The Post: Marketing Manager, Eventist Group and Best Parties Ever
The Post Holder: Penny McGrigor
HOW I BECAME A GROUP MARKETING MANAGER
As a naturally outgoing person Penny McGrigor found her perfect role working in marketing and communications.
Give a brief outline of your career to date.
So it all began about 25 years ago when I started off working with Procter & Gamble on their Vidal Sassoon brand, an amazing start to what would become a lifelong passion of marketing, PR and events. I then had an opportunity to work with Take That and their beginnings at the Clothes Show Live, what followed was an interesting variety of roles within big global corporates such as Nokia, Computer Sciences Corporation and RSM before moving into the world of events about five years ago and going ‘agency side’. A totally different beast, the experience of working in the creative and dynamic world of events has offered some superb opportunities and the chance to work with some fantastic clients.
What was your favourite subject at school?
My favourite subject was English Literature, although I’m not convinced that some of the books we analysed left me anything other than scarred for life! Equus was indeed a very peculiar book!
Did you go on to further/higher education, if so what did you study and where?
I left school after doing A-levels as I was desperate to get out into the workplace and earn some money, get on the career ladder and buy a house. Although I’m sure I missed out on all the fun of university, I don’t feel that this has held me back and am certainly grateful to have been able to buy a property before the prices became unattainable.
How did you get into your area of work?
When I was at school and college I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but have always been an outgoing person who has enjoyed communication in all its forms. My dad worked in marketing and I do wonder whether it was a natural progression for me to follow in his footsteps and learn from his experience and have his advice.
Is this what you always wanted to do?
I was never really sure what career path I wanted to follow, I wanted to get out and experience what the workplace had to offer and find my feet and look at the various opportunities available. I was fortunate to get a job working in one of the world’s most renowned organisations with a peer group who were enthusiastic and motivated to succeed. I think this foundation set my standards and aspirations for a future in marketing.
Were there any particular essential qualifications or experience needed?
Back in the day when I first went out to work I don’t recall the market being as competitive as it is today. I think now certifications and experience are both an important aspect of selection for recruiters. Anything you can do to gain experience and knowledge in your chosen career path can only help raise your profile to future employers.
Are there alternative routes into the job?
With the marketing world changing so rapidly in terms of technological and digital enhancements, again experience and understanding is key. Keeping up to date with changes, understanding how the mechanics of digital marketing works will be all be supremely helpful in targeting new and existing audiences.
What are the main personal skills your job requires?
Good organisation, clear communications, analytical skills and creativity are just some of the attributes which help in marketing roles.
What does a typical day entail?
In my current role organising Best Parties Ever at S13 on The Boucher Road, Belfast, my day is rapid mix of running PR campaigns, digital campaigns, client communications, planning, meetings and creative briefings. We also have a very structured media plan for our brands across radio, magazines and newspapers, so the creative and content behind this also forms a considerable part of activity.
What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?
I think you need to be a person who thrives under a bit of pressure, a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Juggling projects and activities throws it challenges but is immensely rewarding when they come to fruition.
Why is what you do important?
Marketing is the face of the brands, it’s what people see and how they interpret the brand personality and what leads to the customer engagement. It provides opportunity to grow the business, to offer reward and incentive and to also understand the behaviour of customers of future campaigns.
What advice would you give anyone looking to follow a similar career path?
Get out there, follow your dream, set goals, achieve them, understand the latest challenges in the industry, look for solutions, think laterally and don’t be afraid to be bold and stand out.
If you weren’t doing this what would you like to do?
I’d be a paramedic!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself on your first day?
It doesn’t matter who anyone is in the organisation, be polite, respectful and friendly. It’s a very small world.
Describe your ideal day off.
I love horse riding and a day in the saddle is my happy place.
And finally, what’s the key to any successful job search?
Know what you want, know what you can achieve and be clear on what you can bring to the party.