Job Title
Assistant Sector Manager- Health Care and Education (AFH)Name: Nick Gilbert

Company: Kraft Foods

Professional Qualification(s):
GCSEs, 4 A Levels- French, German, Geography, General Studies, BA (Hons) Marketing and French

Degree studied at
Lancaster UniversityBrief job description
My job is about generating consumer and customer insight. These insights relate to sizes of different consumer groups in our Away From Home (AFH) business, the areas I focus on are Health Care and Education. These insights then have to be quantified by what their needs are. For my role it is essential to understand customer needs (those buying our products) as well as the consumer needs (those who consume the end product). This information is then fed back into brand development and channel planning (how we get Kraft brands into those markets).

My career so far…
I joined the Kraft graduate scheme in 1999. The first part of my training was based in the brand marketing team focused on Coffee- roast and ground and singles. I then moved into sector marketing- Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes. The third part of my training programme involved working in Customer Services at Kraft’s manufacturing plant in Banbury. One of my projects I had to undertake was to examine key performance measures. For this, I was looking at what was integral to Customer Service success in Banbury and how key performance targets were reported. I brought all measures together on the Banbury Intranet site. In July 2000 I joined field sales in the Northern Region Sales and Distribution force- Hotels, Pubs, Bars and Cafes. One of my projects involved rolling out a hotel contract. I also did project work examining lapsed customers for the Northern team which was then fed into a telemarketing campaign. This part of my training also involved spending time with Cash and Carry teams, vending operators and contract caterers. In January 2001 I came back to our commercial headquarters in Cheltenham in a brand marketing role. From this point until mid-year I moved across categories from Roast and ground into soluble coffee and then into tins and dispense machines. After a restructure in June I was promoted into my current position.

What does your job involve in a typical day?
It is important to say that there is no typical day, part of the job is the diversity and there is so much going on. An average day would involve a great deal of analysis. That is, desk research on what the current markets are made up of, who’s in there, how many patients are going through the NHS every year, different types of patients, age profiles of patients etc. I do the same kind of analysis for staff in the NHS and educational institutions. I analyse how Kraft brands fit within those segments and what target audiences there are which meet our brand portfolio. This includes understanding relative sizes of these opportunities, the supply routes and the complexities this brings. I have to understand where we are currently and what the bigger opportunities are which we are perhaps not tapping into. From there the challenge for me is then how to bridge that gap. So an average day could involve commissioning consumer research and face to face interviewing to understand consumers better.

What do you like most about your job?
I really like the variety, what I am doing one week will not be the same as the next week or week after. I also enjoy the commercial application, we can make a real difference to the direction the business takes and change that direction. We have to make sure we put the right packages in place and can justify any changes we want to see but we can make such a difference. I love the fact that the work is never the same and the understanding of different sectors in the market

What skills are required in your job?
Strategic thinking and commercial awareness are essential. It is important to see things from the customer and consumers perspective and understand the value chain. Another important skill is to generate understanding about what people need and what people want.

How many people work for you?
None

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?
As it is such a competitive and fast moving industry you get out of it what you put in. There are so many challenges, if you grasp them and you’re passionate about what you do you can make a real difference.