For my latest blog I caught up with Richard Jones, the Head of CRM and Social Media at T.M.Lewin, and found out about his 15 year career, a day in his working life, goals, love for marketing and industry advice!
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Head of CRM & Social Media. Ideally, I tell the right story, to the right customer, at the right time, in the right way.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I report to the Customer Director.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
In CRM, you have to be all things, to all men. Firstly, a singular customer focused view. You will often have to fight for the customer. Customer’s don’t like complexity, they don’t like being overtly sold to. Keep it simple for them and don’t put too many barriers in their path.
Creativity is also a must, both in terms of artwork and message but also finding solutions to challenges. Brand projection is critical. If you get that right, you don’t have to sell. Well. not as much.
A technical understanding of data is essential as you develop through in CRM, Ensuring you can get the data to an actionable stage is critical. Finally, the ability to understand and service internal stakeholders. In a multi dept organisation, each stakeholder will often have their own individual pressures that, if you can help them deliver against, will go a long way to building up trust in what you’re delivering for the business.
Tell us about a typical working day…
My main day is taking the many and varied challenges from the business, triaging the requests and ensuring my team have the tools to deliver them. While ensuring we’ve moving forward with the strategic development and hitting the the macro and micro targets that we set. Not always easy, especially in retail where one slower day or a competitor move in the market can change your entire plan for the next month in a single morning.
You need the ability to keep an open flexible mind and approach. Its a real mix of artwork creative, strategy, analytics, planning, and importantly, helping to clear any road blocks for my team. No two days are ever the same. I love it.
What do you love about your job?
I get out of bed in the morning to deliver my metrics. If we’ve beaten the targets, I go home happy and sleep well. From experience, if you’re delivering the numbers it gains you an awful lot of trust from the business.I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to surround myself with an amazing team. As individuals and as a unit, they work superbly. That makes everything a lot easier.
The hours. I tend to do 65-70 hour weeks. Combination of my own work ethic, lots of challenges and some very ambitious plans. I want to build a world class CRM programme and like any big ambition, the old balance of inspiration vs perspiration comes into play.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Outside of the normal targets around retention, revenue and footfall, I’ve set the team the challenger that within 18 months, we’ll be winning Grand Prix awards and have lots of shiny trophies in reception. For them, it’ll give them lots of experience and build up their skill set, as well as giving them some incredible industry kudos which will give them a great bedrock for the rest of their career.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
First and foremost. It’s people. If you get that right everything follows.
In terms of systems, we’ve recently signed up for Dotmailer, it’s a stunning platform. Simple to use, intuitive, and comes supported by a world class account team. Combined with a new SCV as a data platform, new web platform and in-store EPOS and PowerBi to enable the insight led actions, it’s a powerful combination.
How did you become a Head of CRM & Social Media, and where might you go from here?
In a very roundabout way. I started in corporate hospitality and promotions. From there I moved into Sales team incentives. That showed me the power of data, insight and 121 communications. I then moved (through a couple of job moves) into Direct Mail, Third Party Rewards schemes, email programmes and then that combined experience secured me the move to T.M.Lewin.
What new technology / platforms are you most excited about (if any)?
A.I. It’s going to be an absolute game changer for CRM.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in marketing for a fashion brand?
If you’re a recent grad or looking to switch roles, I’ve always looked for common sense and drive above all else. Get that across in the interview. The CRM elements, the retail world, the creative elements, you can teach. Common sense less so.
Also, remember first and foremost, you’ll be working for a commercial organisation. That means you have to deliver your numbers. No matter how bright and premium the brand may be, you’re there to deliver revenue and retention. How you do that?! That’s the fun bit!…
Tell the story.
It might be your heritage, your product quality, your service standards, your vision. Identify and communicate that and you won’t go far wrong.
Deliver your numbers
If you’re always delivering against your targets, it buys you a lot of good will.
Treat each customer as the most important thing in the world.
Talk to each one as an individual. Personalise your communications as much as possible. Get regular feedback from them.
Last action normally dictates the next action.
Customers tend to be creatures of habit. Find out what their habit is and ID what the next most likely action for them is.
Surround yourself with great people
Listen to them, challenge them and open yourself to challenges, trust them, and give them full input into their own worlds. And reward them if they deliver for you.
Keep setting yourself goals.
Keep thinking ‘what’s next’ and ‘how can we do better’.
And Finally…Test, test and test again.
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