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ARVR Innovate: Alibaba AI Lab expert to speak in Dublin

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 10 April 2018

ARVR Innovate

Irish audiences will get their first chance to hear about the Chinese mega retailer's success strategies deploying immersive technologies, at the forthcoming ARVR Innovate conference taking place on May 10th in the RDS. Jian Gu is Senior Technical Expert in the AI Lab in Alibaba, where he is responsible for Aligenie AR open platform. In 2006, Gu Jian was woking in HIT Lab NZ (in University of Canterbury, New Zealand) which is funded by Mark Billinghurst (inventor of ARToolkit) and is one of the top augmented reality research laboratories in the world.

Also speaking at the event will be Miguel Sanchez  the Founder and Creative Director of Mass Ideation, a Bronx, NY based Creative Agency specializing in Strategy, Storytelling and Interactive work, especially within the AR, VR & MR technologies. Miguel now works with brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, publicly traded Content Studio Recall Studios and Stealthmode start-up OpticSurg on Mixed Reality Strategy and Development. Miguel's talk will focus on how marketers can convince stakeholders to begin using AR, VR & MR in any marketing campaign now. Other companies participating at the conference  include Audi, War Ducks, Samsung and Google.

MII have a special members discount of 15% off ticket price which can be availed of on the booking site using the promotional code MII.

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Directors: Why You Need To Grasp Marketing’s Strategic Value

Posted By Aileen O’Toole, Chartered Director and Digital Strategist, Wednesday 4 April 2018
Updated: Tuesday 3 April 2018

marketing's strategic value

Aileen O'Toole will lead the Marketing Institute's upcoming Masterclass: Increasing Marketing's Influence in the Boardroom on 10th May 2018.


Why is marketing so often considered an expense rather than an investment by company directors? Do boards have the requisite skills to enable marketing to become central to their businesses’ strategies?  And what should directors individually and collectively do to ensure marketing is strategic, not tactical, and contributes long-term value?

These, and other big questions, are triggered by a new study which analyses research to provide evidence of marketing’s contribution to profitability and brand building.  Marketing Multiplied is published by Core Media, in association with the Association of Advertisers in Ireland. It should drive change in how directors perceive marketing – and how marketers communicate the value of marketing as a driver of business performance.

The study busts myths and accepted norms about a discipline that has suffered from a perception that it is too much about art and not enough about science.  In the past 10 years, for instance, the study notes that the volume of short-term campaigns as tracked by the IPA, the global advertising body, has quadrupled. This is despite compelling evidence that long-term strategic campaigns are three times more effective in growing market share ratios.


Board composition

Another theme is how little weight marketing carries at either board or CEO level.  In designing the curriculum for the Chartered Director Programme, the Institute of Directors blended business strategy and marketing into the same module, as marketing’s perspective of “customer centricity” underpins good business strategy.

However, that principle is not applied in most boards.   Just 2.6% of the 65,000 board members of S&P 1500 companies in 2015 had managerial level marketing experience, according to a study from Virginia's Darden School of Business.  Marketing is a discipline with a high female quota, providing a pipeline for boards conscious of gender balance.  Yet marketers are not in demand in the boardroom.

Many directors and even some academics argue that marketing should not be given airtime in the boardroom as it is fundamentally about tactics and not strategy.  This argument cuts to the heart of the misunderstanding about marketing strategy and this is exactly the thinking that this study can challenge with solid evidence.

Patrick Coveney, CEO of Greencore plc and Chairman of Core Media, is in no doubt that boards need more marketers. Typically, he says, boards are dominated by people with “financial or engineering backgrounds who are not necessarily trained to understand the consumer, the competitor landscape and external environment in a way that a skilled marketer can.”

Communicating value

Arguably, though, marketers have not made themselves obvious candidates for board roles by not communicating marketing’s strategic value and/or by not producing robust data on financial returns.  Marketers can often focus on their latest campaigns, simplistic metrics and jargon, even hyperbole, which serve to disconnect them from their boards.

This needs to change. Operationally, marketers are playing an increasingly critical role in planning the future of their businesses.  Senior marketers are being charged with responsibilities for all or some of their companies’ digital transformation agendas. For certain sectors, this could well dictate the very survival of those businesses in the next three to five years, such is the pace of digital disruption.

What can directors do?

Directors who want to create value for their businesses need to take marketing seriously.  What to do?  Here are some suggestions:

1. Familiarise yourself with where marketing can add strategic value to your business
2. Align strategic marketing objectives with your business objectives
3. Ensure the board pack includes marketing KPIs that are meaningful
4. Ask the right questions at board meetings  --  less about individual campaigns and more about customer requirements, the competitive landscape,  your business’s capabilities and strategies
5. Avoid short-termism and knee-jerk reactions to potential risks, such as cutting marketing budgets or shifting focus as they could potentially damage long-term brand building goals
6. Consider the skills balance within your board


About the author

Aileen O’Toole is a Chartered Director and a Digital Strategist.   She is a board member of the Road Safety Authority and of Business in the Community.   A co-founder of The Sunday Business Post newspaper, she is a fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland. Aileen can be contacted via her email address;, through her website;, or through her LinkedIn profile.

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A Day in the Life of... Bob Gee, Founder & Director at Connect Promotions

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 21 March 2018
Updated: Tuesday 20 March 2018

Bob Gee Connect Promotions

The Marketing Institute: What does the owner/director of a leading Branded Merchandise company actually do?

Bob Gee: We supply a variety of branded promotional products to clients in all sectors and areas of Ireland ( We work closely with our clients to ensure they get the best results from their investments in Promotional Merchandise. My role can be quite all encompassing and it’s easy to get bogged down on day-to-day details. I keep telling myself I need to pull back and take an overall view, observe where the company is going, what resources and skillsets are important and whether we are on the right track.  I think I can be quite good at my job when I do that. The problem is I keep getting drawn back into the day-to-day stuff.


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

B.G: My background is in Logistics and Manufacturing, working with Multinationals here and across Europe. I learnt how to manage a supply network to deliver quality products on time and within budget. The big worry was that I never saw myself as a sales person and that worry held me back for a long time. In fact I learnt that we all sell something in one way or another. Even when you are not customer facing you still need to sell your ideas and build support. The kind of consultative selling we engage in is a good fit to my past experience.


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

B.G: We have built up a really good customer base through good customer service, understanding our customers and delivering on our commitments.  We are very happy to have a set of loyal and supportive customers but now want to expand beyond that footprint. That is the biggest challenge I face. How do we communicate our message to an audience who have yet to hear about us?


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

B.G: I think we need to combine our strengths in logistics and sourcing with good marketing and selling skills. At this phase of development I think we need to become ever stronger in marketing ourselves to a diverse set of organisations.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

B.G: I wish I could have a typical working day; they all seem different. Truth be told I probably enjoy it that way. The variety is a real bonus.  Of course I should be striving for a more disciplined approach with carefully planned days and weeks, but that would just be boring. A major attraction to this business is that you never know what inquiry will come in the door in the next hour and what efforts that may lead you to.

However typical days break down into either customer meetings or reviews of the various parts of the business. I love meeting customers and would do only that if I could. The rest of the business does need to be attended to however and I find that consumes more and more of my time.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

B.G: I love the variety and how we interact with so many different organisations. We get to see people in large and small organisations, whether it be business, public sector, education, charities, etc. I get great satisfaction working on ideas and finding new ways (and sometimes old) for clients to get value from their spend on Promotional Merchandise.


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

B.G: I think I will be in the role for the next few years but having to learn new skills all the time. The challenge right now is to develop my Digital Marketing skills.   It’s an exciting area and I have some interesting ideas I want to try out.


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

B.G: As I have said above the priorty right now is to develop our Digital Marketing skills. It’s an area that is moving so fast it’s hard to see who you should look to for inspiration. I find the various discussion groups, especially on LinkedIn,  are helpful but it pays to remember that everyone is on the same voyage. Good ideas can come from everywhere.

I am also involved with The Alternative Board ( which is an organisation which brings together like-minded business people to offer advice and support to each other. Its amazing how different businesses often have essentially the same challenges facing them and how experienced people from different backgrounds can have really good insights into your business.

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Welcome to the Dynamic Era

Posted By Geoff Lyons, managing director PML Group, Tuesday 13 March 2018
Updated: Monday 12 March 2018

Geoff Lyons PML Group

Geoff Lyons, managing director PML Group, outlines the emerging trends that OOH is embracing and how they will impact on the medium in 2018.

Out of Home has a long history of powerful and famous creative work.  It is an unblockable, unskippable medium that delivers scale, can sell products and create brand fame.  A medium that can quite literally stop people in their tracks. High-definition digital screens and data-driven dynamic content now provide even more creative potential and measurable effectiveness than ever before. As the leading Out of Home communications and location marketing agency in Ireland, we now know even more about what people think, feel and do out of home. We translate this understanding into compelling, creative and quantifiable OOH solutions through investment in data, technology and people, which make a meaningful difference to our clients’ businesses. In a fragmented media landscape, OOH continues to deliver in both reach, frequency and time spent (over three hours a day).

2017 was a pivotal year of OOH with the first roadside digital screens launched in Dublin and Belfast. OOH has witnessed an increasing migration from paper to pixels in the current decade. Screen signage now resides in a wide range of environments from retail to leisure to travel hubs. Digital OOH amplifies the core “one to many” benefit of classic OOH – namely brand building through coverage build and repeat viewing.

Digital further enables flexibility with media and creative copy – to deliver the right message at the right time in the right places for audiences. It offers tactical opportunities in daily and daypart planning while technologies such as our proprietary Dynamic platform allows for contextual messaging based on live data triggers including weather, traffic and social media. This is highly impactful and helps brands build a dialogue with their audiences in real-time - and in real-life.

Pardon the pun, but Out of Home is in a good place right now. While audiences fragment elsewhere increased urbanisation, commuting times and emerging networks means OOH reaches more people than ever before. The latest census figures also testify to that.  Media owners are investing in new display technologies enhancing the quality of message. These initiatives we are seeing will only help drive OOH further in 2018. 


Location will become mainstream

Location has been described as the cookie of the real world. With nearly a third of search queries still related to location, location-based messaging is not merely a trend on the rise but an expected part of the service. Internationally advertisers using Dynamic campaigns, serving relevant contextual messages, are seeing an average uplift of 15% across branding metrics from displaying different messages at different times according to audience context. A single repeated message broadcast in OOH works, but new, flexible ways of serving campaigns means multiple highly relevant messages can be served by location and will be a viable option for many campaigns.


Integration with mobile will increase

There is a significant amount of synergies when OOH is paired with digital and mobile advertising. As both phones and cities become smarter, Out of Home is perfectly positioned to complement the daily lives of connected consumers. Brands are already tapping into this by incorporating Snapcodes into artwork or complementing OOH with geo-fenced digital campaigns driving reach and engagement. Combining the two channels makes sense for consumers who already exhibit these behaviours and is appealing for brands who can link them to CRM data and track attribution in new ways. New complementary OOH services such as public WiFi, phone chargers, beacons and others will strengthen the alignment between OOH and mobile.


Smarter data sets will inform smarter campaigns

Brands invest in understanding who visits their real-estate (online or otherwise) and can often ascribe their customer behaviours to locations. Organisations with huge sets of data, can apply anonymised and aggregated digital data to the real world to see where people are using social media or browsing sites and apps. 2018 will see smarter use of data sets, that when combined with a brand’s first-party data, will produce powerful consumer insight and inform smarter campaigns. New data sets and technologies are allowing advertisers to go beyond demographics to understand who is in front of their ad in real time.


Cities are also getting Smarter

Technology is integrating the digital and physical worlds and OOH has an unmatched ability to enhance the impact of digital and mobile marketing in the physical world. As our cities, especially Dublin and Belfast, grow and connectivity becomes more and more widespread, the opportunities for OOH to bridge the physical to the online will greatly increase.

Even from the point of view of population growth, employment growth, commuting, socialising and shopping, OOH has a huge role to play. And as the digitisation of the medium continues apace, we expect opportunities to combine civic information, entertainment and advertising will emerge.


Creative will focus on first impressions

OOH already has the foundations for success with unmissable classic formats and locations, but it will increasingly adopt social and digital engagement principles such as short-form formats like GIFs to deliver fast, yet captivating experiences. Brands can think differently across formats but focus on delivering their key goal - be that awareness, consideration or acquisition.


Content will break through

By showing content to consumers, rather than explaining product features, advertisers can provide value, letting a product speak for itself in a more powerful and unforgettable way. Content can be useful, creative or contextual but at its core it offers an experience to the consumer so they can connect with a brand emotionally. In a busy multi-media world where brands must fight to win attention, captivating content-driven campaigns, storytelling and driving results, will become far more prevalent.


Experiential adds depth to OOH’s traditional breadth

Brands are increasingly utilising OOH for experiential activations. A “show don’t tell” strategy adds depth to traditional messaging and offers viral possibilities. A great example was Aer Lingus who surprised shoppers in Stephen’s Green shopping centre with a live digital panel offering free flights in return for their holiday stories. This drove over three hundred thousand social views.



2018 will be an important year for OOH which will see new and more flexible ways to plan and trade the medium, more relevant and engaging creative, right place and right time ad serving and consequently increased return on investment for advertisers. 

OOH is reaching a tipping point where data, technology and inventory can integrate and connect to deliver more impactful, efficient and effective campaigns for clients. BE MORE NOW is our 2018 mantra for our clients and our teams as we embrace dynamic thinking across the entire OOH sphere. Watch this space.

Tags:  OOH 

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10 innovative beers from around the world tapping into new opportunities

Posted By Mintel, Monday 12 March 2018

Global volume sales of beer continue to remain stubbornly flat as many drinkers seek to cut down on their alcohol intake, especially in the European market. The greatest challenge for the beer industry is the rise of health and wellness, influencing consumers across Europe, North America and in emerging markets like Latin America and Asia.

However, while many consumers are seeking to drink less beer, they are increasingly happy to trade up quantity for higher quality, hence the continued rise of craft and specialty beers which charge drinkers a considerable price premium. Craft is becoming a global mainstream trend and ordering a beer is no longer a simple task. Global beer drinkers are increasingly choosing between different types of beer such as lager, ale, and porters/stouts; and on a more micro-level, choosing from specific styles of ale in particular, but also specific styles of lager and porter/stout, e.g. the India Pale Ale (IPA), Pilsner, or Imperial Stout.

As with wine, this is helping to elevate consumer perceptions of the product, showcasing beer’s complexity and sophistication. A wide variety of styles also allows beer drinkers to choose what best suits their palate, their meal type, or the specific occasion. More choice also has the potential to recruit new consumers, many of whom previously thought of beer as something generic-tasting and not for them. Finally, it is also allowing producers to keep experimental Millennial drinkers engaged with the category.

Another growth avenue for brewers is sweeter-tasting “near-beer” segments such as beers with added flavours or soft drinks, ciders, and flavoured malt beverages. Such flavour innovation appeals to the Millennial “sweet tooth” and their desire for more flavour intensity, in contrast to the milder taste of most mainstream unflavoured beers.

Finally, as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious, beer brands are extending eco-friendly commitments beyond recyclable packaging and introducing beer made with upcycled ingredients.

Using Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), we highlight 10 beers launched in markets around the world in 2017 that have tapped into these new growth opportunities: 

Coffee Beer1. Baden Baden Kaffee Cerveja Tipo Coffee Beer (Coffee Beer), Brazil:

This coffee flavoured beer is said to be the result of the perfect union of two award-winning varieties of coffee, Acaiá and Bourbon, harmonized with the light bitterness of hops and malt. It has a dark beige, creamy foam, and is said to harmonize well with tiramisu, chocolate-based desserts, smoked pork, and semi hard cheeses.


Belgian Double Beet2. Mack Mikrobryggeri Belgisk Dubbel (Belgian Double Beer), Norway:

 The manufacturers create a new music playlist for every batch; this one was brewed whilst listening to Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Ron Gallo, Royal Blood, and Knutsen & Ludvigsen and consumers can access the Spotify playlist through a QR code on the label. As they claim, “with good music you will get happy yeast and with the yeast happy - you get good beer!”


Double Malt Beer3. Birra Moretti La Rossa Birra Doppio Malto (Double Malt Beer), Italy:

 This internationally award winning beer is prepared with a special quality of Italian burnished barley malt, which adds notes of caramel and licorice to its flavour. The new packaging highlights the fact that this product is made using renewable energy from solar panels. According to Mintel, around 26% of global beers launched in 2017 carried ethical or environmentally-friendly claims. 

Strong Rice Beer4. Brasseurs du Monde Strong Rice Beer, Canada:

 This Japan-inspired, partially filtered beer is made with exotic ingredients such as rice, sake, yeast, Sorachi Ace Japanese hops, white wine must, and a little wasabi. The rice gives it a cloudiness that the Japanese call ‘nigori’, as well as the texture of a full-bodied white wine. The main flavours are rather fruity, but with the pungent character of wasabi. 


Blueberry Berlinerweisse Sty

5. Lake Effect Brewing Company Inland Seas Series Blueberry Berlinerweisse Style Ale, USA:

Blueberries are ubiquitous in Michigan and Ontario and provide the colour, sweetness, and acidic complexity to this light bodied tart ale. Blueberries are added in both the boil and in secondary fermentation. This beer is part of a series of eight that represents the Great Lakes of North America: each beer is inspired by the characteristics and mood of each lake, featuring ingredients from the surrounding area.

Jambu Beer6. Krug Bier Cerveja de Jambu (Jambu Beer), Brazil:

A summer ale inspired by the tropical climate of the Amazon, this pure malt beer is said to be refreshing and tasty, with its Ella hop providing an explosion of aromas with notes of passionfruit and mango. The presence of the Brazilian herb jambu gives a subtle tingling and numbing effect on the tongue and a mouth-watering sensation. 


Leftover Loaf Beer7. InStock Bammetjes Bier (Leftover Loaf Beer), Netherlands:

Instock is a Dutch social enterprise which aims to reduce food waste and create awareness on the issue. After opening three restaurants, a food truck, and a catering service, they launched a Pale Ale style beer made with “rescued” potatoes and, more recently, a wheat beer made from leftover bread, the second most wasted product in the Netherlands.

Unfiltered Lager8. And Union Unfiltered Lager, South Africa:

 Unfiltered and unpasteurised beers tap strongly into the modern trend for more natural, less processed food and drink products. While filtering allows brewers to remove yeast or sediment from the raw beer, giving it a bright clarity, pasteurisation heats up the beer to remove any micro-organisms which survived filtering, increasing the beer’s lifespan. However, the downside for the consumer is that pasteurisation and filtering are thought to compromise flavour and freshness.

Not Your Mum's Apple Pie Beer9. Not Your Mom's Apple Pie Beer, China:

 This dessert brew is said to have the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, and has an unmistakable taste of nostalgia. It contains apple juices, and is brewed with cinnamon and real vanilla from Madagascar.



Sicilian Pale Ale

10. Bruno Ribaldi Birra Siciliana, Italy:

 This artisanal, re-fermented and unfiltered beer is brewed with "Perciasacchi" wheat, Sicilian citrus fruit peels, and pink peppercorn, and is characterised by a sour flavour, with the typical Sicilian citrus scent. It is claimed to be ideal for street food, meat, oven baked pasta, or pasta with anchovies.




About Mintel

Mintel is the world's leading market intelligence agency. For over 40 years, Mintel's expert analysis of the highest quality data and market research has directly impacted on client success. With offices in London, Chicago, Belfast, Düsseldorf, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Munich, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand.

For more information on Mintel, please visit Follow Mintel on Twitter: or join the Mintel LinkedIn community:

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