I’m not clear on the Chief Customer Officer concept…

I don’t have any problem with the direction Jeanne Bliss provides regarding how to become the “customer champion” in your company, especially the idea of aligning with the CFO and CIO.

What I’m trying to figure out is why this is not Marketing’s job; seems to me the CMO should be the Chief Customer Officer, complete with the ultimate responsibility for Customer Service.  Otherwise, it seems like this CCO position is just an excuse for people keeping their heads in their own silos and letting somebody else worry about cross-functional processes, customer experience, and defects.

In other words, do we really need a unique exec to be able to create / enforce / enable cross-silo functionality on the “soft” side (marketing, service, some fulfillment) of the business?  After all, the CIO and CFO operate across all the silos, why can’t the CMO?  As Ron said in his excellent piece What Marketers Should Learn From IT, the CMO now needs to get involved in the whole business and act cross-functionally to be successful, as the folks in IT have learned.

I guess the answer is probably that “Marketing” has been redefined over the years and has somehow lost the strategic seat at the table, morphing downward into “MarCom”.  This has not happened at all companies – I can tell you at most truly data-driven companies, the CMO is the Chief Customer Officer, because these folks / the company understand how the totality of the customer experience affects Marketing Productivity.

Perhaps the answer to Kevin’s question on what happens to the Marketing folks in the catalog business as the web takes over is this: they become Chief Customer Officers or consultants to them like Jeanne Bliss, formerly of Lands’ End.  After all, they already know how to do the Chief Customer Officer job.

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