A recent report started a thought-provoking idea. Companies have, for decades, had a C Suite, the powerful corner office executives who make all the decisions in the company, well, almost all.

A few years ago, there was an addition to this C suite- the Chief Strategy Officer joined the ranks, creating a roadmap for growth that overarched technology, marketing, operations, even financial planning. Then with the significance of data came the rank of a CDO- Chief Data Officer. And as digitalization became a corporate strategy, the Chief Digital Officer was the next role in.

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The decision-makers and stakeholders today have a finger in each team- the CIO cannot take individual decisions because IT has inroads in every team. As a result, every C level executive has to collaborate in making the business strategies work. So the marketing strategies are led by technology adoption, as the cloud hangs over all financial as well as resource data. Under the circumstances, there seems to be a new designation on the horizon- the Chief customer officer.

It will take some thought to understand the utility of a Chief Customer Officer. First of all, it will be a role completely distinct from a Chief Marketing or sales officer. The strategy here is to carve out a specialized role that will cater only to customers- them being the cornerstone of any enterprise success. The customer officer may be a very smart strategy because this executive will lead the initiatives that have to do with what is the most valuable initiative for any enterprise- customized or personalized customer connects. No carpet bombing of goodies, but an outreach that means something special for each customer. For high-value customers, this is what will make all the difference for a good sales team.

But it could well be a CRM? No, the CCO will also work on carving out digital strategies for customer connections, as well as partnerships that could mean even more focused customer connect. This executive would add value to the brand as seen from the customer perspective, not only as a senior company executive. With the amount of information as well as a personal touch they will drive, the role could fast outstrip any marketing chairs.

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This could truly be a step forward in achieving digital transformation for the marketing and customer connect processes- where data could be utilized, alongside other disruptive technologies to enable the CCO to create stronger and more customized outreach.

Maybe it’s time companies started taking a long hard look at the C Suite specializations. They need to be justifiable in terms of the business strategy- and that should entail technology, planning and of course, the customer.