CMO panel: the new era of customer experience

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As a marketer, I couldn’t be more excited about the CMO panel on the main stage at PBLS11 . As previously mentioned, the CMO panel moderated by Professor Tom Davenport, included SAS CMO Jim Davis and his peers, Paula Puleo at Michaels Stores and Scott Hudgins from The Walt Disney Company.

The discussion centered on the idea that today’s customers demand superior engagement, personalization and value. As a result, traditional ideas of marketing are not enough, and responsibility for the customer experience can no longer be limited to the marketing function. So in this environment, effective business strategy is customer-centric and marketing has to blend art and science to effectively understand customers and quickly find profitable growth opportunities.

Tom kicked the discussion with an audience poll that revealed that 58% see the biggest challenge with customer data is understanding customer relationships across multiple touchpoints.

If there’s any wonder about why Disney is so successful, Scott Hudgins shared that their corporate view across their brands is that to the customer, “It’s all Disney.” When asked about the real-time nature of today’s market, he said that they believe they should know each guest well enough at any point/time/place that you know what to do next.  They focus on cultivating trust and respecting the timing and terms of how customers want to be engaged with.

Paula Puleo provided insight into why Michael's lead in their category because they see social media as social content. They use the inputs and embed it in the next conversation and enable their creative customers to do what they do best – they share.  She said there’s probably 8 -10 things you want to know about any customer, and if you ask your customer the same thing 3 - 4 times you really should retain that data.  She believes you should make it easy to do business with Michael's.  She also addressed the trust issue and reinforced the idea that customer interactions should be a value exchange.  She further added that there are four types of data - transactional, inferred from analytics, purchased or earned – and earned data is the most valuable.

When addressing Jim Davis, Tom pointed out that his role at SAS, which extends beyond the traditional view of a CMO position, may be one reason we’ve been recognized as the #1 place to work two years running now.  When asked about what SAS can offer to address real-time marketing, Jim shared the view that we don’t see it as having just to do about the next flyer to go out the door – it’s about all the customer touchpoints and what happens to the customer at any given time.  Jim shared that data collection and use raises privacy issues across industries, and the common thread to resolve the issue is to cultivate trust as part of engagement with customers.

If you found this discussion interesting, I hope you had a chance to register for one of the marketing-focused Roundtables on day two of our conference:

You may also want to catch one of the customer intelligence solution demos as well:

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About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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