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Digital has Forced us to Make Things That People Care About

Posted By, Friday 18 September 2015
Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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    I love this recent quote from Bob Greenberg, founder of R/GA:

    Digital has forced us to make things that people care about.

    His words are a clue to the future of the marketing services landscape we can expect by 2030. Historically our business has created demand by paying actors to play out consumer aspirations on film. But today we’ve recognised the need to create authentic stories and interactions that real people engage with, care about, power and propel across their peer networks in a heartbeat.

    We talk about a connected world today but in truth we’ve only scratched the surface of how consumers will relate with brands tomorrow and beyond as technologies such as 3D, wearables, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, mobile commerce and programmatic advertising develop and mature. Then there’s the technologies we haven’t seen yet but which will come for certain.

    What will change? Simply everything.

    Will we still call it Marketing? I’m not sure we will. A customers experience at any touchpoint is influenced by everything from supply chain, brand, customer service, finance, human resource and everything else in the organisation so why should one entity be charged with managing the customer relationship with the brand?

    Will we still be selling ads? Not for much longer. The sphere of product and service design developments being created by tech driven companies for brands today will eclipse the traditional “Ad” business. Just look at as an excellent example of product innovation creating a story around safety for Volvo and we can see where brands will shift to in order to create a meaningful role in their consumers life.

    Will we still need agencies? Certainly not in their current form. We’ve more and more experts around the table today to cater for the growing number of silo disciples that add to the complexity of brand communication and activation.

    What will matter is not how many agencies but the orientation of the people around the table. We will only need three profiles – Visionaries, Storytellers and Performance specialists all focused on building a brand and consumer relationship that zeros in on the totality of the consumer experience with the brand.

    By 2030, we will look back at how slow, inefficient, bloated and fragmented our marketing services approach was in 2015 and hopefully be making things that consumers genuinely care about.

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    Q&A with David Jago, Director of Innovation & Insight, Mintel

    Posted By Mintel, Wednesday 16 September 2015
    Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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    1. The Food industry has seen diets and food fads come and go. Are ‘Free From’ foods a passing phase?

    No, we don’t think so! Around two in five households in the UK report free from diets, despite just 2% of the population being allergic to common foods. In the Republic of Ireland, 8% of consumers in Mintel research say that they avoid gluten or wheat. Many of the avoiders do so as part of a “generally healthy lifestyle”, indicating that consumers readily buy into a very broad repertoire of foods including the overtly healthy (low fat, low calorie, low sugar), organic foods, free from foods, and more. For these consumers, free from is part of the overall health & wellness picture. It’s also worth noting that free from foods have grown steadily over time, across diverse markets – in contrast to diet fads like low carb, which grew very rapidly in the mid-2000s and practically disappeared just as quickly.

    2. Traditionally, ‘Sugar free,’ ‘gluten free,’ ‘lactose free,’ were often quoted as being ‘fun free’ because of poor taste. What are the main drivers of these niche foods being pushed into the trolley of the mainstream consumer?

    The market for free from foods has come a long way since the early days of free from fun, free from flavour! As the market has moved increasingly mainstream, so producers have needed to formulate better quality, better-tasting products to meet the demands of consumers for whom free from is a choice, not a necessity. The key to success is taste with health, and indulgence values are increasingly promoted front-of-pack. Indeed, taste has been a key driver behind the success of indulgence-driven, free from brands like Udi’s (cereals, bakery products and snacks), and taste rather than lactose intolerance has become a key factor in the growth of dairy-free milks like almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk.

    3. We know Millennials are quick to adapt to change in the technology world, but how are they as food consumers?

    Millennials, by which we mean 16-34 year olds, are much more likely than average to engage in the free from lifestyle. In the UK, for example, they are 31% more likely than average to avoid red meat or poultry, and 40% more likely than average to avoid dairy, lactose, wheat or gluten. This is a generation that gets its information and dietary advice from the internet and from peers or family, rather than health professionals, so issues get “mainstreamed” quickly.

    4. With the ‘fight against sugar’ a hot topic within the media, sugar is now seen as the biggest health threat to the next generation. How will the food giants of the carbonated drinks and confectionery industry survive?

    The major players have already taken steps to counter the negatives – they have introduced more products with sugar-free or reduced sugar formulations, they’ve launched products like Coke Life with stevia (a “natural” low calorie sweetener), and they place greater focus on appropriate treating with portion control. Confectionery and soft drinks companies will shift their product portfolios further towards “better for you” options. In the meantime, consumers largely understand what they should and shouldn’t do, and what they should eat and drink in moderation – they just need to be encouraged to make the right choices, and have more of those good choices readily available.

    5. Brands are now reassessing their ingredients list because of this ‘free from’ trend, but will this cause a review of any other areas within the marketing remit?

    From the point of view of promotion and communication, better for you foods traditionally focused on “low in” claims and put the emphasis on what is not in a product. That’s likely to be further re-evaluated, as the focus shifts more to the positives of healthy eating (the goodness of wholesome ingredients), rather than the negatives of dieting and the sense of “punishment” that goes with it.

    6. If you had one piece of advice for food brands over the next 5 years, what would it be and why?

    Educate the consumer! Nowadays consumers have more information at their fingertips (nutritional advice is only an app away), yet are more sceptical than ever of the food industry. The industry needs to start explaining to consumers, in consumer-friendly terms, just what goes into a product, and why, as well as where it comes from and how it was processed to get there.

    Tags:  Food Innovation  Mintel 

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    Dieting is no Longer About Weight Loss. It’s About Weight Wellness!

    Posted By McCannBlue, Wednesday 16 September 2015
    Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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    I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the insightful conference by Mintel and the Marketing Institute Ireland on the evolution of dieting and how diet niches are slowly but surely seeping into mainstream supermarkets from small health food stores. Set in the lavish Westbury Hotel on September 10th, 2015, the 45-minute booked out breakfast briefing guided by David covered an incredible amount of consumer insights in such a short timeframe.

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    David began his talk by firstly breaking down the agenda…

    • How dieting has gone from niche to a mainstream lifestyle.
    • How people are returning to “natural” and “real” food and drink.
    • How it is driving two main health trends: Getting rid of the bad stuff and digesting more of the good stuff.

    Lifestyle dieting has indeed entered the mainstream market with two thirds of Irish consumers in 2013 saying that they wanted to be in better physical health and 61% knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat to keep healthy.

    In today’s world, consumers are more anxious about what they consume, the 2013 horsemeat scandal cemented this fact with 59% of Irish consumers being more concerned about the safety of meat. The solution is pretty straightforward as consumers continually pursue more “natural” products. Companies are also aware of this as natural/no additive food claims for Irish product launches increased from 13% in 2005 to 28% in 2014.

    Consumer’s anxiety has led them to ultimately embrace more pre modern diets such as the Paleo Diet. The clear popularity of this diet proves that the consumer’s fears of factory foods and modern day diets are very real.

    David spoke of brands, which were fully embracing this trend. He gave examples like the Caveman Cookies, Cookies with ingredients that cavemen had access to (which are apparently delicious too).

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    He also spoke of the hugely popular nákd cereal bars (which are now valued at £13 million in retail) and how they are an excellent example of combining nutritious food with a strong brand personality.

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    The rise of the self-diagnosed food intolerance/allergy consumer was also discussed. According to David, 33% of Irish consumers have self-diagnosed themselves with a food intolerance or allergy. In truth it doesn’t matter if it is justified or in their heads as it is leading a big push to “free from” diets.

    The two main driving forces behind this “free from” mindset are the “lifestyler” individuals who believe it to be a positive step towards health and wellness and the media claiming that with such “free from” diets, one can resemble a star celebrity. It is not factual but purely thought based.

    We further heard that protein is no longer understood as something which helps build muscle but instead as something that helps to maintain a healthy weight.

    Although consumers tend not to think of mainstream brands belonging in this category, it is also not stopping them from entering it. Brands such as Nature Valley and Nestle are happily providing “protein” and “gluten free” bars and breakfast cereals in the mainstream cereal aisle.

    “Free from” also includes meat free products such as the cleverly branded Secret Sausages, Vegetables in disguise products (which, as a vegetarian, I have been searching desperately for everywhere!)

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    It is important to note that “free from” appears to resemble more of a trend then a fad (such as carb free) and looking at the US market, (which can be used as a strong predictor for European trends) it is clear that “free from” innovations are on the rise.

    Saying this however, David mentioned how not all brands may be the most suited for “free from claims”. Heinz “gluten free” pasta and pasta sauce example have not fared as well as expected for several potential reasons. Firstly, people associate the brand with tinned foods and condiments and secondly they seem to have relied solely on a “free from” claim and not on taste or personality.

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    This short post merely scratches the surface of what Mintel and David discussed but to summarise

    • Dieting used to be associated with negativity but has now moved into a more positive terminology, which is weight wellness instead of weight loss.
    • Many diets can be considered a fad but their underlying principle remains the same, consumers are looking for a purer, healthier and happier way of life.
    • These natural and real food and drink trends will continue to increasingly become more popular.
    • Perhaps most important for a brand to remember is that the actual taste of the product and the personality it portrays are key triggers to success and no brand can solely rely on a nutrition claim.

    After the presentation, David was flooded with questions from eager-to-know-more attendees and answered all in an informative and professional manner. Mintel are known for their incredible insights and this talk further confirmed that not only to me but also to everyone in attendance.

    This article was originally written by Cian from

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    The Irish Edition of The Times Launches a New Digital Newspaper for Ireland

    Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 September 2015
    Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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      The Times, one of the world’s most distinguished newspapers, has launched a brand new edition for the Irish market – on sale from Monday, September 7th.

      This seven-day digital newspaper for tablet, phone and desktop users in Ireland will provide daily Irish news and analysis alongside award-winning journalism from the UK edition of The Times. It will be accompanied by a digital edition of The Sunday Times.

      New members will be able to sign up for a 30-day trial for just €1, after which the cost will be €5 a week. Three months’ free membership will be offered to the 50,000 Irish customers in the Sunday Club, The Sunday Times loyalty programme. Full details of the various membership packages are available at

      Irish Editor Richard Oakley will lead a team of 30 people.  Leading journalists such as John Walsh, the Deputy and Business Editor, and Niamh Lyons, Political Editor, are key members of the team.  Columnists will include the author Ann Marie Hourihane, the popular satirical columnist Colm Tobin, the political blogger Jason O’Mahony, and commentator Justine McCarthy.

      This Irish edition of The Times will have the backing of around 350 journalists in London and 36 foreign correspondents across six continents.

      In sport, The Times will have one of the most extensive video highlights packages in Ireland, alongside leading analysis led by sports editor Garry Doyle, plus award-winning journalists David Walsh and Michael Foley. Content will include video clips from the GAA, Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, Aviva Premiership Rugby and the Ryder Cup to name but a few.

      The new digital newspaper is the first of its kind in Ireland and will enable members to read, interact with and watch compelling content. Members will be able to watch video highlights while reading GAA match reports, access over 9,000 interactive puzzles, view image galleries and watch other exclusive video content.

      Times members will also get access to a range of exclusive rewards and benefits including restaurant and cinema deals, talks with authors and public figures, invitations to cultural events and once-in-a-lifetime holiday competitions. Initial launch offers include free search for all members with findmypast, Odeon 2 for 1 cinema deals, free e-books, Ispy golf deals, weekends away with the Ireland’s Blue Book and prizes of Sheridan’s Artisan Cheese Hampers.

      Richard Oakley, Editor of the Irish edition of The Times, said: The launch of a new online edition of The Times for Ireland is a positive milestone for Irish journalism and represents one of the most significant investments in the sector in recent years.  We have hired some of Ireland’s most renowned journalists and secured a range of innovative partnerships to deliver the first product of its kind in Ireland.  Combined with exclusive membership benefits, we feel we have a really compelling offer and are enthused by the positive reaction we have received to date.”

      Oliver Keenaghan, General Manager of News Ireland, said: Ireland has a rich tradition of strong and respected journalism and we are very excited and proud to be bringing a premium digital news brand to market. We have a clear subscription strategy that allows us to invest in content worth paying for. With tablet ownership in Ireland currently estimated at 1.8 million and smartphone ownership at 2.2 million, it made sense for us to bring our title to Irish readers and give them a revolutionary new media experience.”

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      Irish Marketers commit 22% of budget to Content Marketing, and plan to spend more

      Posted By Naoimi Young, Thursday 3 September 2015
      Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016
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      Irish Marketers commit 22% of budget to content marketing and plan to spend more, but trail their international peers in how effective they feel their content marketing efforts are.

      That’s according to the results of Ireland’s first content marketing survey conducted by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, in association with 256 Media.

      About the Survey

      Between February and June 2015, the Marketing Institute asked members to participate in the online survey that asked detailed questions about how Irish marketers are using content marketing. We also framed many of those questions so that we could compare Irish responses with those from other international studies conducted in the UK, USA and Australia under the auspices of the global Content Marketing Institute.

      Survey Highlights


      • Irish marketers are spending 22% of their marketing budget on content marketing. This compares to an equivalent figure of 26% in the UK;
      • 75% of respondents are producing more content than in the same period of last year;
      • 56% intend to increase or significantly increase their spending on content in the next 12 months. B2C companies are particularly likely to significantly increase this investment.


      • 67% of respondents (versus 87% of UK marketers) report having a content marketing strategy in place. 26% have no strategy, 6% aren’t sure;
      • 48% have not documented their content marketing strategy, while 48% have;
      • The number one strategic objective for content marketing was customer engagement, followed by sales/lead generation and website traffic.


      • The most used content tactic is social media (utilised by 92% of respondents), followed by articles, then video;
      • Blogs are used by just 51%, which is significantly lower than international norms (85% of UK marketers use blogs).


      • Irish marketers rated the effectiveness of their use of content marketing at 3.05 on a 5-point scale where 1 represented ‘not at all’ and 5 represented ‘extremely’ effective;
      • Only 26% of Irish marketers rate their content marketing efforts as ‘successful’ or ‘extremely successful’. This compares to 42% in the UK;
      • The most effective content tactics aren’t necessarily the ones that marketers are using;
      • Twitter is rated the most effective social media channel.


      • 53% have a dedicated person (or team) in-house who is responsible for content marketing strategy;
      • 43% are producing content internally only;
      • Only 14% use content marketing management software (such as Hubspot or Marketo);
      • 80% are outsourcing design, 34% writing.


      The biggest challenge is ‘not enough time’, cited by 72% of respondents, followed by ‘producing engaging content, cited by 56%.


      • 48% measure their return on investment on content marketing;
      • 44% find it a challenge to measure their return;

      Best practice

      Those with a documented content marketing strategy are more likely to consider their efforts effective and to:

      • use personas;
      • produce more content;
      • increase their content spend;
      • use external resources;
      • have a dedicated team member responsible;
      • use content management software;
      • know what they are spending;
      • measure their efforts.

      What we think

      Commenting on the survey, Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of The Marketing Institute of Ireland, said “We are delighted to have this first insight into the state of content marketing in Ireland. It establishes the strategic objectives being pursued, the levels of activity involved and the degree of effectiveness being achieved in this growing space. It also allows us to benchmark ourselves versus other markets where content marketing is more established and points to opportunities for Irish marketers to enhance their return on investment in this area. This is important as only 26% of Irish marketers rated their content marketing efforts as effective compared to 42% of their UK peers.”

      Karen Hesse, Managing Director of 256 Media, said “This survey suggests that Irish marketers are enthusiastic about content marketing, but still getting to grips with the discipline. Compared to our international peers there is considerable opportunity for improvement in how we are approaching our content strategy, implementation, use of technology and measurement of return on investment in order to drive better returns from our increasing spend. This is evident from the fact that only 42% use Buyer Personas, a staple of content marketing, to inform their efforts.”

      To download the 24 page ebook ‘What’s the Story?’ with the detailed results of the survey, click here.

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