Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to David Birrell

David Birrell DAVID Birrell, 60, is Mace Marketing Manager based at Derriaghy food distributor J&J Haslett Ltd. He joined the company 39 years ago as supermarket supervisor and has worked his way through a number of management positions. David, who lives in Lisburn, is married to Laureen and has two daughters.

My day starts with wake up at 6.15am. Thankfully I live less than three miles from the office and usually arrive before 7.30am. The first thing I do is turn on my computer and check incoming mail, then I start to prioritise what has to be done that day.

My job is to maximise and develop awareness amongst consumers of the excellent stock range and value for money available at Northern Ireland Mace foodstores. In doing this I follow an agreed Marketing Plan and ensure that expenditure remains within budget.

The main thrust of my work is communication � with our buying team to select promotional features, our advertising agents to agree media used. our graphic designer regarding style and our retailers to ensure full implementation at the right time in-store. In addition to these services. I oversee an in-house colour print facility, printing our consumer leaflets, posters and point of sale material.

Throughout the day with the assistance of Nikki McDowell, Mace PR Executive I maintain contact with all relevant departments and the Director to whom I report.

We are currently working on the biggest and most exciting promotion of the year. Mace Scratch and Match. This promotion runs for six weeks with a prize pool of over 200.000 prizes, including six Volkswagen cars. one to be won each week, and over �30.000 of cash prizes. The logistics of this promotion involve distribution of up to four million scratch cards and daily checks on all aspects are essential.

In addition to Mace Scratch and Match my promotional calendar will include special activity in support of January Sale. Easter. Summer, Back to School, Halloween and Christmas. These seasonal promotions present the opportunity to feature an appropriate product range.

There are 17 promotional periods in our year all supported by colourful impactful point of sale material and consumer leaflets. During our most aggressive activity six times per year consumer leaflets. featuring our award-winning, dysfunctional Macey family are distributed door to door to all residential addresses in Northern Ireland. Tactical television. radio and press advertising are used at these times to reinforce the message that Mace stores are convenient and relevant to the community they serve. As well as these main projects. a typical day will involve requests for individual bespoke support for our Mace stores who may be celebrating an anniversary launching a new service, publicising a refurbishment and/or extension.

As indicated, good communication is essential in this job and to keep our retailers informed. I edit and print our weekly Mace news bulletin and our bi-monthly magazine. Mace Shoptalk.

Finishing time is flexible. there are never enough hours in the day � however I would not wish it any different.

Ulster Star