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6 Business Competencies Marketers Should Develop (Part 3)

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 October 2019
Updated: Tuesday 1 October 2019

business competencies for marketers

As marketing professionals, it is critical that we understand our organisation - internally, its purpose, priorities and strategic direction, externally, the commercial context and trends that influence the internal factors.

Practical business knowledge, planning, project management, change management and customer focus are some of the competencies addressed in this section. These business competencies will serve you throughout your career, regardless of role or level. 

This week, we're looking at six more business competencies that marketers should develop to grow in their career.

Read part 1 here.

Read part 2 here.

These are based on the Marketer Pathways framework, which was developed by the Marketing Institute following consultation with over 50 senior marketing practitioners from across a range of sectors.


11. Planning and Priority Setting 

An ability to plan successfully and to set clear priorities for the organisation. Promotes the benefit of effective planning in order to ensure that the organisation makes the most effective use of its resources, to achieve sustainable business success. Ensures
that the organisation maintains appropriate focus on key priorities. Has the ability to plan, change direction and adjust business priorities, to respond to significant changes in business and market conditions.

Assess your level


12. Project Management

The ability to successfully manage and deliver sizeable projects within own area of responsibility through taking a structured and planned approach. Seeks to identify key milestones and resource requirements to deliver on time and within budget. The capacity to harness the efforts of others, across the business, to ensure key deadlines are achieved and that project objectives as delivered on time and within budget. Over time develops the capacity to effectively manage a range of diverse and complex projects, across the organisation.

Assess your level


13. Results and Achievement Focus

Focuses on the achievement of results, using a cycle of planning, action, measurement and review; to ensure that business goals are achieved. Shows drive, resilience and flexibility in seeking to achieve stretch goals. Is accountable for their own personal performance and effectively performance manages others within the team. Will focus not only the result being achieved, but also the “means” by which the goal was delivered. Will expect the team and themselves to operate ethically and with integrity in delivering business success. 

Assess your level


14. Risk Management

Has the capacity to effectively assess and manage risk within the organisation. Takes account of the risk environment and regulatory environment within which the business operates. Puts in place clear plans and business processes in order to accurately access risk and ensures clear actions are taken to mitigate such risk. Ensures that effective risk assessment becomes an integral part of planning and decision making across the organisation. Considers the financial, regulatory and reputational impact of the failure to effectively manage risk.

Assess your level


15. Strategic Perspective and Thinking

Has a clear understanding of the organisation’s vision, strategy and the key strategic drivers of growth. Can use these insights to realise organisation objectives and to achieve business results. Takes a broad view of the organisation and its business and has a deep understanding of its internal and external operating environments. Brings clear strategic thinking to such issues as; industry trends, the competitive environment, market and customer opportunities, emerging technology and effective stakeholder management. Can link the organisation strategy to day to day outputs and key operational deliverables.

Assess your level


16. Integrated Thinking

A capacity to draw together information from both qualitative sources, such as behavioural, attitudinal, psychological, values, culture and the arts; and to merge with quantitative sources, such as big data, analytics and other numerical information. Uses this integrated approach to: enable Marketing and the Organisation to better diagnose the root cause of business challenges; to identify opportunities and to inform thought
leadership, breakthrough thinking and to consider future disruption within the sector; Ensure the best use of all available information sources, as a means of driving the development of more robust customer insights; as a basis to guide a highly effective strategy setting process.

Assess your level


Learn more about the Marketer Pathways framework.

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Marketing Matters... with Mark Byrne, Culture & Strategy Director at MCCP

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 October 2019
Updated: Monday 7 October 2019

Mark Byrne MCCP

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.

A graduate of COMAD in 1995, I am the Culture & Strategy Director at MCCP. We are an independent strategy agency providing a range of proprietary strategy services including: brand and communications strategy, primary research and analysis, trend watching, innovation programme development (front-end & idea generation) and purpose driven culture transformation.

In my role as Culture Director, we partner organisations who want to create a unified purpose and aligned mission for everyone, which enables sustainable growth. Over the past decade organisations have placed a big emphasis on driving operational effectiveness. People and culture are central to this process. 

Culture goes much deeper than performance however, it is the oil in the strategy engine. Culture or ‘the way we do things around here’ can help to either deliver or inhibit strategy.

Today, culture has become a modern-day business imperative that leads to a 20-30% differential in performance, according to the HBR. Based on world class research from Harvard and IESE school of business, and with international partners, we have a powerful set of tools and culture change methodologies called Management by Missions, with shared mission at the centre.

In my civilian life, I am married to Nuala, with three wonderful children who teach me something new every day.


Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Like most students doing the Leaving Cert, I’m not sure I had a clear picture of what a career in marketing could look like. But I did have an interest in communications and a curiosity about how people made decisions. Marketing also offered me a wide diversity of roles. Looking back, I have spent almost all of my career on the agency side which has meant a huge variety of projects, clients, challenges and successes, and I’m grateful for all of this.


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge marketers are facing today? How would you tackle it?

Almost all organisations and businesses have a service component to their offer. While the brand and marketing communications set expectations, there is often a ‘say-do’ gap at the point of service delivery. Frontline staff are either unaware of or unengaged with the brand promise being made. Brand owners spend time and care crafting the right message, without acculturating the brand into front line staff behaviours. We have found that from the shop floor up, staff needed to “buy into” the brand purpose to align their day-to-day actions with what is being promised to customers.

Make no mistake, embedding the brand into the culture of your organisation is not a simple, easy fix. It requires time and commitment from everyone in the organisation, from the CEO down. From working with a wide range of clients, some key points we have learned include 

  • Build the brand from the inside out. From proposition development to communications launch and roll out, staff who will deliver the brand experience should have a role in co-creating the brand. If staff cannot support the promise being made in communications, the brand is destined to failure
  • In addition to a sense of brand ownership, staff need to be able to link on-brand attitudes with rewards and recognition, it’s not just “what you do”, but “how you do it” that counts
  • Staff need clear, consistent and regular communication about what is expected of them and their role in delivering a branded experience for customers
  • Leadership in the organisation need to “walk the talk” and role model actions and behaviours. If leadership can’t do this, why should we expect modestly paid front-line staff to follow?


What advice would you give to someone starting a career in marketing?

Get experience in a variety of fields; sales, communications, PR, digital, research, strategy and so on. Learn the fundamental and practical principles of each, they will stand to you later.

Find a mentor outside your employer who will help develop your thinking and read widely. Find a sponsor inside your employer, it isn’t always your line manager, and heed their advice and guidance.


What makes a great marketer?

The focus to cut through the noise of data and identify the insight that is actionable. The intelligence to make the business case internally and get the whole organisation on side. The self-awareness to understand that you need a great team of colleagues and support agencies around you and finally the courage to act on that initial, focused insight.


What is your favourite marketing campaign of all time? Why?

Not very original, I know, but Guinness Swimmer from the early 2000’s has always stuck with me.


It would have been a hard act to follow the perennial best ad of all time, ‘Surfer’, however this build on the core idea of ‘Good Things Come to Those Who Wait’, has a wry, human, sense of humour and personality.


Where do you look for professional inspiration?

I read as widely as time will allow; fiction, biography, politics and business all have something we can learn from, even if it is how not to do things! 
My colleagues all come to MCCP with different skills, standpoints and mindsets. We work in a very collaborative manner and I am always pleasantly surprised by what diversity of perspective, carefully curated and rigorously interrogated, can produce.


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How to Convert that Sale using Customer Personas

Posted By Gemma Costello, Wednesday 2 October 2019
Updated: Tuesday 1 October 2019

convert sales with personas

How do you define a good marketing strategy? And what makes a marketing strategy the kind that delivers results? The starting point for any marketing strategy is knowing your customer. According to Philip Kotler, the man commonly known as ‘the Father of Modern Marketing,’  

"The aim of selling is to satisfy a customer need;
the aim of marketing is to figure out this need."

Understanding the needs and wants of your customers is a crucial part of marketing. Developing customer personas that illustrate the traits, characteristics and common buying behaviour of your typical customers is equally crucial. Only then will you be able to tailor your marketing strategy so that you will be able to fulfil those needs and wants with your brand promise. 


Develop your Customer Persona

Take the hotel industry, for example, a hotel which operates as a wedding venue could draw up a customer persona of a bride to be as follows:

Name: Sorcha Walsh

Age: 30

Profession: Physiotherapist 

Income: €45K per annum

Lives: Stillorgan, Co. Dublin

Likes: partying with her friends, outdoor BBQ’s, getting her hair and make up done, having massages, spending quality time with her Mother and two sisters at the Spa, relaxing with her fiancée over dinner and a glass of wine in the evenings, going for walks in the countryside, getting away from the city for weekends, playing Ladies GAA, going to concerts.

Dislikes: being stuck in traffic, queuing for groceries, noisy neighbours, hospital canteen food, dislikes slow download speeds on mobile websites.

Online behaviour: owns an iPhone, iPad and Windows laptop. Uses her iPhone to book tickets on the Ticketmaster app. Heavy Facebook/Instagram user.

Ideal wedding: Civil Ceremony and reception held in a castle, 170 guests, Wedding venue must have a spa for pre and post wedding pampering and relaxation treatments and extensive outdoor gardens for the guests to enjoy. A BBQ will be held at the same venue on the second day of the wedding for the guests. The wedding venue should be a self-contained destination of at least 4-star rating.


Steps to Conversion

Based on the above Customer Persona, how would you tailor your marketing strategy to convince Sorcha Walsh to book her wedding with you? According to the typical Irish couple spend almost €13K on their wedding venue, and Sorcha seems like the kind of bride to be to spend upwards of that figure on her own special day - so how would you reel her in?

Daniel Knowlton writing in states that the first step in the customer journey is ‘awareness’, followed by ‘consideration’ and then if the offer is compelling enough, this step is followed by ‘purchase.’


Targeted Facebook Advertising?

So, to begin with, let’s home in on the fact that Sorcha is a ‘heavy Facebook/Instagram user,’ this is where she is most likely to be found online. She is also keen on spending time with her Mother and two sisters at the Spa. Why not target her demographic with Facebook advertising suggesting your venue as a wedding venue with a video advert that showcases all of the features that you offer such as a spa, extensive grounds, 4 star venue and catering in a compelling, cinematic video that tells the story of the perfect wedding experience?


Facebook Video Advert Case Study - Wedding Park

Or why not take inspiration from Japanese website Wedding Park which promotes a database of wedding venues in Japan. Their Creative Agency designed video ads for Facebook in vertical formats designed to fill the aspect ratios of mobile screens. They did this because they knew that most of their target audience would be viewing their Facebook feeds on mobile. How did they target their prospective customers? They cleverly ‘told the story’ of a bride to be in their video ad ‘demonstrating the joys of wedding planning placing special emphasis on the venue decorations and other aspects of the event setup.’ 


Results of the Campaign – increase in click throughs and conversion

Based on the click throughs from the first advert, they created a custom audience and ran a retargeting campaign to target these ‘warm leads,’ with a second video ad designed for conversion. According to Facebook, ‘The 2-phase campaign achieved higher click-through rate and conversion rate than would have been possible with a standalone conversion campaign,’ for Wedding Park.


What story will you tell?

Storytelling appears to be the hook that led to the high conversion rate for Wedding Park’s Facebook video advert, so why not make it personal and tell the story of  ‘the proposal’, the wedding planning, the choice of venue (yours) culminating in the excitement of the perfect wedding at your venue in your own video advert? The key to a successful Facebook video advertising campaign is to tell the story of the perfect wedding in your video advert. Not only that but you should also continue that message on your website and social media channels so that your brand messaging is perfectly aligned across all online channels. Equally as with any social media campaign, your customer service staff should be fully briefed on the campaign so that they can handle any enquiries in such a way that reflects the authenticity of the perfect wedding venue story you are trying to tell.


How to influence the bride to be’s final decision

Sorcha may see the advert and put your venue on her shortlist to research further.  She may visit your venue for a meeting with your Wedding Co-ordinator with her Fiancée to discuss their requirements for their wedding. During the meeting, your Wedding Co-ordinator might ask her if she’d like to sign up to receive special offers from your hotel on your website via email. While she is making up her mind about her final choice for her wedding, she may see an email from your hotel with a special offer for your Spa and decide to visit your Spa with her Mother and two sisters to get a feel for your venue before she makes her final decision. This Spa visit is a crucial opportunity for your venue to impress her with your service, quality of your treatments and overall ambience of your venue. Every touchpoint with your staff is - to coin Jan Carlzon’s phrase (former CEO of Scandavian Airlines)  ‘a moment of truth.’ 


Why a CRM is so important

So how do your staff recognise that Sorcha is a Bride to be who could potentially bring wedding business to your venue when she arrives at your Spa with her Mother and two sisters? This is where your CRM or Customer Relationship Management System kicks into touch. One of the problems many businesses face who do not currently own a CRM, is that they don’t have a single view of their customer capturing all of the touchpoints your staff has with that customer online and offline. So many businesses today suffer from the problem of having data on the same customer exist in multiple silos across the organisation. The right hand literally doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. 

If your venue, however, operates a CRM to manage your relationships with your customers, your Wedding Co-ordinator will have updated Sorcha Walsh’s account on the CRM after her meeting with her and recorded her as a warm Sales Lead. Then when Sorcha’s booking comes through to the Spa Manager, the Spa Manager will see that Sorcha is considering booking the venue for her wedding and that pre and post wedding treatments at the Spa are intended to be part of the package.


Delivering a Superior Spa Experience – to close the deal

The Spa Manager can then ensure that her best therapists are available for Sorcha’s and her Mother and sisters’ treatments when they arrive and perhaps offer them a complimentary glass of Prosecco to make them feel especially welcome. Equally offering a tasteful bowl of chocolate dipped strawberries to Sorcha and her Mother and sisters would go a long way towards making them feel extra special - and crucially make Sorcha more inclined to consider your venue as the ultimate venue for her wedding.

Sorcha Walsh may exist in your imagination as a Marketer in the form of a customer persona, but if you develop her persona accurately enough she may well represent thousands of potential brides to be across the country who could be interested in booking your venue for their special day. Understanding what is important to these brides to be and their future husbands when it comes to planning their big day is the secret to effective targeting – when you know what their needs and wants are and their typical traits and behaviour, you will know how and where to target them. That’s when you’ll close the deal.


Gemma Costello

About the author

Gemma Costello is a marketing specialist currently working in the tourism industry and has published widely, including internationally, on the subjects of sales and marketing, business development and digital marketing/social media.

Twitter: @GemmaCostello4


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Ireland’s Best Sponsorship Of The Last Decade To Be Unveiled At The “Who Won Sponsorship Series 2019” Event

Posted By The Marketing Institute and Onside, Thursday 26 September 2019

sponsorship series
Left to Right: Marie Thérèse Campbell, The Marketing Institute of Ireland, Media & Events Manager; John Trainor, CEO and Founder of ONSIDE; Gerry Nixon, Vodafone Head of Sponsorship & Business Brand; Padraig Power, IRFU Commercial & Marketing Director.

24 September 2019: Following another record-breaking year for sponsorship investment, estimated to reach €226 million in 2019, ONSIDE and the Marketing Institute of Ireland are once again joining forces to host the “Who Won Sponsorship Series 2019” on Wednesday, 20th November at the Aviva Stadium.

The ONSIDE and Marketing Institute of Ireland event combines a review of events that attracted significant sponsorship in 2019. The event will include panel discussions from industry experts, Irish based rightsholders and marketing professionals as well as the findings of a research-based assessment of Ireland’s top performing sport and non-sport sponsorships in 2019.

With new ONSIDE research finding that more than half of Ireland’s adult population plan on tuning in to watch the Irish team compete in Japan, the Rugby World Cup, one of 2019’s marquee global sports events, will form one aspect of the content for the day. IRFU Commercial & Marketing Director, Padraig Power and Vodafone’s Head of Sponsorship & Business Brand, Gerry Nixon will join a panel to discuss commercial and sponsorship activity around the tournament.

An all-star panel of leading Talent in Ireland including Irish Sevens International and Love Island winner, Greg O’Shea will discuss the prominent role that athlete and personality ambassadors play in the Irish sponsorship landscape.  Former Ireland and Munster legend, Paul O’Connell will also join Aldi Marketing Director Rita Kirwan in sharing the success of the retailers’ award winning sponsorship programme.  LGFA CEO Helen O’Rourke, will share her perspectives on the huge growth of Women’s sport in Ireland in recent times, while John Crumlish, CEO of the Galway International Arts Festival is set to provide a perspective on the power of arts and festivals in making a difference through sponsorship.

This year’s event will also take the end of decade opportunity to celebrate the best in class sponsorship initiatives of the last 10 years, a period that ONSIDE estimates saw investment in sponsorship increase by 70%. Key influencers shaping how this growth has developed including Rory Sheridan, Head of Partnerships across Europe at Diageo, leading global brand marketing practitioner Damien Devaney, and Peter McKenna, GAA Stadium & Commercial Director will discuss the evolution of the sponsorship industry over the last decade.

ONSIDE and the Marketing Institute of Ireland will be announcing further speakers at the event in the coming weeks. 

Speaking at the launch of the event, John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE said: “Given sponsorship’s ability to drive deepening loyalty it is no surprise that it continues to be one of the fastest growing tools in the marketing mix. The level of investment in sponsorship has grown significantly over the last 10 years. We are looking forward to bringing together many of the industry leaders to discuss the evolution as well as showcase Ireland’s most effective sponsorships not just for 2019 but also over the last 10 years.”

The “Who Won Sponsorship Series 2019” event takes place on Wednesday, November 20th in the Aviva Stadium. Tickets are priced at €75 for individual and corporate members of the Marketing  Institute of Ireland or €100 for non-members and can be purchased here



ONSIDE is a leading specialist in marketing and sponsorship consulting and research services - With a proven track record and strong industry experience in a cross section of sectors, ONSIDE is currently feeding into the marketing and sponsorship decision making of circa €50m+ of Irish spend – working on many of Ireland’s premier sponsorships – on sporting, music, cause-related, broadcast and other platforms.

About Marketing Institute of Ireland

The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland’s marketing people. It exists “to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers”. It does this by sharing best practice, insights and expert content, building the community of marketers, and aiding marketers in career progression. The three themes of content, community and career underpin all Institute activities. The Marketing Institute also owns and operates the All Ireland Marketing Awards, the CMO Summit, and DMX Dublin, Ireland’s largest marketing conference

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5 Business Competencies Marketers Should Develop (Part 2)

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 18 September 2019

business competencies for marketers

As marketing professionals, it is critical that we understand our organisation - internally, its purpose, priorities and strategic direction, externally, the commercial context and trends that influence the internal factors.

Practical business knowledge, planning, project management, change management and customer focus are some of the competencies addressed in this section. These business competencies will serve you throughout your career, regardless of role or level. 

This week, we're looking at five more business competencies that marketers should develop to grow in their career. Read part 1 here.

These are based on the Marketer Pathways framework, which was developed by the Marketing Institute following consultation with over 50 senior marketing practitioners from across a range of sectors.


6. Decision Making and Judgment 

Makes appropriate and informed decisions about own area of responsibility. Contributes to effective analysis and decision making within marketing and across the organisation. Develops the ability to make well informed decisions, with available information taking account of the regulatory, ethical and reputational consequences of
the chosen course of action.. Effectively problem solves, by correctly identifying and diagnosing the underlying issues, in complex situations.

Assess your level


7. Governance and Compliance

Maintains the highest ethical standards to prevent the risk of legal or regulatory sanctions, financial loss, loss of reputation, or loss of brand value. Will manage governance and reputation through effective monitoring of relevant legislation and regulation to ensure ongoing compliance. Seeks to protect the overall reputation of the organisation by ensuring that organisation strategy, company culture, people, business processes and brand values are closely aligned.

Assess your level


8. Innovation

Creates and develops new thinking, ideas, solutions, methods, business processes and market or customer opportunities, to transform or improve overall organisation performance. The capacity to turn the innovation process into a key growth driver within the business. Challenges the status quo and introduces more dynamic thinking and disruptive technologies.

Assess your level


9. Making a Business Impact

Has the capacity to set clear priorities and to undertake major initiatives which creates momentum and progress across the organisation and which delivers significant business impact. Generates pace and energy within the organisation to achieve ambitious commercial goals.

Assess your level


10. Organisational Awareness

Develops a clear understanding of organisation culture and how key stakeholders interact and how the power relationships within and outside the organisation operate. An ability to understand the formal rules and structures, including the ability to identify who the key decision makers are, as well as the individuals who directly influence
them. Will be an effective influencer and will have a clear capacity to navigate complexity across an organisation. Will use this capability to ensure that organisation goals are achieved and not to promote their own personal priorities.

Assess your level


Learn more about the Marketer Pathways framework.

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