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The 10 Challenges Facing a CMO Faces When Trying to Lead the Customer Experience

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Today's CMO faces a multitude of challenges and at or near the top of the list is overseeing the customer experience, assuming you believe the CMO should oversee it in first place. Last week in fact we posed the question Should the CMO Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

The entire topic is at the heart of a recently-released report entitled, surprisingly enough Should the CMO Oversee the Whole Customer Experience? The report addresses the rewards and risks for a CMO to step into an all-encompassing role to deliver the end-to-end customer experience. Conversations with CMOs highlight 10 challenges that can inhibit a CMO’s success if an organization decides the CMO should step into this expanded role without changing how the business is run and the role of the CMO.

The 10 key challenges are as follows:

1. Ownership of the customer experience. Confusion abounds on who should lead (own) the customer experience. Many organizations are facing the issue of who should lead the “collected” customer experience.

2. Agile, design- thinking. Agile, design-thinking is required to lead changes needed for successful customer experience. Design thinking fosters cross-organizational collaboration, brainstorming, and execution.

3. Communication vs. innovation. Marketing is often focused on communications rather than innovation, product development and business innovation.

4. Measurement and metrics. Marketing only recently became more accustomed to being highly measured, so building the business case for the additional responsibilities of the “new” CMO role may be difficult. 

5. Consumerization of IT. The Consumerization of IT has created often unfulfilled customer experiences.
Great customer experiences require technologies beyond traditional email and marketing optimization. 

6. Immediate analysis and action. The abundance of data requires immediate analysis and action to provide meaningful mass personalization at scale.

7. Data management and utilization strategy. The plethora of data requires a data management and utilization strategy. Digital media serves as a strategic resource for sharpening customer focus because it is full of highly differentiated market and customer data, providing critical information from around the world, 24/7 and at a minimal cost.

8. Breaking down isolation. Marketing can be isolated from other departments that affect customer experience and that isolation hurts the ability to lead change. It takes a village to deliver superb customer experiences because there are so many touch points along a customer’s journey that are not “owned” by marketing.

9. Customer experience drives top-and bottom-line. Customer experience means bottom-line business, so it should be taken more seriously. Research has shown that it is less expensive to keep existing customers than to obtain new ones.

10. Cross-functional collaboration. Customer experience requires a highly collaborative individual to lead cross- functional collaboration. The role of Chief Customer Officer is all encompassing and requires a varied and vast skill set.

Download Should the CMO Oversee the Whole Customer Experience? and learn a lot more including the risks that come with the rewards for the CMO who steps into the Customer Experience role. 

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