As brands realize Customer Experience Management is key to their overall strategy and long-term growth, our research at Constellation found CMOs should consider the following 7 principles when leading customer experience initiatives:
- Bring passion about the brand you work for and drive cross-functional collaboration and lead organizational change
- Focus on both communications and brand guardianship as well as innovation, product and business responsibilities
- Balance the brand view and the business view so the CEO takes you seriously
- Gain mastery of technical and non-technical skills: it’s critical
- Use data and predictive insights to deliver real-time, optimized customer experiences
- Evolve into a strong, well-balanced leader of cross-functional teams and groom successors and
- Gain design-thinking experience.
Leaders of Customer Experience Management must have an emotional tie to the brand, identify with it and want to share the value it brings to customers. The CMO must be passionate about championing the customer experience and leading the development of the strategies, activities and tactics to create and sustain demand. Marketing must become the cross-functional voice of the customer. Having some organizational change management skills is very helpful to be able to lead the change, and is an inherent part of the changing role of the CMO, especially if they take on an end-to-end customer experience position.
The Reward for being a Great CMO? With a winning brand, you will be a CMO that not only knows how to adapt to change, but actually anticipates and drives it. You will be a CMO that knows how to cascade change down and across an organization so the changes to roles, processes, technology and its integration are accepted. You will be able to accomplish this by leading the employees in all departments. You will be able to structure teams to establish a culture that embraces change.
Your leadership will cut across functional department boundaries and get everyone on board, behind a vision and into a new way of working collaboratively. This may mean fixing processes that are broken or that no longer make sense. The reward is knowing that you have created an environment where cross-functional teams are not threatened by change, but instead embrace it and find ways to optimize the opportunities change brings.
What Does Leadership Have To Do With It? You will need to be a great leader. Just because someone is appointed to a position does not mean they actually have all the skills to get people to follow a new way of doing things. Asking for feedback on leadership skills is key prior to taking a new role. The innovation you will be responsible for can come in the form of how a brand enables customers to find, consume, participate in, talk about and share content about the brand.
Customers often control a majority of the dialogue about the brand and Marketing must be ready to talk directly to customers. This is new. In the past, marketers were accustomed to pushing content or campaigns out, but not having to respond. Social and digital media completely changed that with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and customer communities. Influencing others is key, especially when communicating and engaging with so many different departments, with different agendas and success criteria. Often Marketing delivers a brand promise and other departments, like Customer Service, is tasked to deliver on it. So collaboration is key.
People Want to Follow Great Leaders. Times have changed, customer expectations have changed and now brands have to follow suit. Ask yourself, “Would you follow you?” Are you able to lead the traditional responsibilities a CMO has had as well as the whole customer experience, which requires you to collaborate with many functional departments? How is your company handling the leadership of customer experience?