We sat down with Target’s new executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Jeffrey Jones, for his first interview since joining Target. Hear what excites him most about his new role, his leadership philosophy and what he thinks makes a successful CMO.
What makes a great marketing organization?
Jeff: In today’s world, a marketing organization has to have a lot of different skill sets. Clearly the team has to be organized around understanding who the consumer is, you have to be able to move fast and be nimble to keep up with the constant changes, it has to be full of ideas, it has to be grounded in strategy and data, and finally, in today’s environment, a marketing organization has to be unafraid to fail.
As you jump into your new role, what’s at the top of your priority list?
Jeff: Numbers 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D are all about building relationships. As the new guy here, I look forward to establishing key relationships within the executive committee. Of course, I can’t wait to get to know the marketing team and learn more about their businesses. There are also important relationships within merchandising that I need to build. And, I am also looking forward to meeting Target’s partners.
What is your media diet? What newspapers, magazines and blogs do you read?
Jeff: These days I rely more and more on aggregators, but my two go-to news outlets are Fast Company and Mashable. Those two give me the lion’s share of what’s happening in marketing, retail and design and creativity.
What’s your go-to social media channel?
Jeff: In a short amount of time I went from ‘I’m not sure I get Twitter, but I know I need to understand it’ to ‘this is the first place I go for the bulk of my information.’ The problem I face now is that I know there are others I could be following—I just haven’t discovered them yet. So I need to be diligent about following links and seeing what’s trending. But, it’s really amazing to me that in such a short amount of time, Twitter has become my go-to choice.
What was your first experience with Target?
Jeff: My first exposure to Target was actually in the context of business and not as a guest. It’s been a brand that every other brand has looked to. As an agency guy, it’s always been a brand that we benchmark. When you’re on the outside looking in, you think you know what’s going on but you don’t really know for sure. There’s just an admiration for the boldness of the ideas, the clarity of the positioning, and the consistency of the execution.
Can you tell us a bit about your Target shopping experiences?
Jeff: I recently told my wife that now I won’t be angry seeing that Target bag in our house every day. Target is such a part of our life as a family…from every category. And, I’m not exaggerating — there is a Target bag in our house, at least 5 out of 7 days a week. That’s a real number!
Where do you go first at Target?
Jeff: I go right to electronics—I love gadgets. Then, I go with my girls to browse around the store with them. As a family, Home is also a favorite department.
Will you tweet about Target?
Jeff: I can’t wait to tweet about Target and plan to join those tweeting from @ABullseyeView later this month! I think the more we can help people understand the great stories we have at Target, the better.
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