There are real benefits for marketing leaders who take ownership of the customer experience. Driving measurable improvements in customer retention and account growth is a great way to show the impact marketing is having on revenue that isn’t the typical “sure, but what have you done for me lately” C-Suite conversation.

Quick—why do top sales reps make big bucks?  It’s because they make it easy for their prospects to buy and to feel good about buying. They personally differentiate their company and solutions at the crucial moment someone prepares to take a financial risk hoping to solve a big problem.  Next question—why doesn’t the customer success team get paid as well as sales for differentiating their company and making customers feel good about staying a customer?  Because most businesses assume it’s hard for their customers to leave once they’re onboarded.  In other words, they ignore the evidence that 80% of a business’ future sales will come from 20% of its existing customers. To fix the attitude that prospects are more important that customers requires a cultural shift that begins with a Customer Experience Charter. And that charter should be owned by the CMO.


Customer Experience and the CMO


“Wait, what?”—you might be asking—”What does a CX Charter have to do with the Chief Marketing Officer?” Everything! As we’ve already discussed, CMOs own digital innovation within their organization. That means taking ownership of data custody, personalization, touchpoint analysis, and ultimately, the entire customer journey from lead to renewal/repurchase.  There are three reasons for this:


  1. Your organization is already on its way towards a full “digital transformation.” Your customers are now self-serving things that used to be done by people within product management, support, and sales.  You’re already managing the communications between your customers and what your web properties.  This is where your customers now have most of their interactions with your brand, right? That means managing landing pages, automation flows, multi-touch attribution, etc.  Who else is going to do it if you don’t?
  2. You’re (hopefully) an interdisciplinary agent of change within the executive team. Marketing and the technologies that Marketing owns provide key functionality and insights that the entire organization relies on to make better decisions.  You don’t get that breadth of insight staying in your office all day.  Likewise, customer success needs an organization-wide push. As before, who else is going to do it if you don’t?
  3. If you follow a revenue-growth process to CX, like SBI uses, you’ll uncover many opportunities to make the customer experience tie back to customer account growth.


Why Should a CMO Be Excited to Do This?


Let’s be clear: this isn’t about “the CMO as the hero.”  There are real benefits for marketing leaders who take ownership of the customer experience. Because it is a provable input to revenue. There’s a case for additional budget allocation to drive this type of initiative.  For example, implementing multi-touch attribution or intent modeling for customers can also drive real demand-gen outcomes while being paid-for by customer success.


CMOs are also often less popular than the CRO because most of what the CMO does takes time to yield results.  “Fast leads right now” rarely close well.  Driving measurable improvements in customer retention and account growth is a great way to show the impact marketing is having on revenue that isn’t the typical “sure, but what have you done for me lately” conversation.


How to Get Started


In an episode of the SBI podcast, Rob Wentling, at the time a VP of Product Strategy at Cigna, described the process of making customer experience a competitive advantage as the art of “differentiating yourself on the moments that matter to your customers.”  While not an easy task, there’s a three-step process you can follow to develop and operationalize a Customer Experience Charter which will get you well on your way:


  1. Define and validate your customer journey with all relevant stakeholders. (Use our customer journey map template to start.) The goal is to uncover areas where there’s friction between your customers and your company.  For example, “our customers want to receive their renewal quotes in the customer portal, and we require them to call in.”
  2. Resist the urge to undertake fast ad-hoc repairs. Instead, think about each opportunity for improvement systematically to define what will have the most impact. Ask:
    1. What’s the right process?
    2. Who are the right people?
    3. Do we have the right technology?


Continuing with the example above, before investing in more portal development for this one requested feature, have a discussion with the customer success team to understand the value of the required phone call to renew.  Is the renewal call currently the only client feedback they get outside of support ticketing?  If the customer is pleased, should sales be involved to look for other opportunities? (Use our Customer Journey Map Evaluation tool to help prioritize.)


  1. Use your CX charter as a foundation to drive larger cultural change. The CEO and CRO will buy-in because they see the revenue impact of improving customer retention. The chief customer officer (do you have someone in that role?) loves differentiating on the moments that matter.  But as the day-to-day becomes more pressing, the charter will be the roadmap you use to ensure you’re working together towards a truly differentiated customer experience.


The Chief Marketing Officer is a challenging job because it is inherently interdisciplinary and change-oriented.  It’s also probably the executive position with the most opportunity for personalization and the most potential to influence the direction of the organization.  Taking a leadership role in defining your company’s CX Charter is a win for you and your fellow executives.  Especially if you build the charter around how CX drives more revenue, which is the methodology we use at SBI and for our clients. Download our CX Charter Roadmap Kit to take the first step.


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Ben Redfield

Helping marketing leaders to accelerate revenue growth.

Ben has more than 10 years of experience defining, developing and executing successful marketing engagements in industries including technology hardware, SAAS, manufacturing & professional services.


As a strategist, he is particularly skilled at revenue operations, lead generation tactics and pipeline optimization.  As an experienced practitioner, he has extensive experience with inbound marketing campaign methodology and marketing automation best practices.

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