How small business can own customer experience

5 Ways the Small Business CMO Can Own Customer Experience Too

How small business can own customer experience
New research from Forrester shows that if it doesn’t already, marketing will soon own the customer experience from beginning to end.


Successful CMOs Already Own Customer Experience from Beginning to End

Successful CMOs Already Own Customer Experience from Beginning to EndOvercoming perceptions that marketing is a resource consumer, the evolution of the modern CMO makes marketing a resource producer for every stage in the customer life cycle. Thanks in part to the increasing role digital plays in the buying journey, marketing has gone from lead producer to true customer relationship managers which is responsible for an ever-widening scope of tasks; such as:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing
  • Buyer education
  • Lead conversion (everything from initiating to finalizing the actual sale)
  • New customer on-boarding
  • Customer welcome-marketing
  • Repeat sales, upgrades and add-ons
  • Loyalty marketing
  • Word of mouth and referral marketing
  • Public relations

Many companies whose structures were formerly dominated by the sales team have given way to strong marketing teams, or at least given up ground. And the list of relationships today’s marketers own doesn’t end with the customer experience. Vendors, suppliers, investors, board members and many other types of stakeholder relationships can be managed from the marketing desk today.

In organizations where marketing has come to own customer experience from end to end, the CMO has assumed accountability for bottom line results, not just metrics, says new data from Forrester Research. Process ownership that once ended with handing a lead generated over to sales now provides proof of influence over every stage of the buying process and the customer lifecycle.

Today’s CMO works closely not only with sales leadership but finance, too. Their ability to demonstrate how marketing activities directly contribute to company revenue, profitability and other bottom-line metrics gives them increased influence throughout operations, from research and development to customer policies and the employee culture.  According to the report about the evolving role of CMOs:

  • 8 out of ten say strategies are aligned with company revenue targets
  • 64% of CMOs now own customer experience
  • 1 in three are responsible for business unit profit and loss (up 13 percent from 2014)
  • 45% of B2C and 31% of B2B CMOs view their relationship with the CFO as critical to success
  • Of those who own customer experience, one-third also own business strategy development

In addition, 30 percent of CMOs say it’s just the beginning; they see the need to take their leadership potential to new heights; in fact, 38 percent aspire to CEO or COO roles.

Scaled Down: 5 Ways for the Small Business Marketing Manager to Own Customer Experience

It’s one thing for CMOs of large companies with dedicated staff, budgets, tools and other resources to own customer experience from end to end, but you might be wondering how to create this kind of mission clarity in a small company.  Here are five ways to ensure that your marketing program is on track to own customer experience from end to end, and scale up as you grow.

1. Start with Strategy

Strategy is the foundation to every successful company, especially those that sustain success and excellence over time. Make sure your business plan is on paper, not just in your head. As a starter, use the checklist above showing all the ways the age of digital has made marketing more relevant and lay out a strategy for each.

2. Stop to Measure

Marketing is action oriented; however, if you don’t stop to measure, tweak and plan you run the risk of wasting time, money and buy-in. Tie marketing results to specific goals from the beginning and use metrics demonstrate strategy and mission-relevance. For instance, web traffic might be high but if site visitors aren’t likely buyers, who cares? A metric is just a number until it can be tied to a real result.

3. Practice Financial Accountability

Nothing undermines CMO credibility like spending without accountability. Monetize the way you report results so that everyone from the owner to the CFO can see how the resources consumed by marketing come back to the company exponentially greater.

4. Perform

Many people in business still don’t understand that marketing isn’t just a cost center. In fact, marketing is one of the few areas of business operation that can and should be producing a return on investment that is far, far greater than resource outflow.

Nothing succeeds like doing. Small wins can turn into big victories not only for the company, but for the value of marketing taking a leading role in product and process development, customer service, policy and organizational culture.

To get permission to take the bigger risks needed to produce bigger wins, speak up and show how small wins that cost the company little (or nothing) brought real results. Use your monetization model to show how a bigger investment could bring back exponentially more.

5. Outsource to Fill Gaps

Outsourcing work to experience marketing professionals who work with small businesses as fractional CMOs or provide a la carte marketing services is a great way to fill gaps. Companies like ours offer package deals where we can act like a marketing department (if that’s what you need), contribute strategy, help you build a marketing plan or you can pick and choose among the services offered to add pieces of marketing you don’t have yet.

Despite agency rates that might appear high, keep in mind that when you outsource marketing work to plug the holes in your company’s marketing plan, you don’t have to spend money to recruit and hire, on-board, train, pay employment taxes or benefits’ costs, buy equipment or allocate office space. Compared side by side, outsourcing marketing work could cost a fraction of completing it in house when it would mean an add to staff. Plus, you’re getting the benefit of working with marketing experts your small business might not otherwise be able to afford, if you were to hire outright.