Unlocking the Synergy Between CX and Marketing Initiatives
90% of customer experience (CX) leaders say customer expectations have increased to an all-time high. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the restaurant industry has undergone a substantial transformation, leaning heavily toward a customer-centric approach.
Rather than solely focusing on driving sales, brands are recognizing the importance of prioritizing customer loyalty. This shift towards loyalty-focused strategies has become essential to not only meet but exceed soaring customer expectations and, in turn, drive sustainable, long-term sales growth.
And a customer-focused strategy offers some undeniable advantages:
66% of businesses that prioritize CX see increased retention, and 60% see an increase in customer lifetime value.
Organizations that focus on CX tend to achieve a remarkable 307% increase in their stock performance, surpassing the S&P 500 Index by a noteworthy 108 points.
McKinsey research revealed that customer-centric restaurants grow their revenue 1.7 times faster than businesses that don’t—they also grow their customer lifetime value by 2.3 times on average.
But there is one problem: For restaurants striving to become best-in-class in CX, the divide between marketing efforts and CX initiatives has become a significant roadblock. Organizational structures that keep these departments isolated, a lack of transparency regarding overall business goals, and technological limitations are common culprits. Siloes also emerge when data is not shared or analyzed holistically.
This disconnect undoubtedly affects guest interactions and can result in fragmented experiences throughout the customer journey. As such, customers may receive mixed messages, face difficulties transitioning from marketing promises to the actual service experience, and experience a lack of personalization in their journey.
How CXO and CMO Collaboration Enhances Customer Experience
The CXO’s role typically involves shaping and implementing strategies to improve customer interactions, employee experience, product or service quality, and brand perception. In essence, they build and maintain a strong brand image that represents a restaurant’s values and quality, ensuring that both customers and employees have a personalized and positive experience with the brand.
They, for instance, oversee menu quality, service standards, ambiance, customer engagement, and more, helping the brand stand out in a highly competitive industry.
As for the CMO, they are responsible for leading and overseeing all aspects of the marketing efforts. Their role includes developing marketing strategies, managing advertising campaigns, branding, public relations, and customer engagement initiatives. CMOs play a crucial role in shaping a company’s image, promoting its products or services, and ultimately driving business growth through effective marketing and customer outreach strategies.
When the roles of CMO and CXO operate independently, businesses struggle to harmonize their strategies with overarching business goals.
Collaboration allows for a more cohesive and holistic approach to improving the overall CX. For example, the CMO can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, market trends, and brand positioning, which can inform the CXO’s strategy. Likewise, the CXO can leverage its expertise in CX design and optimization to align the company’s branding and marketing efforts with the customer journey, creating a seamless and meaningful experience for customers at every touchpoint.
Strategies for a More Unified CXO and CMO Team
It’s simple: By fostering a culture of collaboration, you can create a more efficient and cohesive team that provides a better dining experience for customers.
To bridge the gap between the CXO and CMO, consider these strategies:
- Establish a Shared Vision and Mission: Ensure that everyone in the restaurant understands and is aligned with the overall mission and vision of the brand. As for the CXO and CMO, establish specific, measurable, and aligned objectives that both executives can work toward.
- Open Communication: Schedule regular meetings between the CXO and CMO to discuss strategies, performance, and challenges.
- Collaborative Projects: Undertake joint projects that require close collaboration, showcasing the value of working together.
- Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Ensure that both the CXO and CMO have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. When everyone knows what is expected of them and their colleagues, it can reduce misunderstandings and conflicts. For example, the CXO believes that enhancing the CX means revamping the company’s branding strategy and initiating a rebranding campaign without consulting the CMO. Simultaneously, the CMO, thinking that marketing encompasses all aspects of CX, launches a parallel effort. This lack of clarity leads to a costly situation, with both teams unintentionally working at cross-purposes.
- Feedback Loops: Establish a feedback loop to gather input from both the CXO and CMO, incorporating their perspectives into decision-making.
- Shared Metrics: Define shared KPIs that connect CX with marketing efforts, ensuring both parties are invested in achieving common goals.
Breaking Down Data Silos: Fostering Collaboration Between CXO and CMO
Data silos are isolated or segregated repositories of information within an organization. These silos can be physical locations where data is stored, or they can be specific software systems or databases that are not easily accessible or integrated with other parts of the organization’s data infrastructure.
Valuable insights can become trapped within these isolated repositories, impeding your teams’ ability to collaborate and create a unified CX.
Here are some steps you can take to help you address this issue:
- Define Data Ownership and Collaboration: Clearly define roles and responsibilities for data ownership between the CMO and CXO. Encourage collaboration between both departments to ensure data is shared effectively.
- Implement a Unified Data Platform: Invest in a centralized data platform or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that can integrate data from various sources. Ensure that both the marketing and CX teams have access to this platform.
- Data Standardization: Establish data standards and protocols for data collection, storage, and sharing. This includes defining common metrics, naming conventions, and data formats. Develop a data governance strategy to maintain data quality and consistency.
- Cross-Functional Data Teams: Create cross-functional teams that include members from both the marketing and CX departments. These teams can work together to analyze data and develop strategies to enhance the customer journey.
- Regular Data Sharing and Reporting: Set up regular data sharing and reporting meetings where both the CMO and CXO can discuss KPIs, customer feedback, and other relevant data. Use data visualization tools to make data more accessible and understandable.
- Customer Journey Mapping: Collaborate on customer journey mapping to understand the touchpoints where marketing and CX intersect. Identify opportunities for joint efforts to improve the CX.
- Customer Feedback Integration: Integrate customer feedback mechanisms that capture insights from both marketing campaigns and customer interactions. Use this feedback to inform marketing strategies and improve the overall CX.
- Personalization: Leverage shared data to create personalized marketing campaigns and customer experiences. Ensure that the marketing team uses customer data to tailor messages and promotions effectively.
- Performance Evaluation: Establish shared performance metrics and goals that align with the overall business objectives. Measure the impact of marketing efforts on the CX and vice versa.
- Employee Training and Culture: Ensure that employees across both departments understand the importance of data sharing and collaboration. Foster a culture of data transparency.
- Technology Integration: Integrate marketing and CX technologies to ensure data flows seamlessly between the two departments. Consider using marketing automation and CX management tools that support this integration.
- Data Security and Compliance: Implement robust data security measures and ensure compliance with relevant data privacy regulations. Protect customer data while making it accessible to the relevant teams.
Insights from Denny’s VP and GuestXM
The transformation toward becoming a customer-centric brand is a gradual process, not something that can be accomplished overnight.
The first step is to bridge the gap between your marketing and CX departments so they can work together to create a seamless CX that drives customer loyalty and business growth.
At GuestXM, we’ve been helping restaurants serve up better guest experiences and growth across all their locations for over 25 years.
In a recent article, Fasika Melaku, VP and Chief Learning and Development Officer at Denny’s, a beloved American family-friendly diner-style restaurant chain, shared her insights on the power of a customer-centric mindset and how the GuestXM platform helped the brand elevate its net sentiment score from 21.9 to 36.2—a testament to the power of teamwork, data-driven insights, and customer-centric strategies.
As stated by Melaku, “To make change, you need to have your organization united. And it starts by making the data digestible for the audience. How can we get the GM [general manager] to see the connection between the guest and the team and the sales and profits? How could the reports, the systems, and the processes work in our culture every day with our operators? And GuestXM did a fantastic job delivering on that.”