In many organizations, the responsibility of customer experience falls on the marketing department. But with virtually every department contributing to that customer experience, and technology rapidly changing not only how customers connect with the brands they buy from, but also how those brands can effectively engage with the market, effectively managing the customer experience is an increasingly complex responsibility. So how can today’s CMO keep up?
In this strategy+business article, PwC analyst David Clarke offers nine traits that CMOs need to be effective. Specifically, Clarke identifies the importance of a diverse perspective, the need for passion, a willingness to get in the trenches, a discerning eye, capacity to evolve, love for analytics, the ability to build a team, need for exploration, as well as a willingness to act as the customer advocate.
Let’s take a look at a few of these traits, explore what they actually mean to a CMO looking to tackle complex initiatives like customer experience.
Understanding the Power of Perspective
For businesses to thrive in the digital economy, organizations need to do everything they can to eliminate the silos that have become common boundaries. According to Clarke, “a successful digital marketing strategy requires input from colleagues as diverse as the chief information officer, the chief financial officer, and the chief security officer. CMOs must be multilingual — able to speak the language of multiple disciplines. And they must understand how to bring together experts from various backgrounds to orchestrate harmonic collaborations.”
Being able to orchestrate harmonic collaborations is rooted in empathy – a skill that’s nearly impossible to develop and leverage without face-to-face conversations. It is only with empathy that CMO build understanding. However, it goes beyond simply understanding as this Harvard Business Review article suggests, true multidisciplinary effectiveness “requires: openness to alternative ideas; inquisitiveness to understand the foundation of others’ arguments before pushing back and asserting one’s own ideas; and recognition of the value the other party has and therefore can add to the collaborative venture.”
The travel schedules of CMOs and fellow executives is no excuse to forgo this facetime. Video conferencing allows CMOs to build or maintain relationships, and when integrated into existing communications platforms like Skype for Business, it facilitates informal, ad hoc conversations. Using the right meeting type for the task at hand – instant message for a simple question, quick video conferencing when the inquiry is complex or sensitive, scheduled group meetings when you need input from multiple departments, etc. – can keep CMOs agile and delivering project milestones on time.
Putting Passion to Work
When people have a passion for what they do it has a way of generating excitement – and excitement is contagious. However, as Clarke explains, “passion isn’t simply about motivating a group of colleagues at an annual meeting. Rather, a leader’s energy fuels the team’s energy. The CMO must continually demonstrate a zeal for the work in order to inspire the same level of commitment from the team. Passion has a tremendous influence on the quality and creativity of the marketing.”
Effectively conveying zeal is a very visual task. After all, exclamation points in emails only go so far. Your team needs to see passion in your face, your gestures, your posture, and hear it in your voice.
But CMOs often lead teams that are spread across the globe, or at the least, work from home from time to time. Leveraging video conferencing can play an instrumental role in conveying your passion when you can’t be in the same room. Recording and distributing your message makes it more accessible when time zones vary widely across your team. Video conferencing creates an environment where people can both hear and experience your passion, regardless of where they happen to be working.
Strategically Building and then Empowering a Team
As any good leader knows, meaningful accomplishments start with a skilled team that understands organizational objectives as well as leadership’s passion. As such, “CMOs must also know how to spot talent, and how to recruit and retain new stars who are similarly multilingual and multidisciplinary,” writes Clarke. “Equally important is the ability to build a culture of collaboration, not hierarchy, where all people feel they are heard and empowered to be change agents.”
Disrupting recruiting norms by using technology to reach new talent pools is a great way to reach a broader pool of potential team members. “ Video collaboration technology can help here, too. With 75% of new graduates willing to relocate to another state for a job offer, it’s worth expanding your talent search beyond state lines. Conducting at least the first round of interviews via video will save you time and money as you narrow down your candidate pool.”
Once the team is in place, it’s crucial to encourage exploration and creativity. Clarke suggests creating a sandbox, “where issues can be examined within the proper framework and new ideas can be encouraged.” The right unified collaboration tools can boost productivity by enabling team members to interact seamlessly regards of whether they are shoulder to shoulder or 500 miles apart.
Bottom line, the complexity of what is being asked of the CMO is rapidly increasing. If the marketing organization hopes to keep pace, they must hone their empathy, lead with passion, and build a team with the right skills to execute on rapidly evolving objectives. Not working shoulder to shoulder is no excuse to bail on these critical traits. CMOs that leverage video conferencing to maintain the power of visual collaboration regardless of working location will have the most impact on complex tasks like the customer experience, and ultimately the success of the business.