Joanne Wiggan

The Royal Mint is the United Kingdom's official maker of British coins. It is the oldest company in the United Kingdom and is currently located in Llantrisant, Wales, where it moved in 1968.

The CIM Northwest board catches up with Director of Digital Experiences, Joanne Wiggan, discussing everything from innovation, AI and some useful advice for anyone getting into marketing.

Tell us about your business, its brand(s) and your role  

 I currently work for the Royal Mint as their Director of Digital Experiences. Most people would be familiar with the brand as it has over 1000 years history. However, in recent years the business has diversified and now has a broad portfolio of businesses such as investments, jewellery, and even digital products. My role is to support the growth of the brand by acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers, both here in the UK and also internationally. The Digital Experience (DXP) team leads on the development of the digital platforms and covers e-commerce, design, content, UX and insight – all of which supports exciting product launches and continuous trading needs.

What career path did you take to get into marketing?

I was always interested in creative communications, even from a very young age. I got my first job in an advertising agency at just age 17. I wanted to learn from the bottom up, making the most of those around me in the Creative studio and the Account Managers.

After just a few years I went from making coffee, to leading on main accounts. But I knew I needed to broaden my horizons and studied marketing at university. After that I started as a Campaigns Manager but continued studying and achieved the CIM Post Graduate Diploma.

I’ve since gone on to work client side with brands like Volvo, Hyundai and Gleneagles and agency side with Havas and ITG. Leading on brand strategy and campaigns.

I’m now coming up to 25 years in marketing! As the industry changes, I’ve had to adapt, focusing my recent learning on Digital transformation and UX Design, which has really helped align my career with the industry evolution.

How does an innovative approach to marketing allow you to meet the challenge?

Over the years we’ve witnessed huge growth in consumer marketing channels.

When I first started, all we had to think about was TV, radio, press and PR. Now there are 1000s and the ones that resonate with audiences, changes all the time. What’s trending today, will likely be old fashioned tomorrow. You have to be both agile and innovative to align to the customers motivations.

But I truly believe innovation isn’t a ‘thing’ you can simply apply to marketing – it is a mindset. The desire to think differently, be curious and challenge the status quo. If you work for a marketing team that doesn’t have that approach, you will not be able to jump quickly on to the opportunities.

If you can be one step ahead of the competition, when the customer is looking, hopefully you will be there at their moment of need.

Can you share a best practice model / tool / technique that you couldn’t be without / believe every marketer needs

Never be afraid to ask questions. Being constantly curious may feel like a cliché but it’s really helped my career. Focus on why the customer is doing what they do, why do we do it like this, why has a metric changed, why are the targets like that, why is the market changing.

Start with the ‘why’, and you’ll be surprised how many new ideas can be generated from it.

What is your go to resource e.g. books/podcasts that you recommend to marketeers?

I’m currently listening to a Podcast serious called ‘now, then, ten’ which covers all sorts of topics from entrepreneurs. Not specifically about marketing, but there are so many inspirational thoughts you can learn from and apply to marketing.

If you are interested in the psychology of marketing, I’d recommend anything from the Neilson Norman Group. Whilst focusing mainly on UX theory, I love the customer centric approach to everything they do, and it can be transferred to other areas in Marketing.

What is your view on the impact of AI for marketers?

Like all new technology, we must make the most of the opportunities and adapt.

For certain tasks AI is great for automating and at scale. It’s also a good tool for predictive data modelling and I’ve used Machine Learning for digital acquisition for a while now, with successful results. Improving our customer journeys will be supported by AI as we incorporate it into our DXP, providing content intelligence to all users.  

That said, I still believe you should take a hybrid approach, as the data out is only as good as the data in. Using ChatGPT as an example, the human prompt input still needs to match the brand tone which is something Marketeers, need to be aware of.

The impact of AI for the industry could be very positive as long as there is a considered and consistent approach for your brand when it comes to using the tools available.

What advice do you have for people considering a career in marketing?

Marketing is so broad and evolves so quickly. The best advise I can give is to find the one or two areas you are passionate about – then immerse yourself in learning, keeping up to date with the changes and be willing to evolve and adapt in that particular area.

Once you are in a role - I’d always recommend that you stay customer focused. No matter how much pressure is on you around targets, deadlines, projects et - remember to ask yourself “what does the customer want, expect, desire or feel”.

What is your favourite campaign/marketing output for a NW brand and why?

I previously worked for Ribble Cycles, who are based in Preston. Being a 125-year-old business with a strong foothold in the local area, they already had a reputation in the Northwest. But their goal was to increase brand awareness when people couldn’t make it to their local store.

A high-priced item can get low conversion through D2C online channels, with some customers preferring to ‘see it’ in person.

To challenge that convention, they introduced a Live ‘in-shop’ digital experience with dedicated digital sales team to take video calls and walk customers through an interactive 1-2-1 shopping experience - all from the comfort of their own homes.

It got great PR across the retail industry, but importantly it improved brand engagement and sales across the UK, for the small Northwest brand.