In the business world today, the customer has taken center stage. That means CEOs and C-suite executives must change the way they think about marketing’s role in the enterprise. They must reset the boundaries and expand marketing’s reach into and influence over the entire customer experience. Gone are the days of marketing’s sole focus being brand awareness, generating leads and launching campaigns. They have been replaced with … more holistic ownership of the customer journey.
It’s Time to Redefine Marketing’s Role Across the Organization.
CEOs have to lead the charge when it comes to changing the way executives across the enterprise view marketing, how it operates, and the degree of control it has over the customer experience. Simply put, marketing should be defined and confined only by the customer journey itself. With this fact in mind, leading CEOs are starting over. They are clearing the slate and using the customer journey as the foundation from which they task marketing with developing strategic plans, formulating budgets and building the brand.
According to McKinsey & Company, “Few senior-executive positions will be subject to as much change over the next few years as that of the chief marketing officer. Many CEOs and boards may think that their senior marketers’ hands are already full managing the rise of new media,
the growing number of sales and service touchpoints, and the fragmentation of customer segments. But as the forces of marketing proliferation gather strength, what’s actually required is a broadening of the CMO’s role. This expansion will encompass both a redefinition of the way the marketing function performs its critical tasks and the CMO’s assumption of a larger role as the voice of the customer across the company.”
CEOs Must Lead the Charge and Open New Doors.
While some CEOs and executive teams may not have the appetite for this reset — it is the right business and financial decision in the long run. In fact, CEOs who redefine marketing’s role in the business, with customer experience at the center, will ultimately gain and maintain greater market share than their competitors. However, to make this happen – you, as the CEO —must be prepared to drive change.
For your CMO and marketing team to be successful, you will need to ensure they can capture greater knowledge of the customer through analytics; have more involvement in the formulation of your company’s go-to-market strategy; take on broader messaging development and delivery responsibilities; and have the authority to lead customer-centered initiatives that span almost every functional area of the company. In other words, you will have to completely redefine, in the minds of leaders across the organization, where marketing’s job starts and stops.
Yes, You Will Need a Strong, Strategic CMO … But You Must Have Their Back.
A recent Forrester article, “CMOs Boldly Reach For More Influence In The Enterprise,” explains that, “CMOs should step forward and take responsibility for turning the enterprise toward the customer. This means taking on a more significant role on the executive team … it also begs CMOs to lead innovation processes in the organization … the CMO, has to create a more engaged customer relationship. Getting the organization to see the CMO in this light is a big ask, and only CMOs who rethink their approach to marketing operations will pull it off.”
With that said, as the CEO, you must have the courage and persistence to lead the way. Your marketing leaders can’t do it themselves. To win, the entire executive team must commit to working with marketing to re-center the business around the customer experience. In fact, a recent Heidrick & Struggles study found that 62 percent of CMOs view relationships with peers on the senior executive team as vital to their success. We think that percentage should have been closer to 100 percent. Why? Because without philosophical and strategic alignment between the CEO and CMO … and unwavering commitment from the C-suite to transform marketing — companies will experience limited success in the future. It’s just that simple.