Marketers need to understand what drives the business financially better says Target CMO

Too many marketers are isolated from other functions of business and fail to understand the basic financial levers of the enterprise the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Target in the US has told a forum.

Jeffrey Jones

Jones: I believe as a marketer I am responsible for delivering for consumers and shareholders.

Too many marketers are isolated from other functions of business and fail to understand the basic financial levers of the enterprise the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Target in the US has told a forum.

Speaking at the ANA Advertising and Financial Management conference in Boca Raton, Florida, Jeffrey Jones said that far too many businesses globally had the marketing and finance functions at war when they should be aligned.

“The things that matter to the CFO have to matter to marketers,” said Jones. “It is shocking to me how many people I meet who don’t know how to get things done.

“They don’t understand the drivers of the business, what’s important to shareholders. They might not know basic financial metrics or who the top shareholders are.”

Jones in his speech took aim at marketers who were focused on brand building and left responsibility for driving sales and cost management to others.

“We don’t do anything at Target that is separate category of brand building,” he said. “I learned back at the Coca Cola company that everything you do is part of the brand.

“There is no such thing as the brand stuff and everything else. We need to be focused on the business performance. What are we doing now and in the future to deliver shareholder value and to deliver to those who invested in us?”

The target CMO noted that many marketers feel they are not valued by the rest of the senior leadership team but told the room for that to happen “marketing and finance have to come together to deliver for the consumer”.

He added: “I believe as a marketer I am responsible for that.”

Jones also spoke honestly about the current consumer backlash Target is facing in the US over its policy of trans-friendly bathrooms.

The move has sparked anger in some parts of the country, such as Texas where 1.1m customers, aligned with the American Family Association have joined a boycott of the stores over the policy, which allows trans-people to use the bathroom not aligned with their birth sex.

“This is a really big topic and one we have spent a lot of time on,” said Jones.

“We are a brand that serves 50m people a week in our stores. So we are for everybody and yes there are segments and demographics but we are a mass brand,” he said.

“We are also an inclusive brand and one of our core beliefs as a company is about being inclusive. Now we face a situation where those you serve and what you believe may not be aligned.

“What we try to do is default to our beliefs and explain our beliefs to those we serve. That ultimately defaults in some population of people not agreeing with that and we hate that.

“But for a big company like us there are going to be times where that happens and that’s the situation we are currently in.”

Nic Christensen


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.