The role of the CMO has changed in the last few years — and for the better. CMO is a powerful position in the c-suite, leading the digital transformation about 34% of the time. Thanks to the digital transformation, we now live in a business world where you can measure practically everything. This has had a big impact on CMOs in particular. They can prove their worth, show their effort and report results on all kinds of marketing efforts where previously it was more guesswork. But this advancement is a double-edged sword. Eighty percent of CEOs have expressed dissatisfaction with their CMOs. CMOs have the highest turnover rate in the C-suite, lasting on average only three years.
To succeed in a position of notorious transience, CMOs need to develop and hone a skill set that many consider an anomaly: A CMO needs to be both a people person and data-driven. Understanding the customer journey by means of measurable goals are requirements of today’s successful CMO.
Understand the New Customer Journey
As technology has evolved, so, too, has the customer experience. A swiping is the new window shopping, and if CMOs hope to secure repeat customers, they must map the customer’s journey.
The customer continues to drive digital transformation. Today, there are so many engagement channels that the customer’s previously linear journey map is all over the place, resulting in an average of 13 touchpoints before making a purchase. That’s too much room for error for businesses, which is why despite it not being as simple as it once was, mapping the customer’s journey is a must. Because the CMO is accountable for things like service and sales management, it’s safe to say the CMO is responsible for the customer.
The Forrester report, Use Customer Journey Mapping To Make Your Culture Customer-Obsessed, outlines real benefits of being so customer-centric, namely these three:
- Walking in the customer’s shoes. Experiencing business through the eyes of a customer builds empathy and identifies bumps in the process that can be smoothed out as to improve future experiences.
- Putting vision into practice: By having a visual representation of the customer’s journey, businesses better learn and understand their needs.
- Identifying customer behavior. Once a business knows a customer’s existing behavior, it can make changes to turn existing into desirable and then predict future behavior. This allows a company to better serve its customers.
Once the journey is effectively mapped, things fall into place. One obvious result of focusing on the customer’s journey is increased customer satisfaction. When a customer is a happy, social media mentions are positive, returns on marketing investments are greater, and both revenue and referrals increase.
It is not by accident that successful CMOs are effectively mapping the customer journey and perfecting the consumer experience. A CMO is expected to understand technology, analytics and how to turn data into insight and action. Through digital marketing efforts and analytics with a purpose, CMOs are leading company efforts to build relationships with customers.
Purposeful marketing begins with an integrated customer experience model. The first set of customers are within; Every CMO should consider their employees brand ambassadors for their company. By deconstructing antiquated hierarchies, businesses are placing more importance on their employees who then feel valued and commit to improving customer satisfaction. Businesses use feedback from the people to supplement the feedback from the numbers. This non-traditional approach to marketing, akin to forgetting the four P’s, keeps marketing efforts customer-centric.
In a time where social media, big data, mobile and tech availability, marketing ROI and customer-focused efforts overlap, making the integrated customer experience model a profitable one. True, we must spend money to make money, but personalizing business with goals like employee satisfaction and customer retention at the center are worth the cost. Measuring key performance indicators (KPI’s) means looking at aspects of business that are different from their traditional counterparts, yet equally important. Factors such as employee productivity, product improvements, and brand community must be reflected to gain a clear picture of KPI’s. The latter is mostly nurtured online, which means businesses have no choice but to use and respect the power that is social media.
Fortunately, AI makes a CMO’s job a little easier by automating certain things. Ultimately, AI will create a B2B business concierge, completely automating and personalizing the customer journey from start to finish. But for now, AI’s ability to automatically scan spam out of mass emails and create highly customized ads in real-time isn’t too shabby!
We’re already seeing unlikely alliances between powerhouse technology companies, so it should come as no surprise the CMO will follow suit. In addition to maintaining a customer-first business model and using data-driven marketing, CMOs will also be work closely with the CISOs, Chief Information Security Officers. Supporting modern marketing efforts requires a lot of technology, so this partnership was a given. Working proactively instead of reactively, CMOs can also add champions of cyber security to their ever-growing résumé.
This article was first published on Forbes.