How CIOs can deliver the experiences CMOs (and customers) crave

Peter Barker, CTO, Rufus Leonard, discusses the tools and strategies that will deliver closer co-operation between tech and marketing teams – and meet customer expectations at the same time.

In today’s world, connected, consistent and differentiated experiences are born from closely aligned technology teams and marketing functions. ‘2019 State of the CIO’ research highlights 55% of CIOs are spending more time learning about customer needs as a way to foster the creation of revenue-generating initiatives – prime marketing territory. While, according to Forrester, a CMO’s collaboration with a CIO is one of the four essential steps for a CMO planning their marketing evolution.

The collaborative relationship between a CIO and a CMO is crucial and has increasingly become a hot topic. When these two roles collaborate seamlessly, they deliver extraordinary brand experiences through robust systems built on a foundation of strong architectural principles. Peter Barker, CTO of Rufus Leonard, explores how CIOs and CMOs can align and provide a differentiating experience for their customers.
Understanding what your CMO craves and defining your differentiating experience.

Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience . In this competitive environment, the biggest challenge CMOs have is making sure their brand is delivering a truly differentiating experience. And while 80% of companies believe they deliver these ‘superior experiences’, only 8% of customers actually agree with that statement . Forrester explain the reason for this as ‘digital sameness’ – companies solving the same problems in the same ways over and over, therefore creating the same experiences. “The experiences of the world’s leading brands languish, lapse, lockstep, or lag because their customers struggle to separate one experience from another.”

While they are delivering on customer experience promises and meeting customer expectations, they are not creating competitive advantage – rather just matching the status quo. So how do you prosper in the landscape of digital sameness? Thirty years of helping brands like BBC, The Gym Group and Pinsent Masons has taught us that if Customer Experience matches customer expectations, then Brand Experience exists to create differentiation.

Brand experience involves identifying and investing in hero moments along this journey – specifically where your brand could credibly provide a unique experience – which will create a memorable and differentiated experience for your customers. This is what will keep people coming back to you (loyalty) and start encouraging them to talk about you to their friends (advocacy). Brands with a strong brand experience command 79% higher purchase intent and an average of 45 more Net Promoter Score points than those who offer a lesser experience . This, ultimately, is what CMOs crave.

Driving your differentiating experience

Companies who create technology-driven differentiation see growth 4x faster than the competition , so there’s no question of the importance of using technology to drive brand experience. Aligning around brand experience will help bring focus and priority to the CIO and CMO relationship to meet your customer’s digital expectation. Your platform is at the heart of this business-critical relationship.

It is the CIO’s responsibility to provide the blueprint and platform to deliver this experience in a way which manages costs, threats and risks to the business. This is not just about efficient IT provisioning; if the platform is not available, not fast enough, or falls foul to a security breach it will cost. It’s the platform that facilitates growth and efficiency; allowing you to create new highly personalised services more easily and expand more easily with new partners or new channels using your services.

The challenge is how. How do you build an intelligent business core that is able to facilitate and orchestrate internal and external ecosystems, all while delivering experiences using data, content and insight from people, process and platforms? But that’s not all; it should also connect your back-end and front-end distribution channels in order to create actionable insight which will help you enhance your product and service development. Ultimately, informing high-quality propositions quicker than your competitors, as well as creating operational efficiencies through automation which drive more contextually relevant customer experiences. A big ask? The good news is you have options.

Your route to a robust platform optimised for consistent omnichannel customer experiences

There are a number of routes you can take to develop a robust experience platform:

  • Commitment to a full enterprise stack
  • A vendor PaaS solution
  • A CMS that has some experience and headless features
  • Distributed channel logic
  • A centralised Omnichannel Experience API which you own

Each comes with its own pros and cons. But if you want an option that lets you take control of your business experiences in a way that you own, is highly portable, open source and more easily maintained, for many modern businesses your best option is a centralised Omnichannel Experience API (OX.api).

An OX.api framework provides the capabilities to curate the experiences the CMO craves across all of your channels through solid technical engineering, adhering to architectural principles such as:

  • Availability: Multi-layered, HA, zero downtime deployments, and caching strategies
  • Data as an asset: Single source of truth, upholding compliance such as GDPR
  • Interoperability: Best practice, standards, portability, and SOLID principles
  • Secure by design: Multi-layered security designed with cyber security specialists
  • Resilience: Service bus for integrity, and containerisation to ease DevOps
  • Performance: Maximise the use of elastic computing and the Cloud, blend Cloud and Edge, and build for performance

Connecting the CIO and CMO agenda

What a platform like this essentially allows you to do is connect. Connect what customers want with what technology can do. Connect your brand purpose to your tech stack. And connect the CMO’s agenda with the CIO’s agenda. By connecting and powering the experiences the CMO craves, with tools and systems from the CIO, your brand can deliver the unique, meaningful experiences that customers are demanding. Providing a tremendous opportunity for your business to gain market share and drive growth.