By Sergio Corbo
In 2012 Gartner predicted that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. At that time Forbes echoed that “it’s digital marketing that drives business growth”.
Has that happened?
Over the last few years a lot has been said about how CMO and CIO need to collaborate and share the shift to digital marketing in order to enhance the Customer experience. Some CEOs picked up on articles focused on budgets, seeing an opportunity for con-temporization and rationalization at the same time, thus combining the two roles.
Is that working? And why has the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) been left out of the most relevant literature on the subject? And what about the rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), in many cases defined as a marketer well versed in digital skills, someone that fills the gap between the CMO and the CIO?
This is confusing. And when that happens in business, I always revert to the Customer to find the answer.
Consumers as Customers today do more technical research about the product, because digital and social tools make it easier to find relevant information. At the same time business Customers, that have always requested factual data for their buying decisions, are now more interested in what other buyers are experiencing with the product, for the very same reason: the digital and social experience is changing the behavior of every type of Customer, effectively creating convergence of some behavioral components.
“Maybe the right name is Chief Customer Advocate, a role that should remind everyone that the ultimate mission of a company is to help Customers address their needs. A very important role, indeed.”
As the digital/social space figures out how to measure engagement-to-revenue, the only relevant ROI metric, it will continue to attract capital and, thus, evolve at fast pace. Enormous amount of data will be produced about Customer interaction with the seller, the channel partners, the influencers and the product or service. That data will deliver new information that will allow for differentiated and personalized Customer experience as well as a faster evolution of the offer.
So, in this scenario, which C-suite should take the lead in the transformation? It is not about the title: It is about the skill-set necessary to win in the changing market. This leader should be someone that understands the Customer behavior and is willing to learn all the necessary tools to deliver a superior experience, no matter what those tools are. Someone that is very close to the Customer, not someone that is necessarily expert in the latest tools. Someone that is capable to observe and group the many Customer behaviors in classes, so that the company can deliver a personalized experience to every Customer, with a structured and repetitive process that can evolve with the Customer. Someone that can deliver all this within budget, and with a true revenue metric.
Maybe the right name is Chief Customer Advocate, a role that should remind everyone that the ultimate mission of a company is to help Customers address their needs. A very important role, indeed.
Sergio Corbo is a commercial senior executive who helps fortune 500 corporations serve the Customer and deliver measurable results to investors. You can follow his thought leadership at www.linkedin.com/in/sergiocorbo