As a focus on Customer Experience (CX) in business and media continues its rise in popularity globally, a common question that is often asked – who owns the customer? Particularly when the remit of the CX and marketing teams overlap (and they almost always do), business leaders are at risk of siloing their CX projects from their marketing strategy.
While expectations for the importance of CX are rising , it is marketers who are responsible for leading CX strategy and execution whilst remaining accountable to a return on investment. This can cause friction amongst organisations due to a knowledge gap between marketing departments and those representing the CX projects (who tend to have vague and undefined
The reality of the situation begs the obvious question, can CX be taught as a next generation skill set for marketers who are looking to reap the benefits of transcendence into the experience
Get a bigger budget
Within the marketing departments of challenger brands low-margin enterprises, marketers are often tasked with executing campaigns on budgets and resources that are a fraction of their competitors. All too often, the marketing strategies and tactics employed are a cheap imitation of what market leaders (and their budgets) have already done, making the analogy of ‘bringing a sword to a gunfight’ a poignant comparison.
When marketing efficacy doesn’t translate into practice, more often than not the answer is simple: find a bigger budget (or find an up-and-comer who will do it for less). However, this begs the question, does traditional marketing theory only apply to those with the budgets to execute on significant media spend? No.
Any marketer worth their salt already knows that marketing is more than simply a focus on Promotion (but one of the 7 sacred P’s), yet the industry zeitgeist has continued well into the 21st century, particularly marketing services. So, how can we break this way of thinking? You guessed it, CX.
CX as an effective framework mitigates the lack of flexibility in typical marketing agency models and marketing services. It provides marketing strategies with an exciting new array of tools and tactics that can be employed to achieve better product-market fit, go-to-market fit, and brand differentiation.
This is mostly due to the fact that, unlike modern marketing playbooks, CX has a much more versatile and flexible approach that respects a lack of budgets and resourcing, yet can still provide a business with a strategy that achieves a positive and scalable return on investment.
The role of the marketer
We already have all sorts of roles that ultimately work towards CX: marketing managers, market researchers, marketing strategists, product managers, developers, designers. and more. Instead of siloing these departments, CX has the ability to tie all of these roles together to create a customer-centric marketing strategy that provides organisations with more opportunities to grow their market share.
As the industry evolves, marketers must be encouraged to learn and apply CX practices, not in lieu of marketing, but in addition to. For example, a traditional marketing role doesn’t have the remit to include post-sale experiences in their portfolio, and typically steers clear of applying CX practices in-favour of safer marketing practices (no one gets fired for hiring Y&R).
However, these limitations have put the role of the marketer under immediate threat. CMOs and marketers alike must take a broader remit and learn how to apply CX so that it can stand on the shoulders of marketing. Otherwise, they risk being replaced by roles that may well end up throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and undoing sophisticated marketing practices that are still relevant today.
Benefits of CX
We already know the positive impact that CX can have on businesses, including greater chances for value exchange; greater brand differentiation; higher perceived market value; increased revenue; and improved customer retention. CX involves applying a style of thinking which enables an organisation to be more customer-centric and experience driven, beyond just marketing.
CX is about future-proofing your business to ensure that your commercial model is always looped into your customer’s sense of value.
Let’s talk about the B-word
For marketers exploring the relationship between ‘CX’ and ‘brand’, the terms may almost seem interchangeable. ‘CX’ and ‘brand’ are very close. In fact, they share a highly symbiotic relationship that needs to be understood. A brand is the emotional relationship between a company and a customer, prospect, or stakeholder.
You know what a great discipline is that promotes stronger relationships between companies and individuals? CX: it focuses on strengthening the commercial relationship between a brand and a customer by delivering an experience that transcends the transaction by providing value across the entire customer journey.
Marketers who bring customer experience into their remit provide themselves with the opportunity to unlock the potential to join a portfolio of brands that are changing the rules on how companies can achieve long-term success and mass market adoption.
Marketing is an incredibly powerful profession, but if it fails to grow with the advancement in human-centred design practices such as CX, then it runs the risk of losing relevance. Marketers need to learn and adopt CX practice into their agenda, so that they may use it to stand on the shoulders of the rich history of marketing and propel it into the 21st century.