Now entering our sixth decade, the Marketing Institute of Ireland has been there all the way, playing our part in Irish business life, facilitating and supporting the marketing professionals and business leaders who, by focusing on customers and markets, played their part in the creating what was to become the modern Irish economy.
We are particularly proud of the fact that the man widely regarded as the architect of the modern Irish economy, Taoiseach Seán Lemass TD, was an ardent supporter of our work, and served as President of the Institute for four years from 1967.
Commerce has been a feature of life in Ireland going back to the Bronze Age, when we were engaged in extensive international trade, but the story of the Marketing Institute really begins in 1962.
Since 1947 there had been an Irish affiliate of the London-based Incorporated Sales Managers Association (ISMA) in place, and there were Irish branches in Dublin, Belfast and Cork. Developments in the early 1960s were changing the business landscape. The Treaty of Rome had established the new Common Market, Teilifís Éireann had just been launched, and Ted Levitt had published the sensational “Marketing Myopia” article in the Harvard Business Review.
In what was to be a far-reaching event, the ISMA in Ireland broke with London and formed the Irish Institute of Marketing and Sales Management in 1962. This was a courageous move, as at that time the commercial culture in Ireland was very weak. There was a widespread aversion to risk-taking, a reluctance to change, and a shortage of well-trained business managers. Exports were low and aimed mainly at Britain. There was a general lack of initiative in sales management, and marketing was little understood and rarely practised. Furthermore, there was no university degree course available in marketing.