The role of a B2B, and per extension also for B2C, CMO is a difficult one these days. Often, it is not very clear what the C-suite and the board expect from a chief marketing officer. Should he have a clear customer focus, or act more as a marketing technology/data marketeer? Is it about being the glue between the different departments and act as major change manager? Or is he all 3 roles combined in one?


The challenges for a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

What is quite clear is there are 3 main issues he is often confronted with:

  1. Which products and services will add the most customer value?
  2. What content and programs in which channels will best represent these?
  3. How should they align resources, execute marketing programs, and measure value?

For years CMOs have handled traditional marketing roles such as branding, advertising, events, and lead generation. And requests for budget increases to the CFO or CEO usually stated ‘we guess that the ROI would be X’, but often without the tooling or resources to drive SMART insights.

But in the digital age, with addressable channels, AI, hyper-personalization, and strategic assets such as customer data and insights, their mandate and measurement approach must change. Gartner research reconfirms: customer experience is key for CMOs! This is how they see it:

If you’re customer-first and do it in a smart way, then it can help the company. So what we really coach our clients on is to understand their data, to tie the satisfaction scores back to operational and transactional data, and to be able to tell leaders why it matters.


The Value of a Customer Value Officer (CVO)

However it is also one of their major challenges when it comes to empowerment and competences. Forrester states that companies acting with a CMO who actually is a chief value officer are performing better.

CX (customer experience) is essential to “the mix.” CMOs will become story makers, placing customers at the center of their company values, experiences, and processes. For instance, the Apple Watch allows consumers to contribute their critical data to health research; Apple, in return, gets credit for helping save lives. Businesses with any amount of disconnect or fragmentation in the brand will find growth elusive, feeling the brunt of disruption in this age of customer control.

Now more than ever, customers expect relevant connected conversations and value returned with every interaction, and care less about rebrands or catchy TV ads. And regardless if it’s a customer buying snacks or a multimillion-euro software system, they still evaluate the relationship based on similar factors like relevancy, consistency, and trust.  As such, every organization needs a C-level executive that understands this, champions it, and is accountable to that new strategy.


The new mission for the Customer Value Officer

So, does marketing have that leader? That very much depends on the person raising their hand to assume not only a new title but a new mission.

Recently we have seen the evolution towards some new titles such as Chief People Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Analytics Offer and so on. Yet the problem is not going to be resolved with inventing new titles. They often just are new titles but without really addressing a new mission or vision, let alone approach. We need to work cross-functional if we truly want to deliver a delighting experience to the end user. To energize this marketing approach, the organization needs to collaborate transversally with a new data-driven and customer-centric mandate.

Most importantly, they should demand all initiatives run with new customer-centric strategies, demand strict quantitative measurement in terms of customer value-added, and endeavor to prove lift quickly.

54% of customer have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago. This percentage jumps to 66% for consumers aging from 18 to 34 years.

To be able to react to this trend, next-gen CMOs need to fully understand customer value and how they can create greater amounts of it using data and analytics as strategic enablers. This will separate traditional CMO’s from customer-driven CVO, who always needs to live on the edge of technology and data with as the only holy grail customer needs and increasing their value.


Customers are in control: continuous relevance creates value

Do CMO’s take enough advantage of the existing opportunity window?

The common denominator in those pursuits are convenience, consistency and purpose of the brand. To be relevant, CMOs must demand all inbound and outbound customer engagements go through a single system to manage, measure, and optimize customer value – and keep these things in mind: customers are in control.

  • They control the relationship.  Companies can nurture them, but customers decide when, where, and how much they will engage.
  • Customers measure value during every interaction and expect brands to know what they are needing, expecting or might be surprising them.
  • It would be wrong to to think brands impact and control a user’s assessment of his multichannel experience and its worth. Every interaction, service, products and personalized experience must always be delighting, adding a valued or even unexpected value to the user. Every user is a unique individual and he wants to be felt loved and appreciated!

And that is where the role of the CVO comes in. Senior business leaders who wish to drive revenue and growth must prioritize close alignment between sales and marketing and innovation/technology. However siloed processes, data and even technology can hamper growth efforts, whilst priorities budgets and senior personalities often remain in conflict.

To drive common process adoption, some companies are championing a change that introduces the notion of revenue operations. Although the term has various interpretations and applications, revenue operations brings the operational work of sales, marketing and customer success together under one roof –typically owned by a chief revenue officer (CRO).


Conclusion: bringing Value is a team effort

The CMO must work to align many things to realize customer value optimization. They won’t maximize value unless they have the right cultural, organizational, functional, data, and technology architecture all working in concert.

To be able to track measurable results, sales, marketing need to work together. And cost saving and rapidity are key. This can be gained by strong data insights, quick testing with new technologies and toolings, and collaborating with IP.

This article is written by our co-founder Ingrid Stoffels. Read More about how we can help you bring value!