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A Day In The Life Of... Dorothy MacCann

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 25 January 2017
Updated: 24 January 2017

Welcome to this instalment in our Day In The Life series, an initiative of the Marketing Institute in which we've asked some of our Members to share what it is like to be in their shoes. 

They've agreed to tell us about their role, key career moves, daily challenges and aspirations so that other members can benefit from these great marketers' experience.

Today, we are speaking with Dorothy MacCann, Brand Director at The Merrion Hotel.

dorothy maccannThe Marketing Institute: What does a Brand Director do? 

Dorothy MacCann: The Brand Director at the Merrion is really concerned with generating revenue and creating   demand for our services. With the rise of social media and the 'Voice of the Guest' there is no room for silos... the guest experience and the sales and marketing function are now intrinsically linked. The better the guest experience the more demand for our services.

My role supports the management team in ensuring the guest experience at the Merrion is unique and at the forefront of our minds while at the same time working with the sales and marketing team to make sure the right tactics are employed to sell and elevate the brand. 

There is really no one area of the hotel that does not have the capacity to impact negatively or positively on the Merrion brand. From the flowers in the front hall to the quality of a massage in the spa to the threadcount in the linen... my role concerns itself with all touchpoints for the guest.


MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role? 

Dorothy: I spent the first ten years  of my career in hotel operations . I trained in hotel management in the Berkeley Court (then part of the Doyle Collection) and once finished took up an intern position in the New York sales office of Ryan Hotels. I had a great mentor in the early days of my career in Michael Governey (a renowned  hotelier of the 80's and 90's) and he brought me back to work in an events role in the Berkeley Court. After further stints in the USA with both Regency Inns and the Doyle Collection in Washington DC, I returned to a sales role in the Doyle Collection.  Bernie Gallagher gave me my first  break into marketing and was great to work with, she gave me a lot of responsibility and scope as Marketing Manager for the group at a young age and I learned a lot on the job. 

When my husband's job took us to live in Kerry for a period of time  I set up my own consultancy. This gave me great flexibility when our children were young and allowed me work with a diverse portfolio of clients. Through one longstanding client (Opera Ireland-the largest arts organisation in the country at the time) I got invaluable experience in the Arts World. We collaborate a lot with artists and designers at the Merrion and understanding and appreciating how they work has been vital.  

Continual upskilling has been  important too . Completing a Masters Degree in Hospitality Management gave me a more strategic outlook and continual learning in the area of Digital Marketing has been essential.     

The Merrion has been a client for over 20 years  and I have worked with them since preopening. I finally came on board  in my present role in 2012 as the account became more demanding.

MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role? 

Dorothy: Staying ahead of our competitors.  At present we are number 1 on all KPI's within our competitive set. Maintaining this lead requires an excellent guest experience, creative marketing and an effective sales team.  

Finding the right sales people can be a challenge but we are lucky at the moment to have young, driven and passionate people across our sales, reservations and events teams. We recently appointed a Director of Sales who has just returned to Ireland having worked in the U.S for five years, and our Director of Events is a returnee from London. In the past we have always developed from within and maintaining a pipeline of talent can be challenging in the current market. 

Another big challenge at present is the management of our customer data... We are currently looking at developing a more effective CRM system that will bring us closer to our end clients in order to recognise and serve them more effectively.

MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Dorothy: A flair for the hospitality industry, attention to detail, persuasive powers, be a thinker and a doer and maintain a good sense of humour!  

MII: Describe a typical working day.

Dorothy: My working day is taken up primarily with meetings. I interact daily with our Marketing Manager, our  Director of Sales, our Revenue Manager and members of the Senior Management team.

Revenue Strategy is key and first thing in the morning I would review the Daily Revenue Report. You can see very quickly where our efforts are required. It could be Rooms, Food and Beverage, The Spa or Events... If revenue is off budget in any one area we need to be on to it.

Most of our marketing budget goes into PR rather than advertising and we retain PR companies in the UK, USA and Ireland. Liaising with them and  finding  stories within the hotel and destination that delight and inform while at the same time elevate the brand is  constant.   

Ensuring  our social media is on brand as well as reviewing our customer feedback internally and on review sites is  critical to stay focused on clients likes and dislikes.
Over 20% of our business comes direct through our website so web content/design as well as analytics is key.  

As an independent hotel a lot of my time has to go into reading and research to ensure we keep ahead of any new industry trends. 

At the moment , I am working on a daily basis with the General Manager and the design team on the concept and delivery of our new restaurant and spa. I am married to the GM so meetings tend to run late into the evening. It’s a 24 hour business... your day never really ends!    

MII: What do you love most about your role? 

Dorothy: I  love the international aspect of the hospitality industry,  the fact that we are  part of  a network of over 450 top hotels in the world through our association with Leading Hotels of the World (LHW).

On the home front I love the fact that we are part of Team Ireland when it comes to promoting the hotel and its destination and I love that I get to work with a diverse group of people such as great chefs, art historians, designers and winemakers when we collaborate to create  stories and events. 

I Love working with people who are at the top of their game. The senior management team at the Merrion are all passionate and talented individuals who get the big picture and understand the (often intangible) benefits of  having a respected brand.

MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next? 

Dorothy: At the moment I am not planning much past the next 18 months when we will open and launch the new restaurant and spa.

In the early days of my career I used to be very focused on a five year plan. Experience has taught me,  if you do your present job well and are open to change, opportunities will present themselves.    

MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role? 

Dorothy: In the world of business I am inspired by people who are in business for the long term and appreciate the importance of relationships, people who are not driven by short term profit, who build organisations of real value on both the economic and cultural front. I have to say the owners of the Merrion are in this category. 

In the not for profit sector I had the pleasure of working with Minister Katherine Zappone the founder of An Cosan over many years and I am a great admirer of her and her partner Dr Ann Louise Gilligan ...they walk the talk and are great visionaries.



Tags:  Dorothy MacCann 

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Shaping Ireland's Future Talent landscape

Posted By PwC, 24 January 2017

Shaping Ireland's Future Talent landscape

An organisation's ability to align its workforce with its business and growth goals is critical to its future success. Businesses need to ensure they have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place to be able to realise their ambitions.

At the same time, business leaders are becoming aware of a range of issues, including the potential to automate certain roles and the need to create new positions to manage emerging technologies. Whatever technological innovations lie ahead, people will make the difference between organisation’s eventual success and failure.

PwC’s 2017 HR Directors (HRD) Pulse Survey highlights a number of fundamental challenges as well as opportunities which HR functions are facing.

These include:

  • The lack of availability of key talent
  • Diverse workforce
  • Performance management
  • Improving reward strategies
  • Gaining insights from analytics
  • Benchmarking for success
  • Deploying your people


Click here to download report

This article was originally published on


At PwC Ireland, helping you achieve your goals is at the heart of what we do. By listening to you and understanding your vision, we can help you overcome the challenges you face. Whether you are a large global organisation, a government body or a family owned private business, we have the experience and expertise to help you. As the largest professional services firm in Ireland, we offer a broad range of services across audit, tax and advisory and by tapping into our global network, we can connect you with the right people at the right time. So whether you are looking to keep track of the numbers, make tax simple or need help adapting to changing operating environments, we have the knowledge and capabilities to help you.

Tags:  hr  talent 

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Marketing Sentiment Survey 2017

Posted By MediaCom, 24 January 2017

The Marketing Sentiment Survey 2017 by MediaCom and The Irish Times is a new survey gauging the views of marketing decision-makers. The research findings, which you can download below, were presented at a special breakfast hosted by The Irish Times on January 19th.

mediacom breakfastIrish Times managing director Liam Kavanagh, Ervia group head of brands and marketing Orlaith Blaney, AIB group propositions and brands director Brian Keating, Coca-Cola marketing director Britain and Ireland Aedamar Howlett and MediaCom chief executive Peter McPartlin at the launch of the Irish Times and MediaCom’s “Marketing Decision Makers: a measure of sentiment for 2017” survey findings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

"Marketing investment is an essential ingredient for any economy, any sector and any business with the ambition to grow. At the beginning of every new year, there tends to be a myriad of forecasts by agencies on how they see investment in various media channels performing in the months ahead. But investment in media is only one part of the marketing communications mix and the definition of what constitutes ‘media’ anyway has changed utterly.

For this reason, MediaCom Ireland came together with the country’s leading news publisher, The Irish Times, to gauge the views of the people who influence and shape marketing decisions. These in turn ultimately determine the fortunes of media companies, agencies and the broader marketing communications community.

The study is designed therefore to be a timely measure of the pulse of business decision- makers (not just marketing people), on their intentions, expectations and areas of focus for marketing in the year ahead."

Peter McPartlin
CEO, MediaCom Ireland

Click here to download report


MediaCom Ireland is one of the country’s largest and fastest growing media and communications agencies. We work with some of the most famous brands and organisations in Ireland including Sky, Coca-Cola, Mars, Ryanair, St. Vincent de Paul and Allianz. Our focus is on media and communications strategy and solutions, backed up by highly competitive buying leverage and measurement of performance.

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Winning The War For Talent In 2017

Posted By Sandra Lawler, Alternatives, 17 January 2017

alternatives war talent

Sandra Lawler - Founder Director of Alternatives the marketing, digital and customer talent house, takes a brief look back at key trends in 2016 and looks to the year ahead, to see how best to win in the war for talent.

2016 - A year of growth ending in uncertainty  

Last year was generally a good year for businesses and for those seeking new employment opportunities. The business landscape improved, employment rose, salaries were up and marketing budgets increased77% felt their personal financial situation was good and 71% felt secure in their employment. (Source: The Consumer Mood Monitor and Alternatives/MII 2016 Salary & Sentiment Survey). The demand for good marketing, digital and customer focused talent continued to increase, with an openness to both full-time and flexible talent.

But who would have anticipated the Brexit decision or the election of Trump just a few months later? We, like many businesses, experienced the direct impact of Brexit, with a number of UK led strategic projects and talent plans cancelled or put on hold.

We also saw confidence in trading conditions for the year ahead decrease versus the previous year from 54% vs 69% (Source: Alternatives/MII 2016 Salary & Sentiment Survey) and that was pre Trump’s election. So the year ended in what can best be described as “fragile optimism”.


Transformational nature of the digital economy

The biggest macro trend has been the continued growth of the digital economy and the transformational nature of this for business. In particular businesses are feeling the increased and direct influence of the customer on their businesses and brands. No longer are they in control-the customer is. It’s forcing- or encouraging- them to be truly customer led. As a result we have seen demand increase for those who can lead or help execute along this customer focused, transformation journey. Alternatives Elect, our global executive search arm, found our clients keen on attracting back Irish diaspora with skills in this area in particular.

Demand in 2016 was high in general for those with data and insight expertise and for experienced digital strategists, communications and UX/UI specialists -both for contractors and full-time staff.

As service business such as banks and telcos developed increasingly personalised, segment led offerings we were briefed on a higher number of product manager and proposition development roles. And demand remained high, as always for Alternatives, in the brand, communications and marketing management space, particularly at mid to senior level.

Growth across all sectors

In terms of sectors, all sectors showed an uplift vs. 2015. Retail was particularly buoyant and especially pre Brexit. Financial services continued to invest significantly in customer centric talent and agencies and professional services increased their teams once again. FMCG continued to come under retail pressure and teams focused on Irish market activation and innovation.  The FDI tech sector continued its upward trajectory and continued to attract the lion’s share of top mobile, millennial talent, attracted by global brands, high speed pace of work and attractive offices.

So what's in store for 2017?

The double whammy of Brexit and Trump has resulted in uncertainty for the year ahead. But despite the uncertainty, some things remain constant. 

Continued battle for top talent

With unemployment decreasing from 8.9% last January to 7.3% today and continuing to decline, there will be a continued battle for top talent. The results of Alternatives marketing survey indicates that the following skill sets will be most in demand:  

  • Digital strategy, digital communications and e-commerce
  • Customer experience –From strategy to execution-for those with strong stakeholder influencing skills 
  • Insights and data analytics-and indeed those who can take both to the broader organisation to influence strategy and propositions  
  • Product and proposition development
  • Innovation –in product, services and indeed new business models 
  • Strategic planning
  • Good brand and marketing management at mid-to senior level will continue to be in demand, as will those with languages and experience in marketing and selling to international markets.   

Continued growth of the gig economy and flexible ways of working, driven by candidates, not clients 

Because of the shortage of skills, those with in-demand skills will be able to pick and choose their opportunities and increasingly the way they choose to work. The market has developed a lot since Alternatives introduced interim marketing into Ireland in 2000 and today the rise of the gig economy is unstoppable.  It’s being driven by digital natives who can work remotely but also by a generation of millennials who are choosing to work on a project by project basis, leaving time to allow for other interests.

 However it’s also being driven by talented mid to senior level talent, who are seeking more flexibility. In our 2016 Alternatives survey, of the factors most likely to motivate both females and males, the third most important one is flexible hours and /or the ability the work remotely.  We have seen our interim (3 month plus contracts) and shorter term contractor business almost double this year and expect that to continue into 2017. Indeed uncertainty in the economy may result in businesses choosing a more flexible route to talent.

Development of a more people centric business culture, to attract the best 

One clear emerging trend, driven by digital and by the demands of millennials in particular, is that of a more people oriented, more human workplace, rather than the traditional command and control model. Better office surroundings, more focus on outputs than inputs, less divide between work and non-work time, and ultimately the nurturing of a more grown up and trusting relationship.  Those with the strongest people cultures will be those who will win in the war for top talent-both attracting and retaining it. It’s useful to bear this in mind when more than half of all our survey respondents said they planned to move company by 2018 to seek new opportunities.

Will 2017 be the year of diversity?

As an antidote to the increasingly nationalist discourse happening in the US and Europe, we would love 2017 to be the year where gender balance and diversity -both drivers of business results and successful innovation- are welcomed and accommodated. On the upside, there is more gender balance in marketing than ever before, with females occupying 47% of all director level roles (Alternatives/MII Marketing & Digital Survey). However the 17% gap in salary at this level, for like-for-like roles, needs to be addressed.

We would also like 2017 to be the year of diversity- of culture, background and age. Yes great talent continues to exist over the age of 50! And it comes in many forms, from many sources. So we need to embrace diversity as part of our work human, people centric ethos, to win the global war for talent. 

To talk to us about the outlook for 2017 or to access the best customer centric talent, please give us a call. You can contact us at or call us on +3531 6618889.

This article was originally published on


Alternatives has pioneered flexible marketing talent solutions since our inception in 2000. Looking at business models from an alternative perspective has always been part of our ethos- hence our name. Today as leaders in the Irish market, we have built a successful specialist marketing, digital and customer centric talent solutions business.

And our track record speaks for itself. We work with Ireland Inc’s leading companies and have been recognised by a number of awards, including being selected as finalists for EY Entrepreneur of the Year.



Tags:  2017  talent  trends 

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A Day In The Life Of... Agnes Healy

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 17 January 2017

Welcome to the third issue of our Day In The Life series, a new initiative from the Marketing Institute in which we've asked some of our Members to share what it is like to be in their shoes. 

They've accepted to tell us about their role, key career moves, daily challenges and aspirations so that our readers can benefit from these great marketers' experience.

Today, we are talking to Agnes Healy, Marketing Manager at DoneDeal.

Agnes Healy DoneDeal

The Marketing Institute: What does a Marketing Manager do?

Agnes Healy: In my view the role of a Marketing Manager is to lead the marketing department of a company to create excellent marketing plans and campaigns to achieve the organisational goals and drive success and growth for the business. Everything we do should improve the public’s perception of our organisation.   


MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

A.H: When it comes to being a Marketing Manager I believe that experience is key. Before joining DoneDeal I spent six years in marketing which gave me a very solid grounding. I also completed a Masters in Business Studies specialising in Marketing from Waterford Institute of Technology, which has benefitted me immensely and helped me navigate the tricky career path from entry level to senior level.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

A.H: One of the biggest challenges I find is measuring offline campaigns. When it comes to tracking digital campaigns it is very straightforward but offline campaigns, such as radio and TV on the other hand are extremely difficult! With a site like DoneDeal and the large volume of traffic it receives daily, many factors attribute to changes in traffic. General things such as good weather, big sporting events, seasonal holidays and even time of day can influence the volume of traffic to the website, which are out of our control and can be hard to monitor.  


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

A.H: With the huge array of sections and verticals on DoneDeal, being able to prioritise and make decisions quickly is a must. In my role at DoneDeal, it is vital to know what to focus on and what needs urgent attention. Collaboration and team leadership are also key skills needed, as my day-to-day function involves leading a marketing team of three people, working with other departments across DoneDeal. I also manage agencies to develop and execute effective marketing plans to drive growth for the business.

MII: Describe a typical working day.

A.H: In my experience there is no such thing as a typical day in a marketing role. Each day is different and full of diversity!  That is what I love most about my job.  My main role each day is to lead the marketing team to develop and execute new campaigns to help DoneDeal maintain its position as the leading online classified adverts website in Ireland and keep us at the top of mind for customers. I also work with internal and external resources to help to build the DoneDeal brand and continuing to grow traffic and ad volume to the site. Of course there are a number of key tasks that need to be completed each day like traffic statistic reports, reports on campaigns and always liaising with colleagues to make sure there are no issues that will affect DoneDeal’s reputation. Budget management and reporting are two very important tasks that must be concentrated on daily! I also spend a vast majority of my time working with external suppliers such as media planning, PR, and creative agencies. DoneDeal is based in Wexford so the role involves regular trips to Dublin.

As Marketing Manager for DoneDeal, I get volumes covered in a day, and most importantly, I work with a team of great people who I learn from every day.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

A.H: One thing that I really love about working in DoneDeal is the charity month initiative. In February 2010, DoneDeal launched a bi-monthly charity initiative as a way of giving something back to charities and social causes in the wider community. Every second month, three charities are chosen by three different members of the DoneDeal team and for the duration of that month, 10% of the cost of placing an advert with DoneDeal goes directly to these designated charities. Since the launch of this initiative, DoneDeal has donated over €1,200,000 to numerous charities in Ireland. It’s a fantastic charity initiative and all the staff at DoneDeal are extremely proud of the money we help to raise for worthy charities across Ireland. It is great to be able to help these charities fund important projects and purchase much needed equipment.

Another amazing benefit of working in DoneDeal is the company culture, which can be summed up as ‘small and friendly’. I work with a great team of people, which is most important in any job!


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

A.H: At the moment I am very happy in my current role but in a dynamic organisation like DoneDeal and Distilled SCH who knows what the future holds!


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

A.H: I’m incredibly lucky in that I really don’t have to look far for professional inspiration; all I have to do is look around the office. We have some of the best people in Ireland working in every part of our business in Wexford. There’s an atmosphere and sense of teamwork in the office that I’m proud to say is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever worked.

If I did have to pick someone outside of that, recently at an event I did see Pat Divilly present and I was very impressed! I feel he has a great drive and such an amazing story behind his career path!

Tags:  Agnes Healy  Day in the Life  DoneDeal  Marketing Manager 

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