Nina Jones on the purpose of marketing today and how it must transform

Nina Jones has been a long-standing client of Brilliant Noise for 12 years, throughout her roles at Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft. Here are her thoughts on the state of marketing and customer experience and the opportunities to transform.

What do you see as the purpose of marketing today?

The point of marketing is to grow a business by engaging an audience to win new and retain engaged customers. Moving an audience from attraction to advocacy is achieved by being easy, enjoyable and relevant.
I think people forget what this means and why it is so powerful. Creating great experiences to earn long-term audience loyalty and advocacy, is marketing nirvana — crucial to company performance. When audiences engage with companies through word of mouth, becoming advocates, they act as your salespeople, prompting new audiences to engage.

Who wouldn’t want that?

What are the blockers for marketing and customer experience?

When a brand is already becoming irrelevant and struggles to perform quarter to quarter. They can’t create the space to transform and become resilient.

But cash-rich and successful brands can also be on a burning platform because they can’t see why they should transform.

The issue ultimately lies in how organisations are functionally structured. If they can’t mirror how their customers engage with them it creates a dichotomy between the brand and the customer experience. It’s the “age of the customer” yet they are pretty poorly understood and looked after. Most brands don’t properly know who their customers are and why they buy, nor which customers leave and why. To change this means a change in mindset and behaviour, which can be hard while delivering business as usual performance.

When I speak to my marketing colleagues their idea of the customer journey is often just initial attraction to sale. They like to tell a shiny story of the brand and product dream, rather than creating something real that people love and want to buy forever. It’s the classic leaky bucket of marketing budgets — attention stops at the point of purchase. That creates an obsession with only selling to new customers and ignoring customers who want to build a relationship with them.

If aliens were to arrive and review how most marketing teams work they’d laugh at the insanity of it all.

How do you think marketing needs to transform in line with customer experience?

For brands to constantly be working on how to engage customers, from attraction through to advocacy.

What needs to be realised is that buying awareness and broadcasting shiny messages into the void isn’t really marketing. Focused, relevant messages need to be tailored to the right people, in the right places and times, all the way through the relationship with a brand. Brands who fundamentally know their customers and build strong, trusted relationships with them over a long period of time are in the best position.

To achieve this, organisations need to be purposeful by designing physical and mental spaces where employees are challenged, coached and encouraged to work together around the customer. Let’s celebrate the brands who are  constantly disrupting themselves in order to stay relevant.

So let’s reorganise marketing teams shake them out of their silos and shift their mindsets. Build a team who create connections between on and offline experiences throughout the customer decision journey.

If brands can balance their product experience with their service experience these two elements can provide the foundations for real, personal and trusted customer relationships.

Ultimately, people just want things to be easy and relevant. Marketers who achieve this, I believe, are in the best place to support their future success.