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Marketing Multiplied Report Reviews The Impact of Marketing Communications

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 31 January 2017

Core Media and the Association of Advertisers in Ireland have released a new report entitled Marketing Multiplied, which reviews the macroeconomic and microeconomic impact of marketing communications.

advertising roi

Authored by economists Chris John and Jim Power, and Alan Cox, CEO of Core Media, the report highlights the importance of marketing for corporate performance but also economic activity on a wider scale. Advertising in particular is shown to drive considerable growth. Every €1 invested in advertising in Ireland typically delivers a gross sales return of €8.26 and a net return on investment of €5.44.

However, corporate boardrooms tend to underestimate marketing’s contribution to an organisation’s success. Marketers are often absent from the boardroom, causing marketing to remain misunderstood and seen as an expense rather than an investment. The report recommends that marketers up their game by providing more accountability and demonstrating the strategic value of marketing, to help changing this mindset and gain recognition for their efforts.

short term marketing

Marketing Multiplied also warns against the rise of short-term marketing, which delivers weak long-term growth. Barry Dooley, CEO of the Association of Advertisers in Ireland, says this shift is damaging the effectiveness of creativity and the return on investment it generates. “Marketing really matters […].  It enriches the brands that people enjoy and trust. It contributes to society, not least by funding an independent, varied media and, fundamentally, it facilitates choice.”

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Mediaworks Launches Jargon Buster

Posted By Mediaworks, Monday 30 January 2017

Adland is rife with terminology and with the fast rate of change in our exciting media industry, new words and terms are added all the time. It was time that someone solved this dilemma!


Mediaworks have just launched a Jargon Buster to their website, in an effort to help marketers and ad executives understand the various marketing and media terms that are used throughout the industry both offline and online.


This is an A to Z terminology report which defines all of the both new and old terms that are used.


Go to Jargon Buster


jargon buster

Tags:  jargon buster  marketing jargon  marketing terminology 

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Chinese New Year: What we can all learn from China in the Year of the Fire Rooster

Posted By Colin Lewis, Friday 27 January 2017

chinese new year

This weekend marks Chinese New Year, called the 'Spring Festival' in China. Many millions of Chinese people travel back to their families in the provinces to celebrate the festival, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar. Starting from 28 January, celebrations will continue for around two weeks to welcome in the Year of the Rooster. Chinese New Year is based on the ancient lunar calendar, which means it changes each year.

In Chinese astrology, each zodiac year is not just associated with an animal sign, but also one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire or Earth. Both the zodiac sign and the element shape the astrology of the year. For example, 2017 is a Fire Rooster year. The celebrations end on the day of the full moon (Feb 11), with a Lantern Festival, where red lanterns are hung in homes and temples. 

Chinese people believe that what happens at New Year influences your fortunes in the year ahead. Indeed, I would argue that understanding China offers us all an insight to what is going to happen globally within technology and travel in 2017 and beyond. Let’s examine six important trends as we seek to learn from China…

The Future of Mobile

China, like many other developing markets, did not follow the pattern in the West of going from travel agent to PC to laptop to smartphone as their channel to book travel. Many consumers just went straight to the smartphone and have never engaged directly with a website. The Chinese technology industry — particularly mobile — has pulled ahead of what we see in the West. Handsets such as Xiaomi and Huawei have fantastic build quality, amazing performance, great storage, long battery life and look great. And this is before we start talking about the Apps that are available. Any visitor to China will immediately be struck with the ubiquity of the smartphone to the Chinese consumer. You think you thought Westerners are addicted to their phones? Wait till you visit Shanghai or Beijing: you will see that Chinese people live their life through their mobile phone. 

Chinese consumers are on smartphones at least two hours a day, Internet users in China reached 668 million in June 2015 and 549 million of those users, almost 90 percent, accessed the Internet on a mobile device. In other words, the number of Internet users in China is more than twice the population of the US and almost the population of Europe, and most of those individuals are walking around with a smartphone. But, this has barely started: the total number of Internet users represents less than half of China’s population of over 1.3 billion.

The question asked in the West is - what is our strategy for mobile? In China - mobile is the strategy.

The Future of Social

If you have not heard of WeChat, download it immediately. WeChat had 768 million daily users in 2016. That is 35% year-on-year growth. 50% of WeChat users are on the App for 90 minutes a day, and typically send around 80 messages. What is WeChat? Think of WhatsApp, mixed with Facebook and Twitter. And throw in Skype and Facetime. WeChat’s roots extend back to its original hit, the QQ instant-messaging program launched by Tencent.

The rise of WeChat is inextricably linked with the rise of the QR code – a technology that has long been under-utilised in the West. QR code  (Quick Response Code) is a type of two dimensional barcode that consists of square dots arranged in a grid on a white background and which can be read by an imaging device such as a mobile phone camera or a scanner. In China, the QR code has become the magic sauce of mobile commerce largely as a result of the success of WeChat. 

Given the success enjoyed by WeChat through the use of QR codes, all the major internet giants in China such as Alibaba, Baidu and Sina Weibo have added a built-in QR code reader to their own Apps to easily connect their users to additional services and content via any mobile device, anytime, anywhere.

But WeChat is much more powerful than just gaming or chatting. It is also disrupting CRM and Email. WeChat enables businesses to register as an Official Account of which there are now more than 8 million such accounts. Followers who scan the QR code of the business, either from the website of the business or at a physical location, can then 'follow' the business through the Official Account without the need to sign-up through yet another registration form. Therefore, think about how much less friction is involved in using Official Account Apps for services such as hospital pre-registrations, visa applications or credit card services. A WeChat Official Account also allows a business to perform outbound marketing to its followers with up to four promotional messages per month (via text, audio or video).

What is so significant about the above activities? The answer is that WeChat has become a 'CRM' platform that controls the intermediation between businesses and consumers through owning and managing user profiles. It is so simple but so powerful.

The Future of eCommerce

Mobile is ubiquitous in China, a way of life, not only a medium of communication. Brands are not just purveyors of products and services, but as partners helping consumers with daily living. Most Chinese companies have recognised this, and build their advertising and marketing, social communication, shopping, purchasing, and payment programmes around mobile. 

Mobile has become an integral part of everyday life for Chinese consumers. On mobile, they talk, text, shop, order food, hail taxis, book travel, trade stocks, pay for products and services, deposit money into their bank or transfer money. About half of all e-commerce in China happens on mobile compared to just over a fifth in the US and around a third in the UK.

As a result, China is now entering the next phase of e-commerce – digital shopping is the norm for Chinese consumers. The e-commerce paradigm has shifted to brands and platforms that offer a complete brand experience rather than a narrow focus on sales and as a result, many Chinese brands are doing things that are yet to be seen in the West, integrating experiences across all touch-points and channels to create a seamless and immersive experience, often leveraging VR and 3D imaging to build continuous engagement along the entire consumer journey. 

The Future of Payment

Every time the WeChat App is downloaded onto a mobile phone, so too is an embedded QR code reader which can facilitate a whole range of O2O (Offline to Online) services from scanning posters in subway stations, to joining social networks and for making payments. WeChat supports payment and money transfer, which allows their users to perform peer-to-peer transfer and electronic bill payment. With WeChat Pay plus an Official Account, a business can accept payment from a customer through the use of a QR code. The customer uses their WeChat Pay App to create a QR code detailing the required payment and the business simply scans the mobile phone QR image to complete the transaction. Think about how powerful this model is when you apply it to small retailers or street vendors who use their WeChat QR code reader on their mobile phones, instead of a dedicated Point of Sale terminal. And think about how the use of digital technology in this instance has substantially broadened the market for WeChat by providing convenience and a method of cashless transactions. 

The Future of Travel

China is becoming the largest source market for international travel. China overtook the US as the largest source market in 2014. The income growth and expansion of China’s middle class makes long-haul travel more achievable. The rapid expansion of airlines such as Hainan Airlines on the international stage makes the Chinese traveller more accessible. Already, Chinese travellers are ranked among the top spenders on a per-trip basis. Their preferences are rapidly shifting towards long-haul travel, higher cost accommodation and upscale shopping. Cities are the primary attraction for Chinese outbound travellers. Nearly 92% of total Chinese outbound travel spending is received by major global cities.

This has ramifications for hotels and retailers welcoming Chinese tourists: nearly all Chinese travel brands, and indeed, Western travel brands with services to China already enable their customers to transact through WeChat; the user simply scans the brand's QR code and then follows the brand. To book a flight, simply go to the airline App within WeChat. To receive customer service, again use WeChat to send a voice or text message to an agent in a call centre detailing your request. What about when you arrive into your hotel room? Simply scan the unique QR code in the room and use the in-room App on your mobile phone to control the temperature, the lighting or room service payable through WeChat Pay.

At the other end of the scale is the need for airlines to cope with the increase in future travel. Boeing are forecasting, over the next 20 years, a general market need for over 39,600 airplanes valued at more than $5.9 trillion, with 38% of this in Asia – the majority in China. Think of the impact of this demand on the need for pilots, training, and inflight crew and aviation fuel. It’s mind boggling!

The Future of Competition

Edward Tse’s book China’s Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies Are Changing the Rules of Business, gives us a glimpse into how Chinese companies compete. Writing about the IT business of the late 1990s, Brown and Eisenhardt wrote a book that coined the phrase “Competing on the Edge.” They believed that IT businesses oscillate between order and chaos, with change occurring in unprecedented and unpredictable ways, barriers between previously unrelated industries erased, and hyper-competition leading to the fast rise and fall of companies. As a result, they argued that – to succeed - businesses had three principal vectors:

1. Advantage can only be temporary. To succeed, companies must continuously generate new sources of advantage, and view change as the key source of new opportunities for growth.

2. Because advantage is temporary, strategy will have to be emergent, and defy simple generalisations. Companies must always consider a broad array of options, with resulting actions and overall direction being only semi-coherent. Plans should always be shifting in accordance with the opportunities. 

3. Reinvention is the heart of all of a company’s activities. Businesses will have to constantly change how they operate, and efficiency will count for less than the ability to generate and test new ideas.

Brown and Eisenhardt also suggest that businesses should gain maximum benefit from existing products by extending offerings to new market segments – a process called “stretching out the past” – using existing strengths to launch new products and to test the market.

Almost all of China’s leading entrepreneurial companies exemplify these three trends, because China’s markets are at multiple stages of development. This means constantly iterating and launching new products aimed at the immediate future. No five year plan or decision making by committee.

Future of Entrepreneurship

Alibaba, founded by Jack Ma, dominates e-commerce and electronic payments in China, and its $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest ever. Its various sites account for around 80 per cent of e-commerce in China, and are worth more than those of eBay and Amazon combined. Pony Ma’s Tencent dominates messaging (WeChat). Robin Li’s Baidu (the equivalent of Google in the West) accounts for over 60% of Chinese search engine activity. Together, these three companies are referred to as the ‘BAT’ companies, just like ‘GAFA’ in the West (Google, Apple,Facebook,Amazon). Huawai,run by Ren Zhengfei, is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile and telco network equipment, competing against Ericsson and Nokia. Lei Jun’s smartphone company Xiaomi is building its brand to take on behmoths Apple and Samsung. These individuals have built up these huge businesses through the power of their personality in a viciously competitive environment. 

In summary, although the Chinese market appears to be so different to the West, it is just further along. China therefore gives us a glimpse into the future with its diverse strategies, reiteration and reinvention, a balance between systems, rules and chaos, and a mind-set against being locked into outdated competitive models. Sounds like something we can all learn from for 2017 and beyond.

So, 'Happiness and Prosperity' to you for the Year of the Fire Rooster. Or if you want to practice your Chinese Mandarin, 恭喜发财 (pronounced gong-sshee faa-tseye), or Cantonese, 恭喜發財 (pronounced gong-hey faa-choi).


Colin Lewis is an award-winning marketer with over 20 years international marketing experience in Europe, Asia and Australia. Currently CMO with BMI Regional, he previously held senior marketing roles with 118118 Directory Enquiries, City Jet and Thomas Cook. Colin was awarded the ‘Marketing Leader of the Year’ award in 2008 by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, and in 2012, was awarded a Fellowship by the Institute for his contribution to marketing. Colin is Content Programmer for DMX Dublin, the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s massive annual Digital Marketing conference. He has an MBA from UCD.


Tags:  Chinese New Year 

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A Day In The Life Of... Dorothy MacCann

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 25 January 2017
Updated: Tuesday 24 January 2017

Welcome to this instalment in our Day In The Life series, an initiative of the Marketing Institute in which we've asked some of our Members to share what it is like to be in their shoes. 

They've agreed to tell us about their role, key career moves, daily challenges and aspirations so that other members can benefit from these great marketers' experience.

Today, we are speaking with Dorothy MacCann, Brand Director at The Merrion Hotel.

dorothy maccannThe Marketing Institute: What does a Brand Director do? 

Dorothy MacCann: The Brand Director at the Merrion is really concerned with generating revenue and creating   demand for our services. With the rise of social media and the 'Voice of the Guest' there is no room for silos... the guest experience and the sales and marketing function are now intrinsically linked. The better the guest experience the more demand for our services.

My role supports the management team in ensuring the guest experience at the Merrion is unique and at the forefront of our minds while at the same time working with the sales and marketing team to make sure the right tactics are employed to sell and elevate the brand. 

There is really no one area of the hotel that does not have the capacity to impact negatively or positively on the Merrion brand. From the flowers in the front hall to the quality of a massage in the spa to the threadcount in the linen... my role concerns itself with all touchpoints for the guest.


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

Dorothy: I spent the first ten years  of my career in hotel operations . I trained in hotel management in the Berkeley Court (then part of the Doyle Collection) and once finished took up an intern position in the New York sales office of Ryan Hotels. I had a great mentor in the early days of my career in Michael Governey (a renowned  hotelier of the 80's and 90's) and he brought me back to work in an events role in the Berkeley Court. After further stints in the USA with both Regency Inns and the Doyle Collection in Washington DC, I returned to a sales role in the Doyle Collection.  Bernie Gallagher gave me my first  break into marketing and was great to work with, she gave me a lot of responsibility and scope as Marketing Manager for the group at a young age and I learned a lot on the job. 

When my husband's job took us to live in Kerry for a period of time  I set up my own consultancy. This gave me great flexibility when our children were young and allowed me work with a diverse portfolio of clients. Through one longstanding client (Opera Ireland-the largest arts organisation in the country at the time) I got invaluable experience in the Arts World. We collaborate a lot with artists and designers at the Merrion and understanding and appreciating how they work has been vital.  

Continual upskilling has been  important too . Completing a Masters Degree in Hospitality Management gave me a more strategic outlook and continual learning in the area of Digital Marketing has been essential.     

The Merrion has been a client for over 20 years  and I have worked with them since preopening. I finally came on board  in my present role in 2012 as the account became more demanding.

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

Dorothy: Staying ahead of our competitors.  At present we are number 1 on all KPI's within our competitive set. Maintaining this lead requires an excellent guest experience, creative marketing and an effective sales team.  

Finding the right sales people can be a challenge but we are lucky at the moment to have young, driven and passionate people across our sales, reservations and events teams. We recently appointed a Director of Sales who has just returned to Ireland having worked in the U.S for five years, and our Director of Events is a returnee from London. In the past we have always developed from within and maintaining a pipeline of talent can be challenging in the current market. 

Another big challenge at present is the management of our customer data... We are currently looking at developing a more effective CRM system that will bring us closer to our end clients in order to recognise and serve them more effectively.

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

Dorothy: A flair for the hospitality industry, attention to detail, persuasive powers, be a thinker and a doer and maintain a good sense of humour!  

MII: Describe a typical working day.

Dorothy: My working day is taken up primarily with meetings. I interact daily with our Marketing Manager, our  Director of Sales, our Revenue Manager and members of the Senior Management team.

Revenue Strategy is key and first thing in the morning I would review the Daily Revenue Report. You can see very quickly where our efforts are required. It could be Rooms, Food and Beverage, The Spa or Events... If revenue is off budget in any one area we need to be on to it.

Most of our marketing budget goes into PR rather than advertising and we retain PR companies in the UK, USA and Ireland. Liaising with them and  finding  stories within the hotel and destination that delight and inform while at the same time elevate the brand is  constant.   

Ensuring  our social media is on brand as well as reviewing our customer feedback internally and on review sites is  critical to stay focused on clients likes and dislikes.
Over 20% of our business comes direct through our website so web content/design as well as analytics is key.  

As an independent hotel a lot of my time has to go into reading and research to ensure we keep ahead of any new industry trends. 

At the moment , I am working on a daily basis with the General Manager and the design team on the concept and delivery of our new restaurant and spa. I am married to the GM so meetings tend to run late into the evening. It’s a 24 hour business... your day never really ends!    

MII: What do you love most about your role? 

Dorothy: I  love the international aspect of the hospitality industry,  the fact that we are  part of  a network of over 450 top hotels in the world through our association with Leading Hotels of the World (LHW).

On the home front I love the fact that we are part of Team Ireland when it comes to promoting the hotel and its destination and I love that I get to work with a diverse group of people such as great chefs, art historians, designers and winemakers when we collaborate to create  stories and events. 

I Love working with people who are at the top of their game. The senior management team at the Merrion are all passionate and talented individuals who get the big picture and understand the (often intangible) benefits of  having a respected brand.

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

Dorothy: At the moment I am not planning much past the next 18 months when we will open and launch the new restaurant and spa.

In the early days of my career I used to be very focused on a five year plan. Experience has taught me,  if you do your present job well and are open to change, opportunities will present themselves.    

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

Dorothy: In the world of business I am inspired by people who are in business for the long term and appreciate the importance of relationships, people who are not driven by short term profit, who build organisations of real value on both the economic and cultural front. I have to say the owners of the Merrion are in this category. 

In the not for profit sector I had the pleasure of working with Minister Katherine Zappone the founder of An Cosan over many years and I am a great admirer of her and her partner Dr Ann Louise Gilligan ...they walk the talk and are great visionaries.



Tags:  Dorothy MacCann 

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Shaping Ireland's Future Talent landscape

Posted By PwC, Tuesday 24 January 2017

Shaping Ireland's Future Talent landscape

An organisation's ability to align its workforce with its business and growth goals is critical to its future success. Businesses need to ensure they have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place to be able to realise their ambitions.

At the same time, business leaders are becoming aware of a range of issues, including the potential to automate certain roles and the need to create new positions to manage emerging technologies. Whatever technological innovations lie ahead, people will make the difference between organisation’s eventual success and failure.

PwC’s 2017 HR Directors (HRD) Pulse Survey highlights a number of fundamental challenges as well as opportunities which HR functions are facing.

These include:

  • The lack of availability of key talent
  • Diverse workforce
  • Performance management
  • Improving reward strategies
  • Gaining insights from analytics
  • Benchmarking for success
  • Deploying your people


Click here to download report

This article was originally published on


At PwC Ireland, helping you achieve your goals is at the heart of what we do. By listening to you and understanding your vision, we can help you overcome the challenges you face. Whether you are a large global organisation, a government body or a family owned private business, we have the experience and expertise to help you. As the largest professional services firm in Ireland, we offer a broad range of services across audit, tax and advisory and by tapping into our global network, we can connect you with the right people at the right time. So whether you are looking to keep track of the numbers, make tax simple or need help adapting to changing operating environments, we have the knowledge and capabilities to help you.

Tags:  hr  talent 

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