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Can marketers fill the customer experience gap at board level?

12th Nov 2015
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Only 21% of the current FTSE 100 CEOs have a marketing background, while a solitary 34 marketing directors sit on executive boards of Fortune 1,000 companies in the US.

According to new research published by Econsultancy and Oracle, this lack of boardroom presence is an anomaly as most businesses should be encouraging marketers onto their boards as a result of the “growing recognition of the need for customer-centricity within business”.

However, the study states that very few marketers are able to combine their credentials for improving customer-centricity in the boardroom with being able to “speak the right language” with director-level peers.

This means being able to juggle creative, strategic and technical sides of the business with a “solid understanding of the business’s financial objectives and an ability to demonstrate their function’s direct contribution”.

And also vital is a working knowledge of data and technology capabilities, and trends to drive multichannel success – all of which adds up to a seemingly monumental task.

Despite this, Oracle’s VP of marketing, Andrea Ward states more businesses would benefit from bringing marketing leaders into the boardroom for the simple fact that marketers are more and more frequently taking ownership of customer experience in their businesses; something that research states needs to be increasingly driven by the board:

“The value of marketing in driving revenue is undeniable, and as such it’s time marketers solidify their role next to other executive decision-makers to drive business strategies,” she states.

“The role of today’s CMO is all-encompassing. It requires them to be part artist – leading their teams to develop inspiring campaigns; part scientist – analysing and uncovering value from the huge volumes of valuable data they collect; and part politician – building relationships and becoming great communicators.”

A study in January from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), stated that 75% of CMOs believe end-to-end customer experience will soon become their chief responsibility. Yet 81% say the function must be redesigned and restructured in order to better support the business, with 29% saying the need to act is urgent.

Corresponding research from the Institute of Customer Service in July suggested this was unlikely to happen any time soon, however, and that UK boards in particular, including their chief executives, had “no idea what customers want and don’t bother to ask the opinions of experienced frontline staff who do”.

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