Working Week – Grace Weston


We have asked some of the many women working in motoring to share their Working Week with us.  This week we catch up with Grace Weston, Volkswagen Aftersales Marketing Specialist for the Volkswagen Group Ireland

My alarm goes off at 6.30AM so I bounce out of bed for a shower, a quick look at emails on my phone and I’m out the door to begin my week.

My first meeting of the day is with Alan Bateson, Head of Aftersales, to show him the demo version of our Volkswagen Service App which is due to be released this month. We discuss the ‘look and feel’ of the App as well as the content and functionality and the feedback from our meeting is passed on to the App development team over in Germany.

Next on my morning schedule is dealing with our creative agencies as I am currently working on our new Volkswagen Assistance Members’ Handbook for 2013. Continuing on the morning in ‘creative’ mode, I then work on the creatives for our Service Plans.

Lunchtime already and as I am based in our Head Office beside Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, I head over there for a quick bite to eat and a read of the paper!

After lunch, I prepare for a meeting at 3PM on Volkswagen Accessories, following that meeting, there was some immediate work to be done in order to put our plans in place for both our website and brochures. Also I have some planning to do for 2013 and what needs to be done between now and the end of the year.

6.00 has approached quickly, so it’s time for me to head home from the office but it’s been a productive start to the week!

We have colleagues over from Germany, so our day starts off with a breakfast meeting to go through their agenda for their 2 day visit. 2 hours later and the meeting draws to a close, I quickly pop back to my desk to catch up on my emails and see that some retailers have been looking for me in relation to our new Winter Health Check and Fixed Price Servicing campaign. I review their marketing plans, make some suggestions and agreed plans get put in place.

Next up, I start putting information together to get our press release finalised for the Volkswagen Service App. After a hectic morning it’s now time for lunch!

The afternoon is spent working on our marketing plan for 2013 including strategy, budgets, marketing channels etc. This type of task is one of the most challenging and, when successful, the most rewarding. To see a marketing plan deliver and exceed its targets is what drives me as a marketing professional so the brain is fully focussed this afternoon.

It’s been a tough afternoon session and I head off at 5PM, dropping our German colleagues to their hotel in advance of a 7.30PM dinner get-together. Some relaxed downtime with our guests over a meal allows us all to put faces to names and will help us all with future project collaborations. I hit for home around midnight – It’s been a long day!

The body might have been tired this morning but the spirit was willing so I was up at my usual 6.30AM, showered and out the door. I checked emails first thing and dealt with all queries and requests until I had a meeting regarding accessories brochures. A proof for our Service Promise Air Freshener also arrives in and it was perfect! A number of our retailers had requested it as we had a sample version at our Dealer Conference.

Our colleagues from Wolfsburg are still with us so following a quick lunch at my desk, we hold a marketing meeting with them to discuss all the marketing activities that are happening at present. As we are part of a global brand, it is important that marketing ideas and approaches are shared and co-ordinated across the group.

As the ‘The Father of Advertising’ David Oglivy (whose mother was Irish! ) said:

“Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.”

So all our marketing plans need to bear this principle in mind!

The day has flown and it’s 6.00 already so time to head home! When I’m not a marketing professional, I’m a Ladies inter-county footballer and so even though it’s the off-season, I do a little core work just to keep the fitness levels up.

Momentum builds as you achieve things and so I jump out of bed today as the week has been progressing well. I make work for half 8 and go straight to emails. I have to review marketing plans for retailers and organise aftersales material that some retailers want to use for their upcoming events between now and Christmas. I also have to compile a list sent off an order to the factory for Volkswagen Accessories and Merchandise needed.

I also need to finalise some online ads for the Volkswagen Service App so I work with our Digital Marketing agency using the creatives already produced for print to move those along. After a few discussions, we are closer to the end creative and everyone is happy as this particular marketing project nears completion. Simon Elliott, our CEO, calls past my desk and catches a glimpse of the finalised on-line ads also, he is happy but adds some further creative ideas he thinks will improve so we will incorporate these before going live. Our office has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere which I think helps us all pull together as a team on all projects with the continued focus of being the Number 1 brand in Ireland.

Out of bed at 6.45, out the door for a run, I know it has to be done, quick look at emails when I get back, shower and out the door to work. A bulletin has to be sent out to the retailers with the launch of our new Christmas creative which will be a Christmas-themed Timing Belt Offer.

Once I have that completed, I finish off compiling my report on retailer marketing activity for the last 2 months of the year.

Just received confirmation, that our Volkswagen Service App is now live in the App Store and also in Google play. The features on the app vary from Roadside Assistance to Tips and Offers just to speak of a couple; I shall leave the rest for you check out. So please download our Volkswagen Service App now, as I am sure it will become a very useful tool. After a few discussions, we are closer to the end creative and everyone is happy as this particular marketing project nears completion.

It’s now 5.15PM and another hectic week draws to a close. It would be nice to think that Friday will be spent somewhere exciting but my GAA club calls and so I head home to Laois for the Sarsfield’s AGM.

18th December, 2012

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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