9 Things Every Chief Digital Officer Should Do

Let say you’re online business owner or manager. Your digital marketing could be good, bad or ugly. But it’s still of utmost importance, and depends on you and your online marketing team. The speed of your company’s growth depends on Chief Digital Officer or CDO, and his or her personal qualities and professionalism.

CDOs are sometimes called “Chief Data Officer” implying that digital marketing is always based on detailed data analysis. Sure, there are certain differences between these titles, but both roles are ultimately committed to deriving business value from big data in today’s digital world.

So, what should a Chief Digital Officer do for your business?

Team Hiring and Leading

Building a team doesn’t happen overnight. It takes strategic thinking and careful planning to maximize team effectiveness and a Chief Digital Officer should start with building a strong team before moving forward.

CDO should:

  • Find and attract the right people
  • Build and scale teams of inbound specialists, social media specialists, analysts and advertisers
  • Motivate and engage each member of the team

Change Management

Moving forward always involves change, and that’s why the first thing your Chief Digital Officer should do is make a plan of things that should or SHOULDN’T be changed. No matter what the scale of the change is. Even the smallest of changes can lead to a high level of success, and shouldn’t be neglected.

A CDO should test any hypotheses their team has, and the speed of implementing change matters. Pushing the tempo of their team’s testing will lead to a high speed of success. You’ll be surprised how much things you’ve got done!

The kinds of changes a Chief Digital Officer should be able to manage:

  • Rebranding or Restyling
  • Website Redesign & Relaunch
  • Business Process Optimisation & Automatisation

Search  Engine Optimisation

Well, sometimes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) looks and feels like some kind of shamanism. I mean it can often seem arcane and obscure. SEO gurus use unique jargon, and you’ll need someone who can translate the jargon to terminology you can understand.

However, watch out when focusing on external optimisation strategies. Your CDO can turn out to be a “Black Hat” SEO adept, which can do more harm than good and actually hinder your site’s rankings. That kind of SEO could literally draw a deadly target mark for Google on your “site’s back”.

In the field of SEO, a Chief Digital Officer should:

  • Choose effective optimisation strategy
  • Set goals for effective Internal Optimisation
  • Build and implement strategies for external optimisation 

Context and Media Advertising

Even if your goods / services skyrocket, you’ll still need effective advertising to maximise your success. Your Chief Digital Officer, then, should be aware of advertising tools and their most optimal practices and uses.

CDO should:

  • Set up, launch and optimise advertising campaigns on search, partners, and display networks.
  • Manage ads and banners creation. Perform A/B (split) testing
  • Plan and manage remarketing campaigns
  • Launch and scale context ad campaigns
  • Optimise costs

E-mail Marketing

Some businesses approach e-mail marketing aggressively: they’ll spam emails literally every day, in the hope that the recipient purchases their product. The truth, however, is if you’re not using an analytical and scientific approach, your messages won’t even be opened.

A skilled Chief Digital Officer should:

  • Plan, set up and launch newsletters (A-Z)
  • Plan and launch trigger event-based e-mail chains
  • Design, markup, and create templates for e-mail messages
  • Create and support automated product e-mails

Price Aggregator and Marketplace Operations

When looking at “ground operations”, a Chief Digital Officer should have a clear understanding of the capabilities and limitations of online distribution platforms, where people analyse, make comparisons, and make buying decisions.

CDO should manage:

  • Large and average size price aggregators placement
  • ROI tracking and optimisation
  • Payments
  • Logistics and delivery

Teaser Network Marketing

You may use traffic from teaser networks in your marketing. A valuable asset for your Chief Digital Officer to have would be experience with those tools.

  • Choosing and briefing providers
  • ROI tracking and optimisation
  • Social Media Marketing and Community Management tracking
  • Competitive analysis

Client Driven Marketing and Loyalty Programs

If you’re operating in an e-commerce market, your first priority should be customer retention, and the main tools for this are excellent service and loyalty programs.

Your CDO should be skilled in:

  • Service Level tracking
  • Customer Feedback tracking and service improvement
  • Implementation of Customer Care policies
  • Implementation and development of loyalty programs. ROI tracking

All Sorts of Analytics

Every step you take should be planned with its results analysis in mind, even if that means your smallest hypotheses should be tested and checked from different points of view.

Your Chief Digital Officer should have skills relevant to this:

Plan → Act → Analyse → Repeat should be a Chief Digital Officer’s mantra.

  • Analytic tools choosing and implementation
  • Database Marketing
  • A/B tests (experiments)
  • ROI tracking
  • Analytics-based business model improvements

Delegation/DIY Balancing

Skilled CDOs will be well-versed in the 9 topics discussed above, but they should also know how to balance the work they do, and the work they delegate away.

Some CDOs who have climbed up to the top from modest beginnings tend to give all their work away to junior colleagues. Delegating tasks to away is fine in terms of management, but has huge risks in online marketing.

Internet marketing tools and practices quite literally change several times a day. Without everyday personal usage and expertise, a CDOs skills may become obsolete.

The key, therefore, is to strike a balance between the tasks the CDO does, and the tasks the CDO delegates away. For example, a skilled CDO could find a new tool or practice, and dig into its details themselves, to understand how it works. Once that’s done, they could create detailed instructions for their team or for contractors, and delegate the remaining work away.


Personal Qualities & Skills of Ideal Chief Digital Officers

  • An analytical and entrepreneurial mindset
  • Consistency and reliability
  • A natural ability to network and make new connections
  • Time management skills: the ability to effectively meet deadlines and get things done
  • Team management skills: motivation, delegation, and control
  • Proactivity and responsibility