Should The Chief Customer Officer Oversee Marketing?

Should The Chief Customer Officer Oversee Marketing?

There’s a trend happening related to Marketing and Customer Experience leadership. McDonald’s hired its first (CXO) Chief Experience officer, Manu Steijaert, to advocate for customers in every business decision across the customer journey. Similarly, Walmart hired Janey Whiteside. And, Volkswagon did the same, and more are following the path.


Is Chief Experience Officer (CXO) a short-term strategy?

It seems like the answer is no, as more brands are restructuring their marketing efforts and investing in customer experience for the long term to gain a competitive edge beyond price. CX leaders and I share our perspectives with Neil Davey at MyCustomer, which you can read below. I know one thing for sure: Customer Experience, Marketing, and all departments need to partner and collaborate a lot. SILOS DO NO ONE ANY GOOD! I’m interested to hear your perspective.

Originally posted >here.


Some of the world’s biggest brands are restructuring so that the marketing department reports to the company’s customer experience leader. After years of the chief marketing officer having ownership of CX, why is this shift happening now – and will it stick?

When McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski decided that he wanted the fast-food giant to become more customer-centric and reflect the way that modern consumers engage with his restaurants, he realized a big change was required.

Therefore, last month McDonald’s announced the creation of a new customer experience team, headed by the company’s first chief customer officer. But the devil was in the detail. Because in order to remove the internal barriers and silos that Kempczinski believes were leading to fragmented customer experiences, he also restructured the organization so that new CCO Manu Steijaert would have multiple teams reporting into him, including data analytics & digital customer engagement, global restaurant development & restaurant – and global marketing.

This structure, with marketing reporting into CX, is something of an emerging trend. A similar reshuffle at Walmart has chief customer officer Janey Whiteside overseeing the retail behemoth’s marketing department.

The news has been warmly welcomed in some quarters. Commenting on the news of McDonald’s restructure on LinkedIn, author, and keynote speaker Jason S Bradshaw said: “This is absolutely the way it should be. As the first Chief Customer Officer of Volkswagen Group Australia, the work got even better when I became the first Chief Customer & Marketing Officer … marketing is selling a brand promise – that has to be aligned to the Customer Experience delivered.”

And on the same thread, Mike Soldan, chief experience officer at Shmoop added: “We just moved Marketing into my org and the accuracy and effectiveness of our value prop has gone through the roof. No one knows what your customers want/need to hear more than the people that built and support the products and customers.”

Should the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) oversee customer experience?

Some were surprised by the move, however. Sandra De Zoysa, group chief customer officer at Dialog Axiata, notes: “This trend is rather intriguing to me personally. Traditionally, customer service and CX sell under the purview of the CMO and in more recent times, under the chief digital officer, where there is no CCO. However, to think that in the future these roles will be reversed and the CMO’s portfolio can actually fall within the CCO is a huge shift of power in the right direction. Wow!”

Indeed, historically customer experience has often reported to the CMO, rather than the other way around. And research from the CMO Council from earlier this year found that many senior business executives in large organizations believe it to be the role of their marketing department to have ownership of the customer experience. But many in CX circles believe that this is a flawed structure.

Chief customer service experience officer Alex Mead says: “This is by far the most common approach being taken by organizations, and from my perspective, it is completely wrong. Marketing leaders lack the understanding of the importance of slick, effortless, engaging customer interaction and service experiences, nor do they have the knowledge on how to deliver what modern-day customers want. That is why we often see companies with amazing brand & marketing experiences, losing their customers because of awful customer service experience journeys.

“If the CMO truly walks in their customers’ shoes, experiences painful multichannel customer contact designs observes the effect of missing/late deliveries, spots the huge frustration from customers that can’t easily ask a question across the channel they want, and in the way they want, AND THEN if they truly take the time to understand the customers’ pain points, and empower the right people to address them, then that can be used to positively influence the entire company’s brand and marketing strategy. But the reality is this is a very rare situation indeed.”

Should the Chief Customer Officer oversee Marketing?

Unsurprisingly, then, the CX community has welcomed the idea that the new structure could proliferate.

Speaker, author, and writer about Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right, Stacy Sherman, has spent her entire career in sales, marketing, and CX roles, and believes the growth in CXO roles and the resulting restructures will be a very positive thing for companies.

“I believe there is a trend happening and companies like McDonald’s and Walmart are paving the way. If you search on common job sites, you’ll see companies are hiring CX managers and related executive positions at a faster rate than ever before. That’s because a CXO has unique skills and training to guide a company’s direction and investments (tools, resources) that are in the best interest of customers. Likewise, a customer experience officer knows how to influence people to feel that they have a customer experience job, even when they don’t interact directly with customers. Without such a culture, loyalty goals can’t be achieved.

“I don’t see any negatives with CXO/CCO overseeing marketing, other than it will take time to gain believers and supporters.”

What do you think?

Let’s keep the conversations going. Join me on social media.

If you like this article, you may also enjoy:

What’s the Fate of the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) in reaction to Wallstreet Journal article. (ARTICLE)

How & Why the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) & CXO must partner closely together. (ARTICLE)

Is Customer Experience (CX) the NEW Marketing? (PODCAST):


CMO And CXO Must Partner To Transform The Customer Experience

CMO And CXO Must Partner To Transform The Customer Experience

There’s been much debate about the role of Chief Experience Officers (CXO). A recent Wallstreet Journal article raises questions about whether or not the CXO position will become obsolete. Other publications inform that there is a fast-growing trend of companies hiring CXOs and/or promoting within for the long term, which I’m a fan of.  I can’t predict the future, yet I know for sure that department silos do no one any good. Customer experience and marketing teams must blend and work together regardless of where they sit in an organization.  

Featured Guest Post is by , VP, Principal Analyst~ Forrester

He dives deeper into CXO and CMO topics and the importance of working closely together to achieve both customer and employee brand loyalty.  Thomans original article here.

Read, Apply Best Practices and Pay it forward.


McDonald’s Corp. just named company veteran Manu Steijaert as its first global chief customer officer, who will lead a new customer experience (CX) team. The team will combine operations in data analytics, digital customer engagement, marketing, restaurant development, and restaurant solutions.

After CVS and Walgreens, here, too, the CMO reports to a chief customer officer, marginalizing their marketing role. Other CMOs are launching CX functions or embedding the CX discipline as part of their marketing organizations.

Over the past few months, my colleagues Joana de Quintanilha, Mike Proulx, and I spoke with over 50 marketing and CX leaders, and many of them referred to a lack of organizational alignment and political tensions over who leads what. Egos and org structures are often one of the key elements blocking marketing and CX collaboration. Others include the fact that CX demands a long-term commitment, that CX is often wrongly seen as a marketing “add-on,” and that marketing and CX methodologies and toolsets lack alignment.

Let’s be real: There’s no silver bullet in terms of an organizational model; even if there was, organizations don’t change overnight. Multiple structural solutions exist, depending on your company’s culture, legacy, and CX maturity. Stop obsessing about who owns CX in your organization and instead use key catalysts like journey centricity, brand values, innovation, and employee experience (EX) to bring marketing and CX operations together. CMOs can accelerate the convergence between marketing and CX by:

  • Recognizing CX’s importance across the customer journey.

     CX isn’t just about client retention: It plays a key role in improving the prospect experience. CX leaders should work closely with their marketing peers to focus on growth opportunities: piloting new offerings, optimizing the prospect journey, and involving teams in design thinking and co-creation.

  • Using journeys to connect product, marketing, and customer service.

     In Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey, only 24% of global B2C marketers said they organize around the customer. Journey centricity is a core way to align the entire organization to be more customer-obsessed. Journeys are the starting point, the backdrop, and the connective tissue that bring marketing, product, and customer service together.

  • Ensuring a consistent brand experience in all customer experiences. 

    You must define and execute on your brand strategy to narrow the gap between brand, customer, and employee experiences. Brand reveals the essence of the company to all stakeholders, while CX brings the brand to life.

  • Accelerating go-to-market innovation via a new operating model.

     Instead of trying to transform legacy infrastructure and tools in siloed organizations, some companies create new subsidiaries to accelerate innovation, launch new offerings and products, or enter adjacent markets. Innovation is the perfect opportunity to establish from scratch a new collaboration model between marketing and CX teams.

  • Driving cultural transformation through EX. 

    EX exists at the crossroads of HR, IT, and marketing. Many leaders, especially in Europe, are investing more in EX as a competitive advantage. This is yet another opportunity for CMOs and CX leaders to collaborate to help other C-suite leaders develop the culture of the organization in line with its brand promise. CMOs are already playing a stronger role in getting employees to engage with CX by creating new employee journeys.

Customer experience is the top priority for 49% of global B2C marketers; 28% have already merged brand, marketing, and CX into a single team. Too many brands, however, still have marketing and CX silos that prevent them from creating aligned, resonant brand and customer experiences. As a result, they will fail to seize the opportunity to deliver on their brand promise through their customers’ journeys.

The pandemic has accelerated this phenomenon, with higher acquisition costs forcing companies to focus on customer retention. Successful organizations connect marketing and CX throughout the customer lifecycle.


What are your views about CXO and CMO roles?

Do both positions exist where you work? Do you think CX is the new marketing? Is Marketing the new Customer Experience? As you form opinions, check out my fun debate with Colin Shaw on his recent podcast.