Customer-Centric Marketing: How CMOs Drive Brand Loyalty and Growth

Customer-Centric Marketing: How CMOs Drive Brand Loyalty and Growth


How does a CMO ensure that the customer experience remains at the forefront of their brand’s strategy? Alison Hiatt, the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Growth Officer at Vera Bradley Designs Inc., shares her journey into marketing, her passion for consumer behavior, and how the concept of customer experience has evolved. With her background in brands like Starbucks and Amazon, customer experience is all-encompassing, covering every interaction a customer has with a brand.

Reflecting on her diverse experience, Hiatt emphasizes that brand and CX are deeply intertwined, with every touchpoint contributing to the overall customer experience. At Vera Bradley, they actively gather feedback from their diverse customer base, interacting across various channels – from physical stores and websites to wholesale partners like Amazon. This customer-centric approach allows them to tailor CX strategies to different segments effectively.

Hiatt sees the modern CMO as a “dot connector,” fostering collaboration across teams like retail and e-commerce to ensure a consistent customer journey. Vera Bradley is also evolving its KPIs, moving beyond financial metrics to include customer-centric measures like customer growth, brand health, and satisfaction.

Staying relevant to younger generations, like Gen Z, is a challenge Hiatt embraces. While Vera Bradley focuses on its core customers, it also adapts to changing shopping behaviors, finding a balance between innovation and staying true to the brand’s authentic roots.

Hiatt identifies key traits for successful CMOs: continuous learning, simplifying information, strong leadership, and asking the right questions. These qualities empower CMOs to navigate the ever-changing CX landscape, foster innovation, and create brands that resonate with customers on a deeper level.


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Blake Morgan was called “The Queen of CX” by Meta. She is a customer experience futurist and author of three books on customer experience. Her new book is called The 8 Laws of Customer-Focused Leadership: The New Rules for Building A Business Around Today’s Customer. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

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