What does a Head of marketing & Retail Development at Energia do?
My role is multi-faceted and varied but I primarily lead a team of 26 highly motivated and dedicated marketing professionals. The team consists of Marketing communications, Digital, Product management, Customer Value Management, Internal Communications and our Insights Team. I also work with all parts of the broader Energia business and I have found that marketing and creative ideas don’t just come from the marketing department.
I work with the team to develop strategy and plans for the B2B and consumer energy market. Day-to-day, we work with several agencies across creative, media buying, market research, web development, public relations, CSR and sponsorship. Our partner agencies include Boys & Girls, Richards Dee, Vizeum, iProspect, Isobar, Strata 3, The Brand Fans, MKC Communications, Behaviour & Attitudes and Legacy Communications.
Also, as part of my role I work closely with individual team members in mentoring and a skills development role. Continued development is important across the business and we actively encourage innovation from all our stakeholders; staff, management, suppliers, partners and advisors.
What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
I started out in Celtic Hampers/Family Album as a Marketing Executive about 18 years ago and after 3 years had gained a solid grounding in all things Direct Mail. From there I moved into the telecoms sphere with Perlico and then Meteor, before moving to Energia as Marketing Manager 11 years ago.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
There are many, but certainly talent development and retention are amongst the biggest. We work in a fast-paced environment and developing the opportunities for a talented team member to work on interesting and exciting work is important. At Energia we are very lucky to work with great partners in the supplier and sponsorship space which has enabled the team to work on some very interesting projects and partnerships, such as our partnership with Leinster Rugby and the recent launch of our new communications campaign, Power Behind your Power.
What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
In my role, I look to draw on several skills, both innate and those that I have learned over the years. I believe strongly in being honest with team members, suppliers and business partners – if you don’t know the answer say you don’t know the answer. Linked to that, it is important to be a clear communicator in order to convey the various requirements and expectations of the business and our customers, as well as encouraging collaboration and always pushing for creativity, innovation and fostering a resourceful and trustworthy working environment.
For me, trust is a key attribute that is required when working across such a diverse business, trusting my team and our suppliers. I work with a great team in and outside the business so I can trust that they will deliver and excel if the strategy and communications is right.
Finally, on a more practical level, being organised and goal orientated is key at a strategic and tactical level, ensuring we as a team have the right processes in place that allow for successful delivery and measurement of all activities.
Describe a typical working day.
A typical day is busy and varied, and while it is an old cliché, very genuinely no two days are the same. Generally speaking, most days revolve around sewing the various pieces together to create a coherent marketing package for delivery. A good example is the process we undertook in developing a recent campaign to support the roll out of the Netatmo smart thermostat, a new product innovation that we are selling in conjunction with our Energy Services and Product Development team. With a lot of moving parts, I was required to work with a number of different areas of the Energia business and external partners in the areas of data science and research, to ensure end-to-end delivery, from development and roll-out through to measurement and reporting.
On a final point, like many others I do spend too much of my work life in meetings but they are a necessary evil….sometimes.
What do you love most about your role?
I love the variety and if I am being honest, sometimes the madness that it brings. Every day throws up new challenges and things you haven’t thought of – especially when it comes to consumer reaction and people management. I genuinely work closely with a great team at Energia and I enjoy encouraging those around me while also trying to have some fun!
Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
The Energia brand is full of promise and growing quickly so while we have achieved a great deal, I feel there is a lot more scope to grow. As a team we have won several awards over the years (AIM Awards, AdFX etc.) that we are very proud of, which drives us forward, and I am confident that there is a lot more of the same to come.
To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
Generally speaking, I look to innovators – the trail blazers. If you are afraid to fail you might as well go home. Try small and then roll out to a wider audience. You need to learn and improve all of the time. Like many, I would look for learnings from Richard Branson. I completed my thesis on Virgin and their brand extension strategies into different sectors. Through innovation and trust, consumers gave them the licence to move their business into many different areas, albeit some areas were more successful than others.