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CMO + CIO = Customer-Centric Experiences

By Snap Agency May 26, 2015

One of the hallmarks of the digital experience and a core benefit to the channel, is the vast amount of  data and content that are usable. Having the ability to analyze such high volumes of information should be a boon for any company, but there are times where this may fall short. Who’s responsible for maintaining such a deep understanding of the customer experience? The CMO who is handcuffed by technology? Or the CIO who is ignorant of the personas, brand and customer paths? In both scenarios, someone is missing key understanding to make a notable difference in customer outcomes.

Another Position or Another Approach?

In an Economist Intelligence Unit survey sponsored by Accenture, C-suite executives were asked who in their organization was responsible for digital innovation: 23 percent said the CTO and 22 percent said the CIO. Only 1 percent said the CMO [Accenture Study Reference]. There are clearly additional issues based on that breakdown but the key focus here is that a full 50% of innovation isn’t even being touched by the two departments that create, deliver and collect the variety of data and content for a brand.

What does a C-suite team want more than innovation? They want a remarkable customer experience.  An engaged customer will seek the value the company provides. And an engaged customer is easily tracked through the digital channel.

Chief Experience Officer-ing

At larger companies, many CEOs are creating a new position, the chief experience officer. This person oversees improved collaboration with services, sales, logistics, technology and marketing. Shoot, it’s fast becoming a rival to the breadth of the CFO and COO positions. Research shows that mentions of such roles in industry publications has increased 60 percent over the past three years. In fact, more than 6 percent of companies in the S&P 500 now have executives with one of these titles [Accenture Study Reference]. Kinda crazy, right?

But at Snap, we see it another way. There’s nothing wrong with providing another job but isn’t it simpler to keep yet another layer out of the communication line and enable existing members to do better?

Collaboration and Innovation: Buzzwords or the Truth


Facilitating and creating the C-Suite dashboard allows for a new level of sophistication and collaboration between the CMO and CIO. And not a moment too soon. An Accenture survey revealed that a significant percentage of respondents think that marketing and technology alignment are among the top priorities of organizations this year (80% of CIOs and roughly half of CMOs) [study reference]. So how does alignment happen and how can we use that to improve the Customer Experience (CX)?

employees on patio of office enjoying sunsetAs mentioned, digital provides a mountain of data and content to reference and infer and this will be the source of crafting the best customer experiences possible. A simple model that Snap has adopted is to start with your business goal(s), be it revenue or ratings, and drill down to every quantifiable and useful piece of data. From there, using segmentation, attribution and tons of other jargon/processes, build back up to a Dashboard of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). To build in collaboration, ensure that the metrics being built aren’t just for the CMO but rather pull in technology, logistics and other departments directly related to how the customer experiences the brand. We’ll talk more about typical KPIs later but first, what are other collaboration opportunities for CMOs and CIOs?

Start Collaborating Sooner Than Later

With many of our clients, we’ve started to see multiple departments at our reviews and pitches. This works out very well as part of our process is to bring in all stakeholders early on; seeing companies doing this without our asking makes it that much better. In meeting with the CIO, we can learn and express our recommendations on CMS, CRM, ERP and all other TLA systems while managing the expectations of the CMO and how content, interaction and attribution will all be tracked. At the end of that process, both sides feel understood and now Snap can build something amazing.

Even beyond that, when the customer experience is mapped and quantified, areas for improvement are easily spotted and the goal then is clear: CMOs should care about engagement, CIOs should care about facilitation. In sharing the stake and outcome, collaboration is only inevitable and, honestly, we see greater respect and understanding during those interactions. It’s powerful when there is a shared vision and when all parties know that it’s shared.

The Shared Dashboard

Once we’re working with a company and understand each departments’ goals, we’ll construct a KPI dashboard roll-up that can be shared to one or all departments. There’s clearly a need for smaller and more specific metrics per department but the general dashboard forces each team to pay attention to what is important to the others. In this way, the dashboard can play the role of customer experience chief and guide collaboration.

New Success Metrics

dashboard image

If teams are properly tracking data all the way to the source, it becomes pretty simple to use those insights to properly incentivize members and guide other departments to affecting change.

Take for example a telecommunications company that seeks to revisetheir B2B strategy via a new website. The original thinking, pre-data, was that digital channels were faltering and that the sales center still accounted for the majority of its accounts. Though the sales team is a very important piece, data would say that digital marketing, social and mobile tactics were driving traffic to its call centers but that attribution was not being given back to the correct teams. In this case, the tech team for supporting those systems and the marketing team for creating engagement.

As the CMO or CTO of that company, you would want to incentivize the folks running those digital strategies rather than heaping opportunity cost on the sales centers. In short, revamping the KPIs and understanding data flow could protect this company from making unnecessary changes and rewarding the wrong teams. Instead, there is now a clear understanding of culpability and opportunity.

So How Does this Start?

As most of us know, we’re selling value, not products or services. A common shift for companies that moved from the 20th century model of “build it and they will come” have found that empathy for the customer journey and his/her experience of the brand offers far more insights into what could and should be done. Part of Snap’s pre-discovery process is to ask, “What was your journey to discovering us?” The CMO, CIO and even CEO would have very different answers and outcomes. All viewpoints are important to facilitating the right efforts and Dashboards.

For your company, start with empathy and then move to quantification of that journey. Where are customers finding value? Where are they losing it? Which teams have the biggest effects at which part of the funnel? Snap can help with that, too.

So what are some common Dashboards that are being created? We can’t give it all away but a great graphic from Accenture can demonstrate the types of KPIs that are shared between the C-Suite.

digital distributed marketing dashboard

Finally, a fantastic infographic that discusses the collaborative model for CMOs and CIOs.

At Snap, we treat your business as if it were our own. That means pragmatic recommendations that factor in empathy for the customer and the goals of the business. If you’d like to discover if we can work together to achieve a better Customer Experience or deeper collaboration with CMOs and CIOs, please reach out with the form below.