A recent Heidrick & Struggles study found that 62 percent of CMOs view relationships with the senior executive team as vital to their success. It should have been closer to 100 percent. Why? Because without philosophical and strategic alignment between the marketing organization and the executive team — the CMO and the company will experience limited success.
Strategic alignment between marketing and leadership is more critical than ever as the customer experience has become the battleground on which business is won or lost. Without holistic commitment from the entire executive team to change marketing’s role in the customer experience — the marketing team’s ability to truly impact long-term business performance will be hindered. To win, marketing and the executive team must be fully committed to doing what is required for the company to deliver a clear, compelling and consistent customer experience.
It’s that simple, and it all starts with strategic alignment.
Changes in marketing’s role and the customer experience are far-reaching. Left unaddressed, these changes will continue to prevent the marketing function and the executive team from achieving greater success and maximizing the customer experience opportunity. To capture the customer experience opportunity, marketing and executives must be on the same page. They must buy into two simple facts:
- Now, more than ever before, the corporate story your target audience consumes throughout their journey determines the degree of success your company will achieve.
- The process by which your corporate story is developed, delivered and managed throughout the customer experience must fundamentally change to meet the needs of today’s B2B buyer and the new customer experience.
Until the entire executive team commits to developing a customer-centric culture and empowers marketing to implement a cross-functional process for infusing a clear, compelling and consistent corporate message throughout the customer experience — the business will fail to realize its true potential.
However, when the entire executive team is aligned and gets behind these strategic initiatives — the opportunity to improve competitive differentiation, elevate audience engagement, increase customer acquisition, retention and loyalty are all within reach.
It continues with … visible and unwavering commitment.
Strategic alignment and messaging development / delivery process reengineering is where the journey starts, but visible and persistent commitment to stay the course is the key to success. Maybe that’s why Jonathan Copulsky, a partner at Deloitte Consulting, said, “Great marketers know the best brands are built one brick at a time, over and over again.”
Getting the entire organization “on message” and owning a defined position in the minds of your customers is not a quick fix. To be successful, marketing and executive teams must have unwavering courage and commitment. They will have to remind themselves and leaders across the organization that this is a journey, not a destination. It is transformational, not transactional, in nature. It has to become part of the fabric of the organization. That means the entire executive team must commit to pulling the rest of the organization forward. They must keep the corporate message and strategic priorities around the customer highly visible. They must consistently articulate a clear, compelling and consistent corporate message — inside and outside of the organization.
Only when leaders remain committed to institutionalizing the corporate vision, purpose, values and story across the organization will marketing (and the executive team) be able to transform the way the company brings its story to life and capture the true customer experience opportunity.