Posted By The Marketing Institute,
Wednesday 20 February 2019
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What do you do as Director of The Answer?
Back in 2012 I started a micro-business called The Answer which offers an interim panel of highly experienced, project-based marketing and communications professionals. We help over-stretched businesses by extending their team capabilities in marketing strategy, planning, implementation, business development and event management. Our interim experts can effectively “join a team” during long term absence, or for the duration of a project to ensure it is delivered on time and in an efficient manner. We provide solutions in-house or work externally as an entire team. As Director I drive proposal wins across the team, liase with new and existing panelists, develop partnerships for the future, guide the company administrator and often also base myself in-house for client organisations.
What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
Seven years as a Retail Buyer creating new products, learning negotiation and the art of complex project management was an incredible foundation in commercial skills. It taught financial planning and projection, through to reading the market and observing trends, the benefits of building strategic alliances and strong supplier relationships to respond to market demands. I moved into advertising and media through JCDecaux, became Director of the OMA and brought JNOR (Joint National Outdoor Research) audience measurement to market over 5 years. After 4 years as Head of Client Service & Communication for IDMA, and in a part time role creating members services and new business for Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI), I was eventually able to take on short term contracts and build The Answer.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Time! Running a small business means workload is not confined to one obvious task in hand. For example, outside of team management, generating business and providing services, there are dates throughout Revenue’s calendar when the company accountant requires important data checks. It takes strong boundaries to prevent work often spilling into weekends. Given this backdrop, my biggest challenge pertains to something I lack direct control over - time waste. Meetings about partnerships that never see the light of day and requests for proposals that remain unawarded to any organisation, despite hours of planning input. This time issue is familiar territory for anyone in the “pitch” game and something we constantly strive to figure out.
What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
In general, it’s helpful to be flexible, comfortable with change or uncertainty, to be positive, interested in people, resilient and a strategic thinker. Specific additional skills are called upon according to contract, for example I’m currently in-house with CMRF Crumlin and was initially brought in to build and integrate their Above The Line fundraising campaign. My relationships and knowledge across media and advertising allowed us to build momentum around the amazing community doing #WhateverItTakes for Ireland’s sickest children. It brought together short-term response mechanisms and longer-term brand profile.
Describe a typical working day.
In any given week I tend to run projects for diverse organisations and its content will depend upon the number of days I’m based in-house for a client. Occasionally there’s an early morning start submitting work for organisation A, before heading off to be in-house at company B, driving home that evening may include telephone discussions with potential partners or panel members. The following day might begin by gathering to prepare a new business proposal, then meeting someone interested in participating in The Answer’s panel, followed by guiding our administrator how to amend the website, what to outline in a document or how to respond to the accountant for financial queries.
What do you love most about your role?
Variety may seem like an obvious answer for this question! But even more than this, I very much appreciate the opportunity to meet such a wide range of professionals across the organisations I am lucky to work within. The first-hand experience of differing corporate cultures, leadership styles and management communications is second to none. It provides so much food for thought and many personal development opportunities. I’ve had the privilege sit on SMTs, co-create a 5-year plan, dream potential and built new commercial partnerships, win pitches, close business, develop advertising campaigns, establish content for #AAIToolkit, create countless websites of varying ilk manage clients and study return on investment.
Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
Across the past 6 years each one has varied significantly depending on those involved with The Answer’s panel, their skills focus, range of organisations we work with or make proposal to. During the coming years I plan to further refine the organisation structure and processes so that it that relies less upon my active involvement in driving the sales pipeline, facilitating growth. I hope to find a small number of mentors to work with over this time to help challenge my personal growth and development of The Answer to its full potential.
To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
Rather than naming superstar marvels, I’m choosing to answer this from a more personal slant as there are so many industry colleagues that have inspired me. Some for their lateral thinking, breadth of knowledge, courage to start their own business or simply by remaining positive and ‘human’ as a leader in business. Right now, I’m working with two amazing female leaders who repeatedly impress me with their strategic thinking and commercial acumen.
Back as a Commerce student I spent university holidays gaining work experience. I particularly enjoyed learning from my Dad when he was Country Director for a multinational organisation abroad. I marvelled at his ability to stay measured and personable for his staff, competitors and clients despite countless challenges over the time. Together with commercial negotiation, these characteristics helped him to attract a lot of long-term business partnerships. Later the Director from the first role in my career stood out in a similar vein. More recently I enjoyed working with Alex Gibson year after year on ARVRInnovate. He’s one of those people who stops at nothing – if there is someone on the other side of the world he wishes to talk with then he ploughs ahead and finds a way to do so. Most impressive!
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Posted By John Dunne, Founder of Ignite Digital,
Wednesday 20 February 2019
Updated: Tuesday 19 February 2019
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John Dunne, Ignite Digital
There’s never been more data, tools and service providers available to evaluate the business return from marketing investments, yet it’s never been more challenging to be an effective marketer. Every channel has its own unique set of metrics, making it very difficult for marketers to compare effectiveness across channels. When it comes to digital marketing, positioned as the most trackable of all media, the challenge is even greater. Digital media suffers from an endless supply of choices and data, which creates confusion for marketers and overwhelms them.
Accountability vs effectiveness
There’s a lot of talk in the industry about ‘accountability’ and ‘effectiveness’, but some clients and agencies behave in ways that make accountability difficult and effectiveness harder. There’s a clear lack of rigour when it comes to evaluation. Performance metrics, such as cost per click or cost per sale, are chosen because they’re easy to measure basis, not on their importance for long-term brand health. It’s worth checking out what some senior brand executives had to say in a series of recent videos on Marketing Week. They eloquently set out the currency of marketing effectiveness and why it appears to elude so many brand owners.
Marketing accountability is a top priority for marketers across all media. Its importance is being driven by many factors: the proliferation of digital channels, the increasing microsegmentation of consumers, an endless array of marketing data available, and, most importantly, an increased focus on marketing returns.
This ROI obsession applies to all media. The performance fixation has drawn disproportionate attention to more strategic measurement of digital channels. This kind of scrutiny scares many marketers, as online measurement and intense data analytics are often considered as pleasant an experience as root canal treatment!
The business truism “what gets measured get done” might have been accurate once, but in today’s data-driven, digital world it seems that everything is quantified, tracked, and recorded. And to what end? In today’s world, it seems you can’t be too thin, too rich, or have too much information. Wasn’t having all this data at our fingertips supposed to make us better informed? Instead, it seems that everything is measured, and nothing gets done! In our information-driven economy, the real challenge lies in keeping our heads above the deluge of data, and in learning how to distil meaningful insights from information.
Currency of effectiveness
An industry fault is that we tend to see the world in discrete camps: buyer/non-buyer; heavy user/light user. Not surprising, then, some view online and offline worlds separately. We continue to assess advertising in terms of awareness because it’s easy to measure – even though the link with sales and profit is often tenuous. Direct response rates are popular barometers of effectiveness, even though they’re short-term effects, don’t necessarily represent incremental business, and are driven by factors besides marketing. We assess online activity by online responses, but evidence shows the real payback takes place offline for most brands. Binet and Field’s excellent new paper, 'Effectiveness in Context', eloquently highlights this point.
Reality, as usual, is more complicated than we care to admit. For example, renewing a Netflix subscription is very different to a more complex purchase such as car insurance. One takes place entirely online; the other mixes online research and offline purchase, as the customer thinks they will get a better deal by haggling over the phone with the sales agent! Now do you see why this is so complicated? Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to measuring marketing effectiveness. But marketers must ensure they are not just measuring what is easy, but instead measuring what matters.
The great brutish bake-off
Measuring is easy; evaluating is hard. Think of data as the ingredients: anyone can measure flour, milk and eggs, but without the right information – that is, a recipe that gives you the correct ratio of those ingredients – the mixture will never become bread. Sales data, for example, measures recorded behaviour, whereas survey data informs planners on likely behaviour.
Data that measures gives us dimensions, quantities, and proportions. Data that informs will depend on perspective and context. It reveals substance rather than structure. Data that measures tracks performance by assessing impact. Data that informs, on the other hand, builds understanding, tests concepts and strategies, and helps shape decisions.
Setting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or OKR’s (Objectives and Key results) are seen by many as a necessary evil, or some perfunctory exercise. They need to be built gradually; doing too much too soon will lead to a lot of unnecessary pain. It sounds obvious, but the starting point should be to understand what you can and can’t control. All too often, I come across client reviews where they had set KPIs they couldn’t track. Contrary to popular belief, if everything’s at green in your performance review, you’ve failed. Setting the bar too low gives brand owners a false sense of accomplishment. Setting ambitious targets puts skin in the game and challenges everyone to deliver as best they can.
In the end, effectiveness boils down to doing the right thing and I would argue it’s more important than accountability, which is being seen to do the right thing. Many years ago, a client partner of mine always advocated doing exactly this. Their mantra to me then was to ‘ask for forgiveness and not permission’! Sadly, with trust eroding in many client-agency relationships, the mantra now seems to be W. Edwards Deming’s classic line: – ‘In God We Trust; All Others Bring Data’.
About the author
John Dunne is Founder of Ignite Digital, a company that offers unbiased advice to effective marketers in Ireland. John has more than 20 years’ experience in the media business and a strong pedigree in digital advertising, he has an intimate understanding of the media supply chain and how it supports broader marketing objectives in the context of driving business growth.
John is accredited by IAPI and the AAI as an independent media consultant.
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Posted By Mintel,
Tuesday 19 February 2019
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The spoonable yogurt market is a volatile one which has swung repeatedly between growth and decline in recent years. The health and sustainability credentials of dairy in general, and yogurt in particular, have come under scrutiny and in some of the largest yogurt markets, consumption per capita is decreasing. Regular NPD and new, exciting flavours are needed to inject excitement in the category. Using Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), we highlight four yogurt trends to watch out for in 2019, from clean label to floral flavours.
Make it clean, make it healthy
Over the past few years, yogurt brands have focused their efforts on removing artificial additives and preservatives from products. However, the category has recently been tasked with reducing the sugar content of formulations. For example, the UK market is aiming to cut sugar content by 20% by 2020. Clean label is also increasingly seen as proof of health. Indeed, Mintel research finds that more than half of yogurt consumers in the UK would choose a yogurt with a short ingredients list, over one with a long list
Launched in Germany, Arla Bio Nur strawberry yogurt is a stripped-back yogurt consisting of simply 75% organic yogurt with 25% organic fruit preparation. It is free from added sugar and contains “nothing else”, as suggested by the brand name (‘nur’ is German for ‘just’). The yogurt addresses consumers’ growing concerns about high sugar levels in fruit yogurts, as it contains considerably less sugar than average yogurts in Germany (6.8g-7.7g/100 g vs an average of 12.5g).
Yoplait’s new yogurt brand YQ, launched in the US, competes with many Greek and Icelandic yogurts as it’s high in protein, low in sugar (even lower than many Greek yogurts) and has a thicker texture than traditional spoonable yogurt. It’s unique selling point is that it’s made with ultra-filtered milk, resulting in a product that is 99% lactose free.
Yeo Valley launched an ‘artist’s edition’ Baobab & Vanilla yogurt in 2018: baobab is often promoted for its immune health benefits, but the growing interest in African cuisine, culture and ingredients will make it a more common inclusion in products that are positioned around energy and clean natural nutrition.
The indulgence conundrum
Confirming yogurt’s double-sided nature, next to health claims and sugar reduction, brands also have a chance to thrive by exploring indulgence. Indeed, taste, flavour and texture are crucial elements for yogurts positioned as treats or as a better-for-you alternatives to desserts. Balanced diets are becoming integral elements of people’s self-care routines as more consumers find the modern pace of life to be hectic and stressful. People are cultivating their own individual definitions of ‘balance’ with permission to enjoy treats being an integral aspect of their lifestyle.
In Italy, Müller unveiled an indulgent yogurt range with flavours inspired from around the world: Müller San Francisco Creamy Yogurt Flavoured with Raspberry Cheesecake “for a dreamy break at the San Francisco bay”; Müller Marrakesh Creamy Yogurt with Orange and Ginger “for an exciting walk down Marrakesh streets”; while Müller Santo Domingo Creamy Yogurt with Coconut and Chocolate Flakes “for a moment of relax in a beach in Santo Domingo”.
Danone Oikos Yogurt with Hazelnut and Caramel Crunch is a limited edition product combining the creaminess of yogurt with the decadence of caramel and the crunch of nuts, adding an element of texture to stand out.
Thinking outside the pot
According to Mintel research, consumers in the US are most likely to say they want their breakfast to be healthy and high in protein. While they mostly eat their breakfast at home, convenience is still important. PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats has attempted to answer all of these desires with its new Morning Go-Kits – refrigerated breakfasts that contain trail mix, yogurt, and the company’s Breakfast Flats bars.
Brownes Dairy in Australia has expanded its yogurt line with a new product sold in a top down squeezable bottle, which is unusual in this category and will definitely make it stand out on the shelf from the sea of pots and pouches. The packaging can meet any occasion – breakfast, snacking, smoothies or cooking and opens up new consumption occasions such as squirting on baked potatoes, smashed avocado toast etc. The same applies to the Chobani Savor range in the US: plain greek yogurt aimed to replace sour cream, which comes in a squeezable pouch.
What’s next: Botanic flavours
Although flowers, herbs and spices still represent a small percentage of food and drink launches in Europe, the use of these ingredients has grown in recent years. Always looking for the next trend, consumers will be increasingly open to floral flavours in yogurt, and Mintel is already seeing innovation in this category.
In China, the Yoplait range includes a rose and cranberry flavoured yogurt, while You Chun Shanghai Style has launched an osmanthus rice wine brewed yogurt, which uses a double fermentation technique. Danone Activia introduced a green tea and mint yogurt in France, while Russia’s Sibirskiye Produkty experimented with honeysuckle and Germany’s Hofmeierei Jeetzel with elderflower.
Mintel is the world's leading market intelligence agency. For over 40 years, Mintel's expert analysis of the highest quality data and market research has directly impacted on client success. With offices in London, Chicago, Belfast, Düsseldorf, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Munich, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand.
For more information on Mintel, please visit www.mintel.com. Follow Mintel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mintelnews or join the Mintel LinkedIn community: www.linkedin.com/company/mintel.
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Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School,
Monday 18 February 2019
Updated: Friday 15 February 2019
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Property Market Grows 8%, With Almost Half Of Homes Bought With Cash
• 55,000 homes purchased in 2018 – growth of just 8%
• Almost 25,000 properties bought with cash, 45% of total transactions
• Growth of 12% in mortgages issued in 2018 rising to 30,629
• Supply failing to meet demand, with 35,000 new homes needed annually
• 350,000 new homes needed over next decade to satisfy demand
• 50,000 fewer homes bought last year than at height of boom in 2005
Dublin, February 18th, 2019:
The latest quarterly Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, shows slow but steady growth in Ireland’s residential property market, with 55,000 homes purchased in 2018, an increase of just 8% on the previous year. Excluding mortgages from the 2018 figures, there were almost 25,000 homes purchased with cash or savings last year. This represents 45% of all the properties sold, similar to the level of cash purchases made during the recession years, 2009-2013.
While the residential property market is growing, the number of homes purchased in Ireland last year was approximately half the amount purchased during the height of the last boom in 2005, when 105,000 homes were sold. The Consumer Market Monitor (CMM) also shows that there was an increase of 12% in the number of mortgages issued during 2018, with 30,629 drawn down, but again this is a considerably lower level than during the last boom, with 85,000 mortgages issued in 2005 and similar levels in 2006 and 2007.
While market growth was sluggish, demand remains high for housing in Ireland. The CMM shows that there has been a rapid expansion in the workforce: since 2012 there have been 430,000 new jobs created and the annual rate of new household formation is at approximately 35,000.
Construction has picked up in recent years, with 15,000 new units built in 2017; 18,000 new units built in 2018 and another 20,000 and 23,000 new homes set to come on stream in 2019 and 2020 respectively. However, based on the rate of new household formation, construction levels fall short of the number required to bring housing demand and supply into balance. The CMM shows that there is a need for 350,000 extra housing units to meet demand over the next 10 years. This level of house-building would increase Ireland’s total housing stock by 17.5% to 2.35 million units.
Professor Mary Lambkin, author of the report, said: “The consumer economy is performing well in most areas, but the residential property market is still lagging behind. There were 55,000 homes sold in 2018, an increase of just 8% year-on-year, a rate of growth that has remained consistently low over the past five years. This compares to the boom years of 2005-2007 when over 100,000 homes were sold each year.
“The property market’s sluggish growth does not reflect the large increase in the working population and the rate of new household formation that has occurred over the past five years. While the number of homes for sale has increased to about 23,500, the level of property sales should be about double the current level, approaching the level that the market experienced during the early 2000s, when the workforce was about the same level as it is today”.
Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, said:
“The outlook for 2019 is largely positive, with fundamental economic conditions remaining strong and likely to continue to drive employment and income growth. The risk of a hard Brexit is weakening consumer confidence, in turn moderating the outlook for spending. But also, the mismatch between property supply and demand means home prices and rents are likely to outpace pay and will hit disposable income.”
The residential property market peaked in 2005 when 105,000 homes were sold and 85,000 mortgages were issued to owner-occupiers. In 2011, it fell to its lowest point when just 25,700 properties were sold and 10,500 mortgages were issued. From that low point, residential property sales crept back up year-on-year, with modest increases each year in the number of properties sold and in the number of mortgages issued to finance them. The number of properties sold reached 42,000 in 2014 while the mortgage number was 19,000 - equal to 45% of sales.
Since 2014, sales have increased by 8% per year, on average. First-time buyers have accounted for over 60% of all sales during this period. Forecasts suggest that sales will increase by a further 5% this year, a modest rate of growth that is at odds with the high level of demand that is driving up rents and purchase prices nationally.
At the low point in the market in 2009, there were 60,000 homes for sale on the property websites – a number that did not vary for about four years. As sales picked up from 2012, the stock of homes available for sale dropped year-on-year, until it reached an all-time low of 20,500 at the end of 2017.
Mortgages & Cash Purchases
There were 30,629 mortgages issued in 2018 for home purchases, compared with more than 80,000 each year during the earlier part of the 2000s. Given that the workforce is back to the same numbers as in those years, it seems reasonable to argue that the number should be at least double what it currently is in a normal market.
In the absence of mortgage finance, almost half of the homes purchased relied on cash and savings, similar to the recession years when mortgage approvals were at an all-time low. In fact, Irish households have increased their savings dramatically in recent years; bank deposits stood at €12.4 billion in 2018, compared to €7.3 billion in 2006.
Property Prices & Affordability
The shortage of supply has been driving prices up with the result that homes are becoming increasingly less affordable. The average home in Ireland costs just over five times the average income at present, which is much less than the nine times income that pertained at the height of the last boom. However, this ratio is considerably higher than the borrowing limit of 3.5 times income imposed by the Central Bank, meaning that many would-be purchasers cannot qualify for a mortgage.
The conclusion that emerges is that the property market is growing cautiously. It may not be fully satisfying the latent demand in the market, but the constraints on lending seem to be working well to prevent excessive borrowing that would drive up prices even more on the limited numbers of homes for sale. As the stock of new homes under construction rolls out into the market, the needs of more buyers can be met in an orderly way.
The upward trend in the property market is expected to continue in 2019, with sales to increase by 5% to 58,000. This will be facilitated by the increasing rate of construction of new homes as well as increasing supply of second-hand properties coming on the market.
About the Author
Mary Lambkin is Professor of Marketing in the UCD School of Business where she teaches courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students and is involved in a range of research projects under the general heading of marketing strategy. She has written extensively on this subject in academic journals, and also writes commentaries on marketing topics of contemporary interest for professional publications. She has served as Head of the Marketing Group, as Dean of the UCD Business School and as a member of the Governing Authority of the university at various times, and also holds a number of positions in companies and professional organisations outside the university.
About UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is Ireland’s leading business school and research centre offering world-class business programmes that equip students to become future industry leaders. It is the only business school in Ireland, and one of an elite group of schools worldwide, to hold the ‘triple crown’ of accreditation from three centres of business and academic excellence—EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.
Academic programmes at UCD Smurfit School consistently rank among the world’s best and are accredited by the most internationally respected organisations. The Masters in International Business Management is ranked 7th in the world by the Financial Times and the school is ranked 24th among leading European business schools.
Engagement efforts have resulted in one of the world's top, business school, alumni communities with over 75,000 professionals around the globe in over 35 international chapters. Along with academic administration, leadership derives from two advisory boards, the Irish Advisory Board and the North American Advisory Board.
The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is one of four constituent parts of The UCD College of Business and offers postgraduate courses, including the MBA and a wide range of MScs in business, to approximately 1,300 students per year. The Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School opened a campus solely dedicated to graduate business education in 1991 and grew most recently with a new centre for PhD research in 2017.
About The Marketing Institute of Ireland
The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people. It exists “to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers”. It does this by sharing best practice, insights and expert content, building the community of marketers, and aiding marketers in career progression. The three themes of content, community and career underpin all Institute activities. The Marketing Institute also owns and operates the All Ireland Marketing Awards, the CMO Summit, and DMX Dublin, Ireland's largest marketing conference.
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Posted By Mediacom,
Wednesday 13 February 2019
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Investment in advertising by Irish businesses has traditionally lagged behind that of their European counterparts. Currently, however, Ireland has the lowest advertising spend as a percentage of GDP and one of the lowest spend per capita in the EU. The recession in no doubt damaged the Irish advertising market, with a lasting impact that it has never recovered from.
Total Irish advertising spend fell by 40% between 2008-2012. Despite growth across the market being forecasted by many year after year, the reality is that the advertising spend has remained stagnant since the depth of the recession over 8 years ago. And this would be understandable, if the rest of the Irish economy had not bounced back with such a bang, and significantly outperforming other EU countries.
The purpose of this publication is not to determine the reasons why businesses fail to invest in Irish advertising to the extent of other EU ad-markets. These are many, being highly diverse and individual to each business. It is purely to put a spotlight on the differences between spend levels in Irish advertising versus that of other EU countries, noting particularly the current favourable position of the Irish economy. A comparison that is compelling, and highlights the lack of investment in advertising that exists among Irish businesses.
The truth is that there is an opportunity for the businesses that will invest in advertising ahead of the marketplace over the coming years. There is clearly a gap to be exploited, one which can drive penetration, capitalising on a consumer market with relatively strong margins and one that drives healthy returns for businesses.
For more visit www.mediacom.com
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