The creation of chief customer officers, chief experience officers and the like is a clear symptom that an organisation has significant structural issues with dealing with digital disruption, according to one of Forrester Research’s top executives.
Carlton Doty, Forrester’s vice president and group director, said at the current Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City the CMOs and CIOs don’t always see eye-to-eye on things.
“Those organisations that have trouble in that executive relationship, tend to be the ones that we start to see the emergence of these, different more contemporary roles; chief data officers, for example, chief digital officers.
“I view those kind of roles as a short-term fix for the dysfunction that lies between these two professions,” he said.
“It’s about the technology agenda of the two sides of the house: there’s business and then there’s IT. We all know what CIOs do in organisations. They have teams that develop applications, enterprise architects, ERP, CRM systems, help desks and so on,” he said.
However Doty said that CMOs have rapidly increasing technology budgets as well. “The biggest mistakes CMOs can make is that they buy a whole bunch of technology and bring it in house and play around with it, and then say, ‘Here you go CIO – support this’ all on top of the 247,000 other priorities you have. I still see too many organisations making that mistake.”
So rather than trying to maintain two separate IT agendas and trying to bring them together after the fact, Doty said these two executives needed to come together and create a shared business agenda.
The CIO still has the traditional IT agenda; CIOs need to keep the lights on. They need that entire back office infrastructure go work, they need to keep the data centre cool. They need to maintain anti-virus software.
“But frankly to work with the CMO and the rest of the business, they need to come together and build a shared agenda,” he said.
Doty said the CMO is wielding a lot more influence in the business today, whether they own the customer experience function or not, is irrelevant. “Let’s say customer service falls under a chief operating officer, my point is the CMO needs to go and influence their pier across the boardroom to make sure they’re on board with this customer obsession story.”
He said that their had to be unity in the boardroom so that everyone is funding the same technology investments for the same reasons. “It’s a cultural shift as much as anything else.”
However he warned that there was no perfect organisational structure for any business. As soon as you re-organise to fix the problem you were focusing on you often create five more.
“Technology, and mobility especially, changes the way that customers behave. It changes the way you reach your customers. It changes the way your customers choose to interact with you and how they choose the products and services they want to purchase. And it also changes what they expect, in terms of heightened expectations,” he said.
So as marketers there are a few things you need to do, advised Doty. “Own the customer moment. Turn data into insight, but don’t stop there, turn that insight into action. Finally, unite brand and experience. Classic marketing and classic brand experience should not be two separate agendas.”
Developing that shared agenda needs to be done around the customer lifecycle of any business said Doty. “Your job as a marketer is to capture that customer moment regardless of where they entered the cycle. And to deliver the value they need at that moment.”
Doty said there were four categories to think about:
- Enterprise marketing solutions
- Sales and fulfillment markets
- Customer service solutions
- Product innovation solutions.
“Develop a shared agenda in each of these categories. These categories touch your customer. This is how we need to approach our technology purchasing decisions,” he said.
Doty also said that just like technology changes consumer behaviour, technology changes marketing and business practices.
“In other words are you just going to do old things in new ways, or are you going to find new processes to replace the old processes using digital technology?”
David Hovenden is in Salt Lake City for the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit.
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