chats to Janina Geraghty – marketing and web coordinator at the Paul Wakeling Motor Group. If you
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1. What do you do?

I’m the marketing and web coordinator at the Paul Wakeling Motor Group. The Group incorporates three locations, 12 new and four used car dealerships and three service and parts centres. I report directly to the managing director and my job description includes coordinating advertising, organising events, website maintenance, social media marketing, creating newsletters, direct mail, promotional material, CRM and the list goes on and on.

2. What was your first job?

As soon as I was old enough, I got a part-time job as a ‘check-out chick’ at the local Kmart. My sister got a job at Cut-Price Deli next door and I remember her being furious as she watched me fall asleep at my register while she slaved away slicing, wrapping and cleaning for almost half my wage.

When I left school I hit the big city and got a clerical job at an insurance company. I worked in the insurance industry for most of my career between having babies.

3. What did you study?

I completed my Associateship of the Australian Insurance Institute while I was expecting my first child, did a couple of short courses at TAFE, but it has only been recently that I have become seriously interested in further education. I started a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) degree at UNE last year, studying part-time by distance education. It’s not easy getting back into study, but I’m not putting any unnecessary pressure on myself.

Although I’m enjoying formal study and see the value in it – I’d have to say I’ve learnt a lot looking over people’s shoulders, reading, asking lots of stupid questions and making mistakes.

4. Describe a typical day?

My day starts about half an hour after my alarm has gone off, then its full steam ahead. I get myself and my four school-aged kids ready, stop them from killing each other in the car and deliver them to school (roughly) on time.

After checking the backseat to make sure I haven’t forgotten anyone, I proceed to work.

Once in my office, I check my emails, news, analytics and manufacturer programs over a coffee before tackling whatever the day and inbox brings. A lot of my time is spent online maintaining our sites and accounts on social networks as well as liaising with our advertising agency. There’s always something on the go, whether it be the opening of a new showroom, launch of a new car or our Wakeling’s Women on Wheels program that keeps me occupied.

After work, I go home to dinner my husband has cooked (I don’t like cooking!). We still manage to eat dinner together at the table with no TV as it’s probably the only time we are all together. Following dinner the evenings can vary from watching TV, playing Wii with the kids, studying or hanging out in the kitchen with my husband as well as some housework and preparing for the next day. Naturally I’ll be tweeting in between and usually right up till I go to sleep thanks to my beloved iPhone.

5. What is on the agenda for the next year?

Personally, as well as my studies, I want to write more. I have been doing car reviews for, which I have enjoyed immensely and am about to start my own blog.

Professionally I am excited about managing the redevelopment of the group website as well as a few other upcoming projects. Despite the economic climate and negativity in the media, this really is an exciting time for the auto industry.

6. What brand do you love the most? Dislike the most? Why?

Working in a dealership you work with a lot of wonderful big car brands. My favourite brand is Holden. I admire that the brand has entrenched itself in the Australian way of life. Just as you can identify yourself as either a Vegemite or peanut-butter household, regardless of what brand car you own, you are either a Holden or Ford person. The loyalty to the brand here has not wavered despite the troubles of its parent company General Motors in the US and the slowing economy.

The brand I can’t stand at the moment is the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) and their nasal spray technology. If it weren’t for their tacky prime-time radio ads, I wouldn’t have my six-year-old asking me to explain premature ejaculation!

7. What do you believe has been the most significant moment in the history of marketing?

I believe the current GFC is changing marketing forever. As budgets tighten around the world, no sector is feeling it like marketing and advertising and it has been a huge wake up call to those agencies that have been banking on the co-dependence of business to traditional media. The sudden rush to social media as the cheap alternative to reach customers online has forced companies to re-evaluate strategies and the way they communicate with their audience. They have to start engaging and listening again. The GFC is a cleansing for the industry and reminder of what comes first, the customer.

8. Where can people find you?