Name: Matt Frost
Role: Sales Marketing Manager
Experience: 25 years
I STARTED at ARB 25 years ago as a sales person and worked my way up to now being the sales marketing manager. That means I am effectively responsible for all our domestic business units. I look over all the performances across the business from primarily a sales perspective; that’s how I generally start my day. It also means, like everyone else these days, answering tonnes of emails.
Over the 25 years there have been quite a few exciting projects. At the moment we’re rolling out a number of new flagship stores. In the past we’ve always had a fairly relaxed approach to store presentation, but all the new stores we are opening are part of that new flagship program and its focus on a premium store appearance and customer experience. We’ve done about a dozen of these since we launched the project last year.
My role is not all in-the-office stuff, though; I have worked on a pile of communication and marketing material over the years but really love rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in. As an example, just recently I was away with photographer Michael Ellem, filming a video on our new Summit Raw rear bars. I still really enjoy getting out in the field and having real hands-on involvement in a lot of the product launch materials that we develop, whether that is writing, helping with photo shoots, or on video shoots.
The surge in video and social media for us has been amazing. I have hired a number of 4x4 enthusiasts that are very specialised in that field (social media) and it has been very exciting watching ARB’s social media footprint develop over the years. We are one of the top automotive brands across social media now and that has been a really satisfying thing to see develop over the years. Chatting to our customers and building that community is important and the social media presence obviously presents us with some great opportunities to get some live/ interactive interaction and feedback from our customers – it’s been a really exciting thing.
Ironically, in this age of digital, another thing that has been very close to my heart has been the ARB magazine. It was one of my staff who first started it in 2004 and we’ve just done 15 years with that. Watching the magazine go from an eight-page newsletter to something that we print and that goes out to something like 60,000 people; it’s been a really exciting thing to do. I still sign off on every single magazine and I write the introduction piece for each issue, so that’s been something I really enjoy being a part of.
The growth and the development of ARB over the past 25 years has been amazing; if you look at the size of the ARB engineering team when I first started with the company there were around three people in that area. Now, we have more than 50 people, so that is really a reflection of two things: one is that our product line has increased dramatically over the years; the second is that the complexity of the product has certainly increased in line with the complexity of the vehicles.
We believe our overseas market has huge potential and if we look at the last few years we have opened a second distribution centre in North America, opened a distribution centre in Europe, and one in the Middle East. Historically we have relied on independent resellers to manage our sales in overseas markets, but we are now establishing warehouses and offices around the world so that is something that is only going to increase over time.
ARB has always had very lofty expectations for everything we do – the company is continually striving to build the very best 4x4 accessories. For me, that’s a brilliant ethos and I am looking forward to many more years here helping those big ambitions happen.