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The Wanted Chief Digital Officer

Pace, fragmentation and volume are just a few of the heavy digital challenges that brands are facing today. Add to that the complexity of day-to-day mechanical changes to platforms, terms & conditions, the hockey-stick growth of mobile traffic and platform-specific development specifications and it’s time for the CD O. Now you have a mountain of opportunity waiting for the right skill sets to rip it open.

In the September issue of Website about the growing need for the Chief Digital Officer addition to the C-suite structure. I agree – just take a look at the sheer volume of daily news one must consume to maintain the 360 view of the landscape on a daily basis. If you miss a single day of news (weekends included) you risk missing an important update to a feature on Facebook or a new update to the terms and conditions for promotions on another social platform.

I used to laugh at social media conferences, along with the rest of the audience, when the opening speaker would inevitably survey the crowd and ask how many social media experts we had in the audience. Whoever raised their hand was quickly humbled by the laughter, which was driven by the fact that you simply can’t know it all – as I alluded to at the end of this post about Social Media Tunnel Vision from 2011. And this is “just social” and doesn’t include mobile, on-site, intranets and all of the other digital properties.

My point is that there are now experts being created in the various components of the platforms; specialties like community managers, data scientists and more. Sure, every brand or business is unique in the way they can leverage social and digital – and some can get away with a skeleton team. But others, like Randall Brown, Global Director-Digital for Gatorade have built teams around the various digital components that are appropriately scaled to the opportunity size and demands of those platforms.

The Gatorade brand, along with many other energy drinks, is in a particular space where sports and social equate to serious online engagement for these brands. I heard Randall speak at the Ad Age Digital Conference on “How to Build Your Brand in Social Media” and he explained the structure of the Gatorade team – which is well-equipped to handle their commitments in the space.

The role of Chief Digital Officer will continue spreading throughout various organizations. One of the biggest challenges for CD O’s to address is surrounding themselves with the right team members who are “experts” in their specific roles. These teams can also help make sure everyone is informed of changes that might present opportunities, but potentially fall below the radar simply because of the sheer volume of daily information. For example, changes to Facebook wall post targeting or ad targeting.

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