Ulster Grocer

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I love my job – it’s diverse and fast moving

Clare Forster, head of marketing, Mash Direct

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BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE

I graduated from the University of Ulster with a BSc Hons Marketing Degree in 2009. Whilst completing my degree, I undertook a placement year with BDO Stoy Hayward working as a marketing and management consultant. During my degree, I developed a passion for the agri-food sector and undertook a 17-week work placement with Mash Direct. As part of the Graduate Programme, I completed my Leadership and Management Level 5 Diploma and undertook several courses at Loughry College to learn about the processes of food production. After completing my work placement with Mash Direct, Martin and Tracy offered me a full-time position as sales and marketing assistant. In 2012, I took up the position of marketing executive and, in 2016, I was delighted to be promoted to Head of Marketing.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?

I am responsible for delivering and implementing the marketing, digital and communications strategy for the Mash Direct brand. I oversee all operations of the marketing department and manage a team of five full time members of staff, a part time videographer and several external agencies. I am responsible for raising awareness of the brand with consumers, internal and external stakeholders. I work very closely with the sales and senior management team to ensure plans are aligned.

 

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?

I love my job; it is diverse and fast moving. I enjoy working on a range of different project such as rolling out new marketing campaigns and collaborations, implementing new product launches, developing media and press plans and attending food photography shots. I really enjoy working with a wide range of people and interesting characters. It can be challenging at times trying to spin a lot of plates and ensure we hit deadlines and KPIs, but I thrive upon success and working under pressure.

 

BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY

To be honest no one day is the same at Mash Direct. Each morning, I check my emails, prepare my to do list, brief my team and ensure we are on target to deliver key projects and deadlines. I attend a daily management meeting to ensure plans are aligned with other departments. From mid-morning onwards I could be liaising with our designers, pr agencies, attending NPD meetings, developing ideas for new marketing campaigns. It is important to be organised and forward plan to ensure we achieve results and exposure for the brand.

 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

One of the proudest moments for me was being highly commended as Leader in Marketing at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards this year. It is fantastic to be recognised within the industry, it provides a great sense of achievement. I am very proud of my team and how we have evolved the Mash Direct brand to become a national household brand throughout the UK and Ireland. We are always trying to raise the bar and often come up with crazy and innovative marketing campaigns.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

There are so many amazing food and drink producers in Northern Ireland. Everyone is very supportive; we all have a collective vision to work together and promote the food and drink industry. It is exciting to see new products and brands come to market with new and innovative concepts.

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?

I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two amazing children, we love exploring and spending time at the beach. I love running and actively take part in races throughout Northern Ireland. I have always been athletic and active in sports from a very young age.

 

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW

2022 will be an exciting year for me personally and professionally. Mash Direct are the title sponsor of the Belfast City Marathon and I will be taking on my first marathon. I think this is an amazing opportunity for the brand to support the local community and encourage our consumers to increase vegetable consumption and lead an active lifestyle.


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