From CMO to CGO: How the C-suite is shifting focus

From the Chief Customer Officer, to Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Growth Officer, the ever-expanding C-suite is getting a little crowded. At the same time, at many organizations the role of Chief Marketing Officer is evolving to make room for these new priorities.

Recent changes at big name brands such as Coca-Cola and Hyatt have seen the creation of new hybrid roles that incorporate marketing, customer experience and revenue growth. Forrester predicts more changes to come and indicates CMOs will need to brush up on their skills to foster digital transformation to stay relevant.

One thing is clear—changes to the C-suite reflect a wider focus on customers and highlight the need to understand your audience to drive loyalty and growth.

Bringing the customer into focus: the CCO

The Chief Customer Officer (CCO) has been rising in importance in the past few years. The CCO’s mandate is to design, orchestrate and improve customer experiences across an increasingly complex range of customer interactions. CCOs are found in a wide variety of B2B and B2C firms as many brands  reorient their business around customers.

Customers, in turn, are demanding more attention. Consumers no longer value brands based solely on their product. Instead, they consider every interaction with a brand across many touchpoints.

The main goals of a CCO is to combine customer initiatives found in different functions and to foster new ways of thinking and acting. Dedicating an executive to oversee these tasks highlights how many business decisions are driven by CX and can help the brand become more customer centric.

Growth and strategy: the CFO, CGO and (another) CCO

Traditionally, the Chief Financial Officer counted dollars and cents to balance spending and revenue, but pressure to generate the latter is increasingly tied to the marketing department. The creation of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Chief Growth Officer (CGO) reflects this shift in focus towards understanding market trends and using those trends to drive business.

Last year, Coca-Cola’s retiring CMO wasn’t replaced. Instead, the closest job title became the CGO. The changes at the soft drink maker, which has been striving to transform into a digital company, follow on the heels of a Forrester report recommending that CMOs and CIOs better collaborate internally to deliver data-driven customer insights. More recently, Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced its plans to eliminate its global CMO position and form a customer services portfolio at the executive level. The hotel chain is merging guest and customer engagement functions with marketing under a new Chief Commercial Officer role.

Meanwhile, that same Forrester report forecast that at least 30 percent of CMOs would be let go in 2017 because they didn’t have the variety of skills needed to foster digital transformation. While harsh, the prediction suggests that trend could get bucked should CMOs adapt effectively and rise to meet the challenges of the new C-suite.

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