Whilst some of us are responsible for a single channel, many have a wider remit and key foundations like data, brand, CRM, technology infrastructure, buying & merchandising, and customer service operations all sit here. In this quickly evolving landscape, what serves us well today may not be ideal tomorrow. We need to stay on top of trading legislation, to ensure that our member businesses lead rather than follow, and stand up as role models for others.
Alongside the practical issues we need to address, multichannel is also changing company culture and redefining the development needs within our teams. Our Council has been created to promote best practice, to provide insight and know-how across all the key areas, and more. We aim to offer strategic, practical and insightful information for business owners and principals, senior management and all those whose work supports and leads multichannel trading.
I have just completed my first year as Head of Marketing at bedroom retailer, Feather & Black - my career coming full circle back to the world of home interiors where I started marketing at magazine publisher EMAP over 15 years ago. Whilst many things are reassuringly familiar in the world of home furnishings, the role of marketing and the customer experience have changed for ever. Multichannel retailing hadn’t been invented back then! The customer journey for the Feather & Black buyer today, like many of your customers, is a blend of digital, direct and in store. The roles of each of these channels are constantly evolving. It is both exciting and challenging to stay ahead of the game, create great retail theatre and do it profitably. Having access to the DCA over the years has been a great way to share the successes and more importantly the failures with colleagues in the industry as the multichannel model evolves. My previous roles were at The White Company where I spent 6 years during its first phase of growth (from catalogue, to digital and then retail) as Marketing Manager and then Marketing Director. I then joined Gray and Osbourn (owned by N Brown Group) as Commercial Director selling special occasion wear via catalogue and website. My other passion is leadership and development; and for the past few years I have been involved in supporting Aspire Companies both as mentor in their programme for the charity sector and providing support at their coaching and leadership programmes. I am also one of the founders of the Aspire Circles networking events for women in business which now has groups across the country.
“Born and bred” on Merseyside, have now fully adopted West Yorkshire as my home.
Education and early career choices saw me completing my accountancy training with a regional supermarket retailer based on Merseyside.
After 11 years in various Finance & IT roles I made my first move into Home Shopping/Mail Order with one of the then “Big 5”, Grattan. The merger with Next led to me being appointed as Finance Director of their Direct Response division, Kaleidoscope/Scotcade. This role gave me a very solid grounding in Direct Marketing Commercial management that enabled me to consider becoming poacher instead of game keeper. From Next, I moved to Empire Stores and was appointed Marketing Director where I had to develop a very strong analytical approach to marketing spend ROI in order to keep track of “all the creative types” in my team. My mantra became “If it moves - measure it, If you want to change – test it and, Success is about increasing customer numbers and growing both sales and profit”.
I am now enjoying the UK MD role at the Home Shopping business Damart, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire. Famous for its Iconic Thermal underwear, we are the leading UK, French & Belgium multi channel specialist for the over 65 market. With more than 1.8 million customers in the UK, we generate £100m sales via catalogue but with a fast growing web penetration. In September 2012, Coopers of Stortford joined our UK fold and I now also have the great pleasure to act as their Chairman.
As a true “Mail Order Dinosaur” I am really looking forward to working with the DCA and especially the multi channel council. I am extremely interested to share with peers to understand how we are developing the people and disciplines of the future to ensure we all prosper in a significantly more dynamic, competitive and challenging environment.