What does a ‘Chief Customer Officer’ do anyway???
He is not afflicted by Marketing Myopia.
I was not aware of the difference between Selling and Marketing until I read the classic paper Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt, then editor of the Harvard Business Review (HBR), originally published in 1960.
“The difference between marketing and selling is more than semantic. Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it.
In some industries the enticements of full mass production have been so powerful that for many years top management in effect has told the sales departments, “You get rid of it; we’ll worry about profits.” By contrast, a truly marketing-minded firm tries to create value-satisfying goods and services that consumers will want to buy. What it offers for sale includes not only the generic product or service, but also how it is made available to the customer, in what form, when, under what conditions, and at what terms of trade. Most important, what it offers for sale is determined not by the seller but by the buyer. The seller takes his cues from the buyer in such a way that the product becomes a consequence of the marketing effort, not vice versa.” From Marketing Myopia (bolding mine).
The corporate landscape is littered with companies of all industries who failed to understand the difference and miserably failed to see what customer wanted:
• Hollywood was focused on the product (movies) and failed to see the possibilities of television and the customers desire for it–until it was almost too late.
• Sony Walkman, initially extremely successful, was replaced by the revolutionary disk-less, slim Apple iPod
• Kodak failed to see customers wanted the much simpler to operate and lighter digital cameras
• Nokia was number one in the industry until the simpler, easier to use and better integrated iPhone came along
• the entire Detroit auto industry failed to notice customers wanted to spend less on gas, maintenance, insurance…and smaller foreign (esp. Japanese, Korean, etc.) cars moved in on Detroit and the US car makers had to be bailed out
• railroads failed to see themselves as transportation and oil companies failed to see the value of cheaper gas are other examples, see Marketing Myopia.
The SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DBaaS companies discussed here are invariably customer-oriented. Look at their websites and you’ll notice they all devote space to “Our Customers”, some of them posting customer videos explaining how they were helped in achieving their goals. If the AYX “sales” department had an emphasis on selling the product instead of focusing on the customers wants and needs, the change and reorganization of their department will be positive. Time will tell. Yes, Chief Customer Officer is the most important job in a service company, and customer focus instead of focus on product is one thing many established companies forget and pay for dearly by losing market share.
“The reality of the matter is that there is no such thing as a growth industry. There are only companies organized and operated to create and capitalize on growth opportunities.”–T. Levitt
I can highly recommend reading the original. My favorite is the reprinted HBR 1975 version. Unfortunately no link is available but if you use https://scholar.google.com/ several versions including the 2008 Google book will appear.