How the CMO-CIO Partnership Helps Personalize the Human Experience

In most organizations, the responsibility for delivering a human experience that’s personalized, dynamic, and contextualized has landed on the desk of the CMO. But it can’t be this executive’s responsibility alone.

In the past, CMOs focused on branding and marketing strategy delivered through a handful of channels. Today’s CMO must orchestrate an end-to-end experience across traditional outlets, as well as digital channels that constantly generate new data and provide actionable insight into customer behavior.

Most CMOs realize the need to adapt – and quickly. Delivering a consistent, personalized experience is challenging, thanks to multiple customer touchpoints, lean teams and limited budgets.

Inside companies, it’s often difficult to get other top executives to understand the need for a clear human experience strategy and the value it will create. Organizational silos hinder the delivery of a consistent message, while a lack of governance and an abundance of customer data add layers of complexity. Plus, many marketing professionals are still developing technical proficiency – only 10 percent of B2B marketers feel effective using data analytics to make better decisions.

Right brain, meet left brain

Recognizing the importance of data and emerging technology, CMOs are turning to in-house technology resources for assistance.

Traditionally, CIOs and CMOs have had separate or conflicting agendas. The CMO wants to protect and enhance the brand while the CIO focuses on curbing risk and protecting the organization.

Now, CMOs and CIOs are teaming up to build effective customer experiences, leaning on one another’s expertise to build experience-marketing-focused tools powered by emerging technology.

Three key areas where leaders are working together with innovative results include:

Data. As companies collect customer data from a wide variety of touchpoints, leaning on the expertise of the CIO can help get the right data, with the right level of access, in a timely way. Moving data into a cloud-based customer data platform, for example, can give you better visibility into what your customers care about and what is driving their interactions with your brand. Stitching together internal and external data helps create a single view of the customer that marketers can then use to make more relevant, personalized decisions.

Decisioning. Once data is collected, marketers can apply AI tools to determine how, when and what content to deliver to engage with each customer. This insight helps optimize specific outcomes across the entire customer lifecycle (such as sales conversions, driving more site traffic or gaining customer feedback).

Delivery. Organizations must then connect the dots between the channels they use to engage with customers (such as ecommerce, point-of-sale, mobile app, IOT and call center) and real-time decisioning to provide the consistent experiences today’s customers are looking for. Achieving this ultimate goal can lead to better customer experience and increased business value, evidenced through increased sales, loyalty to the brand and brand advocacy.

Keys to collaboration

How can organizations make the most of this new relationship? Consider these tips to enhance the CMO-CIO partnership and realize greater results:

Align leadership. Make the brand’s customer experience a priority across the organization. Assign responsibility for ensuring a consistent experience across channels. Whether interacting online or in a brick-and-mortar showroom, the promise of the brand should be familiar and expected.

Identify use cases. Decide how you want the customer to experience your brand, then identify where the gaps lie and how they can be addressed.

Define what success looks like. How will you know when you’ve achieved your goals? Collect data from marketing campaigns, sales interactions and customer service, and learn how to use this data to measure performance.

Build quick wins to gain momentum. Identify a short-term goal where you can clearly measure the value created. Devise a strategy to use readily available data and targeted communications to achieve results. Use value creation to build momentum and support more transformative initiatives.

Leverage existing systems. Building the proper infrastructure doesn’t require a complete retooling. Consider using a cloud-based customer data platform and leverage existing first-party data as a valuable asset. Work with technologists to see how AI/machine learning and content delivery improvements can be layered into existing infrastructure.

Prepare for the journey. Know that your systems and processes will evolve; educate yourself and your teams on how to leverage emerging technologies like machine learning and AI. Adapt the role of marketers and experience owners to focus on strategy using new, readily available insights and let machines do the more tactical execution.

Connecting the dots to deliver a personalized human experience is challenging. Yet in a market where media and messages are fragmented – and customers make decisions based on emotional connections – it could be the smartest way to differentiate your brand.