Category Marketing ControllerName: Jane McCarthy
Company: Hazlewood Foods
Degree studied at?
North London PolytechnicBrief job description
I provide the business and its customers with category specific market information and make recommendations for strategic and tactical activities to develop their business in that category .
My career so far…
What does your job involve in a typical day?
Our team have a variety of responsibilities and as such I could be doing any of the following :
Customer presentations – we regularly hold category reviews with our customers looking at market trends , consumer trends , food trends and the implications for them with our recommendations for new products , promotions, merchandising and packaging. These often take place at the factory if it is a major review and take a lot of time to pull together . It is not one departments responsibility but a team exercise with involvement from Sales , Development , Marketing and Production if there is a site tour etc.
Market reporting – we report to both our internal and external teams on market trends and activity. These include market growth and retailer shares , new product activity and price / promotional moves and the effect they are having on the category. This information is used to plan for the businesses future : for example do we have enough manufacturing capacity for the growth predicted in the future , do we have the right equipment to follow the trends in the category.
PR – we work with our internal PR team to ensure that we are represented in both Trade and local press. This can be anything from a major category article in the Grocer to local articles about a new factory opening. We also liase with our retail partners to issue joint releases where appropriate (most of our products are retail own label rather than brand so new product information needs the retailers approval prior to release.
Innovation workshops & Brainstorming sessions – the marketing and product development teams work closely to ensure we are proactive in developing new concepts in line with emerging trends. This may take the form of team innovation sessions either with or without key customers or “training days” where we invite a food expert to come and teach us about a particular food type or trend. These take a lot of organising with meetings with the expert and a clear written brief to make sure that we get the most value from these sessions.
Consumer research – we conduct regular research with consumers to ensure we understand how their views of the category may be changing over time and also to test new product concepts. We have a bank of agencies we have used for different types of research and we again need to work with them to develop a clear brief and then interpret the findings in terms of where this means we should be going as a business. If we see a particular trend emerging we may brief development to come up with some new concepts for products and packaging based on this trend. We can then put these concepts into research to see how well they perform with consumers prior to fine turning them and presenting a more finished concept to the retailers.
So I suppose a typical day could involve a meeting , numerous phone calls and emails and reading and writing reports!
What do you like most about your job?
What skills are required in your job?
How many people work for you?
What is your advice for people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?