At DemandLab, we have been talking about the leadership role marketing needs to play in designing and delivering the customer experience for years.
We first explored the theme in our 2017 book, Change Agents: The Radical Role of Tomorrow's CMO, in which we argued that marketers were uniquely positioned to strengthen and coordinate the customer journey as it traversed multiple business units, including sales, finance, operations, and support.
At the time, very few people were talking about marketing’s potential to transform the customer experience. Today, the topic has still not entered the mainstream marketing discourse, but interest has grown considerably and has accelerated even further due to the impact of the pandemic on B2B businesses and their customers.
For marketers who are new to MLCX, here is a brief Q&A to explain our thinking on the concept and its impact on the future of marketing.
What is the marketing-led customer experience (MLCX)?
MLCX elevates marketing to the role of customer champion, journey creator and experience innovator. When MLCX is implemented successfully in an organization, the customer takes the leading role in determining their journey and creating the roadmap. Marketing, as the primary voice of the customer and owner of customer-facing technology, coordinates and optimizes every customer interaction in every channel using content, data, and technology to deliver brand-defining, personalized experiences at scale and throughout the journey.
Why is it important?
Improving the customer experience has a measurable positive impact on virtually every success metric, including retention, revenue, margins, and stock performance. But when CX is fragmented across multiple business functions, the quality of the experience is degraded.
MLCX is a way of connecting the dots by placing the ultimate responsibility for the journey in the hands of the customer champion—the marketing function. For the customer, it results in a more cohesive and intuitive experience. For the organization, it results in a clear line of sight from the customer's first interaction to their last, which in turn optimizes revenue and delivers market insights.
What are the challenges?
There's a reason MLCX has taken longer to become the norm than anyone expected: it takes hard work, leading technology, and a coordinated effort across the entire enterprise to lift the initiative off the ground.
To get a MLCX initiative off the ground, marketers need to break down organizational silos, reset the culture, and win cross-functional buy-in. B2B marketers also need to catch up to the buyer expectations set by their B2C counterparts, who have spent the last few years building seamless, self-serve, omni-channel experiences that far outshine the experiences delivered in most B2B contexts. And finally, marketing needs to change the perception of marketing as a cost center by using attribution systems to prove marketing's impact on revenue.
What are the benefits?
MLCX is an ambitious challenge for any marketer to take on, but the benefits are legion. Enterprises that are able to deliver an experience that is consistently aligned with customer needs and expectations lead the pack in terms of customer conversions, loyalty, lifetime value, and evangelism. They also see greater operational efficiency and cost savings, and their systems of engagement deliver more robust, actionable insights.
If you're interested in learning more about how to lead a MLCX initiative, visit our MLCX Resource Center. You can also join the insider list today to be among the first to get access to the resources that will help you transform the customer experience and your organization's revenue potential.