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Amplifying Experiential Through Digital and Global Trends

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Monday 6 March 2017


At a recent MII event on Amplifying Experiential, Gemma Bell from Diageo and John Kilcullen from Verve discussed how they operated a complete refresh of the Guinness Cork Jazz festival.

For 2016 the marketing brief was Bigger and Better, and the Diageo and Verve teams decided to “put the jazz back into jazz”.

How did they do it?

The branding was completely changed, with a new look & feel online and on ads all around the city. Each venue was provided with bespoke artwork for their social media.

The Verve team spent the weekend in Cork to post and share a rich stream of content throughout the festival. They used social media heavily including Facebook (particularly Events and Facebook Live), Instagram and Twitter.


Check out the presentation slides to learn more:

For presentation notes, view deck on



In the second part of the evening, John Kilcullen shared his expertise on how to amplify experiential through digital and global trends. 

Watch John’s presentation to see examples of brands that have nailed experiential:

For presentation notes, view deck on


Photos from the event

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February 2017 Media & Marketing Review

Posted By Carat, Monday 6 March 2017
Updated: Monday 6 March 2017

Here's a look back on the media and marketing news over the last month.


Google Shopping Ads

Update: Advertisers will now be able to feature dynamic product ads that are shown in search result pages.

What it means for marketers: This will allow shoppers to find products quickly and easily, and will also enable brands to attract more potential buyers. Brands will be able to control the information of their products so customers can find the products that are relevant to what they are searching for. Product ads go directly to specific product page meaning the conversion rate can be quite high.

Relevancy / Availability: Now available in Ireland.


More News About Snapchat Ads

Update: Snap is testing features in Snap Ads — video ads inserted between Stories or on Discover — that make it easier for advertisers to meet their targets when it comes to direct sales, app downloads and user sign-ups.

Through deep-linking, advertisers can take Snapchat users out of the Snapchat app and directly into any other app if the user has it downloaded on their device.

An auto-fill feature also allows auto completion of form sign-ups for advertisers. The ad can pull in any information users have already granted to Snapchat (name, phone number, email address and birthday).

Snap Inc. added partners to its Ads and Custom Audience Match APIs in late Jan and introduced a new API category for Creative. It also did something marketers have been wanting for for a while: letting them license Ad Partners' tech for self-serve buys.

What it means for marketers: The update lets buyers license partner technology and manage those buys in-house.

Relevancy / Availability: Article and additional information available below. Still unavailable in Ireland.

More info here and here.



Facebook Custom Profile Frames

Update:  Facebook has introduced a new Camera Effects Platform which allows all users to create custom frames for their photos and videos. Users can create custom frames with their favorite graphic design software and then import them as a PNG file as long as they adhere to FB policy and terms (nothing offensive or illegal). Users will be able to create “location frames” that are exclusive to specific geo locations (landmarks, restaurants, etc.).

What it means for marketers:  Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform and in-app camera, is competing with Snapchat’s filters, geofilters, and lenses, again trying to recapture a portion of the market that more heavily uses Snapchat than Facebook. Functionality is also being built to track frame usage which will help marketers once the option is released globally.

Relevancy / Availability:  Launching in Ireland, the U.K, Colombia, Mexico and Taiwan.

More info here.



2016 Out of Home Stats

The stats from 2016 have been collected and according to PML Group, the Irish Out of Home (OOH) market saw strong growth. In PML’s published results, the market grew by 7% in 2016 with particularly strong growth in the first half of the year. While Q3 was sluggish, according to PML, the market picked up considerably in the final quarter.

According to the Posterwatch report, there was no single factor behind this improvement but rather a combination of more advertisers, increased investment by existing advertisers and added advertising opportunities. Digital formats are becoming increasingly attractive to advertisers and the clear majority of new OOH panels are digital screens.


Exterion Media Joins IAB

Exterion Media Ireland has announced that it has joined the Internet Advertising Bureau Ireland. Exterion is one of the market leaders in the Irish outdoor advertising market and the move is representative of the increased presence of digital panels in the outdoor market. The move is part of Exterion Media’s strategy to develop its digital infrastructure.

In joining IAB Ireland, Exterion Media will use and share its significant databank of insights into audience behaviours, in particular digital OOH, to promote better use of the digital channel and promote best practice within the industry. Membership of IAB Ireland will enable the company’s teams to gain a deeper understanding of the digital landscape by participating in training and events.

Suzanne McElligott, CEO of IAB Ireland, welcomed Exterion Media to membership of IAB Ireland saying, “We are delighted to have a company from the digital outdoor space collaborating within IAB membership to help advertisers best understand the new opportunities that are driving growth in digital OOH in the Irish market and across the globe”.

Source: PML Group &



Research into Press Effectiveness

Recent research carried out by Ignite Research and Amárach shows the effectiveness of print advertising across major economic sectors.



IRS+, under the banner of its new brand, Radio Factory, and in a joint initiative with Mediastar (the media analysis tool), has created an Ireland-first product that will transform how media buyers plan radio campaigns.

IRS+ have invested heavily in using existing data and adding real value and effectiveness to overall radio planning by creating the Radio Factory Optimizer. The Radio Factory App will allow you to consider your audience, analyse your reach and frequency, manipulate your budget and investigate your CPT - all at the touch of a button. 


Subtle Rebrand for Today FM


Today FM has a new website, new app and a refreshed logo now in use.

The new look was unveiled last week, which removes the oval shape surrounding the station name, and the frequency of 100 102 has also disappeared.

The font is similar to the old one, uppercase TODAY followed by the traditional lowercase fm, and includes the five lines signifying rays of sunshine. New logos have also been made for News, Sport and Music features.

It’s the first rebrand for the station since it launched in March 1997 and follows a recent schedule shuffle to include Dermot and Dave in the mornings and the addition of Al Porter at midday.


Homeless Radiothon Returns to Nova

Radio NOVA’s Help Our Homeless Radiothon is returning to the station for the third year in a row on Wednesday 8th & Thursday 9th March.

The station has raised almost €100,000 over the last two years in its annual pledge drive, which sees celebrities from across the entertainment, music and political spectrum lend their support live on-air. This year, all funds raised will be donated to Peter McVerry Trust.

Nova’s annual Radiothon is a listener-focused event, with donations received from people of all walks of life, from children donating their pocket money to businesses donating the takings of their day’s trading. Last year, the station received donations from as far afield as China, the USA and The Netherlands.


Movers and Shakers in Radio


Newstalk has announced that Ivan Yates will return to the airwaves this spring with a new, agenda-setting, two-hour show. Commenting on his new show, Ivan told Chris O’Donoghue on Newstalk Drive:

"It's the usual eclectic mix of politics - which I'm a great expert on - business, and it's going to have lots of sport as well as plenty of self-deprecating humour"


Q102 Make Changes

All change on Q102 mornings in Dublin as Liam Coburn moves to breakfast and TV3’s Martin King joins for mid-mornings.

Liam has been with the News Corp station since 2004, hosting a number of shows across the schedule, but now makes a move to breakfast following the departure of Dave Harrington. Dave is off to Tipp FM to become Programme Director.


Al Porter Fills Dermot & Dave’s Slot

Al Porter is the new lunchtime show presenter on Today FM.

News of his appointment was broadcast live on-air and on Facebook Live during Dermot & Dave’s new morning show when Al was in the studio talking to the duo.

A comedian, presenter, singer, writer and actor, Al is the youngest comedian ever to headline Dublin’s Vicar Street in 2015 with his stand up and live band. He has just completed his 2016 comedy tour of Ireland, Al Porter at Large: The Honeymoon Tour, including sold out nights in Dublin’s Vicar Street and Cork Opera House.



TV Viewership Stats, Jan/Feb

TV impacts in January saw all key audiences down on last year. Housekeepers with Children (HW+CH) is down 5% on 2016, with Adults 15-34 and Adults 25-44 down about 15% and 10% respectively. All adults are down just under 5%.

RTÉ have performed quite well on HW+CH, coming in at +2%, while seeing a dip in the other key demographics with Ads and Ads 25-44 at -4% and -7% respectively. This may have to do with how the 6 Nations fixtures fell this year, with Ireland playing two away games against Scotland and Italy.  Some other key programming in January and February included the new drama Striking Out which did over 100k for HW+CH and over 500k for Ads, and Dancing with the Stars which averaged almost 600k for Ads. First Dates Ireland also returned to the air and had a strong performance, breaking into the top 10 programmes for Ads 15-34 in February.

TV3’s best performance lay with Ads 25-44, with impacts down -4% on last year. They launched their female-oriented channel Be3 in place of UTV, with all the soaps returning to TV3. TV3 will remain the flagship station, with 3e becoming the entertainment channel, including shows like Graham Norton and I’m a Celebrity. The soaps and Champions League coverage really brought in the viewers for them in January and February, with the Round of 16 match last week between Manchester City and Monaco pulling in 229k adults.

Sky Media continued the downward trend, particularly on Ads 15-34 which took nearly a 19% dip on last year’s figures. This decline in young viewers, however, is following the industry trend. Sky maintain to pull in decent numbers for live football, with some games doing over 100k, however live sport as a whole is suffering from declining viewing figures. On Sky Sports live Premier League games, we have seen an almost 19% decrease in viewing year on year.  

C4 had a disappointing month, their stand out programmes being Meet the Trumps which pulled in 74k adults in January, and Location, Location, Location in February which did an average of about 40k against adults. Otherwise not much to note.

UTV went against the grain and saw an increase in each key audience and impacts across the board. Across the young audience (Ads 15-34 & Ads 25-44), they were up almost 10%.

The C4 Ulster decline has continued, although at a slower pace than 2016 v 2015. Not a great performance all round with Ads down -10% and Ads 15-34 down -21%.



TV3 See Audience Growth of 26% in January 2017, Report Shows

(Laura Brennan, Irish Film and Television Network, 13th Feb 2017)

Despite TV3’s impacts being down across all audiences, their share of viewing has increased significantly in January.

In particular, the group’s flagship channel TV3 recorded a 26% increase in share of viewing. The source for the report is TAM/ Nielsen January 2016/2017 All Day Channel SOV, Adults15+.

Commenting on the performance, Bill Malone, TV3 Group Director of Programming, said: “Giving viewers more choice is central to our three channel strategy. We are delighted with our performance to date.”

In the same time period, RTE 1 has seen a +1% increase in Share of Viewing and RTE 2 is up +9%. TG4 is down -7%.

As exclusive home to ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in January, 3e grew its share of viewing in the month by 53% from 2.53% to 3.88% and outperformed RTÉ 2 share of viewing for under 45’s on 16 out of 31 days in January.

Launched on January 9th, TV3 Group’s newest channel be3 recorded a 2.6% share of viewing for the month, making it the 6th most watched channel in the country after RTE1, TV3, RTE2, BBC1 and 3e. The share of viewing for the channel was 67% higher than TG4 and 79% higher than Channel 4.


RTÉ Has ‘Serious Competitor’ in Virgin Media as TV Ad Market Heats Up

(Laura Slattery, Irish Times, 22nd Feb 2017)

In another article in the Irish Times this week, the rise of TV3 Group is discussed.

Virgin Media Solutions, the sales arm of Virgin-owned TV3 Group, can now compete with RTÉ on scale for the first time.
TV3 was the biggest channel in January with the industry’s “housekeepers with kids” audience category, in terms of its share of “commercial impacts” – a measure of how many times television advertisements are viewed. Its share of the advertising market exceeds its share of viewer ratings because it is permitted by the regulator to show an average of 12 minutes of ads per hour, compared to an average of six minutes per hour on RTÉ.



Pinterest’s Promoted Pins Arrive in Ireland as the Platform Launches New Visual Discovery Tools


Pinterest could well be the go-to platform for Irish advertisers and businesses in 2017. It recently announced that Promoted Pins will be available in Ireland, immediately. The Promoted Pins will enable companies to enhance their presence on the platform further, allowing them to align their brands, products and services to boards that are of interest to their customer.          

Hot on the heels of this, was the news that Pinterest is also adding new Visual Discovery Tools to the platform. Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas will have three very specific roles within the platform, but what is clear is that coupled together they signal Pinterest’s long term intent to harness its ecommerce ties, building upon its Promoted Pins revenue stream.

Lens, using a simple point & click idea, works by using a person’s phone camera to suggest similar objects or items on the Pinterest platform, a more practical version of the failed Google Glass.

Shop the Look does exactly what it says on the tin, and is the most explicit in terms of Pinterest signalling its long term ecommerce intent. Brands such as Macy’s and Target in the United States are already on board and we can expect to see the offering rolled out globally in the coming 18 months.  For now, the tool will sit solely within the fashion and homes pins, and works by having users tap blue pins attached to any items they see, to call up those specific items or similar.

Instant Ideas will be of interest to those seeking creative inspiration. See a board that tickles your fancy? Tap a circle to see similar boards and concepts that will be of interest. Sounds rather straight forward. But where the tool comes into its own, is in its suggestions; rather than the platform simply offering up related items it will offer alternatives, recipes ideas, kitchen ideas. Moving the user away from simply finding an alternative to something as mundane as an apple sitting on a counter top, to new apple recipes, kitchen countertops or kitchen refurb ideas. The premise here being that the users will discover and explore more within the platform as it looks beyond the initial subject of the board.

It’s clear that Pinterest views Promoted Pins as its bread and butter for now but will build upon this through ecommerce and increased user dwell time thanks to its various Visual Discovery Tools.

More info here.

This article was originally published on


Carat Ireland, part of the world's leading independent media planning & buying agency and the market-leader in digital and non-traditional media solutions. Owned by global media group Aegis Group plc, listed on the London stock exchange, the Carat network is more than 5,000 people in 70 countries worldwide. 

Today, advances in digital technology and changing consumer behaviour has created an era of unprecedented complexity and opportunity for clients. Media is now an ecosystem that includes bought, owned and earned communications. In this new era, Carat is leading and shaping the industry once again, using media in new ways to deliver business value to clients.


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A Day in the Life of... Judy Hopkins, Partner at Hopkins Communications

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 22 February 2017

judy hopkins

Partner at Hopkins Communications, an independent fully integrated marketing communications agency with offices in Cork, Limerick and Dublin, Judy heads up the marketing, PR, events, promotions and online department while also working across the advertising, graphic design and print departments. Celebrating over 27 years in business Hopkins Communications’ clients include local and national organisations ranging from SME's, to festivals and events, state bodies and large multinationals. Their award winning core team of 18 full time employees work in conjunction with over 50 part-time promotional staff, partner companies and contract workers. They cover all aspects of campaign development from idea generation to creative, media relations, project planning, management and evaluation.

The Marketing Institute: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

 Judy Hopkins: After completing my numerous third level studies and working in the IT industry in a Corporate Sales and Marketing role, I felt the need to expand on my marketing experience, especially in the online arena.  Australia was synonymous with being 4 or 5 years ahead of Ireland in this area and so I headed off to work for Australia’s largest Digital Media Agency at the time (OneDigital). On my return I went in-house to a Sales and Marketing role at SensL – a high-tech spin-off from UCC.  After a number of years there, I finally felt it was time to join the family businesses, bringing my own expertise to the table and since then I have been growing the online, PR, events and promotions department and am now partner at Hopkins Communications.

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

J.H: Energy levels! The PR and marketing world, especially when it is your name over the door, is a 24/7 business.  We all work very hard morning, noon and night on our own client accounts, client events and then of course networking.  Voluntary roles are another aspect of my professional career and as voluntary Chair of the Marketing Institute Cork it is like having a second job, but boy do I love it! So the biggest challenge I have really is keeping the energy levels up to be able to deliver on all aspects of the aforementioned and keep the best foot forward. I love it all so it really helps. After that it is getting the life/work balance right – It’s a work in progress!

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

J.H: Organisation, creativity, understanding and an outgoing personality are essential. You need to have a thick skin while also being a people person – there’s no point in being in the marketing and communications industry if you don’t interact well with people, or shy away from interacting in social settings. People buy people at the end of the day. And finally, always be thinking of the bottom line – we have a tendancy to over service our clients’ accounts because we care about their reputation as well as our own, but you really need to think – are we busy or busy fools!

MII: Describe a typical working day.

J.H: No two days are the same in the world of marketing communications , especially in an agency, but here it goes. As soon as I get in to the office I check my emails, social media channels (ours and our clients) and deal with any pressing issues that have come in since I went to bed the night before. It could then be a case of anything from putting a proposal or tender together, brainstorming creative campaign ideas, to going to a client meetings..  Or the team and I could be doing a photoshoot, video,pitching a client story to the media, doing a press drop or putting a marketing plan together and booking in  ads. It is so varied that there is nothing typical about it really! Because we offer all of the marketing services under one roof, I could have my advertising hat on one day, my social media hat another, or even my PR hat and creative design hat on within minutes of each other! Then there’s the operations side of the business, the financials, the billing, the planning and anything else that comes with being a Partner in the agency.  Staff meetings are crucial too, we hold a meeting twice a week – one at the start to see what’s on the agenda for the week and then another towards the end of the week to see what has been completed and what’s next. It’s a great way to keep the team on the same page and ensure everyone knows what’s going on with what clients. After all we are in the world of communications!


MII: What do you love most about your role?

J.H: People. Our people, our clients, the media, our business contacts.  People are so important to us, starting with our 18-strong core team and our 50+ part-time promotional staff, who I can honestly say are the best team we have had in our 27 years in business (and my business partner Mark and our founder Mary would agree).  Our clients, well what can I say, obviously we wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for them – they are not just our clients though, they are our friends and we respect each other.  The media are our currency really if you think about it, without them we could not deliver to the extent we do for our clients, so keeping up strong relationships with them is imperative to our success. Finally, our business contacts, as my mother (our founder) always says – it’s all about who you know – if you are ever stuck, your fellow business owners will have your back, just like you would theirs.

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

J.H: The only way is up, baby! We are doing great at the moment but Mark (my business Partner) and I have some exciting plans for the future. However, the key really is to keep moving with the times, just like we have always done.  When Mary set the business up in 1990, it was an outdoor advertising agency with electronic signs in Dublin, Belfast, Limerick and Cork, then she expanded in to the land of PR and events.  Following that, when my brother Mark joined the company he expanded us further into the outdoor world i.e. buses, billboards, adshels etc. and he built up the graphic design, print and promotions offering.  When I joined, I introduced our digital offering from website design and development, SEO, social media set up and management and the online advertising offering (while expanding the PR, events and promotions side of the business). Already we are seeing some emerging trends,which we are testing - their longevity and return on investment in these offerings. So watch this space – we are always forward thinking but with the bottom line for the client (and ourselves) in mind.   


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

J.H: Mary the mother of course! My mother is my ultimate role model, she worked so hard all our life and was always an inspiration to me.  She knows everyone and they all speak so highly of her.  She knows our business inside and out and is always at the end of the phone to give us the historical on things or advise us on our forward-thinking ways. According to some recent research I heard at a family business event, the average life cycle of a business in Ireland is 24 years – we are in business over 27 years, so that in itself is testament to Mum. She is one in a million.

Aside from Mary, I am always of the thinking that noone is an expert at anything so we are constantly listening to our business contacts who are in similar or even different industries to ourselves – be it at meetings or networking events. We retrain and upskill, go to informative events (such as the Marketing Institute Events) and watch webinars to ensure that we are in the know as much as we can be, to deliver on client campaigns and our own overall business goals.  On that note, the next MII Cork event is the Futuristic Marketing Ball, on April 1st at The Clayton Hotel Silversprings and early bird tickets are on sale until 28th February at This event is one of Cork’s biggest and best networking events of the year so not to be missed. #MiiCorkBall17




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Consumer Spending in Ireland Takes a Brexit Hit - Consumer Market Monitor Q4 2016

Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Monday 20 February 2017
Updated: Friday 17 February 2017

The latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM) published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School showed that the continued recovery of the Irish consumer economy through 2015 and the first half of 2016 slowed significantly in the second half of the year, but still ended in positive territory.


“A reason for optimism is that the fundamental factors underpinning the consumer economy are still very strong, and should provide a counter-balance to any external shocks—in particular, the level of disposable income in the economy has grown back to almost €100 billion euro, close to the peak in 2008, driven principally by the large increase in employment, and this feeds through into consumer spending.” according to Professor Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing in the UCD School of Business and author of the report. 


Speaking at the launch of the latest Monitor, Marketing Institute of Ireland chief executive Tom Trainor said: “The recovery in disposable income is big news. Driven principally by the large increase in employment, it’s driving consumer spending, meaning more customers for our products and services in 2017.”


Download the full report here.


Listen to Mary Lambkin's interview on Morning Ireland




2016 was a year of two halves in the Irish consumer economy — the first half showed very strong growth but this slowed down across all sectors in the second half. This is reflective of the global uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote in the UK, as well as the drama surrounding the US Presidential election. 


Consumer spending growth rose by 4.2% in the first three quarters of 2016, year-on-year, but it is expected that the final figure for the year will be closer to 3.5%. This is one percent lower than the 4.5% growth achieved in 2015, but it is still a very solid performance, which is better than any of our EU peers. To put it into context, it is significantly higher than the growth in consumer spending in the UK which averaged 2.8% in 2016, and Germany which averaged 1.9%.


The signs are quite positive for 2017 although there are two competing forces affecting growth. On the one hand, consumer fundamentals remain very strong--the population is growing quickly, employment is still increasing, inflation is low and the majority of firms expect to give pay increases next year. On the other hand, the uncertainties surrounding the implementation of Brexit imply some downside risk.


On balance, however, the consumer economy is in a positive state and most forecasts suggest consumer spending growth ranging from 2.5 to 3.5% in 2017.


The improvement in the labour market has been a critically important factor driving the consumer economy and this remains very positive. There are now 2.04 million people at work, up 57,500 year-on-year, and up by 204,000 or 11% since the low point in 2012. Pay increases have also contributed, up 2% on average in 2015, and up by a similar percentage in 2016.


This increasingly healthy employment situation drives the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy, and spending closely matches income. The total amount of disposable income circulating in the economy peaked in 2008 at €102 billion. It dropped to a low of €85 billion in 2010, but was back up to about €98 billion in 2016, not far off the peak. In fact, there has been a remarkable increase in disposable income in recent times -- it increased by 5% in 2015, and by a similar amount in 2016.


Another important influence on consumer spending is household wealth, which comes mainly from the value of Ireland’s homes, as well as other savings and investments. After a long slump, Irish household wealth is increasing again as property values recover and progress is being made in paying down debt. Under normal circumstances, perceptions of increasing wealth raise consumer confidence, encouraging people to release funds for spending on various things.


Consumer confidence is still relatively strong in Ireland, even though it fell a little bit in the second half of 2016 due to worries about Brexit. However, the confidence barometer is still in positive territory and has got a boost in January of this year. This is driving a steady increase in consumer spending that is producing sales growth in most retail and service sectors. This is especially seen in sales of “big ticket” items – new cars, home furnishings, clothing and other consumer durables –all of which are continuing to grow well.


Sales of new cars are always a bell weather of economic recovery, and Ireland is no exception. Following several lean years, sales of new cars were up over 30% in 2015, to 121,110 units. New car registrations were up by a further 30% in the first half of 2016, but this slowed in the second half of the year, reaching a total of 142,688 cars for the year, an increase of 18%.  Sales of imported second hand cars were particularly strong, up 47% for the year 2016, for a total of 69,371.This possibly reflects the weakening of sterling making imports more affordable.


Retail sales excluding the motor trade grew strongly in 2015, with volume up 6.1% and value up 2.7%. This rate of growth continued in the first half of 2016, with volume up by 5.5% and value by 2.7%. Growth slowed significantly in the second half of the year, to about half that rate, with volume up by 3.2% and value by 1.3%. For the year as a whole, retail sales were up by 4.3% in volume and 2.1% in value which is still reasonably strong.


Sales of services have also shown a bit of volatility in 2016, but ended the year up by 5.5% which is very close to the level of growth in 2015. The fourth quarter was particularly strong, up by 6.9% year-on-year. Information and communications were up by a whopping 17.5% for the year, following spectacular growth in several quarters. Accommodation and food services were also up by a strong 8.6% for the year.


Residential property is the sector under most pressure, and this has been the case ever before Brexit came into sight.  There were 45,342 homes sold in 2016 and 23,589 mortgages issued, accounting for about 50% of sales transactions. This was actually lower than the 47,313 homes sold in 2015.


There were just 21,700 properties on the market, 1% of the total housing stock, in December 2016, which compares to an EU average of 4%.


Here are a few key figures from the report:


  • Food sales up 1.6% in volume and up 0.5% in value;
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 1.7% in volume and 02.5% in value;
  • Fuel up 3.7% in volume and 3.9% in value;
  • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 5.7% in volume and 2.4% in value;
  • Household equipment up 7.5% in volume and 1.9% in value;
  • Department stores up 2.7% in volume and 0 in value;
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 2.8% in volume and 1% in value;
  • Bar sales up 2.6% in volume and up 3.5% in value.
  •  Books, newspapers, stationery down -3.1% in volume and -2.8% in value


consumer market monitor Q4 2016

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A Day In The Life Of... Mark Henry, Central Marketing Director at Tourism Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 15 February 2017
Updated: Tuesday 14 February 2017

Mark henry Tourism Ireland

The Marketing Institute: What does a Central Marketing Director do?

Mark Henry: Tourism Ireland is the organisation that has the wonderful job of promoting the island of Ireland as a tourist destination around the world.  We have 150 staff of whom about 90 are based overseas and the remainder are located between our offices in Dublin and Coleraine. 

I look after the marketing teams based here on the island.  That involves consumer research, strategy development, brand management, content and advertising creation, digital marketing, customer service, and working with the tourism industry here to plug them into our marketing programmes overseas.


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

M.H: I graduated from UCD with a Research Masters in Psychology and worked in various research and consultancy roles for around 10 years.  I ended up in the e-business sector at an exciting time but the "dot com" bubble eventually burst and I found myself unemployed.

Tourism Ireland was being established at the time and it advertised for a whole host of positions.  One of the vacancies was the Head of Research and Planning - a job title that I had recently held – so I successfully applied for that.  My e-business background stood me in good stead as I was later promoted to Central Marketing Director to look after the division's new digital unit as well.


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

M.H: Not having enough resources to talk to the world!  There is so much opportunity for Irish tourism but we can only afford to do so much.  Given the understandable cutbacks in government expenditure since the financial crash, our marketing budgets are significantly lower than what they were back in 2008.  A clear segment focus and maximising return on investment have therefore been vital. 

Given that the number of tourists visiting our island has never been greater, I feel that we are doing a good job in managing the challenge. 


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

M.H: A consumer-centric perspective is vital.  For me, that means you must see Ireland from the perspective of the overseas visitor and not assume that they know about the place like those of us who live here do.  Research literacy is important in that respect. 

The marketing landscape evolves rapidly so keeping up to date is important and identifying which changes to invest behind.  Digital literacy and strategic thinking are therefore critical. 

Finally, Tourism Ireland promotes the destination on behalf of thousands of businesses the length and breadth of the island and it is those businesses that actually make the sale.  Working with all these stakeholders, and finding ways to maximise opportunities for them, is therefore central to our success.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

M.H: Truly there is no “typical day” for me.  Last week I presented to our board on my team’s work programme for the year.  The following day we had a Brexit seminar with key members of the tourism sector to share market intelligence.  I spent the following day with my team in our Coleraine office and we had a meeting with Tourism Northern Ireland to discuss new product initiatives under development. 

Yesterday we reviewed the initial ideas from our advertising agency for this years’ Game of Thrones campaign for Northern Ireland.  I also attended a business tourism working group meeting with Fáilte Ireland and sectoral representatives to discuss the 2017 promotional programme. 

This evening I will meet tourism industry members at the launch of the Saint Patrick’s Festival programme.  And tomorrow I fly to Brussels for a board meeting of the European Travel Commission (the body that comprises of Europe’s national tourism organisations) of which I am currently a Vice President.  There’s always a lot going on!


MII: What do you love most about your role?

M.H: Nothing is more satisfying than knowing that your work is meaningful.  Every day in this job I get an opportunity to make a contribution to shaping the image of Ireland abroad; to help to generate economic growth and jobs at home; and, as a north-south body, to help play a part in sustaining the peace process in Northern Ireland. 

In addition, we get to do some great work.  Our Game of Thrones campaign last year picked up over 20 awards for creativity (including the Grand Prix at the Kinsale Sharks), and we’ve been honoured with five All Ireland Marketing Awards over the past six years.


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

M.H: That’s a tough one.  I stumbled into working in tourism and it has proved to be very personally rewarding.  I would be quite happy to continue to work in this fantastic sector or instead to go back into working in strategy development or digital services as I did before.  Whatever path I follow, it has to be one where I am confident that I can make a tangible contribution. 


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

M.H: I love the valuable work that Les Binet and Peter Field are doing on advertising effectiveness with the IPA.  I find Scott Brinker (Chiefmartec) excellent on developments in marketing technology.  And I consider both Simon Anholt (The Good Country) and our very own John Fanning to be gurus on destination branding. 

There are lots and lots of great thinkers whose insight has never been more accessible to us all – read it, reflect on it, and apply it!

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