Who's in the team?

The customer marketing team of tobacco manufacturing company Gallaher is large, consisting of 30 people. The team is led by Laura Gray, head of customer marketing, who has worked at Gallaher for four years but has been in her current role for ten months. Prior to Gallaher she worked in a head office role in grocery retailing and has also worked in the textile industry. The team has a broad level of experience, with backgrounds in grocery retailing, sales, marketing and category roles in fmcg, while others have worked their way up the ranks at Gallaher. Together they are responsible for all Gallaher's customer marketing activity and are split into core functions led by a merchandising manager, field ops manager, customer marketing manager and insight and channel analysts.

What is the team working on?

Although the core functions within the team previously existed at Gallaher, it wasn't until January this year that they were all pulled together to create one unit. Gray says that since then the team has adopted a "back to basics" approach, which involves understanding their roles and responsibilities in terms of providing the best service to their customers. "It's still in the early stages at the moment, but so far it's working really well," she says.

What plans for the rest of this year and beyond?

Gray says that all members of the team are keen to work together to make sure that Gallaher can continue to offer a point of difference for its customers. It is also working with customers on range reviews and carrying out annual research into category opportunities, shopping habits and customer habits. It is also refreshing its customer decision hierarchy to find out how its clients operate going forward. "This is very time consuming," says Gray.

How do team members work together?

"Although we are a large team, we are close knit," says Gray. "We're an interesting mix and a well-rounded team." She adds that the work of the team requires a great deal of cross-functioning within other departments at Gallaher, meaning that the team has become a strong link between different parts of the company. Team-building exercises at the beginning of the year helped the members of the team build their trust in each other. "They are a fantastic group of people," Gray says.