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8 Key Findings from the 2018 Salary, Market Insights & Sentiment Survey

Posted By The Marketing Institute and Alternatives Ireland, Wednesday 17 October 2018
Updated: Tuesday 16 October 2018

marketing salary survey 2018

Women earning less and missing out on benefits; gig economy thriving, engagement levels diving and Brexit casts a shadow  

The 2018 Alternatives & Marketing Institute of Ireland Salary, Market Insights & Sentiment Survey is just out, which provides a unique insight into Ireland’s Marketing industry. Now in its fifth year and with almost 1,200 respondents from the marketing, digital and customer community, it takes an in-depth look at differences by company sector, size, career level, gender and other factors including Brexit and Marketing spend.

The 8 Key Survey Findings:

1. Overall, respondents were well remunerated ranging from support level at an average of €30,000 base salary to Directors at an average of €123,000. Directors average salary €123k; Head of: €95k; Managers; €68k, Practitioner level: €49k; Support level: €30k

In addition, 61% of respondents were awarded salary increases in the last year, 41% 1-5% increase.

2. On the gender front, male respondents in general are better paid, receive more non-salary benefits, feel more secure and are more engaged. Reflecting a similar result to last year, the survey finds that male respondents are paid more for the same roles than their female counterparts at almost all levels from practitioner level upwards. The pay differential increases the more senior the career stage. Eg a male director will get €15,000 more than a female director (+13%). A number of male respondents are less well paid at early career stage however.

3. Males get more benefits than women across almost all benefit categories in particular in areas such as bonuses, contributory pensions, healthcare, share options and cars. The exception is flexible working, which is also considered more motivating for women than men.

4. Market sentiment continues to be positive, but Brexit is looming and many sectors are anticipating its potential negative impact, in particular the government, logistics, pharma, motor and drinks sectors. 1 in 5 are still uncertain of how it will affect them.

5. The gig economy is alive and kicking in marketing. As the business that pioneered Flexible working in the marketing industry in Ireland since 2000, we’re pleased to report that its popularity has never dimmed. In the battle for talent, companies are increasingly accessing flexible resource as a way to attract or retain in-demand talent. 80% of companies access flexible resources (interim managers, contractors, consultants) and one in three respondents have contracted or freelanced before.

6. Resources are relatively tight with the majority of companies having marketing teams of 10 or less and budgets of €1m or less. Larger companies, multinationals and consumer facing businesses have greater resources.

7. Asked how Marketing and its role within an organisation is viewed, 64% of respondents said it was perceived as a strategic, revenue generating partner. 42% said it was perceived as strategic and crucially is also represented on the board. It’s also worth noting that 22% perceived it as a support function only unchanged from last year.  In light of Brexit in particular, the marketing profession has never had a more crucial role to play in developing the economy, building new revenue streams and opening new markets. The strategic, customer oriented, value adding role it plays is critical.

8. Engagement is a big issue, at all levels (despite more people being secure in their roles), but particularly at more junior levels and amongst females. Despite security in their roles, salary increases and a positive outlook for their business in general, respondents are less engaged in their roles today and 61% expect to move on in the next two years. Although this is across the board, this is particularly marked for those at earlier career stages and for females.

The survey will be made available to download on 19th October.

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Data Protection: The New Millennium Bug?

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Thursday 11 October 2018

On Wednesday 10th October, we hosted a panel discussion in Dublin Institute of Technology to look at GDPR’s impact so far, who is benefiting from it, how it is being implemented and why it should still be on marketers’ list of priorities. The panel featured:

  • Robert Dunne, barrister specialising in data protection and employment law
  • Carl Kane, Data Management Tech Lead at Bank of Ireland
  • Evelyn Wolf, Co-founder & Marketing Strategist at BusinessBrew
  • Barry Hand, Growth Lead at Pointy and lecturer in Analytics


Robert Dunne opened the evening by reminding us all of how we felt in the lead up to 25th May. A big change was coming! Speaking on 20th May, Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon described the GDPR as “terrifying and exciting”. Although it’s fair to say that the marketing community felt a little more terrified than excited at the prospect of it.

And now? The sky hasn’t fallen. The apocalypse hasn’t come. And GDPR feels a bit like yesterday’s overhyped news. But is it really?


Where are we now?

While we are busy moving on, a lot is happening in the background that we should pay attention to. The just-announced 2019 budget is quadrupling the DPC’s budget for 2019 to €15.2 million. The DPC’s office have hired 45 new staff to date and will grow to a total of 180 staff by 2019. So make no mistake here: there WILL be stricter enforcement.

While there were 2,600 complaints made to the DPC in 2017, there are already 1,700 since June 2018. The hype around the GDPR has created more awareness, and in turn more complaints. Another change brought by the GDPR is that the fines are no longer decided by a judge (or in the district court). It is now the DPC that decides how much a company will be fined. And as EU law is now standardized, the levels of fines in Ireland have to be equal to those in other EU countries.


Who’s at risk?

There is a common misconception that big data companies such as Facebook and Google will be the DPC’s main targets. Robert Dunne highlighted an example that proves otherwise: a funeral planning company in the UK that was recently fined £90,000. Would your company be able to take such a hit? Evelyn Wolf acknowledged that a lot of businesses have been “in hiding”: they assume that the DPC will go after the big guys first, and in the meantime, they are adopting a “wait and see” approach. But what they do not realise it that it only takes one complaint to put an organisation in trouble. So safer to get on top of things now instead of letting our organisations’ issues grow bigger and bigger.


Who’s benefiting?

There is a point to be made for cleaning databases indeed. Removing old and probably incorrect data from inactive customers is simply good housekeeping. It can save organisations time and money in the long run as we stop wasting our resources going after customers who have moved on. GDPR is also a win for individuals as it forces companies to respect their data and to stop doing lousy marketing. Carl Kane adds that GDPR is also a win for bigger organisations, as it has allowed them to gather data from numerous business units into one integrated master database. And as they have large number of customers, they can afford to clear their data and still be left with lots of “clean” data.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work in the way it was intended, notes Barry Hand. The term Barry uses to describe how many organisations are implementing GDPR compliance is “horrendously”. Are consumers really benefiting from the constant popping up of endless consent forms, privacy notices and tick boxes? Does anyone really read those? A reason for those implementation issues is that the GDPR can be quite unclear. Professionals need a clear list of what it is exactly that they need to do. Instead, everyone is basing decisions on their own interpretation of the text.


What’s next?

Finally, let’s not forget about the e-privacy regulation coming our way in 2019, an update of the current e-privacy law from 2011 which regulates direct marketing. And we will need to be ready for this too.


Executive Diploma in Data Protection for Marketers

To answer those many questions and help marketers create a clear GDPR compliance plan for their organisation, we have partnered with DIT to bring you the Executive Diploma in Data Protection for Marketers. Running every Wednesday evening for 8 weeks, the course led by Robert Dunne will equip you with the knowledge and skills to become fully compliant.

Learn more about the course.



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EX and CX - how we are doing in Ireland

Posted By Clare Kavanagh, W5, Wednesday 10 October 2018

EX and CX Ireland

W5 is a specialist customer experience consultancy - everything we do is about designing and delivering great CX. We know employees are at the heart of this endeavor as without engaged and motivated workers, Irish industry will never succeed in delivering strong customer experiences.  Nevertheless, Irish workers views on customer experience are largely unrecorded so in 2018, W5 undertook our third national survey to fill this gap in understanding.


Employees feel the CX offered could be better - We asked employees, how they would rate the experience that customers receive from the organisation for which they work? The good news is that more workers strongly agree that the CX provided by their organisation is very good (Forty one percent gave a 9-10 score on a ten-point scale) than is poor (Twenty one percent gave a 1-6 score on the same scale). We know that employees tend to be most critical so this likely bodes well for the actually rating of customers. However, if one of our clients at W5 received this score I think we would be strongly saying there is room for improvement here.


 So how can we do better?  - What do we need to do to use CX to win and retain target customers against competitors and drive profitable growth. At W5 we identified some time ago, the key competencies that differentiate organisations that we know of and work with that are successful at CX


Leadership: Successful organisations have senior management championing customer service and bringing the customer voice to all decision making.


Resourcing Customer experience: Successful organisations put resources behind the CX agenda - it’s not just lip service.


Coherence between brand and CX: In successful organisations there is coherence between brand promises made and CX delivered on the ground


Customer understanding is strong and most importantly is acted upon


And finally, and most importantly employees are engaged in the customer experience agenda.


Unfortunately, our survey makes for some gloomy reading re: Irish workers views of their employers’ performances across each of these competencies.   


What is our advice based on Irish employees’ feedback?


  • It’s not good enough to just have a senior management team leader named for CX, board room decisions need to reflect the influence of the customer. The argument that CX is good for profits needs to be had and evidenced.
  • Employees need to be shown that the senior management team are backing CX with resources.  Resources need to be made available to deliver on identified CX initiatives.
  • It’s very important that the CX delivered demonstrates the brand values on the ground and is as compelling and distinctive as the brand concerned. Be clear about brand values when talking to employees about CX.
  • In the GDPR environment you need to make sure customer feedback is acted upon and each interaction with customers is worth the investment for your organization and the customer.
  • Engage and engage some more with employees in the CX agenda. Arguably this should be the first step as it’s the most important factor and Irish employees currently do not believe this is being done.
  • Intermediate or middle managers especially need a lot more support, engagement and dialogue. Our research showed that these managers who through their day to day coaching and supervising of customer facing staff are such an important lever for CX are no more engaged in the CX agenda than others.


Finally, based on our experience we would urge every business in Ireland who has a real ambition to use CX as a strategy to win and retain target customers and drive profitable growth to undertake their own survey of employees. In this way you can diagnose your strengths and weaknesses across the key competencies, take the learnings and action.


Note: The findings shared in this article were captured using an online poll, interviewing a nationally representative sample of 1,000 workers over a 5-day period in September 2018. The same approach we have used for this research over the past 3 years 




Clare Kavanagh, CCXP, is Managing Director of specialist customer experience consultancy, W5


Clare Kavanagh, shared the results of this survey at a recent CXPA event in Dublin.

CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association) Ireland is the Irish chapter of the global CXPA organisation that comes together to promote and develop Customer Experience best practice.  As a rapidly growing organisation we are keen to welcome new members and anyone with an interest in CX to become involved. Please contact the CXPA here at to join.  

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A Day in the Life of… Geoff Lyons FMII, Managing Director at PML Group

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 10 October 2018
Updated: Tuesday 9 October 2018

Geoff Lyons PML Group

The Marketing Institute: What does a Managing Director at PML Group do?

PML Group is Ireland’s largest Out of Home media agency, our clients span across multiple sectors and services meaning we have the privilege of working with amazing Irish and Global brands. Our clients are at the heart of our business and it’s our job to connect their brands with audiences as they go about their daily lives. We do this in multiple ways through the use of data led audience understanding and brilliant marketing across classic, digital, ambient and experiential Out of Home platforms. It’s my job to ensure we’ve the very best talent and tools in place to perform this function, and I’m glad to say we’ve the best team in town. 


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

As part of the milk round process in University I was placed in INM on a graduate program. That internship lasted 18 years! I had a wide variety of amazing experiences and roles. Publishing prepares you for a lot given the ever-changing fast paced environment that you work within and multiple external touchpoints associated with the business. The experience across a variety of disciplines on the commercial and marketing side helped me prepare for my role today in PML Group. We work to understand multiple audiences, their movements and their behaviour so as we can create meaningful real world connections for our clients’ brands.


What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

My biggest challenge is keeping up with my brilliant team. Our medium is constantly evolving and our expert team is continually testing the boundaries of OOH for our clients. It’s a high-class challenge and it’s exactly how any business should operate, innovation must come from every angle in your organisation.


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

We work in a creative client focussed business, in order for me to be effective in my role it’s imperative that my colleagues have the very best tools and services to do their jobs for their clients and that we are all empowered to explore the potential and possibilities for brands. For example, we’re changing the thinking and delivery of Digital OOH with our proprietary Dynamic Liveposter technology that unlocks infinite creative possibilities for brands on multiple screens at scale. The only limit here is creativity, and as we know, there is no limit to creativity.


Describe a typical working day.

There is no typical day, there is perhaps a typical week that involves multiple interactions with my colleagues and our clients ensuring that the business is doing what it’s supposed to. I believe strongly in the power of people and unleashing their potential is good for our clients and of course our business. Trying to understand the future is my other passion point, so I do take time to understand what’s happening in our industry globally to ensure we are best placed in Ireland to make a real difference for our clients.


What do you love most about your role?

I am very fortunate in that I get to work across multiple industries and brands. This keeps it really fresh for me and for my colleagues. Ultimately marketing and advertising is about selling products and services and Out of Home is an extremely effective medium to do this job. I do feel very lucky to be working with a medium I love which I believe is the past, present and future of Brand Marketing. If you’ll pardon the pun, I’m in a great space!


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

Wow, that’s an interesting question. If you’d asked me that 2 years ago I am not sure I’d have told you that I’d be managing PML Group, but here I am and I love it. As I said earlier, OOH is the past, present and future I look forward to continually driving innovation into the medium ensuring it continues to deliver for our clients in even more new and exciting ways.


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

I’ve worked with great leaders in the companies and the businesses I’ve worked with and I’m very grateful for that. I’ve been fortunate also in that I’ve had the privilege of working with leaders in senior roles across multiple industries. I have taken inspiration and learned from every one of those encounters. That said, I take the most inspiration from my colleagues, I work with an amazing group of people who demonstrate immense diligence and incessant innovation every day in line with our mission to Be More Now for each other and importantly for our clients every day. 


Read more Day in the Life features

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Getting Angry about Social Media

Posted By Martin Thomas, author of The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy, Tuesday 9 October 2018

Most books are written out of a sense of frustration or even anger.  You want to get something off your chest and writing 60,000+ words tends to do the trick.  What made me angry enough to write The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy was the way in which social media practitioners appeared obsessed by the 3Ts of tactics, trivia and technology.  They were wasting time and money on tactical activities that were not aligned to real priorities and wondering why no one took them seriously in the boardroom.  Too much of their attention was given to often trivial outputs – cleverly-worded tweets, attention-grabbing posts, amusing videos, beautifully art-directed images, funny Snapchat filters – and not enough on measurable outcomes. Opportunities were being missed.  Bad ideas were slipping through the net, whilst good ideas were underfunded.  Lessons were not learned.  Risks were taken that were avoidable.

These faults were the inevitable consequence of the haphazard way in which social media emerged.  Most organisations began using social media without a clear strategic goal. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts were set up on an ad hoc basis, without necessarily taking the time to decide what they were for and how they would benefit different stakeholders.  Simply having a social media presence was deemed to be sufficient.  Few people were asking simple, strategic questions, such as why are we doing this?  How is this going to add value to our customers?  Does it meet or satisfy a real customer need?  Could we achieve our objectives more cost-effectively by doing something else?  

The issue has been exacerbated by what appears to be the new economy’s disregard for strategic planning. ‘Fail fast, fail often’ has become the mantra of Silicon Valley to justify an impatience with deliberation and careful analysis and a laissez-faire attitude to process and strategic rigour.  When the algorithm can provide a solution within nano-seconds, the human act of thinking through a problem can appear self-indulgent and the discipline of planning viewed as almost unnecessary.  Why bother trying to find the right answer when you can test every conceivable option until you find the solution?  There is also a tendency amongst many operating within the new economy to dismiss the received wisdom and practices of an earlier age, which includes what they consider an anachronistic focus on planning, processes and corporate governance.  It has led to an unhealthy focus on tactics and technology, rather than strategic thinking.      


As a direct consequence of this ad hoc, unstructured approach, most organisations lack robust systems and processes or the resources to make the most of social media and minimise its risks.  This means that:

  • Activities and investments are not aligned with organisational priorities or customer needs;
  • The mix of social media channels and accounts lacks any strategic logic;
  • There are ‘orphan’ corporate accounts, with pitifully few followers, from which the hosts have not posted or tweeted for months, if not years;
  • Results are likely to be inconsistent and difficult to measure;
  • Money and time is being wasted;
  • Team members are unclear about their specific responsibilities or objectives;
  • Ownership of the social media function is contested between different departments;
  • Valuable intelligence and information derived from social media is not being shared widely across the organisation;
  • Many managers are cynical or apathetic about the value of social media and consequently wary of making any significant investments.  This tends to create a vicious circle in which cynicism leads to under-investment and a lack of senior management focus, which means even poorer results and even further cynicism;
  • Organisations are unwittingly exposing themselves to unnecessary risks.


My book aims to put all of this right.  The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy hopefully demonstrates the value of adopting a more strategic approach to deliver more effective campaigns, build more valuable networks, gather smarter business intelligence, enhance customer loyalty and transform corporate culture, while at the same time navigating the risks.  It is also an unashamed champion of the continued value of strategic thinking.  Strategy still matters, even in a dynamic, always-on, real time digital world.  If I can encourage even a few people involved in the use of social media to think, to analyse, to plan and to ask questions before embarking on any social media initiative or making any significant investments, my anger will not have been wasted.

social media strategy



The Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy: Boost your business, manage risk and develop your personal brand, published by FT Publishing International, is available on Amazon and from all good book stores.






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