The inimitable Ice Cube once sang that you should "check yourself before you wreck yourself." To be honest, I don't know what else was in that song, but that one line is a good one for today's CMOs to heed if you're looking for success in the age of the customer — an era where your only source of competitive advantage comes from relationships with customers. Over the past few months, I've been writing and talking at length about the importance of moving to a customer-obsessed marketing organization: a well-oiled machine that is organized for and around customers' needs. We use the customer life cycle to illustrate how marketers should approach marketing to differentiate the brand or company in a highly complex landscape of products, media, data, and conversation. There's no one-size-fits-all approach for it either. But there are five key areas on which CMOs should focus to facilitate the transition to a customer life-cycle-driven marketing effort:

  1. Strategy.
  2. Organization.
  3. Data and analytics.
  4. Measurement.
  5. Customer relationship management tools.

In order to assess the current state of customer life cycle marketing today, we have a survey in the field, and I'd like to invite you to participate. It only takes 7 to 10 minutes to answer the questions. We'll let you know how you scored and provide the overall results so that you can benchmark your company's current performance and determine the areas in which you may need to make some adjustments. Just click here to get started.

So, put on some Ice Cube (or whatever gets you jazzed to take surveys that help Forrester with our research), take the survey, and go on with your day (which for many of you probably means filling out at least one March Madness bracket). And thank you for the input!