CMOs Own CX, But Not the Tech

July 24, 2018

The CMO has gained more responsibility for the customer experience (CX) in recent years, and brand marketers have made the customer experience their top priority this year. A new SAS-sponsored report [download page] conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytics Services now finds that responsibility for the customer experience is more likely to sit with the CMO than with any other role.

The survey was conducted globally among 560 business leaders at companies with at least 500 employees, including a majority (54%) from companies with at least 10,000 employees.

The responsibility for the customer experience sits with the CMO at 36% of companies, per the report, ahead of the one-quarter of companies where the responsibility lays at the CEO’s feet. (It should be noted that while CMOs are owning the customer experience, they’re far more likely to be leading traditional areas of brand development and customer engagement.)

Nonetheless, CMOs are far less likely to commandeer customer experience technologies, despite spending as much on technology as the CIO. Indeed, the responsibility for customer experience technology sits with the CMO at just 12% of organizations, being instead more likely to rest with the CIO (30%) or the CTO (23%).

One of the challenges with these differing responsibilities is lack of organizational alignment: just 29% of respondents to the survey say that CX and CX tech stakeholders are well aligned, with most saying their alignment is middle of the road. In fact, CMOs believe that organizational alignment would boost their effectiveness more than increased budgets or resources.

The SAS and HBR study notes that “creating consensus around initiatives is critical.” Indeed, research has shown that improvement in the marketing-IT relationship has owed to better alignment on business goals.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 560 business leaders at companies with more than 500 employees (54% at companies with at least 10,000 employees). Respondents came from a variety of industry sectors and job functions, with the North Americans (37%) and EMEA (35%) regions most heavily represented.

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