Maureen shares her experience and background in her responses, and you can meet her on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/maureenjann, on her website at https://www.superdeluxemarketing.com, and follow on Twitter @NeoLuxeMo.
QUESTION: How do you explain your title of "Co-Conspirator and Chief Marketing Strategist?"
MAUREEN JANN: So, the term “conspirator” reflects Neoluxe Marketing’s focus on becoming part of our client’s story. When they’re stressed, we step up next to them and say something like, “We’re in this together and we’ll figure it out.” You can’t expect that from your normal run-of-the-mill co-founder title. I wanted to make sure that people know that if you hire me and my team, you’re getting someone who will be side-by-side with you helping to plan your most innovative marketing shenanigans.
What I also love about the phrase “co-conspirator” is that it describes my role in our organization as well. Not only am I able to be my partner’s co-conspirator, planning strategy and growth, but I’m able to bring that same kind of “in it together” type of approach to our team. Whether that means that I stand up and act as a buffer in difficult client situations, or someone is just overwhelmed with deliverables, I can step up next to him/her/them and we can walk through the tough spot together.
As for the Chief Marketing Strategist, that’s simpler! I provide the overarching marketing and content strategy inside NeoLuxe and in our client organizations. As a perfect example, right now, I find myself as an interim VP of Marketing at a few organizations we serve. I start by providing the strategy and am then able to engage my team to help execute on the details.
QUESTION: What appeals to you most about the field of marketing, and why?
MAUREEN JANN: I started out as a graphic designer. But even early in my career, I discovered that waiting for someone to tell me what to make and why wasn’t going to cut it. As I dug into the world of marketing while I was tolerating my first job as an administrative assistant at an insurance brokerage (they were great, I was just a truly terrible admin), it became clearer and clearer to me that marketing demanded a broader, more balanced set of skills. It combined creativity and analytical thinking in a way that I didn’t expect. And as I’ve matured into my career, what’s also clear is that there is always a ton to learn.
The ability to help people taps into my empathic nature as well. Not only do I get to help marketers achieve their goals, but I get to help connect them with their customers as well. I can walk a mile in their shoes and distill their wants, needs, desires, and influences into personas that can drive an entire organization’s understanding of their customer. Using my natural ability to connect and build trust with people to create that level of impact feels like the holy grail of occupations. I truly love what I do.
QUESTION: Based on your professional experiences since March of 2020, how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the world of marketing?
MAUREEN JANN: I’ve found that my personal experience during the pandemic is indicative of what I’m seeing in the market. By May of 2020, I had lost every client I had. I was starting from zero. But true to my phoenix form, I merged with another agency to form NeoLuxe Marketing. Of course, starting a new business in a pandemic is tricky and I knew if I didn’t hustle hard, I would fall flat on my face. So, I took 500 meetings in 5 months to build up the pipeline and get a real sense for what my prospects and the marketing industry at large were dealing with. This was in combination with homeschooling my kiddo and managing complex social structures with our education pod. The good news is that it worked. We went from zero clients to signing 6-figure clients in nine months thanks to the work of myself and my partner, Chris Craft. The bad news is that this didn’t happen without many tears and much gnashing of teeth (and a whole lotta time on Zoom). It just happened to close with a happy ending.
Marketing as a whole, much like my story, comes out the other side of this pandemic with a newfound desire to survive. That means we are navigating new internal demands, shifting persona populations dealing with more stress and anxiety, and in many cases, smaller teams. We are in a world where we need to know our customers better than ever to ensure that we don’t step in a pile of “NOPE” when we communicate with them.
There is added complication with the growing tech stacks as well. We were required to double down on digital transformation (although we were pretty digital to start with) because we are doing more with less in a way that we have never needed to in years prior. Automation is more important than ever. Efficiency and planning are more important than ever before. But doing it with a loose grip is critical as well because things could change again in the flutter of a butterfly’s wing.
TWEET THIS: We are in a world where we need to know our customers better than ever to ensure that we don’t step in a pile of “NOPE” when we communicate with them. ~@NeoLuxeMo #CX #marketingtip #brandexperience
QUESTION: What's your favorite social platform, and why?
MAUREEN JANN: I love Twitter. It’s fun, immediate, active, and allows for true interaction. I do a ton of TweetChats and highly recommend anyone in the marketing and business worlds to look up some TweetChats to participate in. They offer the opportunity to interact with the topic’s community in a way that’s moderated, fun, and fast.
Here are my three fave TweetChats:
(1) #CMWorld, 9am PT on Tuesdays - A wonderful community that has quite literally helped propel my career.
(2) #ContentChat, 12p PT on Mondays - Smart, sharp, and fresh questions on important topics. It's hosted by the amazing Erika Heald, and she brings together a unique community of outstanding marketers.
(3) #SEMRushChat, 8am PT on Wednesdays - A more technical crowd. I never fail to learn something new from a group of marketing experts that I don't often get to connect with.
QUESTION: How do you convince/make a case to a client to create a brand style guide when none previously existed for the business?
MAUREEN JANN: I always show them the money. Much like a creative brief, brand style guides offer an agreed-upon approach that saves endless rounds of editing, tweaking, and updating to reflect current brand approaches and strategies. The employees, contractors, and vendors know what’s anticipated of them, and they’re far more likely to get it right the first time if you set the expectations with a brand style guide.
QUESTION: What's your favorite marketing buzzword, and why? What's your most disliked marketing buzzword, and why?
MAUREEN JANN: Honestly, I don’t think or speak in buzzwords so this question is a little tough for me. Of course, as I type that, the words “machine learning/artificial intelligence” pop up for me as some of my least favorite terms. Not only are they ambiguous, but they are often grouped together when they are clearly two different concepts. Sometimes they can work together, but most frequently, organizations are creating dynamic algorithms and calling it AI. I get really tired of folks leveraging those phrases incorrectly.
I’m also hesitant to say that I have a favorite marketing buzzword. I like the word shenanigans (as seen in my response to the first question) and I love slipping that into every-day conversations. But the marketing specific buzzword that I am really enjoying and learning about is OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). The idea that you start with the objective, then you work your way back towards key results feels intuitively like a much more effective approach to goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Goals often feel arbitrary and KPIs can feel like a goal’s equally arbitrary cousin. Starting with what you want to achieve through an object process seems far more useful.
My gratitude and appreciation to Maureen for appearing on my Blog and for sharing her marketing insights.
Additional reading about OKRs:
OKRs Vs. KPIs: Breaking Down The Difference:
A brief history of OKR:
Image Credit: Daniel Herron and Unsplash app.