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A Day in the Life of... Alan Morris, Marketing Campaigns Manager at Laya Healthcare

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 14 February 2018
Updated: Tuesday 13 February 2018
Alan Morris Laya Healthcare

The Marketing Institute: What does a Marketing Campaigns Manager do?

Alan Morris: As Marketing Campaigns Manager for Laya Healthcare and Laya Life I am responsible for lead generation, both online and offline, using our various marketing channels.  At the core of this is the planning and delivery of all our consumer facing marketing campaigns. I work directly on our advertising creative work and media planning but I also coordinate the delivery of all the other campaign elements (PR, social media, research) with the other members of our marketing team.   I have a lot of interaction with external agencies (digital, creative, research, media) so this gives me huge variety in my role. There is never a dull moment and always something fun and interesting going on.


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

A.M: I've had a pretty varied path to get me to where I am today.  I started my working life in AIB on their graduate programme where I was involved in their B2C and B2B internet banking offering, which gave me a really good understanding of how to speak to the consumer over digital channels.  Next I joined the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), a quantum leap from the banking sector but this is where I cut my teeth on the more traditional methods of advertising (radio, press, event management, trade shows).  When the opportunity came along to join a national brand like Laya Healthcare, the variety and hands on experience I had built up over the years really stood to me.  It goes to show that marketing is a really transferable skill between different sectors.


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

A.M: I find the biggest challenge in marketing today to be attribution.  Like every other company that uses multiple marketing channels, it’s always hard to attribute performance to a particular channel with absolute certainty.  While digital allows for measuring to a greater degree in theory, I am yet to see a perfect way to attribute performance across a multichannel marketing mix, particularly when you mix traditional and digital channels.  Its getting better and there are improvements all the time but I am yet to hear about the perfect attribution model.


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

A.M: To be effective I need to be good at planning to make sure that the multiple deadlines my projects entail are met.  As I deal with a lot of internal stakeholders and external agencies I need to be good at  coordinating opinion and feedback to make sure  that each piece of creative we produce meets all the high standards and approvals we set against our campaigns .  As I work with multiple account mangers across multiple marketing agencies, relationship management is also a key part of what I do.  Making sure the work gets done and our brand and values are being promoted and protected at all times by everyone involved in the campaign is one of the most important parts of what I do, while also maintaining that positive working relationship with everyone involved in the campaign.  And finally an understanding of the customer is vital in any marketing role.  Laya Healthcare prides itself on being customer obsessed and myself and all the rest of the marketing team are at the forefront of delivering this.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

A.M: Most of my working days kick off with a bit of exercise at home or going for a quick run in the morning.  Then it’s off to creche with my little boy and on into the office to start my day in our offices in Little Island in Cork.   Then its full throttle from there on.  Generally we will have a number of campaigns in the pipeline for Laya Healthcare and Laya life so I’ll spend a good bit of my day on the phone to our various agencies in Cork and Dublin.  This can be dealing with media plans, creative work like scripts or storyboards and even things like picking locations for video shoots or picking voice over artists for various piece of creative work.  These days in marketing there is a huge emphasis on reporting and metrics so a portion of my day is always spent reviewing performance against target both online and offline and identifying any areas for improvement.  Our industry is changing all the time so there are regularly items in the news or activity from our competitors  that keeps us on our toes as well,  so very often my day starts one way and finishes very differently!


MII: What do you love most about your role?

A.M: I really enjoy the competitive industry that we work in.  There are only a small number of health insurance companies in Ireland so there is a constant effort by all insurers to keep moving forward and to capture the imagination of the consumer ahead of our competition.  This brings a huge amount of variety into my role and allows for huge opportunities at being creative and innovative with our marketing.  


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

A.M: It’s hard to say.  I’m really satisfied in my current role.  The people I work with challenge and impress me every day and even though I am based in Cork where there is a brilliant marketing community,  my role also gives me great exposure to the Dublin marketing environment when dealing with our agencies based up there.  I am still learning every day and always feel challenged working with a brand I truly believe in.  While the majority of my current role is consumer focussed, I would like to develop my skills more across the corporate side of our business which is a big part of what we do as a company.


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

A.M: I work with a brilliant marketing team in Laya Healthcare, so finding inspiration locally is never an issue.  I also believe that Irish agencies hold some of the best international creative and media planning talent that you can find, so I am constantly inspired to learn more and to push our brand’s creative barriers by our agencies' wise words and guidance.    

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Core and IAPI join forces to find the best young marketing talent in Ireland!

Posted By Core Media, Monday 12 February 2018

young lions core media

L - R: Shane Doyle, Core Media, Paddy Carberry and Rachel Crawley,Vodafone, 2017  Young Marketers winners, and Aidan Greene, Core Media


  • Marketing professionals urged to enter ‘Young Marketers’ competition to demonstrate strategic thinking and creative approach to solving marketing challenges

  • Winning duo will receive all-expenses paid trip to Cannes Festival of Creativity, the world’s largest advertising festival

Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications group, are once again joining forces with the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) as part of the 2018 Cannes ‘Young Lions’ competition.
Core have retained their sponsorship of the ‘Young Marketers’ prize, which is open to pairs of young marketers aged 30 years or under working on the client side of the business.
The ‘Young Marketers’ competition is an opportunity for the brightest professional minds working in the industry to demonstrate their strategic thinking and creative approach to solving important marketing challenges. Core recognizes that creativity is not simply reserved for agencies - it’s at the heart of clients’ businesses too.
To enter, each team of two will have to answer a brief as the brand they currently work for. For example, last year’s team from Vodafone answered the brief using the Vodafone brand to tackle the issue of sustainable energy use in Ireland.
The 2018 brief relates to, the website which allows people to check their eligibility to vote in elections and referenda.

Full details of the brief will be outlined at a seminar in the Odeon Cinema, Point Village on Friday, February 16, from 8am. The competition will be explained, the brief and the jury panel will be introduced and an explanation will be given of how the Young Lions competition works. Teams who wish to enter the Young Marketers competition must attend this briefing and register their interest on the morning of the event.

The deadline for entries is 5th March 2018.

Shortlisted entrants will be invited to pitch to the local judging panel and the overall winner of the ‘Young Marketer’ competition will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Cannes Lions in France in June 2018. The trip includes flights, a full week’s delegate pass, invites to the gala evenings, and hotel accommodation in Cannes.
The winning Young Marketers duo will be part of a bigger team of 12 Young Lions representing the best young creative talent in Ireland in PR, print, film, media and social media. They will then compete in Cannes against the best young marketers from each country attending. Cannes Lions is an eight-day festival of world class creative thinking, digital innovation, education and networking, with over 17,000 delegates from over 100 countries.
Shane Doyle, Group Strategy Director of Core, says:

“Creativity has a profound and quantifiable influence on marketing effectiveness, with international research proving that creatively-awarded campaigns are six times more efficient than non-awarded campaigns in growing market share. Core wants to support the next generation of marketers to unleash their creative thinking.”
For further details on Cannes Young Lions, please go to
@Core_IRL #CannesLions

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2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals That Trust In Journalism Rises As Fear Of Fake News Remains High

Posted By The Marketing Institute & Edelman, Thursday 8 February 2018

8th February 2018 – Trust in traditional journalism has rebounded by five percentage points to 53 percent while trust in search engines and social media platforms has plummeted by eight percentage points to 33 percent since last year, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. The annual study shows that as a significant majority (64 percent) are concerned about fake news there is a yearning for journalism that provides accurate, credible information. According to the study a strong majority of Irish people believe that traditional journalists are meeting expectations in terms of investigating corruption (56 percent), guarding information quality (54 percent) and educating on issues (61 percent). 

This year’s study shows a revival of faith in experts. Academic (68 percent) and technical (66 oercent) experts are seen as the most credible spokespeople for a company, while trust in ‘a person like yourself’ dropped 2 points to 52 percent. Trust in CEO’S as a voice of authority increased by 14 points to 41 percent.

The research finds that business is now expected to be an agent of change. 63 percent say that CEOs should take the lead on change rather than wait for Government to impose it. This show of faith in business comes with high expectations. 75 percent of respondents believe that producing high-quality products and services is the most important job for CEOs, followed by ensuring that the company is trusted (73 percent) and has high ethical standards (66 percent). In Ireland trust in US headquartered companies fell by 6 points.

“At a time when people are struggling with who and what to believe there is a notable rise in trust in journalism.   People’s trust in social media as a source of news is collapsing, leaving an opportunity for journalists and bona fide experts to inform society,” said Joe Carmody, MD, Edelman Ireland. 

According to the Barometer, Government is seen as the preferred institution to lead Ireland to a better future ahead of business and NGOs.    Trust in Government is also increasing year on year and now stands at 35 percent.  Over the past five years trust in Government has increased by 15 percent, the largest increase of each of the four institutions during that period.

Manufacturing (61 percent) and education (70 percent) are the most trusted sectors, according to the Irish study, with financial services (29 percent) and automotive (44 percent) the least. The study also reveals that trust in industry sectors including technology, food and beverage, telecommunications, entertainment, automotive and consumer packaged goods declined over the past five years.

The presentation is available below.

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A Day in the Life of... Maeve Harrington, Founder & Director of In and Out Marketing

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 7 February 2018
Updated: Tuesday 6 February 2018

Maeve Harrington In and Out Marketing

The Marketing Institute: What does In and Out Marketing do? 

Maeve Harrington: In and Out Marketing is my business which I set up in September 2016. Over the course of my career to date I have been passionate about the role of marketing in building brands and I have over 28 years’ experience working in marketing across a broad range of industries - where does the time go! Having worked as a Marketing Manager, Marketing Director and now business owner, I understand how there are times when it would be useful to call on an experienced marketer on an in and out basis, who doesn’t carry agency costs and who has a practical, personal and hands-on approach to working with a business. I named my business In and Out Marketing because I will work with clients to develop marketing both internally and externally. Also, I will be in and out in that I apply a project management approach to the way I work so there is a defined beginning and end with clear objectives and targets agreed with clients beforehand. Some projects are big and some are small, I am happy to help in any way that I can.

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

M.H: Having completed my Psychology Degree and Diploma in Business Studies in UCD, I started out my career in research with AGB Atwood. From there I was approached by Lever Bros (Ire) Ltd to join the team as a Marketing Executive and leaving the position of Product Group Marketing Manager years later, I joined Irish Permanent as Marketing Communications Manager and from there I went to Esat Clear as Marketing Manager. After Esat, I joined the startup team at, Ireland’s first online auction marketplace, as COO and when the market changed for our business, I joined Ogilvy & Mather as Senior Account Director. I was headhunted from there to join Canada Life as Marketing Director to establish a professional marketing team and following the acquisition of Irish Life by our parent company Great West LifeCo, I set up my own business. To date I have completed projects with, an online platform we created to provide solicitors and accountants with a guide to the new Companies Act and changes to Employment Law, and most recently I joined Pinergy on a consultancy basis for a period of 12 months as acting Head of Marketing. Here I worked closely with the management team to devise a clear strategy and positioning for the business to form the basis for growth from a domestic pay-as-you-go provider to the energy services business Pinergy is today. A major priority of my work during this period was a strategic review of Pinergy’s brand positioning in the context of both a dynamic market and the company’s evolving business model in both the domestic and commercial markets. To date, I have had a joyous 28 years working in marketing across a range of Industry sectors; Market Research, FMCG, Finance, Telecoms, Internet start-ups, Advertising, Life Assurance and Energy industries.

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

 M.H: I am passionate about marketing and the positive impact it can have on building brands. The challenge for my role is to ensure that a company’s brand positioning is right and the marketing strategy brings that positioning to life for consumers in the most appropriate and effective way through the most appropriate and effective marketing channels within budget. The challenge for marketing is how to connect, how to position your brand in a way that it clearly stands out from other brands so that customers always choose your brand over your competitors. Many businesses don’t have a big marketing budget and for me I think that makes a marketer even more creative.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to get a business to put the customer at the heart of everything that they do, as that is the key to building a long-term relationship with customers.

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

 M.H: Listening is a hugely important skill for me as my starting point is meeting with clients to listen to and understand what marketing problems or issues they are facing in their business. Working with management teams on a project basis requires excellent teamwork and communication skills. Also empathy is important so that I can effectively & positively contribute to a business team. Understanding the business & the market, competitors and consumers is critical in order to be able to do my job and above all, a passion for and an understanding of marketing is the master skill. 

MII: Describe a typical working day. 

 M.H: The wonderful thing about my business is that no day is a typical day. After I meet a client and we agree that I can add value to their business, my first task is to spend time with my client to discuss the scope of our project and agree objectives and key deliverables together. Then my work begins and I start by meeting the team to ask a series of 6 questions focusing on what the business does, what makes it different, why I should believe it and why as a customer I should choose this brand over others. I also ask, what is working well and what can be improved in terms of marketing. This is a very interesting exercise and gives tremendous insight into the task ahead. Next I research the market landscape and conduct an in depth study into every competitor, drawing on all the information available.  Then I gather every bit of information available about the customers and their experience and study those who are not yet customers to understand how best to connect with them. From this I devise a clear strategy and positioning for the business to form the basis for growth and work with the team to implement this strategy. An important focus of my work is to make sure that every internal and external touchpoint to the target market clearly reflects that strategy & positioning. I have also been involved in finding the right marketing resource for a business and have recruited for an internal marketing role and sourced external service providers to suit a business. I have also introduced management dashboards that track performance against key performance indicators and have implemented budget management processes and reports to track return on investment. The projects I work on can be big projects encompassing all I have described above or projects may be more compact in terms of what is required, it depends on what the client needs. That is why no day is a typical day for me.

MII: What do you love most about your role? 

 M.H: For me, marketing is about connecting a business or service with a market to form a relationship that is mutually beneficial for both; profitable for the business and always rewarding and fulfilling for the customer. Working with business teams across different industries, learning about their business and their market and gaining an understanding of their target consumers’ beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and determining the best marketing channels to connect a business with their chosen market to position their brand ahead of competitors, is what I love most about marketing. It is very rewarding and fulfilling for me to apply my marketing experience to my clients from the range of industries I have been lucky enough to work in.

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

 M.H: I relish the opportunity to work with businesses to make marketing work for them. Whether this is with big businesses and their marketing teams or small enterprises who perhaps don’t have a sufficient in-house marketing resource or maybe don’t want to engage with a full services agency but would like an experienced marketer to work with them for a period of time. This is where In and Out Marketing can help. So far, In and Out Marketing has worked with KnowledgeBase and Pinergy and I am actively looking to take on new projects during 2018. In and Out Marketing is all about offering a personal, practical hands-on service and my starting point is listening to clients and understanding what marketing problems or issues they may be facing in their business. I will meet with businesses, at no cost, to explore if and how In and Out Marketing might assist a business with marketing. Any business who would like to contact me, can email me at or complete the contact form on my website

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

 M.H: I was very fortunate to work with great role models in my early career, among them Tom McGowan, Kevin Donnelly and Barbara Patton from whom I learned a great deal. I am inspired by Natalie Massenet founder of Net-A-Porter, Lady Michelle Mone founder of Ultimo & Jo Malone founder of Jo Malone and Jo Loves for their passion and perseverance and because their businesses and brands have made a powerful and enduring connection with their customers and they place customer experience at the centre of their business. I admire Sir Richard Branson for the way that he brings his people along with him and respects all those who work with him. All his Virgin businesses demonstrate the essence of teamwork. I was lucky enough to attend this year’s Pendulum Summit to see some of my role models speak, which was so inspiring. Going back to where I started with my psychology degree I now have a new person I look to for inspiration and that is Dr Martyn Newman, a psychologist with an international reputation as an expert in emotional intelligence and leadership who tells us of the key skills we need to become great leaders and that we need to learn how to quiet the noisiness of our world today to develop peaceful minds in order to make good clear decisions. I think I can learn a lot from him and I never want to stop learning.

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Your Agency Has a Brand Too and It Won't Market Itself

Posted By Jill Byrne, Rothco, Wednesday 7 February 2018
Updated: Tuesday 6 February 2018

Jill Byrne Rothco

Rothco's director of marketing Jill Byrne says great work speaks for itself but it can’t be relied on to build your agency brand.

It’s an age-old industry cliché, but for professionals who help to build brands for a living, we aren’t so good at building our own. I think it’s probably even fair to say that agencies are notoriously poor at marketing themselves. We tend to criticise clients who don't take marketing seriously or don’t have a CMO on their board – yet the advertising industry rarely does this itself.
Too often we rely on the reputation and quality of our output to define our agency brand. And while our work does say a great deal about who we are, it cannot and should not be relied on solely.
The most successful agencies in the world don’t only continuously talk about their work, but also their people, their personality and their business. They create good content for themselves as well as their clients and almost all of the time they have a full-time person doing it. 
However, many agencies tend to see the role of a CMO as somewhat of a luxury. Because the CMO function in an agency isn’t billable, it can take longer for the return on the investment to deliver. Therefore, many don’t always recognise the value in having one – particularly smaller agencies.  But success just doesn’t happen by chance and like any of the ambitious brands we work with, our own marketing ambition needs a focussed strategy to get there. It’s forward thinking and brave businesses that invest to challenge themselves to be better. 
If there is no CMO, then the marketing task is often taken on by MD or CEO level, but if you have someone dedicated to growing your brand, you can get on with the very important job of running your agency. This not only gives you more time but can open the mind to new opportunities and things you may not have considered before when you are growing your brand. 
Since we created the Marketing Director role in Rothco our goal has been to develop an international profile strategy that makes the world sit up and take notice of us and our work. Initiatives which have helped include us sitting on international judging panels; publishing thought pieces; and speaking on stage at events such as Advertising Week and Cannes. 
Whilst we have always attended Cannes, historically our presence and role there has been passive. Instead of blending in with the thousands of delegates who attend, we wanted to stand out and have a more meaningful presence. In the past three years, we’ve spoken on the main stage; delivered two talks and a workshop; sponsored the Young Lions Competitions and hosted many private networking events. We’ve also won our first two Lions during this period, so all in all it’s been a succesful part of our strategy.
Equally, the marketing role was also created out of a desire for us to help our clients have the work we develop for them recognised and celebrated around the world.

If our clients are prepared to invest time, budgets and confidence in us, we should strive to ensure that their work gets the attention it deserves. Again, this doesn’t just happen. Amongst all the clutter, feeds and paid for presence out there, it’s increasingly challenging to get the right work in front of the right people. However, in the space of three years, we have managed to increase our international press coverage by 177%. This in turn has resulted in a 98% increase in our web and social traffic.
Rothco have always had an ambition to grow our reputation and that of our clients beyond our shores, and to do that we need to cast our net far and wide. We’re always on the lookout to make new friends who can give us new perspectives, ideas and opportunities. This is undoubtedly the best part of the role for me as it constantly forces us to consider new ways of doing things and reminds us that success is a journey, not a destination. So, whilst it seems mad to write that more marketers need marketing marketers, it’s about time agencies started showing their own brands more love. 


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