Interactive customers, for many industries, are a brand’s best friends.

The seismic shift in marketing – from one-way broadcasting to a two-way, interactive dialogue – has put today’s CMOs in a powerful, high impact position.   Interactive platforms allow CMOs to learn more about customer wants and needs and to subsequently engage customers like never before.

The root of all good marketing begins with the customer. Having hosted over 100 CMO dinners a year the last few years within The CMO Club, I’ve concluded that leading CMOs start by listening and interacting to create a clear understanding of the customer’s persona, desires and real-world behavior.

Translating this customer view and voice into a clear vision for the organization is next.

The New Road to Success – Mapping the Customer Journey to Optimize Customer Experience

By mapping the customer journey, the way the customers are engaging today, not spoon feeding them content, or controlling the brand message, as the brands did a few years back, marketers can use that intel to build a customer-centric culture across all functions and touch points. Various channels need to be considered when creating both the technology and engagement touch point maps, incorporating all aspects of a customer’s experience with your brand.

This is the pivot point for successful marketing, because customers interact with brands at all levels, regardless of whether the brand is participating in that interaction or not.

It is important to remember that CMOs are the customer champions who own the customer experience and, as such, represent the voice of the customer within the C-Suite for a growing number of companies. Some companies have created a Chief Customer Office position that supports CMOs in delivering a top-notch customer experience. DHL’s CCO position has helped create DHL’s “ICCC = Insanely Customer-Centric Culture”. This initiative encourages all employees to be part of a unified customer experience team, a team that stretches across the entire organization.

“As CCO, my role is to enhance the customer experience at every level and every touch point. At DHL Express, where service spans more than 220 countries, the mission of creating powerful customer experiences is a truly global endeavor. We want to assert a passionate, customer-centric attitude within every facet of our operation, and encourage every DHL employee to take ownership and solve problems.”  – Christine Nashick, Chief Customer Officer, DHL Express

With digital conversations occurring directly and indirectly online via social media, reviews, customer feedback and peer-based conversations, it’s simple to interact and listen to customers. In mapping the customer journey, it is that interactivity and dialogue that is the foundation of customer knowledge.

Within The CMO Club, we regularly poll our 800+ member CMOs for their input and opinions. We have in-person CMO roundtables, virtual roundtables and twice-a-year CMO Innovation and Inspiration Summits; all member-centric initiatives that encourage interactive, behind closed doors, open conversations, problem solving, and feedback for new programs for CMO Club members.

Why? Because our members are The CMO Club.

The CMO Club members act as the inspiration, creators and customers directing everything we do. Lively discussions and member submissions are reflective of a customer experience that fosters engagement and delivers CMO-quality content and problem solving.  We’re not perfect, but we strive to always remember that no one knows more about CMO challenges and motivators, than CMOs.

Going Beyond Standard Expectations

Let’s take it one step further.

Winning marketers connect internal functions with customers and build a customer-centric culture to create the best customer experience, period.

Looking at each touch point separately and collectively enables CMOs to optimize each point of customer interaction – regardless of channel. Going beyond this “constructed connectedness” is a simultaneous deconstruction of the customer journey into each interaction along the way.

“Knowing your customers’ issues is the central rally point for engagement. Our goal is to provide solutions for our customers regardless of which channel they choose to engage in. Never think solely in terms of channel, rather in terms of customer engagement and content. Are you providing high quality content that brings them closer to your brand and encourages them to engage further?” – Rose Hamilton, CMO and GM of the PetSmart division Pet360

One final thought: The best CMOs may not own all departments providing customer experience, but own the framework and standards for customer journey mapping resulting in the most effective customer centric culture and Brand Equity education across the business.

Have you defined the mapping of your customers journey to ensure the best customer engagement with your brands?


Download the CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms which contains the results of a survey of over 100 marketing leaders plus the five key solutions identified – including Be the Customer Champion Every Step of the Way – to help CMOs and marketing leaders tackle the challenge of providing a seamless customer experience across all marketing channels via the use of technology.

This article originally appeared on the Oracle Modern Marketing Blog