CMO Perspectives (7th Nov, 2014)

As a consumer, when you set out to buy something, whether it is groceries, a pair of shoes or cable service, more often than not, you don’t compare shops each and every time. Rather, you develop a relationship with a certain vendor and then trust them to give you a consistently high-quality service. That’s why, as the authors in this week’s CMO Perspectives assert, “relationship capital” is even more important than the short-term bottom line. And that relationship capital extends to people you may not have considered: like your employees or other businesses in the supply chain. This week’s edition of CMO Perspectives describes how to build relationship capital and why it is so vital to the success of your organization.

We hope you enjoy these articles. Let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or reach out on Twitter: @NICE_Enterprise.

Navigating the new customer journey []

Blair Christie, Senior VP and CMO at Cisco Systems says that in the last few years her company has had to “redefine marketing's role and transform our marketing organization.”

The root cause of this, she explains, is the changing nature of the customer journey. Once upon a time, she says, marketers were the masters of a brand, and it was their job to build awareness and loyalty, as well as help generate leads. Those leads would then be passed on to the sales department.

Today, she says, the customer journey is less linear. What was once like the moving walkway at an airport is now multi-directional and full of entrance points, as customers hop on and off. The control and almost pre-determination marketers had in the past has been transformed to the ability to exert influence.

Christie offers several strategies for responding to the new customer journey. The first is to focus on content and no less importantly, new channels for distributing that content.  Second, digitize everything. Third, obsess over your customer, even if you’re B2B. It’s a fascinating read if you want to learn how one industry leader tackled the changes in the marketing landscape.

Lack of Employee Engagement Dulls a Company's Competitive Edge []

In late 2013, Gallup released the latest iteration of its survey of employee satisfaction around the world. The polling company found that only 13% of workers actually feel engaged at their jobs. A whopping 63% of the workforce is not engaged. And an astounding 24%, pretty much one-quarter of the global workforce, feels actively disengaged.

Why does this matter? According to author Brian Solis, aside from the fact that it is bad for the employees in question, employee disengagement negatively affects profitability and competitive advantage. He also points out that Millennials tend to be higher-maintenance employees than their elders, seeking validation and rewards at every turn, so the problem is only set to get worse.

Solis says he’s baffled that this situation has not been addressed with greater urgency among senior executives he talks to. Inspiration, optimism, loyalty and open collaboration are the solutions to employee disengagement, but how do you get there? For the solution, read the article in full.

Why companies must invest in experience management []

The author, Ekaterina Walter, believes that marketers are overly focused on measuring the bottom line as opposed to what she calls “relationship capital.”

Strong relationships with customers are important for two reasons. First, because it’s much more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one, and second, because consumers will talk about brands that consistently deliver a great experience.

In Walter’s view, relationship capital should be the most critical measure of business success. She says the bottom line is not a goal, but is rather the result of great relationships. That’s where technology comes in. All of a company’s software platforms must be integrated so that customer experience is managed in a smooth, seamless, meaningful way. This will ensure that you are delivering the relevant information to your customer at the right time, in the right place, in the right way.

Q&A with Olivier Mourrieras []

Harley Manning, a research director at Forrester Research specializing in customer experience, describes a frequent response he gets from companies he urges to improve their customer experience. 

"Sure,” they say,  “it sounds great for glam industries like automotive or fashion. But I sell widgets."

Manning dispels the misconception that customer experience is only for companies that “advertise in glossy magazines.” To that end, he interviews Olivier Mourrieras, Vice President of E.On, an electrical utility based in Cologne, Germany.

After discovering that his company’s KPIs were lagging, Mourrieras describes how his utility focused on making its impact more visible to the customer. One way he does this is by conducting  “customer listening sessions” and bringing an emotional response and urgency to top customer issues.

Kind of gives new meaning to the phrase “positive energy.”

We hope you enjoyed our picks and bookmarked a few articles for future reference. Please don’t forget to share with other CMOs.

Are there any other marketing topics that interest you? Tweet us, or comment below to let us know!

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