Customer Experience + Marketing: Pro’s & Con’s


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chief marketing officer chief customer officerWhat happens when the Chief Marketing Officer doubles as Chief Customer Experience Officer? Is it as natural and advantageous as the C-team expects? It all depends on motives and perspective.

How Marketers Think of Customer Experience
Marketing professionals think of customer experience in terms of their deliverables: the user experience of websites, campaigns, events, research, content, social media, and so forth. Anytime these customer touches are hassle-free or tailored to the customer, marketers judge their work to be a good customer experience.

Customer success managers, predictive analytics, content marketing, and digital marketing can educate customers in the right ways at the right times, from their viewpoint.

The common thread across all of these things is on-target: making it easier and nicer for customers to get things done in their life or business.

How Customers Think of Customer Experience
From the customer’s viewpoint, they certainly want everything provided by Marketing to be easy and personalized. Customers are just trying to get things done in their life and in their work. So the information and resources that they receive from Marketing are a means to that end. This is really important insight for everyone:

User experience, or touch-point experience, is a subset of the end-to-end customer experience. There’s a big difference between distinct transaction experiences and the cumulative customer life cycle experience. The end-to-end customer experience is affected by the entire value chain across the company.

While there is a certain success rate in customer retention tactics, it is prone to similar efforts from competitors. Success is greater with a strategy that engages the entire value chain across the company.

While great customer service is expected by customers, their primary expectation of value is to have no need to contact the Service organization. Success programs, digital marketing, and loyalty programs are appreciated, but viewed either as table-stakes in certain industries or as convenient perks. Voice-of-the-customer is often viewed by customers as doing the company a favor, sometimes as drudgery, sometimes as a way to get rapid help, sometimes as an exercise in a black hole.

Customers want what they buy to be easy and nice to discover and get and use. Overall, they just want to follow the path of least resistance to get things done in their life or business. Therefore, executives should be ensuring superior customer value cumulatively across the customer life cycle.

Value Creation, Communication & Management
Marketing is primarily a value communicator, rather than a value creator, deliverer, or manager. Value creation occurs through Engineering, Manufacturing, and/or Operations. Value-enhancing occurs through policies and processes of Operations and support functions such as IT, Finance, Facilities, HR, Quality, and so forth.

Since good customer experience is a matter of meeting or exceeding expectations of value, all of the value-creating, -delivering, -managing, and -enhancing areas of the company must be actively involved in customer experience management.

In addition to communicating value externally, Marketing has the opportunity to drive value internally. As a collector of business intelligence, Marketing is in a position to be a very important conduit of external information about value throughout the company. However, Marketing’s muscle-development is almost exclusively externally oriented. To be successful as the custodian of customer experience management, Marketing must be empowered and learn to apply its strengths internally.

Marketing feel pressure to help achieve revenue targets. Marketing is often a couple steps removed from the company’s Operations and a couple steps removed from dialogue with customers. As such, some marketing messages are a mis-match with realities customers experience. Also, some marketing and customer experience approaches are invasive from customers’ viewpoint, or a mis-match with expected value across their end-to-end customer experience. This puts customer-facing staff in the role of a buffer, and this is costly in many ways.

By managing voice-of-the-customer, Marketing can become more attuned to mis-matches. Yet, accurate value communication is only part of the equation. Customers really want truth and prevention of issues. So it is essential to drive information flow upward in the value stream in the company so that things are done right the first time more often.

How Marketing Can Excel in Customer Experience Management
First of all, the quandaries just described need to be well thought-through by the executives who are making the assignment of leadership for customer experience management. The C-team needs to know the answer to “how can Marketing build its inward-facing muscles to influence the rest of the company?”

Second, the CMO who is taking on the Chief Customer Experience Officer role needs to be very well aware of those realities and set up this whole role for success accordingly.

Third, take advantage of Marketing’s business intelligence capabilities to add more insights to voice-of-the-customer. Include Service’s customer call verbatim logs and make use the unstructured customer data extensively. There is a treasure trove of value and prescriptive advice from customer comments.

Fourth, establish cadence, channels, digestion and actioning of collective BI-VoC sent upstream to the value creators and value enhancers across the company. Drive value management and value creation by emphasizing cross-functional action on chronic customer experience issues.

Fifth, establish a shadowing program to develop awareness and empathy: let Marketing staff take a peak at a day in the life of customer-facing staff and Operations staff, and vice versa for all. Some companies have a mixed seating arrangement among Marketing and Sales and Service.

Sixth, coordinate all managers of customer experience efforts across the company. Help them compare notes, calibrate cadences, establish continuity and drive synergies.

Seventh, read books such as A Complaint is a Gift, The Best Service is No Service, Firms of Endearment, Loyalty Myths, The Customer-Driven Company, Happy RAVING Customers, Why Loyalty Matters, Chief Customer Officer, Total Customer Value Management, and Innovating Superior Customer Experience. Establish discussion opportunities for the C-team and all employees to develop a shared understanding, language and vision of what customer experience excellence can be in your company.

Eighth, bridge silos across organizations, channels, systems, data, vision, and execution. Leading customer experience excellence is a tremendous opportunity for Marketing’s strategic value.

The common threads across value creation and delivery expected by customers are: right the first time, path of least resistance, increase value in helping them move forward in their life or business. These mantras provide the context and mandates for leadership of customer experience excellence.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker is 1 of 5 CustomerThink Hall of Fame authors. She built CX maturity via customer experience, strategic planning, quality, and marketing roles at Applied Materials and Sonoco. She was a CXPA board member and SVAMA president, taught 25 college courses, and authored 6 CXM studies and many CXM handbooks and courses. Her specialties are B2B, silos, customer-centric business and marketing, engaging C-Suite and non-customer-facing groups in CX, leading indicators, ROI, maturity. CX leaders in 50+ countries benefit from her self-paced e-consulting: Masterminds, Value Exchange, and more.


  1. Marketing needs act as an enabler providing customers with information to help them evaluate solution options and guide them on “their” buying journey.

  2. Thanks for your observation, Helene. Marketing has big muscles for external relationships, and, as you point out, can really help the customer experience by acting as the customer’s advocate across their buying journey and hopefully the end-to-end customer life cycle.

    Even so, there is a lot more to customer experience management in terms of preventing junk from happening for customers. That takes big muscles for influencing internally, driving internal alignment. It IS in Marketing’s best interest to advocate that someone (themselves or not) does this, because dropped balls deteriorate the integrity of the brand promise.

    Here’s some more food for thought: “If you’re not preventing process silos, you’re doing customer experience management wrong.” Customer Experience Management Prevents Process Silos.


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