Industry Insights

Hootsuite Appoints Ryan Donovan as SVP of Product & Technology

At the beginning of this year, a gold-colored egg attracted over 53 million likes to date and became the most liked post on Instagram ever, which goes to show what the power of social media engagement can do. Many brands are discounting the potential that social media can have for their digital marketing strategy and the way they can connect with their customers online. Did the gold egg bring any value in terms of messaging? Not really, but just think if someone could build that much engagement around a message of importance for a particular brand.

On that note, a few weeks ago, Hootsuite, a social media management platform, announced the appointment of Ryan Donovan as their new SVP of Product Development and Technology. Ryan joined Hootsuite as a former Sitecore tech veteran where he served, most recently, as their CTO. We found this particularly interesting since we’ve spoken to Ryan numerous times during his time with Sitecore, whether it be in a quick conversation in passing at an event, or if we were lucky enough to snag him for a few minutes to talk to us in a one-on-one video interview. I’ve always been inspired by how much knowledge and passion Ryan brings to the industry.
I was fortunate enough to connect with Ryan Donovan, SVP of Product Development and Technology at Hootsuite to not only discuss his recent move, but we were also most curious to know which elements of his expertise he would bring to a social media management product strategy. Read our conversation below!

Why Hootsuite?

First things first, and it’s a question I’m sure many of our readers are wondering. Why Hootsuite? I asked Ryan what the reasoning was to join the Hootsuite team as their new SVP of Product Development and Technology.
“Leaving Sitecore was challenging on the timing front. They are at a particularly exciting juncture with the recent acquisition of Stylelabs and entering into the DAM, MRM, and PIM spaces. But, the opportunity at Hootsuite was extraordinarily compelling on many fronts. First, social is absolutely at the top of CMO spending priorities as evidenced by firms such as Gartner — even ahead of WCM/DX.

The total addressable market is huge and expanding. Second, Hootsuite is the absolute market leader in social and is growing at an incredible pace. Third, Hootsuite has an amazing vision, a phenomenal executive team, and an incredibly talented employee base coupled with an exceptional culture. This combination made my decision to join extremely easy; this a team where I am absolutely thrilled to be a member.” 

The Impacts of Social Media for Customer Experience

With Ryan’s more than 20-years of experience and expertise working in the WCM, DXP, and commerce space, my next question was one that I was excited to ask. I wanted to know how he intends to apply his experience in those markets within Hootsuite’s product, given its position as a social media management platform.

The WCM/DX and social segments actually have a lot in common, though not necessarily at first glance. The primary audience in both cases is principally brand marketers or commerce teams responsible for digital revenue. The difference is really that of channel. WCM/DX focuses principally on web, mobile, and other owned digital touchpoints, whereas Hootsuite focuses on social. And social is rapidly expanding, both in terms of expanded network capabilities as well as shifts in customer behavior. There are a lot of synergies to be leveraged from my prior career experiences over the last few decades that are extremely relevant to Hootsuite; that is extremely obvious to me even in my third week. Think of it as many of the same opportunities/challenges — but just a different channel.”
Ryan mentioned in the press release that he believes “social is the most important channel for content and customer experience” so I asked him to elaborate on that idea, and the potential that he sees for social media as a channel for content and customer experiences.
In customer, partner, and analyst conversations over the last several years, the relevance of social as a primary channel for conducting digital business has been rapidly increasing in relevance. This is further backed by digital marketing spending surveys where social is at, or nearly at, the top of the list — and often times well ahead of traditional digital channels such as web, e-mail, etc.. It’s easy to see why upon reflection. When choosing a brand, people inherently trust their personal networks and that of broad public opinion over any direct marketing message; social enables that better than any other medium. 
Likewise, when interacting with a brand, social holds the brand accountable to doing right by the customer in the public eye. And, it’s simply more convenient — people are already using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, et al. — it’s much more convenient to just interact socially than to go out to another site or application. Plus, it’s backed up by one’s network and public opinion as noted in the prior points. Furthermore, the social networks themselves are rapidly growing in terms of consumer adoption and capturing an individual’s screen time. This is why I firmly believe that social is going to become the most important digital channel for customer experience over the next few years.”

Ending Notes

I truly believe that brands shouldn’t ignore, or more so, can’t afford to ignore social media. As Ryan mentions above, social media is increasingly rising in importance and will continue to do so. It’s almost a way for customers to interact with your brand on a more personal level, as though they can be involved and communicate more conveniently than any other means of engagement.
If you’re looking for help to 'up your social strategy game', I highly suggest reaching out to the Hootsuite team as I’m sure their team of experts can guide you in the right direction and help you kick it up a notch in 2019.

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMSC Media. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world. 

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