Marketing departments need to own customer experience

Marketing departments need to own customer experience
Rachael Power writes for TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.


The debate over who should own the customer experience process has long since raged on. CMO of global translation and localisation company Lionbridge, Clint Poole, says marketing departments are best placed to take ownership of this for a number of reasons.

US based Lionbridge isn’t a minor organisation. It’s a $600m revenue company with seven acquisitions to date. It’s 20 years old but went public in 1999, making its first foray into buying other companies in 2000.

It works with over 800 brands around the world to increase international market share, and offers online marketing and global content management services in addition to translation.

Poole was in London recently, and MarketingTech caught up with the CMO to pick his brains about customer experience and marketing.

Owning CX

Poole came into his current role three years ago, but has had over 20 in the marketing industry in general.

Since his appointment, he’s worked on solving a common larger-organisational problem: fixing and streamlining a fragmented, inconsistent customer experience.

Lionbridge has grown steadily year-on-year due to acquisitions that have added services and growth opportunities to the company, Poole says, adding it’s vital that the company’s culture is in tune with challenges its clients are facing. Poole was brought in to focus on brand, customer experience and demand generation.

So one of the first things he did was to: “split up from the product team and create a business unit around demand”.

“We spent the last year-and-a-half trying to build up our global marketing capabilities, ramping up our marketing teams’ focus on building brand awareness and global demand capabilities,” he adds.

The CMO talks about the importance of having an outside-in view when interacting with customers, rather than an inside-out one; something sales and product teams often have.

“I’m watching marketing emerge as the owner of customer experience. It’s something that should be embedded in a company’s culture and someone needs to own it – CMOs are trying to do that.

“In this role, you are directly responsible for components of it. You’re the independent voice of the customer and your role is to bring them into the business, and help to figure out what buyers want from the brand.  Marketing, across all verticals, is taking control of this for the right reasons,” he says.


Marketers nowadays have so many tools and channels at their fingertips and Lionbridge alone has “a mismatch” of dozens of different systems, from Salesforce to Google Analytics to Marketo.

While it’s “not immune” to trying out the latest marketing tech trends, it’s focused on developing a global personal data strategy with its content and as part of that is evaluating its tools.

However, something that’s been an incredibly useful feature of martech tools is the ability to create personas, Poole says.

“When I came into this space 20 years ago, there were less channels: we had PR, direct advertising, outdoor – so we were limited and spent all of our time studying the buyers”.

While marketing has always been data driven, it’s now changed to include a complexity of channels and access to huge amounts of data, enabling the creation of personas – something the company started to do two years ago.

“That’s how we’re tactically approaching all these different markets. We now have about 26 personas that buy differently, engage differently and how they source vendors is very different,” Poole adds.

Personalised content

We’ve all seen the research; personalisation is central to a good consumer experience. And if you’ve got the right tools to map out personas and make sense of huge reams of data, there’s no reason why brands can’t optimise its personalised marketing messages.

“Personalisation is the first output of analytics for us,” Poole says, “We have been using it in the back end to inform the planning process. We have third party data mining agencies, and then our own ecosystem of digital marketing to identify and prioritise who our key buyers are.

“These inform the campaign process to figure out who we are targeting with laser precision. We know which personas inside which accounts have the lower share of wallet,” he explains.

Bottom line

The implementation of tools and research into customers and their buying habits is vital to businesses. Poole argues that if you don’t make use of existing channels and tools, your brand is going to be “highly inefficient”.

“That level of insight will help you understand how you can map that out and inform your marketing strategy

“It is a ‘stop’ exercise but you need to take the time to map this out. You’re hearing that from all the key analysts and they’re right.”

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