Chief Product Officer vs. Chief Experience Officer

Trying to decide which role to fill first if your business has neither? 

Some newer executive titles have come into play over the past ten years, and we’re here to discuss two of them: the Chief Product Officer (CPO) and the Chief Experience Officer (CXO). Both are crucial in a business, particularly for digital-first or multi-channel companies. With so many products today and services expressed through a collection of experiences, it can be confusing to distinguish between the two roles. Even the curriculum at Stanford Business School suggests a metric ton of similarities. Although there are many overlapping responsibilities, understanding their main differences and determining which role to prioritize for your organization if you have neither depends on your company’s needs, goals, and stage of growth.

The Chief Product Officer focuses on strategically developing and managing a company’s products or services, including prioritization. They ensure the product roadmap aligns with the organization’s vision and objectives. CPOs often lead cross-functional teams, such as product managers, engineers, and designers, to create products that meet customer needs and drive business growth. They also closely monitor customer insights, market trends, and competitor analysis to innovate and maintain a competitive edge. 

On the other hand, the Chief Experience Officer focuses on the broader holistic end-to-end customer experience across all touchpoints – including product, marketing, sales, support, and the employee experience. They ensure that the interactions between the company and its customers are seamless, enjoyable, and memorable. CXOs orchestrate interactions across departments and leverage design, innovation, measurement, prioritization, change management, and enablement to drive value through products, experiences, and initiatives that foster customer loyalty and retention. 

Both roles are needed in many organizations today, but if you had to prioritize one over the other if you have neither, consider the following when making your decision:

  1. Business maturity: If your company is in the early stages of development, a CPO might be more valuable. They can help define your product vision, build the product roadmap, and guide the development process. Conversely, a CXO may be more relevant if your business has an established product(s) and seeks to improve customer engagement and retention.
  2. Market competition: If your industry is fiercely competitive and product differentiation is essential, a CPO can help you develop innovative products that stand out in the market. However, if the customer experience is the primary differentiator in your space, a CXO can help you create a unique and seamless experience that attracts and retains customers.
  3. Company goals: If a product-centric strategy drives your business, a CPO can provide the leadership required to execute that vision. Alternatively, if your company aims to excel in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, a CXO can help you develop and maintain a customer-first culture across the organization.
  4. Existing gaps: Assess your organization’s current strengths and weaknesses. If your product development process is lacking direction or struggling to keep up with market demands, a CPO is the right choice. If customer satisfaction and retention rates are a concern, a CXO can help you address those issues and create a more customer-centric organization.


Measuring Success:

Interestingly enough, the success of both roles can be measured through many of the same quantitative and qualitative metrics, and it’s more a question of general weighting in terms of responsibility for success:


75/25 – CPO to CXO

  1. Time-to-Market: The efficiency of the product development process, measured by the time it takes to bring new products or features from concept to market.
  2. Product Adoption: The rate at which new products or features are adopted by customers, indicating market fit and the effectiveness of product positioning and marketing efforts.
  3. Revenue Growth: The increase in revenue attributable to new or existing products, reflecting the effectiveness of the product strategy in driving business growth.
  4. Market Share: The company’s position in the market relative to competitors, as a result of product differentiation, value proposition, and overall product success.


50/50 – CPO to CXO

  1. Product Innovation: The ability to continuously innovate and improve products, as evidenced by new features, enhancements, or entirely new offerings that address customer needs and market opportunities.
  2. Customer Retention Rate: This metric reflects the percentage of customers who continue to do business with the organization over time. A high retention rate indicates the organization creates experiences that keep customers engaged and loyal.


75/25 – CXO to CPO

  1. Return on Experience (ROX): ROX measures the financial impact of experience-related initiatives by comparing the costs of implementing these strategies to the revenue generated as a result. A positive ROX indicates that an organization’s initiatives are providing a solid return on investment.
  2. Employee Engagement: Engaged employees are more likely to deliver positive customer experiences. Employee engagement can be measured through surveys, focus groups, or other feedback methods.
  3. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): CSAT scores are calculated by surveying customers about their experience with the organization. High CSAT scores indicate that the organization’s strategies effectively enhance customer satisfaction.
  4. Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS measures the likelihood that customers will recommend the company to others, with a higher score indicating a more positive experience and increased brand loyalty.


To conclude, both the Chief Product Officer and Chief Experience Officer are essential roles for businesses striving to succeed in today’s competitive landscape. However, determining which role to prioritize depends on your organization’s unique needs, goals, and stage of growth. Considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that best supports your company’s long-term success starting now. At Chameleon Collective, we offer fractional or interim CPO and CXO services. If you are considering either role, let us understand your challenge to see if we can help by scheduling a moment to connect with us.

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Ara Berberian

Ara is a product and service innovation expert who has delivered multiple solutions across a spectrum of Fortune 500 companies and early-stage ventures.

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