December 11, 2019

Forrester Shines CMO Light on Experience

by Renegade

Forrester released a pretty hefty report of data-driven predictions for 2020. Naturally, like an impatient kid with a mystery novel looking to the last page to see “who dun it,” I flipped right to the section titled “CMOs Rally Around Customer Value.” Don’t worry, I’m planning on reading the rest, I’m just—as I’m sure you could attest to—much more interested with where marketing’s heading as we enter a new, (hopefully) roaring twenties. (June 2020 update: “roaring” is one word for it! What a year.) 

So, what’s the big shift, according to Forrester? Customer experience, customer value—customer, customer, customer. Not exactly the hottest take around, but it is one I agree with, and it’s an element that I’m seeing enter the CMO purview more and more. Marketing has made a habit of expanding, and in recent years it’s become more and more crucial that CMOs and marketing teams take control of customer experience where they can.

In my podcast interview with Melissa Puls, CMO of Avid, noted that, especially in the increasingly popular subscription SaaS model, a big part of her role is “to take care of and nurture customers, and to keep them.” She’s got plenty more to say on the subject in her interview, if you’re curious.

Another recent interviewee of mine, and a former Renegade, Noah Brier, went so far as to say, “content marketing is a subset of the customer experience conversation.” 

When it comes to the growing importance of customer experience, I’m all in. Consumers want to get behind a product or company that treats them well, that provides value, and that has purpose—CMOs taking the helm of customer experience is a big part of making that happen. More spend is going into researching and creating great content (rather than just blasting out superficial clickbait), and customers are responding. Having the marketing team creating that great content, and ensuring it’s delivered in a way consumers want, doesn’t sound that crazy, right? It’s a good thing the marketing world is catching up to that notion, and now more CMOs are making that customer experience a priority—that means fewer short-term gain strategies, fewer marketing efforts that attempt to manipulate customers, and more efforts focused on creating brand loyalty and affinity.

Another great thing to see is Forrester’s mention of the growing importance of brand purpose. Hmmm…the importance of purpose? That sounds pretty familiar. I wonder if there are any, I don’t know, marketers with weekly newsletters that love to evangelize brand purpose? Anyways—I digress.

Check out the interviews and the report for more (it’s gated, FYI), and if you have any other thoughts or questions about where marketing is heading in the next few years, give me a shout!