — and how they emerge and how you can take advantage of them will depend on how early you engage.”

7) Explore the Possibilities of Voice for Your Sales & Customer Service Functions


Raj Singh, EIR, SRI & CEO, LentilAI:

“The re-emergence of voice is happening: there’s been a real functional improvement. Closed captioning on YouTube is getting incredibly accurate, for example. I’m looking at two areas for voice. One is sales.There’s an emerging set of companies that analyze inside sales calls to extract keywords that determine customer sentiment — or how closely a sales rep followed prescribed sales flow. The second is customer service to determine the odds the person talking is lying, which helps with risk.”

Our CEO Brett Caine in the Harvard Business Review: “As the world becomes increasingly digital and connected, the number of potential touch points companies have with their customers is expanding — fast. To thrive in this new landscape, brands must understand that 'mobile' no longer means 'smartphone apps.'” Read his full HBR Article, “Your Mobile Strategy Can’t Just Be About Phones” >>

8) Get Better at Reading Customers' Digital Signals


Amit Ahuja, VP, Emerging Businesses, Adobe:

“I don’t see any end to the constant explosion of connected devices and what you can do with them. But how does a customer deal with that? Brands need to understand what their customer is saying, and deliver the right experience at the right time. What signals can you take in and tie back to a unified profile — and how do you manage across all of your data points?”

9) Understand How Customers Perceive Value (and Create It for Them)


Nigel Fenwick, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester:

“My formula is this: experience divided by expectations equals perceived value. So if the experience starts to change, and the expectations go up, the formula gets out of balance, and what you’ve got is lower perceived value.”

10) Focus on Creating Better Customer Connections


Tim Olson, Chief Digital Officer, KQED:

“User and usage data is the big deal for publishers. But the value of that data is in actually creating a relationship with the customer and being able to cross sell.”

11) Right-Size the Mobile Experience


Phil Easter, Head of Emerging Platforms, American Airlines:

“There’s a pact between brands and customers on mobile. You only give a little bit of information just when they need it. Don’t try to fit the dot com onto mobile.”

12) To Cross Promote Apps, Think Like a Partner & Put User Experience First


Braxton Woodham, Chief Technology Officer, Fandango:

“We talk about how to integrate our suite of apps all the time. We focus on use cases and what benefits the ecosystem and app users. In generally, we think of each of our apps as a standalone, then take responsibility for threading through data where it makes sense — for example, the Fandango app uses data from Rotten Tomatoes — like any good partner would.”

13) Think Carefully About Your App & Mobile Web Strategies & Goals


Edith Yeung, Partner, 500 Startups:

“Developers are really realistic. They will only develop things that will make money. That’s why they tend to look at iOS first: because that’s where they get paid faster. Their mindset is maximizing monetization and conversion — and that happens best in the app. That's why developers create so many mobile web experiences that are just kicking people into an app: that’s where monetization can happen.”

14) Explore How the Convergence of Beacons, Voice & AR Can Create Micro-Moment Wins


Jenny Gove, User Experience Research Lead, Google:

“I’m really excited about use cases and potential there is with beacons. Integrated with voice and AR, they’ll create the kinds of experiences that make devices so valuable to us — and hit the key moments for us in our daily lives.”

Urban Airship works with chief digital officers, mobile marketers, product managers digital marketers, and developers at the world’s leading brands to create mobile-first, customer-centric experiences that make mobile moments magic. Let’s connect and see how we can work together to help your brand create value, build deeper customer connections, and achieve digital growth.