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AIM Awards 2018: Meet the judges

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 16 May 2018
Updated: Tuesday 8 May 2018

With just over a week to go until the AIM Awards 2018 gala night on Thursday 17th May, it's time to introduce you to some of the judges. We are delighted to have a panel of great marketers, all members of the Marketing Institute, from a wide range of companies and industries to adjudicate this year's high standard of entries and face the difficult task of recognising the very best in marketing.

You can also read the marketing success stories from each of our finalists shortlisted across the 18 categories in our Awards Programme.


Martin McBrideMartin McBride

Managing Director, Envision

Martin McBride is Managing Director of Envision – a consultancy that specialises in working with ambitious companies on developing new International business and building new International markets.  He has spent his entire career in international markets:
• initially in sales – developing new markets in Scandinavia, mainland Europe, The USA, and the Far East;
• building international sales channel partnerships (distributors, JV’s) across the world;
• in a front-line role, then at a ‘senior team’ level, and more recently on Boards and as a consultant supporting companies seeking to grow international business, backing those in that front-line role.
Martin works with companies in Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia – those companies are establishing sales channels, building new revenue streams, winning major bids, and scaling their operations in Global Markets.


John TrainorJohn Trainor

Founder and CEO, ONSIDE

John Trainor is the Founder and CEO of ONSIDE, one of Europe's leading Sponsorship Consultancy firms. He has more than 15 years’ experience of working with sponsors and rights holders across multiple sectors and platforms, influencing over €50m of sponsorship spend annually through his work in Ireland and Europe with many of the world's biggest and best brands. John is a recipient of a Fellowship from the Marketing Institute of Ireland for his contribution to the industry in Ireland.



Fiona SweeneyFiona Sweeney

Strategic Marketing Director of End Use Markets, Food & Beverage Systems, Kerry Taste & Nutrition Europe & Russia

Fiona Sweeney is the Strategic Marketing Director of End Use Markets, Food & Beverage Systems for Kerry Taste & Nutrition Europe & Russia where she is responsible for defining the category strategies, driving EUM marketing innovation and defining the value propositions for Kerry across priority markets.
Prior to moving to the B2B side of Kerry Group, Fiona was Marketing Director for the Kerry Foods Dairy Consumer Branded portfolio in GB and Ireland where she was responsible for the Strategic growth and development of category leading brands like Dairygold, Cheestrings, LowLow and Charleville.
In the 10 years prior to Kerry, Fiona built a broad experience creating, developing and growing brands across FMCG & retail working on renowned brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Coca Cola and Superquinn, winning various marketing, innovation, advertising and digital effectiveness awards and Marketing team of the year at the All Ireland Marketing Awards in 2014.


Martina McDonnellMartina McDonnell

Head of SMB Marketing EMEA, Facebook

Martina heads up marketing for small and medium business at Facebook.   Her team’s role spans brand and community marketing throughout EMEA to help small and medium businesses grow, showcasing how mobile can accelerate business success.   Her focus is to continue to build Facebook’s presence in the region, developing the opportunity it gives businesses to engage with customers around the world – helping local business become global and small business become large.

Martina has over 20 years marketing experience in a variety of senior roles spanning financial services, semi-state and NGO sectors. Martina joined Facebook from HSBC where she ran the international marketing team for commercial and global banking and markets. 


Caroline DonnellanCaroline Donnellan

Head of Marketing, Insights & Propositions, KBC

Caroline is Head of Marketing, Insights and Propositions at KBC, with responsibility for building the KBC challenger brand – ‘The Bank of You’- in Ireland. She is responsible for the development and implementation of KBC’s marketing and insights strategy to drive awareness of the brand and its unique ‘digital first’ offering. As a challenger bank, it is part of her role to ensure that the KBC brand stands out in consumers’ minds, and constantly looks at new ways of doing things. Caroline has over sixteen years’ experience in marketing and holds an Honours Degree in Business Studies and Marketing and is a board member of CopyClear.


Nicky DoranNicky Doran

Brand and Marketing Strategy Director, Davy 

Nicky is responsible for defining and implementing Davy’s brand and marketing strategy.  His role involves working with a client focussed Marketing Team to direct and execute brand & marketing plans, customer experience &data strategies and event & sponsorship programmes.  Prior to joining Davy in 2017, Nicky held several senior commercial and marketing roles in Bord Gáis Energy.

Nicky holds a MSc (Mgmt) in Business Administration from Trinity College Dublin, a Diploma in Company Direction and is a Qualified Financial Adviser. He is a Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, a member of The Institute of Directors in Ireland, and was formerly the Honorary Treasurer of the Marketing Society.


Irene GowingIrene Gowing

Communications Manager, Bord Gáis Energy

Irene joined Bord Gáis Energy in 2008 and was involved in the design and creation of the organisation’s sponsorship programme. During this time, Irene has led contract negotiations for the naming rights of the Bord Gáis Energy and GAA sponsorships. She has also led brand strategy refresh projects that reshaped the positioning of the brand as the “helpful energy” Company. Today as Communications Manager she is responsible for defining and implementing the PR, brand and sponsorship strategy for Bord Gáis Energy. With 17 years industry experience in the energy and construction sectors,  Irene is a highly qualified marketing professional with a passion for strategic thinking. 


Darragh ReaDarragh Rea

Director Digital, Edelman

Darragh leads a team of digital experts tasked with embedding a digital first way of thinking across all Edelman programmes. He and his team lead projects on digital and social strategy, paid media and holistic measurement. 
Darragh has worked in communications since 2002, helping his clients successfully navigate an ever-changing media ecosystem.  
Darragh has a past and current client list which features a who’s who of Global and Local brands, covering sectors including FMCG, Financial Services, Food & Drink, Travel, Government, Healthcare and Pharma.  
Darragh leads the digital division in Edelman Ireland, which includes work for clients such as Mars, Unilever, Danone, Irish Distillers, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, SSE Airtricity, Roche and Novartis. 
He has contributed to numerous media and industry events and is a Board Member of Triathlon Ireland.


Clíona HayesClíona Hayes

Senior Global Advertising and Brand Lead, Indeed

Clíona has over 15 years experience working in marketing, media and advertising.
Starting her career in Ryanair before moving to Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard where she worked in France and Ireland through various domestic and international brand roles on Jameson Whiskey, West Coast Cooler and Jacobs Creek. Having spent over 7 years with Communicorp, her latest role was Group Marketing Director where Clíona oversaw the marketing functions for TodayFM, Newstalk,, Spin1038 and 98FM. 


Diarmaid Mac MathúnaDiarmaid Mac Mathúna

Director - Agency, indiepics

He has been named a Top 30 Business Tweeter by the Sunday Independent. A regular speaker at Irish and European events, he has given many workshops on how best to use social video campaigns for marketing and communications and has been quoted in the Irish Times. He has also contributed to the magazines Communication Director and The Market.




Niamh O’DriscollNiamh O’Driscoll

Senior Manager – Brand, Marketing & Communications, Virgin Media 

Niamh O’Driscoll is a seasoned commercial marketer with over 15+ years experience. Having started her career in the B2B space looking after marketing and PR in an international banking software company, she subsequently moved into telecommunications, first with Meteor where she spent over 7 years as Marketing Communications Manager and then with O2 where she worked as a Marketing Consultant on the Priority Moments loyalty program. Niamh is now Senior Manager for Brand, Marketing & Communications for Virgin Media where she heads up strategic brand management, Consumer Research & Insights and all ATL campaign management activity.


Ruth McEnteeRuth McEntee

Acting Country Manager for Ireland, Google

Ruth has been working at Google for over a decade, spending time in different roles and various locations including Dublin, London and the US. In her current role as Acting Country Manager for Ireland, she leads a team of digital consultants to top Irish companies and agencies across multiple industries (including Finance, Travel & Retail). In this role, Ruth is responsible for driving the ads strategy across Google's platforms including Search and YouTube in the Irish market and embedding Google as a key partner to both clients and agencies alike.



Deirdre WaferDeirdre Wafer

EMEA Insights Manager - Linkedin Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

Currently at Linkedin, Deirdre leads the Insights team for Marketing Solutions in the EMEA region and works to deliver value to clients from Linkedin’s unique first party data. Through leadership and passion for insight led selling, I seek to embed insights into the business partnering with diverse stakeholder groups to drive positive change and deliver business success.
Prior to joining Linkedin, Deirdre had an established career in marketing working in diverse range of industries for companies including Virgin Media, Liberty Insurance, Meteor Mobile Communications, AXA and Bank of Ireland. 
Deirdre is an advocate of the benefit of client-side marketers, agencies and other stakeholders working collaboratively as change agents to deliver world class results.


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Frank Ryan named as 2018 All Ireland Marketing Champion

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 May 2018

Frank RyanWe are delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2018 All Ireland Marketing Champion Award is Frank Ryan, chairman of IDA Ireland.

Frank Ryan has spent the greater part of his distinguished career marketing Ireland’s products and services, and the country itself, across the globe. 

He is chairman of IDA Ireland, the agency with the mission to attract the foreign direct investment that is so vital to the continued development of the modern Irish economy. 

During an earlier 25 year career with the IDA, Frank served at home and in North America, and he was a member of the team that attracted the multi-billion dollar Intel investment into Ireland. 

Then, during his tenure as chief executive of Enterprise Ireland over a ten-year period, revenues and jobs generated by Irish exporting companies hit record levels, despite the economic crisis. 

Frank is engaged in a range of non-executive and advisory roles in the areas of commerce and education, and his interests include international business, world trade, economic development and the Irish language. 


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Busting 3 GDPR myths

Posted By Nikita Smits-Jørgensen, BusinessBrew, Wednesday 9 May 2018
Updated: Tuesday 8 May 2018

Busting GDPR Myths

There are many myths and false claims surrounding the GDPR. Many come to life because the legal text is complex and can be difficult to fully understand by anyone looking for human rather than legal-speak. The problem is that it’s business owners, marketers and sales, not privacy lawyers, who take on the lion’s share of GDPR implementation and need clear information.

We’ve picked three GDPR myths that we come across on a day to day basis and bust them for you in plain English.


1. The GDPR does not apply to SMEs and businesses dealing B2B rather than B2C

The fact is that the GDPR applies to all businesses based in the EU and any businesses outside of the EU who deal with personal data of data subjects who are in the Union. This means from Irish startups to multinationals the GDPR has to be adhered to. Even Irish businesses who exclusively do business outside of the EU have to adhere as they are based in the EU. This particular myth has started as some EU countries are trying to get exceptions, however, the message from Brussels has been clear: there will be no change in the territorial scope of the legislation.

The second part of the myth deals with business to business vs business to consumer dealings. The myth here is that the GDPR doesn’t apply to business contacts as these are not personal. So for example would be considered personal data, however would not be. The GDPR speaks to the material scope of the legislation and says that personal data is considered as any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. There is only one person associated with my business email address Therefore it’s information that identifies a natural person. However, a group email address such as an info@ address, does not identify a person. If your business works on a B2B basis with individuals and you hold their data, then be sure you adhere to the GDPR.


2. The GDPR is solved by adding a consent to web forms

Many believe that the GDPR boils down to one thing: consent. That once you have consent from your leads and customers, you are fully covered.

Consent is only one of six legitimate bases to process data. You need to ensure that you choose the right specific legal ground for every type of processing:

1. Consent

2. Contractual necessity

3. Legal obligation

4. Vital interest

5. Public interest

6. Legitimate interest

Consent cannot solve for everything and it can be withdrawn at any time. So often, you are better off choosing a different legal ground if it’s suitable. If consent is the right way to go, you have to be sure that it’s clear, specific and explicit. This means a one size fits all checkbox will not work. Your data subject (i.e. your customer or prospect) has to fully understand what they are consenting to and what this means to them. Consent also doesn’t last forever, you need to have a logical expiration date added that a data subject can observe.

On top of that, you might have obtained consent for processing of personal data, you’ll still require separate opt-in before you can send marketing emails. The requirement for marketing email opt-in, as well as requirements for phone and postal marketing, aren’t laid out in the GDPR but in another set of rules, the PECR.

This is probably the piece that businesses struggle the most with. At the same time, it holds the largest opportunity to continue to communicate with your audience.


3. The GDPR only applies to customer / prospect data

The GDPR doesn’t mention customers or prospects. It speaks about data subjects. These are explained as a natural person whose personal data is processed by a controller (that’s the business) or processor (that includes any tools like email marketing providers or collaborators such as agencies or accountants the business might be working with).

If the GDPR applies to any natural person whose personal data is held, then it includes much more than customer or prospect data. It encompasses:

  • How you process, store and maintain applicants data
  • How you process, store and maintain employee data
  • How you manage billing, procurement and supplier data
  • How you research, contact and store data belonging to influencers in your industry
  • How your product (especially if it’s software) handles data that you process on behalf of your customers
  • How you handle any other personal data you business might hold

For Irish businesses this means reviewing all personal data that the business holds and examining exactly why it has been held, what legal basis there is to holding it, whether it has to be removed and how it is secured amongst other headlines.


Training is vital

We’ve busted just three myths today. There are many more. For Irish businesses it now becomes vital to prepare themselves for GDPR and ensure that they are on a road to compliance. The first step to take is to fully understand the legislation and how it applies. MII and BusinessBrew have joined forces to bring you an online GDPR course for marketing that will allow marketers to

  • Gain an understanding of why the legislation is needed and where it stems from
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of how the GDPR will apply to marketing
  • Confidently implement the GDPR and run compliant marketing campaigns
  • Advance their ability to identify current non-compliant processes and avoid

Register your interest today.


About Nikita Smits-Jørgensen

Nikita Smits-Jørgensen is co-founder of inbound marketing and GDPR consultancy BusinessBrew. While being ISO certified in privacy regulations for sales and marketing (GDPR / PECR) she aims to work with marketers in plain English to get GDPR-ready.
Nikita met fellow BusinessBrew founder Evelyn Wolf during their tenure at inbound marketing powerhouse HubSpot where they assisted businesses of all sizes and industries as well as marketing agencies in building their lead to customer generation funnels.

BusinessBrew is geared to help companies make the most out of their inbound marketing and privacy efforts in the most time and cost-efficient manner through workshops, training and the delivery of strategic playbooks. 


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Why marketers struggle with communicating strategic value to boards

Posted By Aileen O’Toole, Chartered Director and Digital Strategist, Wednesday 2 May 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.


What to communicate, and how, is probably the single biggest obstacle facing senior marketers in winning the hearts, minds and the critical buy-in from their boards for a marketing strategy or  investment.   

Too often marketers complain that their boards are risk averse, that they don’t understand the strategic value of marketing or, worse, pick holes in a campaign where they are not the target audience.  Too often, too,  board members complain that they don’t understand how marketing spend impacts on sales and other objectives, that the marketing data they receive is not sufficiently robust and that presentations are often laced with jargon they don’t understand.

Whose analysis is right?  Well both are.  Marketers must acknowledge evidence from credible research studies that marketers:

  • Don’t align their function sufficiently  with the overall business strategy
  •  Don’t land the killer messages, supported by the right data, in their presentations to boards
  • Aren’t sufficiently comfortable with financial analysis, which is the rock on which many business cases for marketing investment perishes in the boardroom

Directors must also acknowledge that they don’t often understand the complexities of marketing.  In particular, they don’t always recognise that it is a combination of both art and science and the science part may not be as black and white as they’d like.  They don’t always appreciate the important role that marketing can play in customer-led growth and, as a consequence, don’t devote enough time to the marketing agenda.

Marketing is a right brain discipline which has to make its presence felt in boardrooms where the disciplines are left brain.  As a result, marketers hired for their creativity, passion and their back catalogue of successful campaigns often find their style, messages and data are out of sync with the expectations of board members. 

Boards are usually made up of individuals who are highly analytical, like rigorous measurements and are focused on enhancing shareholder value.  There is a strong argument that boards need a combination of both disciplines to create shareholder value and boards are bereft of right brain people from marketing, communications and other disciplines.

However, repeated studies show that marketing is under-represented at board level – among 65,000 board members of the S&P 1500 less than 3% came from a marketing background, according to a study from Virginia's Darden School of Business.


Actions for marketers

To be commercially credible in the boardroom, and win support for investments or other proposals, marketers need to:

  • Connect what they do, or what they are planning, to the corporate strategy
  •  Recognise that they may be competing for support or funding or both with other departments which can deliver a more compelling return on investment argument
  • Bring valuable insights from  customers,  competitors and the marketplace into boardroom discussions, insights which other disciplines do not offer
  • Develop a simple yet compelling storyline  and slide deck that will secure board support
  • Move the board narrative from one that is about marketing as a cost to marketing as an investment
  • Use the right data and present it in a manner that fully supports the business case and the request for board approvals
  • Be prepared to justify existing or proposed marketing spend and answer questions convincingly about what activities and channels add the most value and why
  • Be able to defend the contribution that creative campaigns and media spend makes to achieving strategic objectives
  • Recognise that board members may be on a learning curve in terms of their knowledge of marketing and its effectiveness
  • Work with Directors to hopefully arrive at a point where there is a shared understanding on the strategic marketing priorities

These and other themes will be explored at a Marketing Institute masterclass facilitated by Aileen O'Toole: Increasing marketing’s influence in the boardroom on Thursday 10 May. Maurice Pratt, Chairman of Uniphar and a former marketer and Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing at the Smurfit Graduate Business School, will bring their board and marketing experience to life in an interactive “pitching to the board” session. 

For more details, visit the event page.

About the author

Aileen O’Toole is a Chartered Director and a Digital Strategist.She is a board member of the Road Safety Authority. 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 World Without Sir Martin

Posted By Martin Thomas, Marketing Communications Consultant @Crowdsurfing, Wednesday 18 April 2018
Presenting your agency figures to Sir Martin Sorrell was a nerve-wracking experience.  The man was incredible.  Without any briefing notes he would remember the numbers you presented last year and more importantly the forecasts you had made.  He knew your clients and understood their business issues – and he could repeat this trick in every single agency presentation, anywhere in the world.  He put you under pressure and had a keen eye for bullshit.  It was a tough upbringing, but he made me a better business person.  

Some will argue that advertising isn’t the type of business that should be reduced to a Sorrellian focus on compensation percentages and profit margins.  They see him as the epitome of a ‘bean counter’ mindset that has put profit before creativity.  

But Sorrell cannot be blamed for what appears to be the creative decline of the advertising industry.  if anything, he helped delay its demise.  He saw the emergence of a new breed of client, demanding financial accountability and procurement-driven efficiency.  He recognised the threat posed by Google and Facebook (he described them as ‘frenemies’) and the difficulties that a heavily analogue creative model would face in a digital age.  His desire to transform the often unprofessional, unfocused and uncommercial world of marketing services was not the action of a Philistine, but a defensive move against the threats posed by the traditional consultancy firms and an ever more capable and confident client.  

With his departure the industry loses one of the few people with the intellect, profile and connections to make the case for advertising and the importance of longer-term investments in brand building.  He may have started-out as a typical financial wheeler-dealer – buying underperforming agency brands with high levels of debt and squeezing their balance sheets - but the accountant gradually became a ‘Mad Man’.  He realised that his role as CEO for the world’s largest marketing services group gave him unique access to the ‘movers and shakers’.  He was one of the few WPP employees that had a chance of getting into the boardrooms of the world’s largest companies and he used this access wisely.  He was a vocal critic of the lack of transparency and accountability in digital media and in what we now know was his last results presentation, he railed against ‘zero-based budgeting’ driven by short-term, activist investors.  The fact that few of us can even recall the names of the people heading the other advertising agency groups is an indication of the gap left by his departure.  

One task he failed to complete was the transformation of the holding company model.  Over the past few years, more business has been handled through some form of multi-team unit (with a single P&L), but WPP remains characterised by its plethora of agency brands.   This may have been intended to create a healthy level of competition and to prevent the performance of weaker agencies being masked by the stronger ones, but it discouraged collaboration and fostered unhealthy rivalries - even Sorrell used the term ‘tribes’ to describe the thousands of agencies in his group.  It will be interesting to see whether his successor will continue to build the WPP brand as a rival to the global consultancy businesses, or simply bow to investor pressure and break-up the group.

His departure was undignified and will have hurt a very proud man, but the advertising industry has lost one of its few giants. 

About the author

martin thomasMartin is a highly experienced marketing communications consultant, trainer and author. He is course leader on digital and social media for the Institute of Directors UK. He has enjoyed a highly successful career in advertising, PR, sponsorship and new media, including senior management roles with some of the world’s leading agencies.

He has advised many multi-national corporations on their marketing and communications strategies, including Xerox, Citibank, Bacardi Global Brands, Sony Ericsson, Royal Mail, Coca-Cola and Colgate-Palmolive. Much of his work in recent years has focused on the business response to new, digitally-empowered patterns of customer behaviour and changing expectations: a subject on which he has become a highly-regarded writer, speaker and commentator.

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