What does a Marketing Manager at Johnson & Perrott Motor Dealerships do?
I am responsible for all marketing activities for our eight franchises and three dealerships, this includes activity across our Sales, Service, Parts & Bodyshop departments. It’s a challenging role in a highly competitive industry and one that involves being able to move fluidly across both traditional and digital channels in order to reach customers.
What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
A passion for the industry, education and a little bit of luck all played a part. I completed a Bachelor of Business Studies from CIT and then a Masters in International Management from Oxford Brookes University. I knew at this point that I wanted to start a career in marketing, and I was lucky to get my start in the automotive industry while the Celtic Tiger was at its peak. Since then I have worked with brands such as BMW, MINI, Land Rover, Peugeot and Ford. In my current role I have added SEAT, Honda, Volvo, Jaguar, KIA & Opel to that list.
I firmly believe in education and the power of networking, to that end when I moved back to Cork I volunteered as a committee member for the Cork branch of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and regularly attend marketing events and seminars. I also recently went back to college to get an MBA from the University of Limerick and for a time lectured in marketing at the Cork Institute of Technology.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
The motor trade is unique in many ways and has recently experienced a paradigm shift in both its use of technology and buyer behaviour. The term disruptive innovation certainly applies - where new technologies displace old, while simultaneously creating new opportunities. My biggest challenge is to react to this and help communicate our products, services and the new ways of ownership to our customers. The market is constantly evolving, making it a challenge to keep apace and not confuse our marketing message.
What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
You need to be flexible and be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This involves everything from involvement in high level strategy meetings, to hammering stakes at a trade show. You must also be able to multi-task efficiently and not be afraid to make hard choices. I have also found my love of learning is a great asset, particularly as I find my role keeps changing. Without regular upskilling I believe I would swiftly be at a disadvantage.
Describe a typical working day.
A typical working day can start at any of our dealerships as I ensure to maintain a presence at each location weekly. The first hour or so of the day is then spent working my way through emails and social media. After that, the day becomes a little more flexible as it depends on what’s considered a priority for that week. We often have events, sponsorships and campaigns running so it is important to check in to review metrics and ROI. There are two of us on the marketing team and we collaborate daily to ensure there is no crossover. It’s a balancing act as we have to ensure that our company and the eight franchises we represent get equal attention and that for each, we are on track to achieve their targets.
Recently we have been spending a large amount of time on content generation for the creation of a new group website along with integrated SEO and supporting digital campaigns. We are also planning for the opening of a new dealership for Volvo in June, (following on from the successful launch of a new dealership for Jaguar Land Rover last September). Naturally as we get closer to the license plate changes (192 in July and 201 next January) more time will be spent knuckling down into seasonal marketing campaigns for new car sales across both traditional and digital channels.
What do you love most about your role?
That every day is different to the last! With this role, there is great autonomy and I love the challenges it presents. I also have an innate love of both technology and motors, fortunately the motor trade is one which marries both and allows me to work in an industry for which I have a genuine passion.
*Note: This year, our company won the “Great places to work” and “Deloitte's best managed company” awards. On top of that it has a very strong CSR program and places an emphasis on training as a priority. This level of support greatly enhances the role.
Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
The motor trade will always need good marketing. With all the current and upcoming changes, from ownership models, electrification and the rise of autonomous vehicles, there will be plenty of opportunity to grow within it.
To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
There is no one person but certainly the people I work with, and for, have often (and I assume will continue to be) been role models and have taught me much over the years. I also read and follow the material of many influencers globally from both outside and within the motor industry. I try to take a little from each of these and replicate what best suits the task on hand.