Robert Cooper is marketing manager for a major organic tea, coffee, hot chocolate and herbal tea drinks company. His job involves every aspect of marketing and promotion – from getting product reviews in the press to designing new packaging and sales material.
What does a marketing manager do?
My responsibility is marketing and public relations. I try to create as much impact and public awareness as possible using my contacts and within the available budget.
Ultimately, my role is to help increase sales. This can be done in a lot of ways – from getting a product reviewed in a newspaper food section to creating and installing sales support materials on supermarket shelves.
Describe a typical project?
I was involved in the development and launch of a new tea or coffee product. We had to name the product, write text for the packaging to interest and inform potential customers, and work with our designer on the artwork. Then, we had to plan how to launch it to the customer using press releases, advertising and sampling opportunities at events to get our message across.
What have you been doing this week?
Planning a big trade exhibition that's going to launch a brand new range of Clipper products for the catering industry. I have also been talking to a weekend magazine about a food feature we're involved with, and putting together press packs for a large organic food exhibition in Germany.
Who do you work with?
The great thing about a company of this size – 50 people – is that I work with the owners and directors directly. It means we can make decisions quickly face-to-face rather than wait for ages to present an idea to managers at a formal meeting. I also work with our design and marketing executive, national account managers, export sales managers and others, depending on the task in hand.
What is your working environment like?
My office overlooks the production facility where our teas are packaged and recipes devised. It is very useful to be so closely tied to the nuts and bolts of the business.
Do you work normal office hours?
It varies. If I am in the office, a working day is usually 9 am to 5.30 pm. When I'm representing the company at shows I can be working during the evenings and weekends as well.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There is lots of opportunity to suggest new ideas and refine our activities, which is very encouraging. The highlight so far has been visiting a tea estate in Sri Lanka – not something that happens often, though!
What special skills do you need?
You need good written and spoken communication skills, confidence and resilience. You also have to be able to think methodically.
In a marketing position, you'll be bombarded with proposals, or asked to generate your own promotion ideas. So it is important to assess the best way to reach the largest number of the right people, with the right message, through the right medium. The ability to think creatively is also a must.
Robert's route to his career as a marketing manager
- Degree in English and philosophy.
- Trainee copywriter with a small agency.
- Moved to a larger agency.
- Approached Clipper, already knowing something about their products, and was offered a job.
Robert's marketing manager tips
- Get whatever work experience you can – do it for free if necessary.
- All business experience will serve you well.
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