CMO’s say one thing and do another…


Share on LinkedIn

As you read the predictions of the most important areas an organisation seems to focus on in 2009 a common theme is Customer retention. No surprise really in a down turn. What does astonish me is the lack of connection that is made between Customer retention and Customer Experience. For me it is simple, if a customer has a bad experience, or thinks they will get a better one from someone else then they leave, therefore the two subjects are inextricably linked.

According to a new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a report by Satmetrix entitled “Giving Customer Voice More Volume,” revealed that:

“Customer experience is one of the most critical determinants of brand strength and business growth. Yet, most organizations and senior marketers suffer from major blind spots and gaps in the way they interact, handle and respond to customer issues or problems,” said CMO Council executive director Donovan Neale-May. “CMOs must assume ownership for the customer experience and establish enterprise-wide measures and disciplines to ensure continuous improvement. We are missing a major opportunity to turn customer pain into competitive gain at every touch point through better use of web and contact center technologies and processes.”

The report goes on to say that:

Senior marketers are clearly aware of the importance of customer experience. In fact, 83 percent of respondents said it is either “essential” or “increasingly important” in driving brand advocacy and business performance.

Therefore there appears to be a contradiction between what CMO’s say and what they do. For example whilst 84 percent said positive customer experiences and word of mouth have helped their brands and businesses grow and yet only 31 percent rate their company’s commitment to customer listening as high. Why the difference? In fact 34 percent of respondents said their companies have made no changes to the way they track and analyze customer experience in recent years. Why?

It is unsurprising that little action is taken as the remuneration, reward and recognition are not aligned to improve their Customer Experience. 58 percent of the 480 executives surveyed said their companies do not compensate employees or executives based on customer loyalty, satisfaction improvements or analytic’s. Why not, if this is so important?

What gets measured gets done, and what gets measured and paid for gets really done! This is a no brainer; to improve retention you need to measure your Customer Experience and then pay people against it.

It is of constant surprise to me that there is a big gap between what people know and what they do. Some enlightened CMO’s that I know personally are working on improving their customer experience and this is paying dividends in Customer retention. All it takes is vision, leadership and hard work.

Colin Shaw
International Author on Customer Experience
Follow me on ColinShaw_CX

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


  1. Colin,

    The results of a recent CMO Council survery might have something to do with the problem. 83% of CMO’s said that internal resistance, internal politics and the like, prevent them from driving the customer-centric initiatives they want.

    This is a real problem and relates to one of your earlier posts. You really need as method of getting everyone on board.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.

  2. John

    You are not suggesting politics gets in the way? 🙂 lol.

    Of course I am joking. I agree that all the things you mention cause a problem but it is the CMO’s role to solve them. He/she wouldn’t have got to that position without knowing “how to play the game”. A lot of this for me is about how much are they willing to back the CE program and stick their neck out. These stats tells me not enough are doing this.

    Colin Shaw
    International Author. Lastest book “The DNA of Customer Experience”


  3. Colin,

    Unfortunately, too many CMOs were promoted based on marketing knowledge and know-how, not how to do organizational change. Of course, one could say the same for “C-level” types in every area. That is a big part of the problem, each knows how to protect and promote their own turf.

    How will this change? People like you and me will need to help or partner with others who bring the skill and expertise. Not an easy problem but essential.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here