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The sixth CX50 list of the UK’s top 50 customer experience (CX) professionals show that delivering market-beating experiences is more important than ever. Find the 10 names from the first of this year’s five sector categories below.

Compiled by Marketing Week in partnership with Cognizant and Adobe, the CX50 list celebrates executives and brands who consistently over-deliver on CX. Seeking to learn from their example, each year we look at how they innovate in digital channels, use the latest technologies and techniques to derive insights from data, and make every experience seamless while delivering on customer needs.

In a series of articles over the coming weeks, we will be breaking down the 50 names in the CX50 2024 into five sector groupings, starting with retail, consumer goods, travel and hospitality (RCGTH). We’ll also examine the nuances of CX that executives in each sector have to navigate, and what can they learn from each other.

Cognizant Vice-President Phil Matthews, who heads up this sector in the UK and Ireland, says: “Cognizant is proud of our continuing involvement with the CX50 programme. This opportunity to celebrate CX champions and innovators is both very timely and significant.”

You can find the first 10 members of this year's list below, followed by our analysis of the state of CX in RCGTH — a set of highly competitive, consumer-driven categories ripe with opportunities, but with plenty of challenges too.



Head of Technology –  Marketing, Online and Retail




Marketing and Omnichannel Director, UK&I

Samsung Electronics UK



Chief Digital Officer




Managing Director, UK&I




Chief Digital Officer




Marketing and Digital Director & Jet2holidays



Head of Ecommerce




Group Marketing Director, UK & Europe

Merlin Entertainments



Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, EMEA

Marriott International



Customer Director

John Lewis Partnership


How the top brands are setting themselves apart

There’s no doubt there are some uphill battles for brands in this sector — not least the rising cost of living. Despite indicators that UK consumer confidence is slowly rising, purse strings are still tight. The rate of inflation may have fallen from its peak, but to consumers this simply means their costs are rising a little more slowly.

Retailers are therefore having to work harder than ever to bring customers in-store. The renewed battle for loyalty has seen a raft of new initiatives from brands in the incentive space, many of which focus on ‘memberships’ that have a clear and immediate impact on consumers’ wallets.

Of course, loyalty mechanisms aren’t just crucial in cutting through the cost-of-living crisis. They also enable brands to gather all-important insights about customers at a time when data streams from third-party cookies are gradually being cut off and consumers are becoming more privacy-conscious.

Paula Bobbett, Chief Digital Officer at Boots UK, and a new entrant on the CX50 2024, says: “The Boots Advantage Card offers us a unique insight into the shopping habits of over 16 million customers. This information is invaluable in helping us to build truly meaningful relationships with our customers, offering them personalised offers on the products they want to buy and product inspiration on the lines that we know they would be interested in.

Indeed, it is often the product itself that is the primary driver of a customer’s experience – particularly in retail and consumer goods – a fact that often gets lost in businesses.

Ensuring that products meet people’s needs requires constant iteration, Bobbett suggests. “It is important that retailers continue to provide new product ranges, better services and an enhanced customer experience to keep up with customer expectations.

Merlin Entertainments’ UK Group Marketing Director Sara Holt, who also appears in this year’s CX50, agrees. “Merlin has always had marketing embedded into product development. It’s a triumvirate – marketing, Merlin magic-making and brand thinkers who come together. The secret sauce is alignment on the brief. I’ve spent a lot of time understanding what the key drivers of net promoter score are in theme parks and, actually, it isn’t putting in a great big ride, it’s that we spend more time working out things like queues.

Therein lies one of the challenges facing marketers in this sector today. There are always opportunities to improve elements such as the digital delivery of communications – apps, personalising offers and so on. However, sometimes there are fundamental aspects of the product that could themselves have an adverse impact on CX, and companies in travel and hospitality particularly must avoid becoming a victim of their own success.

We have a continuous improvement team working on how we can minimise queues,” Holt adds. “The great popularity of theme parks is their greatest challenge. We are also spending money on really ‘boring’ stuff like fixing as much of the infrastructure as possible, so the coasters break down less.

When great experiences blend in

This speaks to the core of great CX, where the phrase ‘surprise and delight’ is somewhat overused. But both Merlin’s Holt and Boots’ Bobbett recognise that the priority for CX professionals is seamlessness. This is especially true now that more tools than ever exist to enable every customer to receive the experience and service they want.

Matthews at Cognizant notes: “The emergence of the ‘conversational economy’, powered by GenAI technology, will increasingly enable brands and retailers to have a deeper and more intimate engagement with customers than ever before. Indeed, it has the potential to make the nirvana of the ‘segment of one’ a reality.

At Boots, Bobbett says: “The customer is always at the front of mind when we consider any changes to the customer experience – listening to what customers are telling us, researching and testing to ensure that we meet their needs and their expectations, and prioritising the fixing of any pain points is absolutely crucial.”

This was what motivated one of her teams when fixing an accessibility issue on recently, she explains. A customer had contacted the company after struggling with the site, and the team worked with them to redevelop the whole basket and checkout experience to meet their needs.

It is imperative to build an experience that is accessible and inclusive for all, and because our customer journeys can involve both online and offline, we need to ensure that we consider it as one seamless and integrated customer experience,” she says.

Brilliant customer experience is just where life is made easier,” Holt adds. “The measure of success for me is where customers actually spend less time with the product – in terms of, you’ve just managed to get what you need. For a theme park, of course it’s about really being immersed in that experience, but that too has to be seamless.” This means no real-world frustrations should seep in and, hopefully, with the development of a new timed and digitised queue placement system, there will eventually be less queuing.

The proof points of CX investments can be long-term — not every metric is going to show immediately that you’re going in the right direction. Holt admits that tying CX to the P&L can take time. However, she points back to using NPS as a vital indicator of progress. “Understanding NPS and whether or not people will recommend your product – that’s how you can work out whether or not you’ve got something really, really good.”


The Marketing Week CX50, in partnership with Cognizant and Adobe, is the pre-eminent annual list of the UK’s top 50 CX professionals, now in its sixth year. For 2024, we have taken a new sector-driven approach to compiling the CX50 list, in an effort to better represent the diverse range of customer experiences and priorities present across the economy — particularly increasing its coverage of B2B organisations and the public sector compared to previous years. The CX50 2024 is divided into the following five sectors, each featuring 10 professionals:

  • Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel and Hospitality
  • Financial Services
  • Public Sector
  • Manufacturing, Logistics, Energy and Utilities
  • Life Sciences

Our criteria and methodology for determining the CX50’s members remain the same as in previous years. In order to create a pool of candidates, we combine nominations from Marketing Week and Cognizant’s professional networks with independent measures of brands that perform highly on CX. To select the final list, we then assess individuals’ achievements in the past year and over the course of their careers against the three criteria of impact, innovation, and influence.

The CX50 members possess an eclectic set of skills and responsibilities, all crucial in the effort to deliver exceptional customer experience, so while we have not split the CX50 2024 into the five categories we have used previously, these nevertheless remain relevant as descriptions of who the CX50 are and what they embody, namely: organisational leaders, brand guardians, technologists, disruptors/challengers and growth drivers.

Discover more on CX50 here.

Cognizant UK & Ireland
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