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Archive for August, 2012

Churchill ClubSAP’s CMO stated, “you are dead if you aren’t a customer led organization,” while Intuit’s CMO stated “Intuit’s marketing team serves as growth officers.” An interesting discussion ensued around marketing’s role in shaping the customer experience and the related organizational implications at the CMO Agenda 2013 Summit in Santa Clara on July 31, 2012. Distinguished speakers included Jonathan Becher (CMO, SAP), Nora Denzel (Senior VP, Big Data, Social Design and Marketing, Intuit), Anne Globe (CMO, DreamWorks Animation), and Lorraine Twohill (VP Global Marketing, Google).

One of the pressing issues CMOs face this coming year is whether or not their organization is truly customer centric. Two years ago, I covered the topic of the [Global] Total Customer Experience at the Smart Seminar on Globalization, which led to a feeling of deja-vu as I listened to the continuing customer experience challenges these CMOs discussed. In short, the total customer experience represents the consumer’s brand perception through the total accumulation of experiences that an individual has with the brand across every interaction point. As the number of touchpoints have increased, such as with the introduction of social and mobile, brands have less control over their message. Furthering this problem, poorly aligned and fragmented organizations can easily introduce policies and processes that result in needless friction in the user experience. This has upended marketing and created an organizational gap – who should own the total customer experience? Once that is determined, it is much easier to create brand experiences that go beyond simple utility and truly delight the customers with deep, emotional benefits that transform them into avid fans and loyalists.

Evidence that marketing is attempting to become more customer-centric abounded at the talk with questions raised such as:

  • Should marketing own P&L responsibility?
  • Will marketing disintermediate sales?
  • Does marketing have a role in defining product experiences?

There was considerable support behind making marketing accountable for P&L, while there was an appreciation that marketing would not make a hostile move such as taking over an organization role such as sales. What is clear is that organizations within the firm must work much more closely together to deliver a total customer experience across product experience and marketing channels, which means the separation of such roles will become murkier over time. Traditionally, marketing often assumes the role of being the outside voice of the customer even if there is no clear mandate in place. Now with a near consensus that organizations must pay attention to the total customer experience, the issue of organizational ownership has been raised. If marketing takes ownership over the total customer experience, how do we as marketers define the role and measure its success? Although there are few “C” level positions focused on customer experience today, the numbers are expanding and I expect the role to evolve. Perhaps more importantly, we may want to ask the question: what do we do while we wait for this new corporate position to be introduced into our organization, given we know its importance.

In an upcoming blog, I will address three things you can do to make your firm more customer-centric before your “C” suite is in order:

01. Include your customer in design.
02. Build a healthy relationship with your customer before setting sales targets.
03. Establish an agile marketing organization.

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