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The Evolving Role of Marketing, For Success

Posted By By Bernie Keogh, Managing Director of Alternatives, Wednesday 9 January 2019
Updated: Tuesday 8 January 2019

Bernie Keogh Alternatives

As we kickstart a new year, we reflect on the evolving and exciting role of marketing and on the common traits of the most successful marketers.

 

Marketing is a profession unlike any other in terms of the incredible diversity of roles and skill sets 

Today the role of marketing is incredibly varied and increasingly specialist with significant variations in terms of functions, skill sets, expertise and KPIs across businesses and industry sectors as technology and data drive much of the transformation happening in business. It has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer as many businesses align their focus to the central goal of marketing, which is to drive profitable growth by creating value for the customer. Indeed, the use of new technologies aided by data and analytics makes it easier today for marketers in certain industry sectors to segment and target customers with precision in real time and to demonstrate their effectiveness at generating demand and converting intention to purchase along the customer journey in a way that has never before been possible.

 

Responsibilities and metrics also vary between companies and industry sectors

Commonly most CMOs/Marketing Directors and their teams have responsibility for marketing strategy and implementation, brand strategy, insight generation and customer metrics – but beyond that the range of responsibilities from pricing to sales, innovation, lead or demand generation, corporate reputation, digital strategy, e-commerce, customer experience, data analytics and distribution differs significantly between sectors. In our last Alternatives & MII survey, results suggest that in some sectors such as construction, logistics, professional services, education and healthcare, marketing tends to be viewed as a less strategic function limited to brand and communications and as a cost rather than an investment, but in many sectors such as drinks, food, gaming, e-commerce and motor, marketing plays a central role in determining the business strategy to achieve commercial objectives and drive growth with marketers often having P&L responsibility.

 

Differing attitudes and understanding about the role of marketing persist

The variations in responsibilities and metrics can be explained by differing attitudes and understanding of what marketing is and what it can deliver. Indeed, the increased complexity and varied nature of marketing today makes it a challenge for companies when it comes to determining the role marketing should play in the company and hiring CMOs. Frequently there is a mismatch between the expectations of the organisation and the actual remit of the role because of the general confusion and lack of uniform expectations about the role of marketing in general and the knowledge and skill differences among marketers. It is common for job descriptions to describe a role in which the CMO is expected to change the overall performance of the business yet doesn’t oversee the pricing, innovation, CX, sales and distribution channels or budgets to deliver it. Or classically for a company to say they want to become more customer driven and customer focused without the actual appetite to invest in those areas and change how they operate.

 

The common traits of the most successful marketers and marketing teams

Many of Ireland’s most successful marketers overcome these challenges by essentially co-creating their role, responsibilities and metrics with their CEO or senior executive team after detailed discussions regarding the future strategy of the organisation, organisation structure and short to long term commercial objectives, thereby avoiding the pitfall of a mismatch between expectations, responsibilities and actual ability to have an impact.

Successful senior marketers are also very adept at understanding that companies have different needs, challenges and goals and they adapt their discourse to speak the same language as the business. So, for example in FMCG the discourse is centred on consumer insights, brand and innovation; in Financial Services, Utilities and Tech, the language of marketers will be around customer and products, proposition development or CX; in B2B organisations it will shift from customer to client, from brand to reputation, from values to culture, depending on the context and the audience.

Successful marketing teams also ensure their focus and metrics are aligned with the commercial objectives of the business. They learn the language of the boardroom and seek to align marketing activity to the business metrics which matter to the executive team. Where they are not in the position to take on end to end commercial metrics due to lack of ownership of the end to end sales funnel, they work with their peers in sales, product management and technology to agree and co-share relevant metrics.

Successful marketers also demonstrate tremendous dexterity and agility in their thinking and are empirical in their approach. They challenge, create hypotheses about marketing interventions, ask which behavioural assumptions would need to be correct for their hypothesis to hold true and what data would disprove it. They are willing to change their minds publicly when new data proves them wrong and experiment and learn from failure. They are more attached to demonstrating effectiveness and delivering ROI than the campaigns they develop. Critically they recognise that although the principles of great marketing remain the same whatever the sector, the brand or whatever names it goes by, it is there to serve the interests of the business and not the other way around. They inculcate this understanding within their teams.

 

A bright future

Marketing remains one of the truly customer centric and market focused functions within the organisation which can directly impact how and the frequency with which customers purchase or engage with the business. Which other function in an organisation has to the same extent such a strategic view of the customer and how to grow a brand or business-as well as the ability to partner internally with other parts of the business and externally-to drive that growth?

As long as we continue to nuance our discourse, align our activities to the business metrics which matter and resolutely seek to achieve and demonstrate commercial effectiveness while building great brands, products and services that customers will want to buy, the future looks bright. Indeed, there is significant reason to believe that as long as we are ambitious enough, we will continue to go all the way to the top in ever increasing numbers.


About the author

Bernie Keogh is Managing Director of Alternatives, the marketing and customer talent solutions business.

www.alternatives.ie

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Meet the Speaker: Q&A with Michael Browne of MCCP

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 January 2019
Updated: Tuesday 8 January 2019

Michael Browne MCCP

Michael Browne, Senior Innovation & Brand Strategist at MCCP will speak at our upcoming Marketing Breakfast on discuss how human needs, emotions and motivations ultimately trump technological disruption.

 

Michael started at MCCP in summer 2018 after spending two years in London where he worked as a strategic planner at TMW Unlimited – a customer engagement agency

Since joining MCCP, Michael has worked with Bord Bia to develop their Global Food Brand proposition. He led the development of a cider strategy proposition for the Heineken portfolio and led the strategic vision for Irish Distillers global in-house digital creative department.

Michael was a digital media planner for Carat for a number of years after working in NYC as a digital strategist with Blast Radius, a global digital agency and part of WPP group

Michael is passionate about brand development, digital media, technology and innovation



Ahead of the event he shares with us his career highlights, the challenges facing the marketing industry and more.

 

1. You have an extensive Marketing background, what would you consider are some key career highlights?

Having the opportunity to work abroad in London and NYC and getting the experience of being on large global accounts. It made me look at the world in a broader context.

 

2. What are the main challenges facing your industry at the moment?

As big data and automation threaten to overrun our industry we must not forget that we are still in the business of connecting with humans and must remember not to squeeze the humanity from what we do.  

 

3. What’s one piece of advice would you give your 25-year old self?

Less is more, Focus on clarity over complexity. Show the client what they need to know not how much you know.

 

4. Looking towards the next 12 months, what do you hope to achieve?

I’ve been involved in some great work and very diverse projects here at MCCP. We have some exciting projects already lined up for 2019 which I’m really looking forward to.

 

5. Your favourite recent marketing campaign?

I liked Chemistry’s recent ad for Dunnes Stores. It’s like all your childhood movies come together - a 30 sec TV version of Stranger Things.

 

6. One reason we should attend The Marketing Breakfast Series in partnership with MCCP with you?

We are paid for our objectivity so we need to be exposed to as many different ideas and ways of thinking as possible. The Marketing Breakfast Series is a great way to meet new people and network in the industry.

 

Book your place for the Marketing Breakfast with Keith McCormack:

Where: Fire Restaurant, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
When: Wednesday 16th January, 7:45 - 9:00am

Register here

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Our Top 5 Marketing Books for Christmas

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 12 December 2018
Updated: Tuesday 11 December 2018

marketing books

With the holidays just around the corner, now is a great time to start picking your 2019 reads. So whether you are looking for a solid present for a marketing colleague, or for something to include on your own list to Santa, look no further than these five marketing books.

2018 has been all about going back to the basics and focusing on strategy. These books will give you the knowledge and tools you need to do great, effective marketing that drives success in your organisation.

 

The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy:
Boost your business, manage risk and develop your personal brand

By Martin Thomas 

social media strategy“Social media is transforming every aspect of our businesses lives, yet few of us have the skills to make the most of the opportunity.

The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy is your definitive guide to harnessing the power of social media. Through user-friendly language, practical guidance, inspirational case studies and proven methodologies, you can gain a competitive advantage by generating better results, making more sales, building stronger and more valuable networks and enhancing the potency of your personal digital brand.”

 

 

This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See

By Seth Godin 

“Over the past quarter century, Seth Godin has inspired millions of entrepreneurs, leaders and fans from all walks of life. Now, for the first time, he offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one accessible, timeless package.

At the heart of his approach is a big idea: Great marketers don't use consumers to solve their company's problem; they use marketing to solve other people's problems. They don't just make noise; they make the world better. Truly powerful marketing is grounded in generosity, empathy, and emotional labor.

Learn how to identify the smallest viable audience, build trust and permission with your market, adopt the narratives your fans already use, find the guts to create and release tension and, most of all, give people the tools and stories they can use to achieve their goals.

It's time to stop lying, spamming, and feeling guilty about your work. It's time to stop confusing social media metrics with true connections. It's time to stop wasting money on stolen attention that won't pay off in the long run. It's time to be seen first by learning how to see.”

 

  

The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy

By Richard Shotton

“Before you can influence decisions, you need to understand what drives them. In The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton sets out to help you learn. By observing a typical day of decision-making, from trivial food choices to significant work-place moves, he investigates how our behaviour is shaped by psychological shortcuts. With a clear focus on the marketing potential of knowing what makes us tick, Shotton has drawn on evidence from academia, real-life ad campaigns and his own original research. 

The Choice Factory is written in an entertaining and highly-accessible format, with 25 short chapters, each addressing a cognitive bias and outlining simple ways to apply it to your own marketing challenges. Supporting his discussion, Shotton adds insights from new interviews with some of the smartest thinkers in advertising, including Rory Sutherland, Lucy Jameson and Mark Earls. From priming to the pratfall effect, charm pricing to the curse of knowledge, the science of behavioural economics has never been easier to apply to marketing. The Choice Factory is the new advertising essential.” 

 

How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up

By Les Binet & Sarah Carter 

“In the sink or swim world of planners, strategists and their clients, now more than ever, there is a need for a practical handbook to guide us through all the main parts of the process. And thanks to Les Binet and Sarah Carter at Adam&eveDDB we now have just that. The original inspiration for the book was a set of articles that they wrote for Admap over 6 years. In these they set out to bust a lot of myths and nonsense that swirl around marketing and communications by using evidence-based approaches and interesting examples to make their points. We've been working with them to turn this treasure chest of wisdom into a practical guide. We've called it How Not To Plan in reference to its myth busting antecedents and in homage to an old but much loved set of essays published back in 1979 in an APG book called 'How to Plan Advertising'. 

The How Not to Plan of 2018 is a manageably sized handbook which leaves room for your scribbles and notes and can be read as a guide or used as a constant helpful reference point. It's loosely based on the Planning Cycle and is grouped into themes that are important at different stages in the process, covering everything from how to set objectives, the 4 Ps, research and analysis, to briefing, creative work and media and effectiveness At the end of each chapter you'll find a simple 2-minute check list for how to do it better, a short case study showing how it's done brilliantly, a space for your notes and further reading for the intellectually gifted...”

 

 

Eat Your Greens

By Wiemer Snijders 

“How can we sell more, to more people, and for more money? 

The marketing world is awash with myths, misconceptions, dubious metrics and tactics that bear little relation to our actual buying behaviour. 

Eat Your Greens is inspired by the genuine advances in marketing science. It challenges us to change the way we think, by taking the huge body of knowledge gained from data and technology and applying the best evidence based thinking to the practice of marketing and communications. 

The papers are written by some of most respected practitioners in the industry, offering a diverse range of perspectives on how to do more effective marketing, and with an intellectual generosity of spirit from which we can all profit.”

 

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A Day in the Life of... Andy Pierce, Group Strategy Director at Core

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 5 December 2018
Updated: Monday 3 December 2018

Andy Pierce Core

What does a Group Strategy Director at Core do? 

In a nutshell, we help marketers turn business plans into actionable marketing plans, so that everything is focused on achieving the business ambition. 

Strategy has three simple parts: a diagnosis of the problem, a guiding principle to overcome it, and a coherent set of actions to drive it forward. 

To develop these elements, we work closely with several different practices within Core: research, data, creative, sponsorship and media, both individually and collectively. Core’s vision is to expand the possibilities of what brands can achieve through collaboration, and we’re very fortunate to have such a breadth of expertise to call on.

The type of strategy we develop varies. It covers everything from developing brand and positioning strategy right through to connections and investment. 



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

It was a gradual evolution. Joining Core was the key move for me. I had worked in media trading and planning before, but moving here initially gave me the opportunity to lead the planning for one of the media agencies initially. That was a great learning experience, as I was working with international colleagues and a range of different marketers. 

After moving out of media into Core, it’s been a case of right place, right time. As Core’s offering has developed through Research and Data in particular, it’s given us access to a wealth of information which helps enormously. I’m also very lucky that I work with a diverse group of strategists with different backgrounds, so I get to learn (steal!) from them as well.



What is the biggest challenge you face in your role? 

 Time is probably the biggest one. Getting the strategy right is vital for other parts of the team to move forward coherently. But to do it justice we have to look at the brief from a number of different angles and explore different directions. Again, we’re very fortunate, as we can lean heavily on our colleagues in other practices to help us gather information and develop insight at a fast pace. On the other hand, the constraint of a deadline can be quite helpful too.



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

I think it varies for different types of strategists, but a few are common. You have to be curious – about people, business, and marketing. You have to be thorough in digging through as much information as possible with an open mind. Accountability is vital; actions have to be linked to the ultimate objective. Lastly, brevity. Good strategy should resolve complex problems simply. 

I think an analytical mindset helps – but I regularly get teased for liking spreadsheets!

Describe a typical working day. 

It’s probably easier to describe a week. We start with a capacity planning meeting within the team, before meeting Data and Research to see where we can support each other on shared projects.

Then it’s into the meat of the work. We tend to have three types of work: stand-alone projects; shared projects with Research and Data, where we build their findings into actionable marketing strategy; or working as part of the wider Core team including Creative, Sponsorship and/or Media.

We also keep two mornings free each week for internal sprint sessions. These are workshops we’ve designed to help any team or group across the agency develop strategic direction. Core is built on collaboration, so we bring a diverse mix into these sessions, armed with as much knowledge as possible, and work as a group to shape it into a strategic direction.



What do you love most about your role? 

Unquestionably it’s when you see the direction you helped to set succeed. Watching it get adopted and built upon by colleagues and clients, and develop into something even more powerful than you had envisaged, is very rewarding. But I also love the process. Especially when you get up to your armpits in the issue and worry that you’re in too deep. It can be a bit terrifying, but its usually a good sign that you understand the problem. That’s generally when you go and brainstorm the issue with someone else, which is always rewarding.



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

I’m a nerd when it comes to the science of advertising, and it feels like we’re coming into a bit of a golden age. I think there’s still a road ahead of us to keep making the case, but we’ve taken good first steps. That’s a journey I really want to be on, so I hope my career path can involve working more and more with clients to build that business case for marketing.

It’s also a really exciting time within Core. Working more closely together with a talented team that possess a mix of skills is leading to some fascinating new directions, and I’m excited to see what we can do together.



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

Three places - colleagues, books, and online industry resources. There’s a lot of expertise in our team, so talking through challenges is usually a great start and will open up a lot of avenues. I find there are a range of good online resources I go back to regularly, both local and international. We also have a library in Core, which we regularly steal from! And we are threating to start a book club for strategy titles, to keep information fresh and to share outtakes. 


About Core

Core employs a team of 310 people and consists of nine practices - Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy.  

Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the ninth year running.

Core Sponsorship was voted Best Sponsorship Agency at the 2017 Irish Sponsorship Awards. 

For further details, please check out https://onecore.ie

@Core_IRL

 

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Customer Engagement Benchmarking Report 2018: Ireland

Posted By Dataconversion, Wednesday 5 December 2018
Updated: Monday 3 December 2018

dataconversion report

Our customer engagement research report assessed the views of marketing & customer engagement (CE) leaders across all major industries on the changes that the industry will face in the next 12 months.

We took a closer look at the trends, challenges and investments that are shaping strategies and examine the way customer data can improve experience in the shape of a single customer view.

The research objective was to help companies to benchmark against their peers and competitors in order to achieve better success for their future customer engagement activities.

We hope that you will find this report to be a valuable tool that enables you to spot opportunities within your market.

 

Read the report

 

About Dataconversion

Dataconversion is a bespoke software development company based in Dublin. We work with some of Ireland's leading businesses to improve Customer Engagement through the integration of data, technology and communications. We are passionate about all aspects of the Customer Experience and believe that brands should seek to not only meet but exceed customer expectations.

About Amárach

Amárach is an innovative research and advisory agency, working with clients for over 25 years to turn information into insight, and insight into foresight. Amárach’s team of psychologists, economists and data analysts draws on market research and data analytic techniques to help its clients succeed and grow through a better understanding of their own customers’ needs – both now and in the future.

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