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Why The CPO Can Replace The CMO In Tech Companies

Why The CPO Can Replace The CMO In Tech Companies

The CPO Controls These Important Things: What's Trending And The Customer Experience

Ever wondered why can’t one CXO level person be responsible for every decision in the company? Why do we need a COO, CMO, CPO etc. and then a CEO too? The most probable reason was that it’s too much work for one person to handle, especially as the company scales. But that’s about to change for tech companies.

We live in a new world – one dominated by technology and smartphones. Ours is a world where Uber is more valuable than GM, a world where there are more smartphones than children.

This is clearly not what the world marketing and management gurus envisioned when they outlined the 4Ps in their respective tomes. Yet, their teachings hold as true as ever. The principles outlined as guiding lights for marketers and brand creators remain absolutely unchanged. The vessel for executing marketing has, however, completely changed. As has the captain. The CPO (Chief Performance Officer), in times to come, will be the most important person and encompass sales and marketing roles in tech companies.

Why Has The CPO Become Important

Millennials are all about two things— the experience factor and the now factor.

The number one piece of information any CMO wants to know at all times is— who is his customer and what touch point is he/she using frequently while interacting with the brand.

The CMO in the pre-millennial era was responsible for driving discovery of his/her product to a physical store which he/she had little control over, and then using the learnings from these interactions to modify the voice of the brand to match consumer needs and create demand.


The CMO in the smartphone era has 1 very BIG reality — most of his consumers are spending their time on the company’s own app/site/social pages. In short, the consumer is now spending maximum time interacting with a virtual store that the brand has 100% ownership of.

Essentially, the two things important to the new-age consumers – what’s trending and the experience – are in the hands of the CPO. The CMO has been sidelined to the role of an agent of execution because the CPO is the one who has more real time data than anyone else and can, hence, make decisions basis that data and relate them to storefront changes.

Before apps, a company in itself was just an office with a mission statement and the company’s products were the touch point. But now, companies are colourful icons on a screen that consumers walk around with 24/7. Those icons encompass the vision, the story, the team, the current voice and the products. What a consumer now thinks about your brand is tangible because the company has made it so. Everyone wants to be in touch with their consumers all the time!

How Does This Change CMO Role?

The CMO is no longer the only one in control of the impact and connection between the brand and its user. Yes, the CMO defines the message and is responsible for bringing the consumer to the virtual storefront. But after that, his role is extremely diminished.

Earlier, the CPO would make the product basis the market research, the CMO would market it and define the messaging, share feedback with the CPO and remark the improved product.

Now –

  • The CPO can do market research on the app.
  • The CPO can automate ads and notifications.
  • The CPO acquires feedback on what changes are required in the product.
  • The CPO is, of course, responsible for making the improved product.

Expedia increased its revenue by $12 Mn because of 1 extra data field on its site. I wonder who made that change and why. Was it a CPO, an engineer or a CMO? This example just shows the massive impact a CPO can have because he/she has access to the entire analytics and data and most importantly, he/she is the one making the decision on how to change the storefront.

Why A CPO Needs to Stand Up & Take Charge

This transition is huge and very tough because the CPO has to learn about the media world and understand consumers better. I feel that the CPO is better equipped to develop this understanding because he/she breathes technology and technology is where all our future touch point is going to be. Whether they be chatbots or Amazon Echo or stores with VR/AR capabilities.

In my opinion, it is an opportunity for the taking. Theoretically, who better to define the brand voice than the person who:

  1. a) Makes the product.
  2. b) Changes the product.
  3. c) Understands the above touch point.
  4. d) Creates the experience which maximises time between the consumer and the brand! i.e. the CPO.