Who Is Responsible For Customer Intimacy?

customerretentionTrick question you say: Everyone in the company. Well maybe, but who is the driver responsible for making sure it happens. One can answer the CEO because he/she sets the tone and culture for the company as a whole. Ok, I’ll buy that.

I was belatedly looking at an article entitled The Role of the Mid-Market CEO in Customer Intimacy from last December, and went off the rails at much of its content. Given that it was published by Chief Executive, I was even more surprised at how wrong the article was in so many ways.

The author starts by asking if Marketing should be responsible for it (customer intimacy) and then remarks that since “… Marketing’s main focus is generating demand” he wonders if they (Marketing) “… have time and talent to get close to customers.”

Seriously? Are you nuts? (Ok I should not insult people I do not know, but come on Marketing not have the time to get close to customers?) Even if you buy into his completely wrong, and limited definition of Marketing, how could they do even that job effectively if they did not understand customers?

He notes that other functions interact with customers as well, but they cannot drive customer intimacy. Thus he concludes “Only the CEO can bring about a unified view of the customer. Therefore, the CEO must serve as the advocate to make sure ongoing company-wide customer intimacy efforts.” Well he is right … for the wrong reason.

In a mid-size company the CEO is the defacto Chief Marketing Officer, where Marketing is not simply defined as a lead gen or marketing communications function. (For more about our views on the true role of Marketing in business, read our book, peruse this blog, or visit our website.) Therefore the CEO as CMO is responsible for customer intimacy because truly it is part of Marketing.


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1 Response to Who Is Responsible For Customer Intimacy?

  1. Mitch, i completely agree that being close to customers is not only important, but the primary source of value of marketing.

    More importantly though, customer intimacy is never successful as an initiative or a project. Companies that hire a customer experience person (or team) usually fail. Customer intimacy is a fundamental strategy that needs to guide every action in the company. It needs to be a guiding principle for the CEO, for all of marketing, product development, customer service, recruiting etc,

    Otherwise, it is just a department and one more line to add to the company mission statement in the lobby that no one reads.

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