Meet… Alan Sullivan
Marketing Manager for the Retail Division of Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare
What does your position involve?
It’s my job to think of marketing strategies and marketing communications to target our customers – the retailers out there. I manage all the methodologies within the marketing mix to get the most we can out of it.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
When I get given a challenge of either getting a new product into the market or to explore new marketing opportunities and come up with strategies and tactics of how best to do it.
This involves looking at the best way to involve the various elements of the marketing mix to really get into those customers’ minds and hopefully recruit less customers into the ‘new’ product categories or anything else we’ve been trying to develop.
I’ve been in marketing for many years and it’s evolved hugely since the start with the entrance of the internet and social media. It’s constantly evolving and you’ve just got to keep on track with it.
What is one of your proudest moments in the industry?
Since we began exhibiting at Trade Days, we were really keen to put our stamp on the event and we’ve been successful in managing to have a busy stand. This is our fifth year now and I’m proud to say we’ve had another big and popular stand.
One of the current things we’re launching is, again something I’m very proud of, our new in-store catalogue. This is a catalogue we’ve put together particularly for dealers as it targets the end user. So rather than just advertising the features and benefits of our products, this catalogue also helps the dealer to sell themselves.
It considers all the benefits that they as a business bring to their customers, be it in-store demonstrations, great after-sales service, the ability to buy on the day etc. So, we’ve tried in this catalogue to sell their business in addition to selling our products.
From their point of view when they’re handing out our catalogue, whilst it’s there to represent our products in the best way it can, it also drives customers back into their stores to help them sell their products as well. When they’re giving that catalogue out knowing that a lot of the references in there are about driving the customer back to their store, it’s great for them. This is a different tactic which isn’t out there.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the industry?
Traditionally the sales channels out there when I first got into the industry involved a lot of direct sales. There was lots of that type of business out there, but they’ve slowly dwindled over the years. There’s still a few out there, but there’s certainly a lot more business online now, not just in our sector but in every sector. Our end users often have products bought for them by their children; they’re not just the advisors and influencers, but actually the purchaser of the product. And if they need to get something quickly because they know their mum needs it, then a lot of the time they’ll go online. So, these various different marketplaces have evolved over time and a lot has changed.
If you could bring one innovation to the market, what would it be?
An affordable, super-light scooter
What are your interests outside of work?
I try and play a bit of golf here and there when I can. It’s one of those things I used to spend a lot of time doing, but don’t necessarily find the time for nowadays, which is something I might get into again later. Other than that, just general days out with the kids. You spend so much time in the office, it’s nice to just get out on the weekend and enjoy that time.
If you had to do any other job in the world, what would it be?
I think it would still be in marketing, that’s what I enjoy, but for an advertising agency where you could have several different projects to run. I’ve done various tasks within Drive, but marketing’s where my heart is really.
Describe yourself in three words
Passionate, impatient, driven
What’s your favourite song?
Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2U
What was the last film you watched?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To rewind time
Favourite place in the world?
North Landing, which is in Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire. It’s a place I visit regularly and I’ve been there since I was a child, so it’s a place I always go back to.