What does a Managing Director of a Creative Consultancy do?
Typically my clients have smaller marketing teams and value an external marketer opinion. Most of my day is spent writing marketing plans, moderating brand workshops or trafficking jobs through the studio ensuring all creative makes it through on-brief. I usually wait until after close of business to do Managing Director duties like paying the bills and turning the lights off! I have early starts and you can find me networking before breakfast at events that I am usually speaking at!
What route did you take to this role, i.e. what did you study in college, experience on the way?
My primary degree is in marketing but my first job was in advertising way back in 1996. It was a great time to enter adland, back when TV campaigns were a weekly occurrence and every agency was a stone’s throw from the next with premises dotted around Fitzwilliam Square – the original ‘creative quarter’! My days were happily spent as an Account Manager going between recording studio and post production houses with client meetings in between. I then took a ‘travel the world sabbatical’ and returned to take up a role on client side in Unilever, Citywest. From there I navigated my now marketing career through Nestle, C&C, Meteor, Eir working on a portfolio of iconic Irish brands (Lyons Tea, Ballygowan, Club Orange, Meteor Mobile, Eir) across product and services marketing from research to NPD through to communications. It turns out I love marketing as much as I love communications so I opened an agency that supplies both!
How important do you think continued up-skilling and continuous professional development is to marketing?
The constant flow of new digital platforms, digital tech and the pace of digital advertising demands up-skilling to keep ahead of trends happening faster than this industry is used to. But it is not just digital advances that demand we up-skill it is also the pace of ‘emerging generations’ with their individual needs and requirements. Marketers need to work on up-skilling to keep ahead of this massive shift in the marketing discipline. The branding course which I lead for The Marketing Institute is designed to give marketers a fundamental understanding of brand and the branding processes to keep their communications relevant to whatever target audience challenges we face in the future.
What benefits can attendees hope to obtain from attending a branding course?
In professional learning scenarios we sometimes feel we should know the material before we get there. Branding has terms, processes and points of view that are complex and confusing. My course is a blend of text book, current thinking and case study learning. I bring in practical examples of scenarios I learned from during my time working on iconic Irish brands like Lyons Tea, Ballygowan and Meteor. Participants will leave with clarity on branding terminology and brand processes as well as current brand thinking.
What do you consider is the key criteria for training to be effective?
Hands down effective training comes from a trainer who has industry experience. Academic approaches are necessary for fundamental learning but professional training is where we learn to apply the theory to the everyday. Sharing industry experiences is also the place where we learn perspective and this course is an ideal peer learning opportunity.
What do you believe are the challenges facing marketers today?
Data, demonstrating ROI, keeping up to date with digital plus the long term impact of short term digital tactics, are the challenges faced by every marketer. Something else however is piquing my interest – multiple generations taking part in a single society. Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen z (iGen) all earning and having active roles in society is an exciting concept for today’s marketers.
What trends are shaping marketer’s brand strategies in 2019?
1) Resurgence of branding
2) Customer experience (CX) for life-long customer relationships
3) Gen Z – today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s young adults
What are the current challenges and opportunities that marketers face around brand development in 2019.
The effect of ‘short-termism’ is being played out today in brands over reliance on short term promotions aimed at driving immediate sales peaks. Brands need to remove the reliance on promotional tactics, weather a possible short term dip in sales and have confidence long term brand communications (which according to the excellent work of Field and Binet is circa 6 months). Price promotions have become the heroin of today’s marketers, we need to detox.
And finally to whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
Fiona Curtain in Pernod Ricard (Dublin) and Mark Ritson Adjunct Marketing Professor (Melbourne) are two marketers whose opinions have always impressed me. However, Lucinda Ardern is my absolute inspiration. She is a born marketer. She understands her audience needs, she designs her service around their requirements and delivers a service with absolute integrity, genuineness and empathy. Her authentic customer first approach will impress and transcend multi generations which is of utmost importance to her role as custodian of Brand New Zealand.
Denise Doyle is the lead on one of the Marketing Institute’s marketing fundamentals series, Aligning Brand and Commercial Goals, taking place on 18th June 2019. More details on mii.ie/event/brand-workshop