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Now hiring: Customer Journey Officer

Many factors distinguish the organizations with high-performing marketing teams, including a spot for the important position of Customer Journey Officer (CJO). As a new role, the CJO is sometimes handled by the Chief Customer Officer, Chief Experience Officer, or even Digital Marketing Director. What matters is that this person is designated as the lead in efforts to understand and market to the customer decision journey (CDJ).
 
For insight into how companies are building their CDJ understanding and using that to improve their marketing, Microsoft Advertising teamed with Advertiser Perceptions. Through in-depth interviews and an online survey, we gathered insights from marketing leaders excelling in this regard.
 
The research focused on two aspects of the customer experience (CX): Understanding the buyer journey and then improving marketing based on that understanding. These two aspects add up to what we call the Customer Experience Quotient — CXQ The 20% of marketing leaders from the study who excelled at both we refer to as High CXQ Performers. The other 80% we refer to as Learners.
 
In our research, we found that 100% of High CXQ Performers have or plan to have someone in their company designated as the CJO. Contrast this with the 48% of Learners with this person in place, and the 30% planning to hire one.
 
Considering the newness of this role, many organizations are unsure of how to go about hiring for this position. Here’s some guidance to help you confidently make this hire.

What goes into the job description?

Your first order of business is listing out the top responsibilities for the CJO. Based on our research, we believe the following is core to the role:
 
  • Arriving at a unified view of each customer using many sources of first-party data and complementing the understanding with second-  and third-party data.
  • Using cloud solutions to aggregate and store customer-related data.
  • Objectively analyzing data to achieve an unbiased understanding of the customer journey.
  • Collaborating with others throughout the organization to generate actionable insights from the data.
  • Working with agency partners to map the customer journey.
  • Creating and executing strategies to move customers along in their journeys.
  • Communicating both current and future state of customer journeys.
  • Continually fine-tuning customer journey maps to drive standout customer experiences.
  • Fostering an organization-wide understanding of the customer journey and how it relates to customer experience.
  • Guiding employees in understanding how to market to customer journeys.
  • Engaging the marketing team to develop and launch campaigns designed to align with the optimal customer journey and experience.
  • Leveraging innovative approaches and technologies to effectively reach and engage customers.
  • Embedding thinking about customer journeys into daily decisions across the organization.
  • Demonstrating the quantifiable impact of customer journey strategies and activities on business metrics, namely revenue.

What to seek in the ideal CJO

The person most likely to excel in this role is a data-driven, customer-centric professional comfortable collaborating with other leaders throughout the organization. While they can develop and convey high-level strategies, they are in their element diving into details and cultivating relationships with key stakeholders. They thrive at orchestrating people and programs across the organization to activate customer insights.
 
In general, strong CJO candidates are:
 
  • Seasoned marketers, with experience across all marketing channels.
  • Familiar with and insightful about customer journeys and lifecycles.
  • Proven at optimizing the customer experience (CX).
  • Adept at conceptualizing and socializing ideas and insights.
  • Comfortable advocating in the C-Suite for CX. 
  • Well versed on optimizing marketing across channels.
  • Adept at managing projects and leading teams.

Questions to pose of candidates

You might identify qualified candidates within your organization or hire from outside. Either way, assess their capabilities by asking for their responses to the following questions. Rather than expect certain answers, focus on how the candidate thinks through each question.
 
  1. How do you define a standout customer experience? While seemingly a basic question, it’s telling to see how comfortable the candidate is explaining this. Look for alignment with the latest CX concepts, and inspiration on what’s possible by improving CX.
  2. What is the ideal customer journey? Though candidates can answer this question in many ways, focus on their understanding and insight into the complexity of today’s customer journey. Look for evidence that the candidate understands these complexities and knows how to identify meaningful milestones. The end goal isn’t to control the customer journey but to align with consumer expectations and adeptly adapt to changing preferences and demands.
  3. How would you activate insights based on customer journey insights? This response will provide a solid idea of whether the candidate could hit the ground running. Look for a combination of strategic thinking and attention to detail. If the candidate has real-world experience in this area, determine their role in the project, and the steps they took to go from idea to execution, specifically when marketing across channels.
  4. How would you work with other departments to activate these insights? It’s essential that this person is comfortable and successful working with other departments and leaders throughout your organization. Confirm they appreciate and respect the perspectives of their peers and can diplomatically navigate even politically charged situations (such as differing opinions between marketing and sales).
  5. Walk me through a successful customer journey mapping effort. Encourage the candidate to give a detailed answer, with explanations for their choices throughout. Look for a connection between the project and outcomes (i.e., better customer experiences that drove measurable business impact). Here you’re looking for a deep understanding of the mapping process — including all the resources that enable it — along with the persistence, collaborative approach, and insightful thinking that yield meaningful results.

Pave the way for success

With so much riding on your organization’s ability to deliver a seamless and consistent customer experience across channels, your CJO hire could be the catalyst to your CX strategy. While it’s essential to hire someone with the right skill set, experience, and personality, it’s meaningless unless your organization has the right culture in place. Before you interview and hire someone into this role, make sure you have instilled and cultivated a customer-centric culture, driven by your CEO and embraced by all employees throughout your organization.
 
Ready to lead the way with a role that is at the forefront of CX-centric marketing? Read our eBook on Creating Smarter Customer Journeys for more insights.