We have a feeling no one is more surprised than the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) at finding out his importance has been usurped by the CEO (Chief Experience Officer). Along with the CIO (Chief Innovation Officer), the CDO (Chief Disruption Officer), the CBDO (Chief Big Data Officer), and the CBO (Chief Buzzword Officer), the CEO (Chief Experience Officer) is part of the new spate of C-level positions being created to demonstrate just how little we’ve learned and how much we’re committed to being cluelessly gullible.
Wait a minute. How did we get from e-commerce to the C Suite? We thought you’d never ask. But the answer is disarmingly simple and obvious: The Internet.
That’s right. Back in the days of cave art, stone wheels, and bricks-and-mortar retail, we didn’t care about the experience of the customer. We didn’t have to. The customer, fully aware of what he wanted, would walk into a store and buy it. We’d say hello. We’d know what he wanted because we’d watched him buy it. We may or may not have remembered him or what he’d bought the next time he came in. But he was probably just as happy not to be pestered anyway.
Then came the Internet. And e-commerce. And digital marketing. And marketing automation. And clickbait. And recommendation platforms. And programmatic advertising. And a million other ways in which to sell people what we think they want through the creation of personae — contrived profiles of non-existent people created from generalized data based on past purchases and predicated on the assumption that people will keep buying the same or similar stuff. And we call this progress.
So, now that we know Ernie Fleabit in Burnt Scrub, Arkansas, is likely to buy another Mini Nuclear Varmint Blaster because the one he bought last time came with just a one-year warranty, we better keep our website up 24/7, just in case Ernie suffers another infestation of sagebrush voles. And we better create a persona for sagebrush voles, just in case they want to buy radiation shields to protect them from Ernie and his ilk.
With all that going on, we can hardly blame the folks in the C Suite for feeling a tad topsy-turvy. Who wouldn’t?
The world’s gone crazy, kids. And we’ve gone right along with it.