There's never been a more challenging or exciting time to be a chief marketing officer (CMO) according to Emailvision founder, Nick Heys, as companies begin shifting from a business-centric perspective to a more customer-centric one in response to changing consumer expectations. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

In a world where your customer can instantly access a host of different options through websites, instant advertising, apps, reviews and social commentary, brands that provide a quick and valuable customer experience will most certainly gain competitive advantages.

Marketing has always been appreciated in business, but with such a close understanding of the customer relationship, marketing leaders will be absolutely pivotal in managing this customer-centric view.

One of the keys to success rests on the marketing team's ability to capitalise on their customer data. The concept of data being on any CMO's top-5 list of priorities may sound odd but, for marketing professionals, it's a source of powerful information about customer behaviour.

Personalised and relevant marketing isn't a "nice to have", it's the new imperative: In a YouGov survey commissioned by Emailvision, 75% of respondents reported that they would resent a brand after being bombarded by online marketing. Not only does this reflect a growing sensitivity to marketing noise, it also reflects a rise in customer expectations.

The digital revolution has reversed the balance of power between the customer and the business, and customers have immediate access to numerous choices while businesses face growing numbers of both traditional and non-traditional competitors every day.

But it is not all bad news for marketing leaders: thanks to significant investment and innovation in marketing technologies, businesses of all sizes can cost-effectively provide personalised brand experiences across multiple sales channels. Marketing leaders and their teams can tap into new marketing analytics technologies to deliver more actionable insights gained from customer behaviours - from all that customer data and transactional data they collect every day.

Every interaction a customer has with the business - from a browse on the website, to the open-and-click on an email, to the tweet, to an in-store purchase - can be captured to generate valuable data. Today we're seeing a new generation of marketing technology that's dedicated to helping businesses understand this data so they can put customer needs, preferences and experiences at the centre of the marketing plan.