The Customer Experience Marketing Leader’s First 100 Days

May 27 2021
Contributor: Chris Pemberton & Laura Starita 

Cement success with an effective onboarding plan.

Over the past year, brands accelerated new digital experiences in an effort to build increasingly seamless and connected customer journeys. Yet according to Gartner research, 46% of customers can’t differentiate between most brands’ digital experiences, and only 14% of customers reported doing something different after a recent digital experience. 

In short, these new opportunities are not paying off. 

“The most valuable digital experiences get customers to do something different with confidence,” says Kristina LaRocca-Cerrone, Director, Advisory, Gartner for Marketers. “When a customer does do something other than planned, that is your biggest opportunity to drive differentiation.”

For new marketing leaders focused on customer experience, success hinges on reimagining the role of digital experiences for customers and their companies.

Organize your first 100 days into six phases: Prepare, assess, plan, act, measure and communicate. Because customer experience is taking greater priority than ever in the marketing department (and the broader organization), the work begins before day one.

Prepare (10 days prior to 15 days after start)

Before your first day, research the company’s marketing and customer experience functions throughout the organization. Meet with your boss to discuss expectations and negotiate some short- (three- and six-month) and longer-term (one-year) goals. Work to identify key stakeholders who influence and support CX. Your understanding and recognition of existing people and processes is vital to remove confusion and misalignment between teams. Meet your team and peers to gather information about CX efforts and challenges.

Assess (Days 0-30)

Assess immediate needs for CX and audit existing resources. Begin building your network and propose CX key performance indicators (KPIs). Because collaboration and communication are so important, report stakeholder engagement progress to your boss and discuss next steps. The CX mandate spans the end-to-end customer journey, so take time to understand the budgeting and approval process throughout the entire organization.

Plan (Days 15-45)

Leave the assess phase ready to shift from information gathering to planning. Create an action plan and proposal outlining how you will address any gaps in systems, data, people and processes in the CX program. Influence the direction of existing projects, because it’s critical that projects you inherit support your goals and plan. Use, develop or refine segments and personas that begin to identify key customers based on their needs and expectations. 


Act (Days 30-80)

Deliver immediate benefit by successfully, and quickly, concluding any inherited projects. During the act phase, launch a collaborative journey-mapping exercise and secure a cross-functional team to begin the process of mapping the entire customer journey for one or more key personas. Remember to socialize initial personas, because they can drive awareness and focus for a variety of marketing efforts.

Measure (Days 45-100)

One key goal of the measure phase is to produce and promote early, tactical and visible wins. Analyze data to correlate CX measures with business outcomes to help validate the value of improving the experience. During the measure phase you’ll also want to initiate routine data and reporting processes to regularly collect and report on outcomes. Develop reports, distribution lists and dashboards to activate communication efforts.

Throughout your first 100 days, communication and collaboration are key. Build your network and start to share your vision. Meet with key stakeholders throughout the organization, and offer your perspective for how the marketing department can support and facilitate CX improvements that deliver better business and marketing goals.


This article has been updated from the original, published on December 6, 2016, to reflect new events, conditions or research.


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