Should the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

Customers, Value Chain and The Customer Experience Imperative Should the CMO oversee the whole customer experience? Today, the value chain in business has gone from products that became commodities to services that fuel anticipation of superb customer experiences that go beyond anything customers have expected previously. These new customer expectations have put pressure on companies to deliver on these experiences, which affect the revenue, margin and profits of a company. Brands are under a new type of pressure to keep the right customers and ensure that each of those customer’s experiences live up to their customer’s expectations. In order to make that happen, especially in large organizations, someone has to have customer experience as their primary responsibility and also have the clout to improve it. This is not your grandpa’s CRM. It’s starts with strategy and difficult leadership questions.

The big question? Who should lead the entire customer experience? With the shift to digital marketing, electronic commerce, social media and mobile interactions, brings a massive transformation to how brands and organizations engage prospects and customers. Customer Experience Management is a major pillar in many B2C and B2B organizations’ efforts to engage and retain customers. As it gets more complicated to engage and retain customers, organizations are realizing there is more to the job of customer experience than many first realized. This is in part because providing superb customer experiences often means getting many different departments or functional areas to collaborate, especially when they had not been in the habit of doing so before. Many times the reason for the lack of collaboration and why it has not happened before is because it’s not easy. Again, it’s not your grandpa’s CRM – it’s not about technology really. It’s really starts with a cultural mindset.

Falling Through The Cracks? There are many points along the customer experience journey where an organization can miss the mark and not even come close to meeting customer expectations. However, market leaders realize the future requires proactive, digital online engagement, integrated with in-person and/or in-store experiences to support the strategy. In this research we spoke to many leaders to find out how they are tackling the issues around customer experience and leadership and how best to lead this key strategic initiative in their organization.

The Research Found: The Role of Chief Marketing Officer Is Undergoing Fundamental Transformation, Yet Few Are Ready  As we explored the readiness, rewards, risks and gottcha’s for a CMO to step into an all-encompassing role to deliver the end-to-end customer experience, Constellation identified what CMOs are going through as they are being asked to add more to their “already” full plate. As they lead their organizations to become more customer-centric by creating and maintaining top-notch customer experiences, they helped us identify issues that can inhibit a CMO’s success –if how the business is run and the role of the CMO itself –doesn’t change. Here is a condensed version of the challenges we learned CMOs are facing:

10 challenges of the CMO in leading the customer experience natalie petouhoff constellation research

1. Confusion abounds on who should lead (own) the customer experience.

2. Agile, design-thinking is required to lead changes needed for successful customer experience.

3. Marketing is often focused on communications rather than innovation, product development and business innovation.

4. Marketing only recently became more accustomed to being highly measured, so building the business case for the additional responsibilities of the “new” CMO role may be difficult.

5. The Consumerization of IT has created often unfulfilled customer experiences.

6. The abundance of data requires immediate analysis and action to provide meaningful mass personalization at scale.

7. The plethora of data requires a data management and utilization strategy

8. Marketing can be isolated from other departments that affect customer experience and that isolation hurts the ability to lead change.

9. Marketing can be isolated from other departments that affect customer experience and that isolation hurts the ability to lead change.

10. Customer experience requires a highly collaborative individual to lead cross- functional collaboration.

The truth is there is not any “right” way to lead and deliver customer experience. Every single company has to think about their brand, the type of customer experience they want to deliver and their ability to do that consistently. As products and services have become commoditized, the last frontier to compete on is differentiation of the customer experience, so it is something that is more important than ever. What’s your take on who should lead the customer experience in your organization and why? Click here for more of what we found and read my latest research report, Should the CMO Lead the Customer Experience?  Download the table of contents and an excerpt of the report here: http://info.constellationr.com/report-download-cmo-oversee-customer-experience

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering IOT of Customer Facing Initiatives in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service that Create Great Customer Experiences

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