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A Day in the Life of... Conor O'Donovan, Head of Marketing & Communications at Enterprise Ireland

Posted By Administration, Wednesday 15 May 2019

Conor O'Donovan

What does a Head of Marketing & Communications at Enterprise Ireland do?

The most important element of my role is to lead the Corporate Marketing & Communications function to support the achievement of Enterprise Ireland’s organisational objectives, which are to build the scale and expand the reach of Irish companies, to grow exports and jobs, and to add economic value to the country.

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government's trade and export agency responsible for helping Irish companies to start-up, innovate and scale globally. Last year Enterprise Ireland invested €23m in start-up companies.

That makes it a broad and varied role, which involves leading global PR and communications - making sure that an awareness of the innovation and capabilities of Irish companies is built across the world - helping to drive digital transformation strategies so that we keep up with important technologies, and rolling out marketing campaigns to ensure we are reaching Irish companies and their potential customers. The role involves engaging teams in a range of sectors in Ireland and overseas from farming to fintech, as well as engaging the media and B2B audiences at home and abroad, to ensure Irish businesses are supported to compete internationally.

 

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

I graduated with a B.Comm from UCD and began my career with Enterprise Ireland on its International Graduate Programme, based in the UK, which gave me a great grounding in international marketing and business development. I subsequently went into a family business in the private sector which we developed and sold, and later worked with a start-up tech company. More recently, I was director of communications and marketing with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, the largest representative body for the property and construction sector in Ireland.

While I was there, I was lucky enough to win the Irish Times / UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School MBA Scholarship following a national competition. My MBA thesis was on a market entry strategy for a new fintech start-up company that Enterprise Ireland had invested in. Meeting the founders and working on the market strategy reignited my interest in entrepreneurship and international business, which led me back to Enterprise Ireland and this role.

In a way, it feels like I have come full circle and am fortunate to be able to bring my start-up, SME and large organisation marketing leadership experience to drive marketing and communications programs with the ambitious aim of significantly growing Irish business.

 

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

The biggest challenge facing our clients is Brexit and the uncertainty it represents. Enterprise Ireland has been preparing for a hard Brexit since before the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

Brexit also reflects one of the largest professional challenges faced in this role. Since 2016, we have been implementing marketing and communications programmes in Ireland and internationally to support Irish exporters to respond to the challenges and opportunities that Brexit presents. As an Agency, we must always stay ahead of the curve in terms of market volatility, trade risks and innovation and future technology trends, to be ready to support Irish businesses when they need it to pre-empt and respond to global trends in an agile way.

Recognising the need to support Irish exporters through Brexit, we developed a Prepare for Brexit campaign and launched a PrepareforBrexit.com website, which has been cited by the European Commission as an exemplar of advanced contingency planning for Brexit. I am delighted that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for the All Ireland Marketing Awards.

 

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

A number of skills are essential in this role. Strategic thinking is critical at a time when the pace of change in international business is more rapid than ever. Enterprise Ireland has an ambitious strategy.  

In order for the organisation to achieve its ambitions, the Marketing & Communications function needs to be laser-focused on supporting the delivery of that strategy even as the landscape around us changes. Leadership, operations and communications skills are also critical in order to deliver this.

Stakeholder engagement skills are important as we engage with people right across the organisation, across the business community and client base, and across Government.

Problem solving and a strong grounding in finance are also skills that I must bring to my role on a daily basis. 

Importantly, a strategy can’t be delivered alone, so you must empower people, and motivate your team and everyone in the organisation to help get the job done.

 

Describe a typical working day.

My days are usually very varied and very busy. I am in the office early working on plans and catching up on emails which can often come through overnight from colleagues overseas. We have 34 international offices (and rising) and a key focus for the marketing team is implementing international digital marketing campaigns to promote Irish exporters to international B2B buyers across 31 of sectors and markets through our IrishAdvantage.com platform.

Depending on the day of the week, I will usually spend the rest of the day in meetings, with the communications and marketing team, with cross-functional teams with colleagues from across the organisation on a range of initiatives and upcoming campaigns and events.

On a typical day, I might meet with the IT team to define how we improve our digital presence, review pitches from our agency to ensure our campaign messaging will be clearly understood, present plans and performance to senior stakeholders, engage with Government departments around upcoming job announcements or to discuss international communications plans around upcoming trade missions or trade events.

 

What do you love most about your role?

The best part of my role is getting to work with fantastic people right across the organisation who are passionate about the Agency’s purpose – which is to help Irish exporters to grow their businesses in Ireland and overseas. These exporters are champions of Irish industry and, while they aren’t all household names, they employ over 215,000 people in towns, cities and villages across Ireland – roughly the same as multinational companies located here.

The jobs they provide are the lifeblood of the economy and each new jobs announcement by a small or medium-sized business we support is a cause for celebration. Getting to see those companies bring their latest innovations - across agritech, medtech, AI, robotics and digital technologies, and construction - to the world stage is amazing.

We are a small country that makes a big impact and the companies that Enterprise Ireland champions are central to that success.

 

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

I am enjoying my work and enjoy supporting the important contribution Enterprise Ireland is making to Irish businesses and the wider economy. I have my hands full at present!

 

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

It’s inspiring to work with one of Ireland’s great CEOs at Enterprise Ireland. Julie Sinnamon’s vision, commitment and passion set the tone for the whole organisation and her belief in Irish business is beyond compare.

Our board is filled with the best of Irish business acumen, from those who built impressive careers in multinationals to those who steered family businesses and tech companies to huge success.

Our client base of Irish entrepreneurs is hugely inspiring. These are the founders and their teams who have developed businesses and crossed the globe to win new business in new markets. Every week I’m amazed by the exceptional founders and leaders of Irish SMEs that we work with. 

In general, I am inspired by the professionalism, commitment and willingness to go the extra mile for Irish businesses that I see across Enterprise Ireland from our leadership team, to colleagues across the agency in Ireland, to our overseas teams who aligned to our mission to grow great Irish companies with global ambition.

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AIM Awards 2019: Meet the Judges (part 2)

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 8 May 2019
Updated: Tuesday 7 May 2019

Only one week to go until the AIM Awards 2019! Before we announce the winners at our gala night on Thursday 16th May, we're delighted 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.

 

Petre SandruPetre Sandru

Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland

Petre Șandru is Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland. In this role, Petre leads the Irish team as it supports the growth of each brand in the Coca-Cola portfolio by developing and implementing well-defined business strategies.
Petre has 12 years of experience within Coca-Cola. Initially he was Brand Manager and then moved on to become Commercial Director for Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Albania and later Country Manager for Romania & Moldova. In this latter role, Petre was recognised for his leadership skills, winning the People Leader of the Year award in the Central and Eastern Europe Business Unit. 
Petre graduated from the Polytechnic University in Bucharest and has a diploma from the New York Institute of Professional Photography, as photography is one of his passions.


Cliona Hayes Clíona Hayes 

Director of Global B2B Marketing Communications, Indeed

Clíona has over 15 years’ experience across a variety of industries spanning, FMCG, media and tech.  A is a highly impactful Marketing Director with a comprehensive background in creating & implementing strategic plans that increase company value.  In 2016 she was ranked in 2nd position in the Business & Finance Top 100 Chief Marketing Officers in Ireland.
Currently Clíona is Director of Global B2B Marketing Communications with Indeed, where she leads the strategy and implementation of advertising campaigns across all of Indeed's global markets.  
Previously Clíona held the positions with Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard and Communicorp. In her last position of Group Marketing Director with Communicorp Cliona lead teams responsible for marketing and advertising for the country’s leading media brands including Newstalk, TodayFM, 98FM and Spin1038. In this role she was also part of the core management team to launch the online retailer AppliancesDelivered.ie.  


Martin McBrideMartin McBride  

Managing Partner, Envision

Martin McBride has over 30 years’ experience in international business, initially in industry and more recently in consultancy, and on the Boards of companies that are working to build international markets.
Industry involved international apparel and furnishings; and financial services. Then, following periods in Price Waterhouse, and Capita, Martin established Envision and has built it into a niche consultancy practice (operating in Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia) focused on:
- International strategy
- International market entry, building international sales channels, channel partner development;
- International Bid / Tender Opportunities in the public sector, and private sector supply chains:  
Martin (and Envision) works both indigenous and international / multinational companies in Ireland Scotland & Scandinavia – that are targeting and building new business in Global Markets.
In addition to his consultancy activities, Martin is on the Board of a number of exporting companies in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 

Laughlin RigbyLaughlin Rigby

Marketing Director, Glenveagh Properties

Laughlin Rigby is Marketing Director with leading Irish homebuilder Glenveagh Properties PLC (who operate two divisions in Ireland; Glenveagh Homes, who are significantly scaling up their housing development operations and Glenveagh Living, who undertake joint ventures and partnerships in the PRS and mixed-tenure sectors.) Laughlin has previously held senior roles with The Irish Times where as Head of Marketing, where he was responsible for their ADFX winning marketing strategy that has successfully guided the organisation through its transition from print to digital.  Laughlin has also held senior marketing positions within Tourism Ireland, Unilever, The Gathering and Queensland Tourism.  Laughlin holds a B.Comm from UCD and a M.Sc. in Marketing Practice from Smurfit Business School and has previously won 2 All-Ireland Marketing Awards for his work with Tourism Ireland in 2007 and The Gathering in 2014.

 

Geoff LyonsGeoff Lyons

Managing Director, PML Group

Geoff Lyons is Managing Director of PML Group, Ireland’s largest Out of Home Advertising Agency. Geoff has had an extensive career across a wide range of media & marketing disciplines including publishing, media sales, sponsorship, PR, digital, brand management and commercial management. He spent 18 years with Independent News & Media across all commercial areas of the business holding the position of Marketing Director and his last role prior to joining PML Group was that of Commercial Director. Geoff is a Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, he holds an MSc in Marketing and is a Director of JNOR.

 

 

Nicola WeldonNicola Weldon

IOI Marketing & Category Director, Kerry Foods

Nicola Weldon holds the position of IOI Marketing & Category Director within Kerry Foods.   
Grown from its origins as a small dairy cooperative in rural Ireland, Kerry Foods is the leading supplier of chilled and frozen food products in Ireland, the UK and selected European markets.  
Nicola has responsibility for an extensive portfolio, which includes some of Ireland’s most loved brands including Denny, Dairygold, Strings & Things, Galtee & Charleville to name but a few.  Her role spans a varied and exciting spectrum of strategic and commercial leadership.
Some recent highlights along with her team include the significant performance turnaround of the Denny brand in 2018, and the recent 2019 evolution of the Dairygold Make a Minute campaign. 
Nicola has over 15 years marketing experience within the FMCG sector. She holds a MSC in Marketing, and diplomas in PR & Event Management, and Digital Marketing.  

 
 
 

Gearóid TrimbleGearóid Trimble

Community & Business Manager, Foras na Gaeilge

Gearóid is responsible for developing and implementing Foras na Gaeilge’s support programme for the island-wide business sector. With over 15 years’ experience in advising and assisting thousands of SMEs in utilising the unique branding and marketing qualities of the Irish language, he has overseen an innovative approach with the wider business sector through peer-led research, partnership and funding. 
Gearóid holds a PhD in Irish Language, a Diploma in Financial Administration & Management and a Higher Certificate in Business Enterprise & Development. 

 



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RWC on the horizon as Best Joins Onside Panel

Posted By Onside, Wednesday 8 May 2019
Updated: Tuesday 7 May 2019

Rory Best Onside

With just 19 weeks until Ireland’s first game against Scotland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in the International Stadium in Yokohama, an indication of the large footprint of early public interest in the quadrennial tournament is evidenced in the 56% of adults in Ireland already expressing interest in the landmark event, according to new research from sponsorship experts ONSIDE.

And as 3 in 10 Irish adults are already revealing high levels of anticipation for the tournament in Japan, the new research flags that for sponsors looking to stand-out around the event, their brands will need to really up their activation game plans.  John Trainor, CEO of ONSIDE, notes that “our most recent research found 57% of Irish adults are asking for sponsors to go beyond putting their name on something and to interact with fans in more creative ways.  Now, more than ever, fans want sponsors to help them experience real, rather than digital, life experiences through their sponsorships, and sponsors that really understand this will get an advantage in this increasingly competitive space, particularly those reaching out to young adults”.

ONSIDE’s quarterly sponsorship monitor saw Six Nations’ new sponsors Guinness and Irish Rugby Team main sponsors Vodafone top the poll of Ireland’s most admired sports sponsors in Q1 2019, while IRFU partners Aldi also showed significant gains in the latest market overview.

The new research comes on foot of the ONSIDE team announcing the appointment of Irish Rugby Captain Rory Best, as a senior consultant on its sports advisory panel, alongside GAA star Joe Canning and Jon Long, former head of strategy at the International Cricket Council.

The advisory role will see Rory Best, who recently announced his plans to retire from rugby post this year’s Rugby World Cup, link up with the leading sponsorship and research experts, as part of plans to uncover breakthrough new insights around how sports and sponsorships impact sponsors businesses and brands and those of sports organisations and personalities.

Best said: "As I look ahead to my time post playing rugby for Ireland and Ulster, I’m extremely excited to get behind the ONSIDE team to help their strong ambition to develop world class solutions in sports intelligence. ONSIDE has already built a strong reputation for itself in the sponsorship game and I can identify with how this unique data driven approach can play an important part in the future of sports business in the decade to come.”

ONSIDE Founder John Trainor, added: “We are delighted to welcome Rory as a strategic advisor at ONSIDE.  His perspectives in particular in Rugby and Leadership are exceptional, and he will be an important part of the expert advisory team being built at ONSIDE to make game changing impacts on the outcomes of our client’s strategies and investments.”


About ONSIDE:

ONSIDE is a pioneering consultancy specialising in Sponsorship & Research Services in Europe. With extensive experience in independent insights, negotiation, activation, measurement and analysis the Dublin based operation bring synchronised intelligence and objectivity to ensure sponsorship advantage for many of Ireland and Europe’s Top sponsors. 


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

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A Day in the Life of... Jerry Crowley, Marketing Manager at Johnson & Perrott Motor Dealerships

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 8 May 2019
Updated: Tuesday 7 May 2019

Jerry Crowley

What does a Marketing Manager at Johnson & Perrott Motor Dealerships do?

I am responsible for all marketing activities for our eight franchises and three dealerships, this includes activity across our Sales, Service, Parts & Bodyshop departments. It’s a challenging role in a highly competitive industry and one that involves being able to move fluidly across both traditional and digital channels in order to reach customers.


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

A passion for the industry, education and a little bit of luck all played a part. I completed a Bachelor of Business Studies from CIT and then a Masters in International Management from Oxford Brookes University. I knew at this point that I wanted to start a career in marketing, and I was lucky to get my start in the automotive industry while the Celtic Tiger was at its peak. Since then I have worked with brands such as BMW, MINI, Land Rover, Peugeot and Ford. In my current role I have added SEAT, Honda, Volvo, Jaguar, KIA & Opel to that list.
 
I firmly believe in education and the power of networking, to that end when I moved back to Cork I volunteered as a committee member for the Cork branch of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and regularly attend marketing events and seminars. I also recently went back to college to get an MBA from the University of Limerick and for a time lectured in marketing at the Cork Institute of Technology.


What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

The motor trade is unique in many ways and has recently experienced a paradigm shift in both its use of technology and buyer behaviour. The term disruptive innovation certainly applies - where new technologies displace old, while simultaneously creating new opportunities. My biggest challenge is to react to this and help communicate our products, services and the new ways of ownership to our customers. The market is constantly evolving, making it a challenge to keep apace and not confuse our marketing message.
 

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

You need to be flexible and be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This involves everything from involvement in high level strategy meetings, to hammering stakes at a trade show. You must also be able to multi-task efficiently and not be afraid to make hard choices. I have also found my love of learning is a great asset, particularly as I find my role keeps changing. Without regular upskilling I believe I would swiftly be at a disadvantage.


 
Describe a typical working day. 

A typical working day can start at any of our dealerships as I ensure to maintain a presence at each location weekly. The first hour or so of the day is then spent working my way through emails and social media. After that, the day becomes a little more flexible as it depends on what’s considered a priority for that week. We often have events, sponsorships and campaigns running so it is important to check in to review metrics and ROI. There are two of us on the marketing team and we collaborate daily to ensure there is no crossover. It’s a balancing act as we have to ensure that our company and the eight franchises we represent get equal attention and that for each, we are on track to achieve their targets.
 
Recently we have been spending a large amount of time on content generation for the creation of a new group website along with integrated SEO and supporting digital campaigns. We are also planning for the opening of a new dealership for Volvo in June, (following on from the successful launch of a new dealership for Jaguar Land Rover last September). Naturally as we get closer to the license plate changes (192 in July and 201 next January) more time will be spent knuckling down into seasonal marketing campaigns for new car sales across both traditional and digital channels.

What do you love most about your role?

That every day is different to the last! With this role, there is great autonomy and I love the challenges it presents. I also have an innate love of both technology and motors, fortunately the motor trade is one which marries both and allows me to work in an industry for which I have a genuine passion.
 
*Note: This year, our company won the “Great places to work” and “Deloitte's best managed company” awards. On top of that it has a very strong CSR program and places an emphasis on training as a priority. This level of support greatly enhances the role.


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

The motor trade will always need good marketing. With all the current and upcoming changes, from ownership models, electrification and the rise of autonomous vehicles, there will be plenty of opportunity to grow within it.


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

There is no one person but certainly the people I work with, and for, have often (and I assume will continue to be) been role models and have taught me much over the years. I also read and follow the material of many influencers globally from both outside and within the motor industry. I try to take a little from each of these and replicate what best suits the task on hand.

Tags:  BMW Ireland  Ford Ireland  Honda Ireland  Jaguar Ireland  Johnson & Perrott  Kia Ireland  Land Rover Ireland  MINI Ireland  Opel Ireland  Peugeot Ireland  SEAT Ireland  Volvo Ireland 

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Maggie Timoney named as recipient of All Ireland Marketing Champion award

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 1 May 2019

maggie timoney

Dublin, 1st May 2019: The Marketing Institute of Ireland has announced that Maggie Timoney of Heineken USA is the recipient of the 2019 All Ireland Marketing Champion award.

The award will be presented on Thursday 16th May at the All Ireland Marketing Awards gala dinner in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin. Almost 900 marketing professionals will gather to honour 90 shortlisted finalist companies, selected from among hundreds of entries, who are competing across 18 categories, making up what is a showcase of Irish marketing achievement. The award winners will be announced on the night by RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson.

Maggie Timoney, a native of Ballina, Co. Mayo, is President and CEO of Heineken USA.

Prior to her current role, Maggie was CEO of Heineken Ireland, where she over-delivered on volume, revenue, profit and market share targets while accomplishing year on year increases in employee engagement.

Having started with Heineken USA in 1998 as a National Sales Planning Manager, Maggie transferred to the Netherlands in 2001, where she held multiple global roles. After a period as GM of Heineken Canada, she returned to Heineken USA in 2010, as Senior VP of Human Resources.

Before joining HEINEKEN, Maggie worked at Sound Distributing, an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler in the Bronx, New York and held several commercial positions from 1993 to 1998, including three years as Vice President of Sales.
 
Maggie is a graduate of Iona College in New York, receiving both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees. While at Iona, she starred for the women’s basketball team and later went on to captain the Irish Women’s National Basketball Team. Maggie currently resides in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

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