Our Industry Needs Digital Experience Directors

Our industry needs a new position. A person whose entire job is owning, directing and overseeing a website. We need a new title for them. I propose we call them Digital Experience Directors

The current landscape for smaller companies

At best, people who currently do this work are called Web Master, Site Administrator or Marketing Coordinator—all titles which are low on the political totem pole. At worst (and more commonly), it’s a task tacked on to someone’s job, often forgotten or ignored.

How this hurts companies

Businesses suffer because of this hierarchy. The lack of long-term strategic oversight devalues the investments companies make in websites. Relegating content upkeep to roles without director-level authority creates headless websites. This usually produces sites with:

  • Content that doesn't support the site goals
  • Pixelated imagery & page bloat
  • Unchecked navigation expansion

This can degrade the integrity of a site over time and negatively affect how users perceive your business. 

The current landscape for larger companies

Larger companies often split site ownership between Marketing and IT which creates a different set of issues:

  • Marketers excel at creating content and measuring its effectiveness. Yet they often fail to appreciate technical ramifications of their requests. Rapid-fire changes get implemented with little appreciation for technical debt and its unforeseen consequences. 
  • IT professionals excel at knowing the ins and outs of a site and keeping things up to date. Yet they often value technical upkeep over the communication objectives of the site. In instances where they do think strategically, few decision makers value their input because of their titles. 

This bifurcation of ownership leads to power struggles and adversarial dynamics. Neither job title is fully setup to own the site 100%. This is where Digital Experience Directors can help.

Digital Experience Directors to the rescue

I see Digital Experience Directors as practitioners as well as a directors. Most budgets cannot allow for less. They need to possess a curious and strategic mind. Their role could encapsulate the following:

  • Oversee new content and site changes
  • Manage editorial calendar
  • Write, edit & upload content
  • Manage SEO & Social Media strategy
  • Measure effectiveness of site
  • Coordinate and implement marketing campaigns
  • Help synchronize offline & online communication

This list could differ by company. Digital Experience Directors could help manage technical debt, improve usability and increase the effectiveness of content. In short, websites would have a champion, and one with authority

Hurdles

We need to decide to invest in this role, which means more money for site upkeep. This is a internal sales challenge. Early adopters will need to show the ROI of this position.

Accolades

I would like to give John Kealy acknowledgement for coming up with this title after my call to action in my talk at Drupalcon Austin. This title does exist currently, based on searching LinkedIn, but it is not a widespread role... yet.

Further Reading