The CXO is the New CMO

The CMO role is combining with the CXO role, creating a whole new role.Traditionally, a company’s Chief Marketing Officer or CMO has been very focused on the ‘brand’ of the company—logos, typeface, colors, etc….And there is definitely a ‘brand promise’ that is implied through all marketing initiatives – including, but not limited to, our digital marketing.

Today, the role of CMO is converging with the responsibilities of a Client Experience Officer or CXO, creating a complex new role that involves many moving parts at all levels and departments within the organization. As the worlds of the CMO and CXO align or even merge, the devil is in the details.

The challenge in today’s ‘prosumer’ age is that our brand is no longer determined by the messages that we put out into the ether – it is now determined by the experiences that our customers have with our brand.  In essence, we have even less control over our ‘brand’ than ever.

We still need to be intentional about our ‘brand promise’ and have a clear vision of who and what we are and what we stand for.  The challenge now is that we are raw and exposed and that our brand is determined by every touchpoint a customer has with our organization—both human and digital.  And in today’s omni-channel world, that’s even more complicated!

For any remaining skeptics who think Customer Experience (CX) is not the new battlefield, check out this survey of more than 7,000 consumer and business buyers in their State of the Connected Customer research. The key takeaway? Today’s B2C and B2B consumers have hefty expectations:

  • 81% expect companies to provide the same level of service every time they interact
  • 75% expect a consistent experience wherever they engage (e.g. website, social media, mobile, in person)
  • 72% expect companies to understand their needs and expectations
  • 51% expect companies to recognize them wherever they engage (e.g. website, social media, mobile, in person)

No small tasks! Meeting these expectations requires us to go deeper into our organizations to define that ‘brand promise’ at all stages of our customer’s journey.   We have to control our digital presence, our physical retail experience, what we say via phone, email, chat (or chat bot!), and even how we invoice.  All of these touch points are ‘moments’ that collectively define our brand.

For today’s CMO, this does mean a retooling of skill sets and proficiencies. To succeed, a CMO must serve simultaneously as her company’s:

CX Ringmaster—ability to design the perfect experience and then the proficiency to build the systems/tools/processes to deliver on that perfect experience each and every day.

Data Scientist—innate curiosity around studying customer data and analytics to tease out opportunities for amplifying those peaks and eliminating the potholes.

Customer Journey Mapper—need to understand the importance, how to do it, and how to then optimize the customer journey.

CX Cheerleader—need to possess an off the chart passion around CX and the customer; often can be annoying to others! 

As Joe Pine and Jim Gilmour state, “CXOs have to propel their enterprises in transforming themselves into becoming premier experience stagers with the ongoing ability to regenerate new and wondrous economic offerings – which include the goods and services atop which experiences must be staged.”

It is also important to distinguish between CSAT and CX. Good (and great) customer service is vital to achieving high customer satisfaction – but it’s only one component of a world-class, truly seamless customer experience.

As Charlie Herrin, CXO for Comcast put it memorably in an interview with Multichannel News, “Customer service is what happens when the experience breaks.” To a great measure, our brand and our success in the eyes of our customers are how we rise to the challenge — what we fix and how we resolve and make good determine our success.

In a study of 400,000 customer service-related Tweets that were sent to the top five major airlines and the top four wireless carriers in the United States, a team of authors for The Harvard Business Review outlined four keys to turn angry customers into loyal fans and advocates:

  1. Good Customer Service Matters on All Platforms
  2. Respond to Customers, Even if They’re Upset
  3. Good Service Happens Fast
  4. Customers Are People, So Be Personal

How fast do customers expect contact when they reach out to a company with a problem? According to the same study, very fast: Within 5 minutes by phone, 1 hour by social media and 1-24 hours for e-mail. And speed is just the first imperative; the same rules of great CX apply – customers expect our response to be fast, but also to be consistent, tailored to their needs, and an effective and fair resolution of their issue.

Given the expectations of today’s prosumers, it is an exciting time for CMO’s. The role has become even more important than ever, especially when you consider how the roles of the CMO, CXO and even CIO (Chief Information Officer) are converging given our digital world.

The challenge is that none of the core skills/talent are minimized – delivering great CX is just additive.  Whether your business card reads CMO, CXO or CIO, good luck and hang on for the ride!

About the Author

Melissa Morman

Melissa Morman is a member of the original founding executive team of BHI/BDX (Builders Digital Experience) and currently serves as the company’s Chief Experience Officer, managing B2B marketing, sales and the customer experience.

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