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From The Field/ General Management

CMOs Need To Get Cross-Functionally Fit

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by John Hoholik
Chief Growth Officer
ACCENT Marketing Services

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Article Highlights:

  • Driving customer engagement does not end once a customer makes a purchase.
  • CMOs need to branch out from their monogamous relationship with sales and forge similar bonds with other internal business functions.
  • One of the biggest challenges for brands is knowing how and when to interact with consumers after a purchase has been made.

Historically, companies have aligned themselves around functional silos across products, communication channels, and life cycle stages–making it nearly impossible for marketers to fully coordinate and guide customer interactions due to data fragmentation.

It’s no wonder companies continue to struggle to operationalize a customer-centric strategy that allows engagement to be accurately measured.

Equally challenging is most CMOs’ reach is limited to functional marketing activities around the brand. They lack the empowerment to define and orchestrate a compelling brand experience across channels.

This has contributed to CMOs’ laser focus on acquiring customers and aligning themselves with the sales organization–often at the expense of other significant parts of the customer journey. But driving customer engagement does not end once a customer makes a purchase. Now more than ever, marketers need to put effort into creating a long, ongoing relationship with each customer, recognizing that their brands have the opportunity to create advocates through post-purchase engagement.

In this new era of customer engagement and connected companies, CMOs need to branch out from their monogamous relationships with sales and forge similar bonds with other internal business functions. With the rise of marketing technologies, for example, the tide between the CMO and CIO has been turning. Forrester Research, perhaps, said it best: that CMOs and their CIOs “need to have alignment on a joint vision for customers and a focus on them. Those CMOs who choose to ignore this and go it alone do so at their own peril.”

The customer journey also has taken on new prominence. With COOs and CIOs typically owning the post-purchase piece of the customer journey, it’s becoming more critical for CMOs to align with them for the benefit of their brands and customers.

A recent survey by ACCENT Marketing Services looked at how the behaviors and expectations of today’s consumers are shaping how brands engage with them. Among the results:

  • Nearly half of consumers interact with brands after a purchase.
  • 86 percent of consumers say it’s important to have a positive experience after making a purchase.
  • 93 percent of consumers claim that a positive response or special offer can help restore the company’s reputation after a bad experience.

This is good news for marketers who are engaging with customers following a sale. It also provides opportunities for marketers who have let the post-purchase relationship languish.

This brings me to my last point. By building a bridge to other operational pieces of the business and looking beyond the acquisition phase, CMOs will be able to better understand and engage customers across the entire life cycle–from prospect to acquisition to new purchases and even collections.

One of the biggest challenges for brands is knowing how and when to interact with consumers after a purchase has been made. Considering the entire life cycle, CMOs looking to maximize return on investment need to understand how to best engage with customers regardless of where they are in the sales funnel or what channel they are using.

By getting cross-functionally fit, CMOs will realize four important benefits: higher levels of engagement with other CXOs, engagement with customers through the whole customer journey, engagement that leads to stronger relationships, and, ultimately, a customer-first mentality across the organization.

About John Hoholik

John Hoholik is the chief growth officer for ACCENT Marketing Services, a member of the MDC Partners Inc. network and provider of multichannel customer engagement solutions.

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