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CCOs CDOs and the CMO: Do We Need Them Or is This Just Craziness

Posted on the 17 July 2014 by Shellykramer @ShellyKramer

CCOs CDOs and the CMO Do We Need Them or is This Just CrazinessDigital is changing the world of business faster than many organizations can adjust or react to the ever-changing demands of their clients and customers. No matter what size the organization, the CMO’s role is constantly changing and transforming. CMOs are embracing digital channels with enthusiasm, yet with so many changes happening in the market, it’s hard to keep up.

The State of the Marketing Department Today

Today’s marketing department (and the people who lead it) are changing at a rapid pace. And one key element that many are overlooking is that it’s not the mastery of digital channels that’s important, but the ability to focus your marketing efforts on what your customers want and need. Smart CMOs are realizing they must immerse themselves more in creating and delivering value to their customers. It’s not unusual for many of today’s CMOs to focus primarily on serving the needs of the sales team, or on PR and corporate communications and not so much customer service and/or on product and pricing.

In addition, in many instances CMOs are overwhelmed by the different demands of their positions today, and often lacking either the budget dollars or the skills to execute at the level at which they need to perform. Today’s marketers are required to understand multi-channels, multi-disciplines, be adept with data gathering and analysis, and develop strategies and execute them across multiple channels. Sound familiar? I know that many of our clients feel the pressure that comes with the realities of the complex world of marketing today, and perhaps you do, too.

How Marketing Departments Are Changing

As CMOs are becoming more adept at realizing that they can’t do it all themselves (nor should they expect to), we’re seeing the rise of specialized positions – things like the CCO(Chief Customer Officer) and the CDO (Chief Digital Officer) come into play. This is a smart move and it’s really a key component of any organization’s formula for success. Marketers today need to not only be able to meet the demands of their customers, they also need to be able to be lead generation and lead nurturing experts and adept at doing what it takes to create a demand for the company’s products or services. Creating the positions of CCO and CDO allow companies to focus on delivering a more relevant, more integrated customer experience. More importantly, it’s not only the path to greater marketing effectiveness and increased growth and profitability.

What Exactly is a CDO and a CCO?

The concept of a Chief Digital Officer is a relatively new one, and one thing’s for certain — whatever it is today, this is a function that’s guaranteed to change and evolve over time. Rich Hein, writing for CIO, defines this position as:

“The CDO is not there to make technology decisions or run the company infrastructure. It’s a transformative role that is being used to break up the siloed functions within organizations. The CDOs are more about analyzing the data and how it relates to the business and customer experience. ‘The best way to describe the CDO is that you need to be a silo-buster connecting different disciplines and departments.’”

I think that’s the key to success today as a brand strategist in general – the ability to always be thinking about how to connect different facets of the organization, especially as it relates to marketing and customer care — and making sure everything you’re doing works together. Think I’m a nutball? Well, I am, but that aside, this is probably the direction we’re headed from a staffing standpoint in the marketing world. Gartner research backs this up as well, predicting that 25% of all businesses will have a CDO by 2015.

And the Chief Customer Officer? That role is pretty self-explanatory. For success in business today, everything is (or should) be about the customer experience. From what happens when they visit your website or your bricks and mortar location to what happens during the path to purchase to what happens (and continues to happen) after the sale. That’s the realm of the CCO.  I liked this definition from Neil Davey, editor of, a site devoted to all things customer-service related:

“Also referred to as a variety of other titles including chief experience officer and VP of customer experience, the cross-departmental executive-level role is implemented as an antidote to traditional business models that have been more concerned with products and pricing models than with the customer experience.”

Anyone who doesn’t realize that customer experience is what’s driving revenue for businesses today, isn’t paying attention. It only makes sense that a CMO position is augmented by someone at an executive level charged solely with handling the customer experience, doesn’t it?

According to the CCO Council, more than 40% of $1 billion+ enterprises now have a CCO. And, while not all companies are at this level in terms of budget and resources, it’s an important trend for small to midsize businesses to pay attention to. Marketing has never been more important than it is to businesses today and understanding the digital realm and a customer-driven economy are integral to the success of just about any business, in any vertical today.

Where to Learn More

If this topic is interesting to you as you think about your marketing team and the future, join the Oracle Social Cloud and Integrated Marketing Summit for Who Owns the Customer? The Rise of CCOs, CDOs and the Transformation of the CMO, a webcast at 1pm on Thursday, July 17, 2014. The panel discussion will feature David Payne, Chief Digital Officer, Gannett Company, Inc., Jeb Dasteel Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Oracle, and Erika Brookes Vice President of Product Strategy, Oracle Social Cloud, as they dive into this topic. Some of the things they’ll cover include:

  • Are we creating more complexity than is necessary?
  • How do we define these emerging and seemingly overlapping roles, both functionally and culturally?
  • How does collaboration with IT and marketing come into play?

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? What are you waiting for, register now to save your spot. After you do that, come back and tell me what you think about all this. Are these unnecessary positions? Pie in the sky? Or do they really make sense? What I see when I’m out on the road speaking at conferences and working with marketers is that they’ve overwhelmed by how broad their jobs have become and often don’t feel equipped to do all the things that successful marketing requires. Positions like these could make a big difference. Or they could just make things messier. What do you think?

Link to register for the webcast

Other resources on this topic:

Why the Chief Digital Officer is on the Rise
Do Chief Digital Officers Spell Trouble for CIOs?
The Traditional Role of the CMO is Dead: Long Live the Chief Customer Officer
Will 2013 Be the Year of the Chief Customer Officer?

photo credit: Jen Beever via photopin cc

CCOs CDOs and the CMO: Do We Need Them or is This Just Craziness is a post from: V3 Kansas City Integrated Marketing and Social Media Agency

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