November 6, 2019

The Major Change for CMOs in 2020

by Sam Beck

Recently, Forrester released a considerable report that covers 2020 predictions in everything from artificial intelligence in business, to personalization in B2C marketing, to cybersecurity, and much, much more. Though extremely substantive, we homed in on the B2B marketing elements (fitting, given that we’re a strategic boutique for B2B marketers).

One section in particular struck us as especially interesting. The title, “CMOs rally around customer value,” preempted a section discussing how the CMO is in the midst of a great change. While not abandoning previous responsibilities, CMOs are poised to take on a greater role when it comes to crafting an impeccable user experience.

At its most basic, the big shift for CMOs in 2020 revolves around three things: customers, customers, and customers. While this isn’t the newest take, or an unheard-of point of discussion, it is something that has been increasingly important in recent years and has been creeping into the purview of more and more creative marketing leaders. Now, marketers need to take the reins in shaping customer engagement.

In a recent interview with our CEO Drew Neisser, 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 here, if you’re curious—optimized customer engagement, led by marketing, has helped her company maintain some sterling customer retention numbers.

Another recent interviewee of Drew’s, and a former Renegade, Noah Brier, went so far as to say, “content marketing is a subset of the customer experience conversation.” You can out the full interview here for more on that, and how prioritizing customer experience has helped him achieve immense success as a co-founder in the martech space.

When it comes to the growing importance of customer experience, we’re all in. Drew’s 300+ CMO interviews have repeatedly shown that consumers want to patronize a company or product that has purpose, that treats them well, and that provides them actual value wherever possible—not just material discussing how great the product is. CMOs taking the helm of customer experience is a big part of making that all 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 that 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.

For further reference, you can check out the full, gated Forrester report here. Another great thing to see is Forrester’s mention of the growing important of brand purpose. We’re fairly vocal advocates of purpose-driven branding, and, if you’re curious about that, Drew discusses it at length with two top marketers leading the purpose-driven charge: Ben Stuart, CMO of Bank of the West (listen here), and Leela Srinivasan, CMO of SurveyMonkey (listen here).

In summation: marketer leaders need to be heavily involved in structuring how customers engage with content, and what content they engage with. That means overseeing how the content is released in terms of channel, timing, audience, and it means they need to study closely how the customers are responding, to further tailor that content. For more thoughts on tailoring customer experience, or if you have any questions, reach out to Renegade here.