CMO profile: Unlocking Jurlique's brand DNA

Jurlique chief brand officer talks to us about dleivering growth by balancing logic with magic

Andrew Martens
Andrew Martens

Personalisation play

Martens is also looking at how Jurlique can respond to growing consumer expectations of personalisation and targeted communications. One way is by building data mining capabilities using predictive analytics to determine what consumer behaviour will be and act on it. Investments include new CRM and social listening tools.

Martens says a key focus has been gauging at which point the opportunity for cross-sell or further engagement might be. “If you look at consumers in China, is the opportunity around the period of time between when they make their first and second sale, or is it whether they come back at all?” she asks. “What is it they’re buying from the first time they come in-store versus the second time? For instance, if a consumer buys a hand cream, will they ever come back and buy face cream from us? And is that different to if they buy a face cream first?

“We can mine a lot of data from our ecommerce business, but also in-store we’re working to collect more data and striving to understand more about consumers so we can build a relationship with them. We’ll then be able to target them with more appropriate messaging. Systems have to be set up first, and that’s now somewhat in place; the next step is around doing the analytics.”

Where Martens spies a gap is the physical store experience. “They’re paying a premium for our product and want an incredible experience,” she says. “The ones that know the brand see the appeal, but we also need it to translate into advocacy. Having those elements translate into our retail experience is fundamental to the next stage of our journey.”

Digital and data play are vital. “The ability to bring to life the farm environment and really show what happens there in terms of the process all botanicals go through, and in a way that’s really engaging for the consumer, is where technology also plays a role.”

Personalisation could even extend down to product. “Some companies are playing with fragrance by allowing consumers to actually tailor their own fragrance. That informs where we need to go in the longer term,” Martens says. 

Perceptions of marketing

For Martens, the role of marketing has always been one of driving growth. “I don’t think that fundamental has changed, but the business’ expectations of our function have definitely stepped up,” she says. “The need for marketing to become more analytical and fact-based has evolved consistently over the years.”

Having said that, balancing fact with creativity is still a critical part of success. “Putting my business lens on product costs and operational capacity is just as important as what the next campaign will deliver to us globally,” she says. 

In the case of Jurlique, Martens sees herself on a 3-5 year journey to turn the brand around, which means senior executive support is vital.

“I’ve been really transparent to the parent company, to say the brand has so much potential, but the reality is we have a lot of hard work to do and this is going to take time,” she says. “It won’t be a linear journey – there will be steps forward, steps back. The importance of senior support is fundamental – without that, there’s no way we could do this.”

In dealing with such big, strategic discussions, it was important to bring every staff member along as well.

“The changes we’re making can’t be made by the marketing team alone. Yes, we can most likely execute campaigns, but leading a business and driving for results is so much more,” Martens says. “Working cross-functionally, particularly with our operations partners, people and culture and commercial teams, is fundamentally critical to our success.”

Martens’ longer-term focus is to drive collaboration. “As marketers, we do have a responsibility to be as engaged in cross-functional discussion as we are in our own discussions around the brand,” she claims.

“We need to seek and understand the challenges the operations team, commercial teams and markets are facing. That also gives us further credibility.”

Grabbing the horns of growth and being a brand leader requires CMOs to have resilience, agility and the ability to juggle many things at once, Martens says. They also need commercial acumen – something that’s arguably still lacking across the wider marketing leadership spectrum globally. 

It’s vital to invest in learning too. Martens recently completed an Institute of Company Directors course to improve her financial and board-level clout to support her growing number of board roles.

Balancing the needs of shareholders with what can be achieved over a certain period of time is certainly one thing that can keep Martens awake at night. The second is her team.

“Ensuring they are being developed, engaged and supported as much as they need to be, is why I’m here in the morning and it’s one of the biggest parts of my role,” she concludes. 

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