My name is Greg Chapman. I’m the founder and CEO of The Pocket CMO. My firm helps CMOs and CEOs with the Customer Experience imperative – Customer Experience strategy, Customer Experience management, and methodologies to compete in today’s Experience economy. That’s what I do.
In this blog post, I’ll be talking about the intersection of Customer Experience, marketing, and the CMOs role, and how that shakes out in today’s Experience economy.
Let’s start with the role of the CMO and marketing in general. An interesting “hiring event” occurred over this year as Walmart hired a new CMO. Traditionally the CMO, and especially in a company like Walmart, reports to the CEO. Argue with me here, but that comment is based on “tradition”. CMO has always been a C – Suite role and it reported to the CEO. The new CMO at Walmart reports to the CCO, the Chief Customer Officer. I think that’s a huge deal, but more importantly, it shows the sea-change that’s happening in the marketing industry around the merging of Customer Experience with “traditional” and “digital” marketing.
The marketing department “used to be” charged with generating demand – filling the funnel through the creation of brand value and communicating that value message to target audiences. Traditional marketing strategies and tactics have moved over to digital, of course, but now it’s about personalized experiences.
“Marketing” has traditionally been the voice of the customer internally to the company. That’s even more important now because understanding the Experience that the customer expects from the marketing messaging and the branding positioning, the differentiated value proposition, is how you compete on Customer Experience. And that’s why if you’re still thinking about marketing as just demand generation…you’re stuck in old ways and you need to intersect that with Customer Experience strategy.
There are two ways, two directions you can go here. And this is the conundrum, if you will, with the CMO position. CMO…and I’ve been both a CMO and a CXO…is a big job. It’s a big job being a Chief Marketing Officer for any size company. It doesn’t matter 5 million, 50 million, or 5 billion, being a chief marketing officer is a big job. Then the CEO or the board, or both come to the CMO and ask for a CX strategy. We’re all hearing a lot, reading a lot, and seeing the movement to competing on Customer Experience. You’re the representative of the customer within the organization MR/MS CMO, and you now have Customer Experience. That’s the common scenario – the CMO has a full-time job, and they just got another full-time job, which is CXO.
That’s a difficult thing because both are full-time jobs. The creation of the CXO role is designed to take on that CX based competitive imperative in any size company. And the important thing to break down is getting it to work cross-functionally in the organization. The biggest threat to delivering a great Customer Experience in any size company is siloed behavior. But we all have been brought up through business school and through our early career experiences around business disciplines, right? You’re a finance major, you’re a marketing major, you’re an operations and logistics major. We’re brought up in silos. And I don’t mean to say that negatively – it’s the way of the world, but what ends up happening is companies get structured around operational performance and metrics.
You have a leadership team meeting, and the COO reads from a series of operational metrics. “Hey, we’re doing great. Here’s my operational metrics. Here’s my scorecard. Boom, I’m nailing everything…” Let’s move over to HR. “Well, according to our last employee survey, we’re doing great. And HR is meeting their scorecard metric objectives on turnover…” Let’s move over to marketing. “Well, we’re filling the funnel with demand appropriately and moving them through to conversion or CRO is doing well…” Everybody’s scorecards are doing great, except for one thing, the Net Promoter Score of the company is mediocre. Well, why isn’t all this great internal discipline scoring on the internal scorecard manifesting itself in a better Customer Experience? Better loyalty? Lower customer churn? Lower revenue churn? Lower Customer Service expense? Better word-of-mouth referral?
I’m being a little elementary and a lot sarcastic here, but the role of Chief Customer Experience officer is to navigate the organization horizontally and bring all of this together to impact the Customer Lifetime Value results. The CXO job is ultimately to move the needle for affinity, loyalty, retention, referral, and customer lifetime value.
Back to the Walmart organizational structure. Given the reporting relationship, what are the charters of the respective roles – CCO versus CMO? If “Customer Experience” is defined as the ‘visceral’ and ‘palpable’ sum of all the interactions a brand has with consumers – the messages, touchpoints, transactions and trials, and the memories they create, then…
The CCO/CXO’s Role: Work cross-functionally to embed behaviors and actions that align siloed organizations in focusing on customer expectations and delivering against them, creating the memories and relationships that build the brand.
The CMO’s Role: Promote the Experience and grow customer loyalty and advocacy by building customer-centric, personalized, omnichannel campaigns, and experiences.
Like Finance, Marketing, Operations, Human Resources, or Information Technology, Customer Experience is a business discipline. I want to help CMO’s understand the principles of Customer Experience and the difference between CX Strategy and CX Management and be conversant in both. CMO’s, CCO’s, CXO’s and CEO’s need to help their business prepare for the “new normal” and understand how to use CX based insights to do that. Customer Experience has taken on a new definition during the crisis. Customer Experience leaders must innovate during this crisis and anticipate how customers will change their habits. CX Leaders will build stronger relationships that will last beyond the crisis’s passing.
And the title – CMO, CCO, CXO, COO, and yes even CEO, doesn’t matter. We all represent the customer, and the experience they will have with our brand and the memories we will create together.