Customer experience the panacea for CMOs
by Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) Customer experience (CX) is no longer a nice-to-have and is now a strategic business imperative. CX has become more significant in this technology-driven, dynamic, real-time business environment, especially to the marketing organisations that are the logical inheritors of the CX imperative.
A business imperative
Chief marketing officers (CMOs) can help the business shift in a fundamental way, enabling it to completely reorganise around the customer. CX will charge the change for CMOs as it becomes the glue for integrating brand touchpoints to create an end-to-end experience for the customer. Gartner predicts that, within two years, more than half of organisations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.
Traditional customer service functions are changing and the chief customer experience officer role is to partner with all the key stakeholders across the company to ensure a unified experience across the value chain. The role customer service plays in this online real-time customer experience is critical.
Looking at changing tradition, Panacea was the Greek goddess of universal remedy, a daughter of Asclepius, god of healing. Her name became shorthand for said universal remedy over time; as such, CX is the panacea for the CMO.
The customer age
In this customer age, CX will enable the CMO’s position to be the change agent, as the CMO’s role has risen in complexity and grown in prominence. In most organisations, the CMO is under fire to become the critical link between the customer and the brand. Increasingly, CMOs are now responsible for critical customer-facing and revenue-generating systems and applications which boosts the role of the CMO into a growth hub for the business. According to a report by the CMO Council, 68% of CEOs expect CMOs to act as primary growth/revenue drivers in their businesses.
The expansion of the CMO role will force a redefinition of the way the marketing function operates, and the CMO’s assumption of a larger role as the custodian of the customer experience. Ensuring that customers’ needs are represented in corporate decision-making will become a priority for a customer-driven CMO. In this new world, we as CMOs will have increased responsibility for setting customer strategy and defining end-to-end customer experiences across the lifecycle.
CMO to join forces
CMOs now have the opportunity to step into orchestrating the whole customer experience across many different functional departments, as well as mastering many different customer engagement channels across a number of devices and technologies, data and analytics. Digitally savvy customers look to the brand to provide a consistent omnichannel experience, regardless of where they are in their journey. CMOs will need to ensure alignment with resources inside the business who are already creating customer communications to ensure consistency across the customer lifecycle. This forces the CMO to work across multiple departments, including sales, service, operations, IT and legal to deliver experiences that meet customer demand, ultimately creating advocates that will support the overall business growth initiatives.
There are many points along the customer experience journey where an organisation may miss the mark and not even come close to meeting customer expectations. With customers able to talk to other customers so easily online, companies need to reconsider how to ensure end-to-end customer experiences don’t have any gaps in quality, where customers get less than satisfactory results.
With this broadening scope of responsibilities, the successful CMO of the future will be a strategic partner to the CEO by helping define the corporate strategy and vision.
Owning the change
CX and the role of the customer experience should be driven by the CMO. We must engage at every point. We must curate content which is effectively measured across voice, topic and channel. We need to create compelling stories and recognise that customers lead the way. And we need to get all this onto the balance sheet for the C-suite.
For a CMO to lead the change, we need to own the overall CX of a given brand; the customer experience becomes the panacea for the success as the disintegrated brand experience falls away and the need to achieve the holistic end to end brand experience becomes the victor. It’s simple — place the customer first.
Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) is a chartered marketer, global marketing strategist, a digital driver and a Women in Tech leader. She joined Oracle South Africa in 2016 as marketing director SADC, responsible for leading integrated modern marketing strategies for the business across the Southern African region, and is currently marketing director for the ECEMEA region, based at Oracle UK, responsible for driving digital strategy, demand generation and transforms portfolios to develop sustainable revenue growth.
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