Customer-centric approach needed in new world order: EY

  • Only 58% of CMOs strongly believe that customer feedback adds value
  • Calls for chief commercial officer role to put customer at heart of organisation
Customer-centric approach needed in new world order: EY

COMPANIES that reject a customer-centric approach by maintaining their traditional organisational structures, continuing their piecemeal investment in technology and listening to their internal functional experts rather than the voice of the customer, will fail to grow and increase their competitive advantage, according to a new global report by EY.
The Competition, Coexistence or Symbiosis? The DNA of C-suite Sales and Marketing Leaders report includes a qualitative survey of 700 sales and marketing leaders and more than 120 C-suite respondents, as well as more than 20 in-depth interviews.
The report found that only 58% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) and 68% of chief sales officers (CSOs) believe strongly that they add significant value by using customer feedback to develop their business, EY said in a statement.
Sales and marketing leaders also are not ensuring the right analytics are being used to deliver the best customer insights, with only 47% of CMOs and 58% of CSOs saying they have a good relationship with the chief information officer (CIO).
“In today’s volatile commercial environment, when world-dominating brands can rise and fall within a couple of years, no strategy can guarantee sustainable success,” said Woody Driggs, EY’s global advisory customer leader.
“However, one thing is certain: Companies that are driven by customer-centricity and that gear their entire organisations, including integrated value chains, toward the personalised wants and needs of their customers are more likely to succeed,” he added.
Sungkyu Chang, advisory partner at EY in Malaysia, said that there are ‘maturity gaps’ among different industries and countries.
“While leading CMOs and CSOs are already in the digital space pursuing real-time interactions on customer feedback, some ‘customer experts’ are still contemplating what customers should have next year in closed meeting rooms.
“However, starting from banks and telecommunications companies, more C-suite executives are recognising the value of customer feedback as well as the importance of customer insights,” she said.
The report also highlights that CMOs and CSOs are failing to work together at their full potential. Only 59% of CMOs are convinced that the two functions share the same corporate vision, and just 54% believe strongly that they ‘work well together in tasks and initiatives.’
“In many cases, CEOs (chief executive officers) do not wait for CMOs and CSOs to work together in harmony to achieve customer-centricity. Rather, they engage a ‘third-party’ to take the lead,” said Chang.
“More often than ever, we are seeing customer experience or customer strategy teams surfacing as the owner of customer initiatives. This not only reduces much of the unnecessary friction between CMOs and CSOs, but also gives valuable new outside-in perspectives,” she said.
Driggs said that companies must integrate all their operations, including sales and marketing, to deliver a truly differentiated and positive purchasing experience.
“Executive boards also need to be more open. Where appropriate, sales and marketing functions could be merged completely by creating a dedicated chief commercial officer (CCO) role, putting the customer at the heart of the organisation,” he suggested.
The new report follows in the footsteps of The DNA of the CFO, The DNA of the CIO and The DNA of the COO, which focus on the competencies and characteristics of today’s finance, information technology (IT) and operations leaders.
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