Tuesday 12 December 2017

Marketing people: Alan Fox

Sales and marketing director, AA

Alan Fox
Alan Fox

Independent.ie Business

In business for over 100 years, AA Ireland has over 350,000 customers and nearly 500 staff. Owned by Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund, which bought it for €156.6m in 2016, the company’s sales and marketing director Alan Fox explains to John McGee how the company is expanding its horizons.

What does the AA brand stand for in 2017?

The AA brand has always stood for doing whatever it takes to meet our members’ needs. That’s exactly the approach we are bringing to our entire portfolio — from roadside rescue to home and life insurance.

We have a great heritage and are still associated with roadside rescue and motoring.

However, Irish consumers are really starting to see the AA as offering far more and we are seeing really significant growth in our travel and life-insurance products in particular.

Describe your role with the company

I lead the marketing and online functions which are relatively small teams with a huge influence on how we perform in our chosen markets.

I’ve been with the AA since 2012 and in that time the role has evolved considerably from being largely direct-marketing-focused to being far more advertising-oriented and digitally-led today. A critical part of the role is to manage the AA brand so that we continue to attract new customers while respecting our heritage and the large number of loyal customers that have been with us for many years.

It’s been great to see the brand, our marketing and online channels develop so effectively over the last few years and my focus is now on ensuring that we bring in new capabilities to maintain this positive momentum.

Has the company’s marketing clout changed since last year’s acquisition?

One of the AA’s great strengths is our willingness to invest in new technologies and we’ve been strengthening our marketing skills base and technical capabilities in the last few years especially in the digital area. For example, the recent relaunch of our mobile app has meant that a quarter of our breakdown jobs are tracked in real time by customers who are waiting for their patrol to arrive. That’s a space — the confluence of marketing and technology — that we see as growing very strongly.

As such, we are making a series of significant investments across our channels and marketing capabilities. Some of these are internal and some will be visible to our customers like significantly enhanced customer relationship management capabilities which will be in place later this year. 

What are your marketing priorities?

We have some very clear marketing priorities at the moment.

First of all, we want to see out this phase of investment in new technologies but, more importantly, set ourselves up from a skillset and resourcing perspective to ensure we get the most out of the investment.

We will also continue to improve all our customer touchpoints to deliver a great customer experience.

In addition, we want to cement the AA brand into non-motoring product categories by building stronger brand associations with AA Home Insurance, travel insurance and life insurance.

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