In Silicon Valley startup parlance, there are two types of ventures: unicorns and camels. Unicorns are the bright, shiny, money-burning, rapid-growth startups. Camels are built on a more solid financial philosophy, meant to make the money last, using venture capital as more of a bridge than a survival tactic. In times of crisis, it’s probably best to think like a camel if long-term survival is the goal.

How does this relate to the B2B chief customer officer? As I embark on new research about the B2B chief customer officer (CCO), my early thoughts are that I may be highly likely to also find multiple archetypes of CCOs. Will it be as simple as flashy unicorns and steadfast camels? Maybe not, but I’m excited to find out. The B2B angle is fascinating, too. Not to overstretch the unicorn and camel thing, but T-shirts that say “We’re Customer-Obsessed!” won’t fly in our world. But will making small, incremental process improvements over a long time hit the mark either?

What is the right balance that accommodates the reality of not only buying groups but retention groups? Does the CCO become the superglue between customer needs and company goals? Is the CCO superpower understanding the sweet spot between giving customers what they want and fulfilling strategic business imperatives? Is anyone doing this well today?

First up will be primary research on the role of the B2B CCO: What are their responsibilities; how did they get to this role; what makes them successful (or not); who are the CCO’s peers; where do CCOs sit in the C-suite; and how involved are they in the overall company strategy? Of course, I’ll be doing a slew of interviews, so hit me up in the comments or directly on LinkedIn if you or someone in your network should be included in my research!

And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that, over the last couple of years, I took a hiatus from my customer engagement roots to comanage the Forrester Decisions for Demand & ABM service. Coming from the SiriusDecisions acquisition into Forrester, I knew how core and iconic this team and topics are in B2B marketing, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to colead the team. I learned so much about the priorities, needs, challenges, and opportunities that clients face, and working with the whip-smart Forrester team who does the research, designs the models and frameworks, and provides best-practice advice was life-changing. It was also my great privilege to co-lead the team with Steve Casey, VP and research director. I’m excited to take all those learnings with me as I shift back to operating as an analyst on the Forrester customer engagement strategies team!