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A Day In The Life Of... Ann Daly, Head of Marketing at National Museum of Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 4 January 2017
Updated: Wednesday 21 December 2016


Welcome to 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 Ann Daly, Head of Marketing at the National Museum of Ireland.

Ann Daly

The Marketing Institute: What does a head of marketing do?

Ann Daly: As Head of Marketing, I am responsible for devising the marketing strategy, as well as the management and implementation of the marketing plans for all four sites (3 in Dublin and 1 in co. Mayo) of the National Museum of Ireland i.e.

National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, Kildare Street

National Museum of Ireland – Natural History, Merrion Street

National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks

National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Castlebar, co. Mayo.

I work with a small but fantastic team and we are responsible for communications to the general public and media – with a delivery of service to over 1 million actual visitors per annum.   Ultimately this means ensuring developing strong “brand awareness” of the institution to all target segments.


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

A.D: Prior to working in the National Museum of Ireland, I worked with Diageo Ireland (formerly, Guinness Ireland ltd.)  in a number of brand and marketing roles across the beer sector.  It was (and still is) a fantastic progressive company which was very market and customer focused.   It afforded great opportunities to those of us who wanted to progress on a marketing career path for which i am extremely grateful.


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

A.D: There are a number of them:

  • Managing expectations of the public – in this era of instant communication and the democratisation of information and it is a challenge to provide a quality service at all times.
  • Digital communications – the world has changed with the onset of digital and social media communication platforms and it can be a challenge to keep pace with this ever changing environment.
  • Resources – since the economic downturn – going back to 2008, our budgets and staffing levels have been reduced very significantly so the challenge is to constantly be creative and to deliver a quality service – despite this.
  • Ensuring that our exhibitions and public programming appeal to both national and international visitors.


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

A.D: Strategic thinking, resilience, sense of urgency, attention to detail and the ability to stand back and look at the bigger picture.   In addition, the ability to embrace social media and new ways of communicating with the various visitor segments – including media.  It is also essential to be able to work with teams from disparate disciplines especially with my colleagues from the Curatorial, Education and other Museum Departments who deliver sterling exhibitions and public programmes.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

A.D: I am sure if you ask the question of anyone working in marketing (irrespective of their level); they will tell you there is no typical day!   Marketing is fast paced and challenging.    Being responsible for the marketing of the 4 individual sites of the National Museum of Ireland is similar to marketing 4 individual brands.   Each site has its own requirements whether it’s the marketing of the actual sites, exhibitions, galleries or public engagement programme – each project has to be tailor made to the needs of the relevant visitor segment.   This involves working with internal stakeholders as mentioned above as well as external partners. 


MII: What do you love most about your role?

A.D: There is excitement and energy in working with a very diverse range of colleagues from very different disciplines – both specialist and general which - results in the delivery of high quality exhibitions and public programming.  In addition, it is very motivating to see that the delivery of work from my Team and me has had an impact resulting with an increase in visitor numbers along with the positive feedback from the public.  That means we have done a good job.


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

A.D: As someone who has always been interested in Arts, Heritage and Culture, it was always my aspiration to work in this area.   I see myself remaining in marketing and consider it a privilege to work on the promotion of culture within the National Museum of Ireland.


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

A.D: I work very closely with our tourism partners i.e. Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.   They have been of enormous support to us in the promotion of our 4 sites.   They have been very responsive to the changing environment of marketing and have guided us through those changes for which I am very grateful.   In addition, RTE, as the National Broadcaster, has been very supportive in the promotion of the National Museum through their Supporting The Arts Scheme. This has been of immense value to us in these challenging times. 


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