Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
I set the foundations for my marketing career working on FMCG marketing as a brand manager with Unilever Ireland, which is like attending marketing university, where you really appreciate the strategy behind branding and customer research.
I’m passionate about Irish brands and promoting Ireland and I’ve been lucky enough to work on some of Ireland’s biggest brands over the years including Tourism Ireland, The Irish Times and The Gathering.
I’m now developing the brand strategy for Ireland’s biggest homebuilder “Glenveagh” at a time when Ireland needs smart housing solutions more than ever. Glenveagh is only celebrating its second anniversary since our IPO, however, the scale of expansion to date is incredible, thanks to the great efforts of all the talented team here.
Why did you choose a career in marketing?
During my B.Comm in UCD, I developed a real grá for marketing and I was lucky enough to study under the great Prof. Anthony Cunningham in Smurfit Business School for my masters, which only reinforced that love.
For me, marketing offers the perfect blend between business strategy, behavioural science and creativity which appealed to many of my interests. It’s also a discipline that many Irish people excel at due to their creative flair and their common sense and diplomacy.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge marketers are facing today? How would you tackle it?
I believe that the biggest challenge marketers face today is maintaining the balance between delivering excellent creativity and design on one hand and data analytics and digital understanding on the other. This challenge applies to the marketers, their teams and their agencies.
To address this issue for the individual, it is important to ensure that they continuously develop and challenge both sides of their brain when possible, or if you can’t, then hire great people to complement your abilities and fill the gaps in your team. A marketing team is not going to be at its optimum if it’s just stuffed with data analysts, or conversely, with creatives.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in marketing?
Don’t dismiss the basics for the shiny social skills. It’s great been good at Instagram stories or social advertising but also understand the fundamentals for building a great brand, running a market research project and analysing data.
What makes a great marketer?
Belief in their brand, first and foremost. Authenticity and passion always shines through. Also, diversity. Marketing is a profession that has transferable skills across industries and some of the best marketers I’ve met are the ones that have not let themselves be pigeonholed into one industry.
What is your favourite marketing campaign of all time? Why?
That’s a hard call but one of my favourite marketing campaigns is Nike’s “Just Do it” campaign. This campaign is now over 30 years old, yet is as fresh and as relevant as when it was first launched. Its genius is in its positioning, perfectly encapsulated in the line “Just Do it”, which connects with everyone, describing how you feel before you start a workout but also cleverly and subtly extending to your attitude in life. Its value is proven by its longevity and how it has spurned so many great individual advertising campaigns over the years.
Where do you look for professional inspiration?
For secondary inspiration, I use a variety of sources such as social (LinkedIn and twitter), conferences, marketing publications and books, newspapers and awards and case studies.
However, first-hand inspiration is equally valuable, so it’s great to surround yourself with inspiring people when possible, by meeting other marketing practitioners through networking and at events or in the office learning from your peers, your team and your boss.