At the recent CMO Club Innovation and Inspiration Summit in New York City, Julie Cary, CMO of La Quinta Hotels; Kevin Moffitt, Chief Digital Officer at Office Depot; Jennifer Renaud, Global Marketing Lead at Oracle Marketing Cloud; and Helena Verellen, SVP Global Marketing & Business Development at Audible Inc helmed a panel of shared insights on how they keep customer experience front and center in uncertain times.

Marketing is never a linear process, but when everyday challenges become monumental, the confluence of external and internal obstacles can overwhelm and distract the most experienced CMO. We’ve distilled several insights from our CMOs on how to deliver a consistently inspiring brand experience for customers, regardless of the industry “weather”.

Interrupt Yourself: Future-Proofing Your Brand Means “Preemptive” Listening

Don’t wait for a challenge to arise to find out your communications process is flawed. Listen to your team’s concerns, but don’t stop there: train them to anticipate bottlenecks in delivering optimal consumer experiences and then zoom in on their root causes. It isn’t always just a “process issue”: sometimes it’s a matter of flagging team inspiration, misallocated human resources, or simply a dearly held way of interpreting customer signals that is no long relevant in today’s often-volatile marketplace. Listen to the data, but not at the expense of listening to your frontline team. Hear before you assess. From Kevin Moffitt, Chief Digital Officer, Office Depot.

Exceed Customer Expectations During Every Interaction with Your Brand

For brands trying to reinvigorate a traditionally brick and mortar business, there aren’t typically a lot of new “bells and whistles” to offer. But thanks to emerging technologies, there is an opportunity to provide new and fresh digital customer experiences.  The experience your customer has with your brand online should be held to the same high standard as your brick and mortar locations. We should continue to look for ways to not only improve our digital experience, but also use digital to enhance the physical experience. From Julie Cary, CMO, La Quinta Inns and Suites

Make Innovation Inevitable

Look for ways to build innovation capabilities in the long-term as technology adoption opportunities and consumer demands for more relevant, engaging messaging heighten. The requirements of your consumers will change constantly, but be assured that they will only become more resource intense. Find a way to make change less painful to implement: be in a state of conscious alert for industry disruption that requires real-time customer experience problem solving. From Jennifer Renaud, Global Marketing Lead at Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Service Before Solutions: Look at the “Holistic” Experience as Your Chief Product

Touchpoints are meaningless if there’s no sustainable efficiency, “next issue solve”, or an immediate, tangible value for your consumer. You’ll need to use “logic-driven logic” (you may need to say it twice) to build an accurate picture of where you are as a brand and how your brand’s messaging is being amplified (or compromised) in its expression to your consumers. From Helena Verellen, SVP Global Marketing & Business Development, Audible Inc.

The Takeaway: Get back to basics on how you look at every interactive process within the company—your team’s experience, your own (are you actually “living” the strategy you envisioned?), as well as your consumer’s. Every point connects with the quality of your consumers’ overall understanding of what your brand is trying to say to them and how much you value their experience and their loyalty. Prune faulty processes ruthlessly but with a sensitivity to the menagerie of human elements that are connected to the familiar. The “Bigger Picture” around your brand’s “Big Picture” isn’t just a portrait of brand goals, it’s a map that will allow you to navigate and outdistance your challengers.