Transformation is more than translation – How companies need to transform in times of CX

While everyone is talking about transformation, change, agile, digital and much more, we need to look what this really means. We are facing a big shift of how business is working and how we are interacting with customers.

Steve Lucas, CEO Marketo, brought it down on the table at the Adobe Summit 2019 in London. We are differentiating between B2B and B2C, but in truth they are not so much different. What we need is to come to B2E, Business to Everyone.


He is right, it is about someone’s interest, need and pain where we need to place the right experience around. Placing and developing this experience is what we need to do and this is similar for B2B and B2C.

Traditionally marketing is working on a 1:many base. Environment, personas and target groups are the key things we focus on. Through the digitalization we have more and more data to understand each one of our customers and with this, we can act on a real 1:1 base with a deep understand of every one’s interest, need and pain. Customer gets a huge power through the data they share. This data enables us to predict their next step!

This leads us to customer centricity which must be the main direction for companies.

B2B, B2C, B2E... it is always business to someone. Is this customer centric if business comes first? Isn’t it needed to place the customer in front and name it maybe C2B (Customer to Business) or E2B (Everyone to Business)?

Looking into the typical corporate structure we see the following picture:

Company Board Structure Old

What goals does exist in such a structure?
Within each department every employee has its own goals. With this, people doesn’t work on a common goal… the customer goal. What we need is to eliminate personal goals and implement, in a first step, department goals where all people work on together. Later, we should eliminate this department goals and replace it with corporate goals… and this corporate goals should be customer goals.

People don’t want to be marketed too, because sales and marketing first of all have corporate goals and not the intend to help the customer. Changing this kind of goals is leaving the core, just translate it and place a shell around. Is this what we want? For me, this is translation and not transformation. What about a true transformation in direction of structural changes?

Thinking Customer Experience and Customer Centricity to the end, we need to think about eliminating sales and marketing departments and build a true customer centric organization.

Sounds crazy? Sure, and this is nothing we will see short-term. This is more a vision which leads us into the right direction. Even if it is crazy, there is some truth in it. Let’s have a look how this structure could look like.

Company Structure

We see sales and marketing just as a function, but these functions are on the 4th level and not above everything. Someone needs to build an offer and contract for example. This is just the final step in a long sales cycle today, all the other sales steps before we don’t need any more in such an organization like shown above.

To build a customer experience we need to listen, understand, predict and finally interact. Communication, Product and Trust are here just a function of the interact department and on the same level.
Trust is a very important part of the interaction. Trust is needed for everything… for the communication and the products. See also: “The Series: Trust as the foundation for interaction

Within the chart it starts with the “Customer Experience” department. The experience is place here more to give the right understanding in this chart. The new corporate structure would look like the following picture.

Company Board Structure New

Having this enabled, we can start doing helping customers with their individual interest, needs, pains… We can deliver the right customized content at the right time and place. This is everything we did in marketing before, but now we are doing it with a different approach. We can focus on the customer without having something in the back which slows us down. We can start doing e-commerce in a different way. It’s not any more about the size of the shopping basket, it’s about the customers benefit of the shopping basket.
Again crazy? Maybe, but you will see trust raising and a strong liaison your customers have with you. Maybe short-term in the transformation process you see a revenue break, but long-term you will win.

Today, looking at the different marketing clouds, we have really great tools. To get them up and running fast pace we need to use them in the right context and with the right approach. If we disable all this brakes, we have today in companies we have done a major step.

Now we can build a real-time experience without dealing with other things than the customer. Now we have transformed to a CX company!

How do we get there?

  • Change to such an organization steps into everyone’s work and compensation. We must generate trust through every employee to get their commitment.
  • This transformation must be supported top-down, but driven bottom up.
  • We need to build an understanding that sales and marketing will not be eliminated, just departments. Functionally both still exist, but in a different format with a different approach.

Thinking about who will lead the customer department? Marketing is one of the key drivers of the customer experience today. The answer depends for sure about the individual corporate situation and people… but marketers are in general best for it.

To sum it up, it is not about the fight between strategy consulting and agencies wo are doing the implementation at the bottom. The transformation takes place bottom up. The strategy / vision just gives the right direction and helps eliminating braking points. An agency can’t change a corporate structure but is often slowed down by the structure. So, both parties need to work hands-on together and parallel, not one after the other. We can bring everything together in 4 topics:

  • The differentiation between B2B and B2C is past…. Now it’s time for B2E (Business to Everyone) or better for C2E (Customer to Everyone)
  • Thinking Customer Experience and Customer Centricity to the end, we need to think about eliminating sales and marketing departments and build a customer centric organization.
  • Today many things are slowing down #CX and #CXM. It’s about, that we need the right mindset and operate in the right context to raise Customer Experience with the great tools we have on the next level.
  • Trust and building relationship must be priority #1. We need to skip corporate thinking and just follow customer needs.

Let’s start building a Customer Centric organization to build Customer Experience as its best and raising Customer Experience Management to the next level.

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Customer Experience & Digital Transformation