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The Consumer Market Monitor - Q4 2017

Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, 20 hours ago
Updated: 16 February 2018

consumer market monitor Q4 2017Irish consumers spent €3 billion with online retailers abroad in 2017

 

- Retail sales up 7% to €40 billion in 2017

- Online retail spending at €5 billion, 60% going out of the country

- Disposable income reached €102 billion in 2017, above 2007 peak

 

read report

 

 

Dublin, 19 February 2018: Irish consumers spent €5 billion online in 2017, with €3 billion of that going to online retailers abroad. This is according to the latest findings of the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Data from the Q4 2017 monitor indicates that the Irish consumer economy is in good health with total disposable income at €102 billion – eclipsing the last peak experienced a decade ago in 2007. Retail spending has seen the most significant growth, with up 7% last year to €40 billion, despite losing at least €3 billion to overseas suppliers through online spending.


Data from the Q4 2017 monitor indicate that Irish consumers are spending on most types of goods and services. The strength of demand is especially evident in the housing market where 50,000 homes were sold last year, despite a chronic shortage of supply. The number of properties for sale stood at just 18,900 at the end of 2017.


“It is great to hear the cash registers ringing again for Irish retailers, and signs are positive for continued growth. The rapidly expanding labour market and rising incomes are two significant factors fuelling spending, however, a significant amount of retail spending is leaving the country. Only 40% of online retail spending goes to Irish websites which is disappointing for indigenous businesses. This is something that can be improved upon, but will require investment in websites and e-commerce platforms, as well as access to decent broadband infrastructure,” according to
Professor of Marketing Mary Lambkin UCD Smurfit School, author of the report


“Continuing employment growth is increasing the disposable income in circulation. This has taken us just about back to the level we were at 10 years ago, before the recession stalled the economy” said
Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.

 

Summary

Consumer spending in Ireland is now growing at a strong pace and continues to be one of the main drivers of economic growth, along with construction. Growth continued in both sectors in 2017 and this trend is expected to endure throughout 2018. Total consumer spending was up 2.8 per cent for the year, while construction grew by an even more significant amount of 4.2 per cent.

For consumer spending, it was a year of two halves. Consumers were relatively cautious in the first half of the year— with spending up by just 1.5 per cent year-on-year. This figure reflects a decline in new car sales with many consumers switching to second hand imports, as well as weaker spending on services. Conversely, spending accelerated in the second half of the year, reaching an estimated growth rate of 5.3 per cent in the final quarter. This positive momentum is continuing into 2018, with all forecasts indicating growth of close to 3 per cent for the year.

The main drivers of this growth are population expansion, along with increasing employment. There are now 2.2 million people at work, up 48,000 year-on-year, and up by 344,000 or 19 per cent from the low point in 2012. Growth of 2.2 per cent is forecast for 2018 and 1.8 per cent for 2019 which will bring another 90,000 people into the workforce.

The increasing number of people employed, as well as increases in hours worked, is leading to a substantial surge in the amount of disposable income in the economy. There has been a marked increase in aggregate disposable income which has increased upwards by about 5 per cent per year in each of the past three years. In sum, it reached €102 billion in 2017, eclipsing the 2008 peak of €101 billion.  It is forecasted that disposable income will continue growing in 2018 and 2019 at a similar rate of 5 per cent per annum.

Pay increases have also contributed to the rise in disposable income, with pay rates up by around 2 per cent per annum for the past three years. Increases of approximately 3 per cent are forecast for this year, and a similar rate is predicted for 2019. Households across the economic spectrum are now starting to gain from strong employment and wage growth.

Irish consumers’ confidence is also strong at present, and significantly higher than in the UK and the rest of Europe. It fell slightly in the second half of 2016 due to worries about Brexit but recovered relatively fast and got a significant boost in recent months.

Retail sales were very strong in 2017, up by 7 per cent in volume and by 4 per cent in value, the fastest rate of growth since 2007. All retail categories performed well with household goods out-performing all other categories.  

Sales of new cars are one significant exception. Sales were down by 10.5 per cent in 2017 for a total of 127,045 units. However, there was a dramatic rise in the number of imported second hand cars, up 47 per cent in 2016, and up again by 46 per cent in 2017, to a total of 92,508. The combined sales of new and imported second hand cars were actually up by 3.5 per cent for the year.

Sales of services have also been showing signs of weakness, with growth of just 2.3 per cent for 2017, compared to 5 per cent for each of the previous three years. Professional and technical services grew strongly but sectors such as accommodation and food service and telecommunications were relatively flat.

Predictably, residential property is the sector under most pressure. There were just 18,900 properties for sale in December 2017, or 1 per cent of the national housing stock of 2 million homes. Despite the tight market, sales strengthened in 2017, up 10 per cent to 49,756, the highest rate of sales since the recession. This upward trend is expected to continue in 2018, with 55,000 sales transactions expected for the year.


Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence in Ireland has been recovering since 2013, reaching a record high in June 2015. Confidence fell slightly through 2016 as a result of industrial unrest at home and uncertainty about Brexit abroad.

However, it picked up again in 2017, and ended the year on a high level, well above the EU average. The current level is consistent with a steadily growing economy, expanding employment and the economic recovery reaching more and more people around the country.

Consumer confidence in the UK has been negative since Q2 2016 due to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, coupled with general political uncertainty. Confidence declined steadily through 2017, reaching a low of minus 8 in December. In contrast, consumer confidence has improved significantly across the rest of the EU, reflecting strengthening economies.


Consumer Incomes and Spending

The disposable income of Irish households rose by 5 per cent in 2017 to a total of €102 billion, eclipsing the last peak of €101 million experienced a decade ago in 2007. The strong labour market is the main driver of the growth in disposable income, with pay increases also contributing. External factors also impacted the boosted spending, lower fuel prices and a weakening in the value of sterling being two significant factors.

There are now 2.2 million people at work, up 48,000 for the year, and up 344,000 from 2012, with average pay increases of 2 per cent common in 2015, 2016, and again in 2017.

Household spending, which accounts for about 94 per cent of all personal spending, closely mirrors income. It began to pick up in 2014, up by 2 per cent increased by 4.5 per cent in 2015, and by 3.5 per cent in 2016.

2017 saw spending increase by a further 3.8 per cent to €94 billion and forecasts indicate a similar rate of growth in 2018.


Consumer Borrowing

Borrowing by Irish households grew at a record level from 2000 and peaked in March 2008 at €150 billion but has declined steadily since then. Household debt continued to fall during 2016, down by 1 per cent, but grew by 2 per cent in 2017, the first sign of a return to normal conditions.

Loans for house purchases, which account for 84 per cent of household loans, peaked in Q1 2008 at €124 billion, but fell to a low of €73 Billion by Q4 2016, a cumulative decline of 40 per cent. Mortgage lending has increased since then, up by €4 billion by end 2017, an annual growth of 5 per cent.

The personal loans category peaked in Q1 2008 at €30 billion but declined to €12 billion by December 2016, a reduction of 60 per cent. This category resumed growth in mid-2016 and grew by 5 per cent in 2017.

Significantly, the ratio of household debt to disposable income has fallen by 60 per cent from a peak of 215 per cent in mid 2011 to 141 per cent in Q1 2017, leaving Irish households still the 4th most indebted in the EU.


Residential Property

Residential property is the sector under most pressure, as has been the case since the economic recovery began. There were 45,342 homes sold in 2016 which was lower than the 47,313 sold in 2015 in a situation of very short supply.

Sales strengthened in 2017, up 10 per cent to 49,756, the highest rate of sales since the recession. This was despite a lack of stock; there were just 18,900 properties for sale in December 2017, or 1 per cent of the national housing stock of 2 million homes.

This upward sales trend is expected to continue into 2018, with 55,000 sales expected for the year. This will be assisted by the increase in the number of new homes being built, estimated at 20,000 this year, up 58 per cent from 2015.


Services

The services sector recovered quicker than the retail sector from the recent recession, showing modest growth from 2011 onwards, and recovering more rapidly in the last two years. Growth slowed in 2017, however, to a rate of just 2.3 per cent.

Professional, scientific and technical services did best, up 10.4 per cent, and accommodation was up 1.8 per cent. Unfortunately, most other sectors were in negative territory: wholesaling (minus 5.3 per cent), administrative and support services (minus 0.5 per cent), information and communication (minus 1.3 per cent), transportation/storage (minus 0.3 per cent), and other services (minus 2.5 per cent).


Car Sales

Car sales began to recover in 2014, with 92,361 sold, a 30 per cent increase, and this rate of growth continued in 2015 with 121,110 sold. Sales continued upwards in 2016, with 142,688 cars sold, a slightly lower growth rate of 18 per cent.

New car sales were weaker in 2017, down 10.5 per cent year-on-year, for a total of 127,045. In contrast, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of imported second hand cars, up 47 per cent in 2016, and up again by 46 per cent in 2017 to a total of 92,508. This reflects the weakening of sterling which makes imports better value. Taken together, car sales in 2017 were actually up 3.5 per cent, which is reasonably healthy, and not indicative of a weakening in consumer spending.


Retail Spending

Retail sales were very strong in 2017, up by 7 per cent for the year in real volume terms. Growth accelerated as the year progressed, suggesting that this strong momentum will continue into 2018. Sales equated to spendings of €40 billion which is back to the levels seen in the last boom.  This growth rate was matched exactly by the level of VAT returns which increased by 7.1 per cent to a total of €13 billion for 2017.

All product categories experienced growth in Q4 2017. Household equipment which combines furnishings, electrical goods, and hardware, continues to be the fastest growing category, up by 13.7 per cent in volume and 8.2 per cent in value, year-on-year. Bookstores and newsagents, which have been steadily declining for the last 8 years, increased in Q4 by 2.5 per cent in volume and 3.4 per cent in value.

  • Food sales up 2.1 per cent in volume and up 5.5 per cent in value
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 5.7 per cent in volume and 4.7 per cent in value
  • Fuel up 0.4 per cent in volume and 3.7 per cent in value
  • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 5.7 per cent in volume and 1.8 per cent in value
  • Household equipment up 13.7 per cent in volume and 8.2 per cent in value
  • Department stores up 8.2 per cent in volume and 4.0 per cent in value
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 7.6 per cent in volume and 6 per cent in value
  • Bar sales up 2.2 per cent in volume and up 4.9 per cent in value
  • Books, newspapers, stationery up 2.5 per cent in volume and 3.4 per cent in value

 

infographic consumer market monitor q4 2017

 

About the Author

 

Mary Lambkin

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

 

In 1964, University College Dublin became one of the first universities in Europe to offer the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).  In 1991, the graduate business school opened its own campus in Blackrock, County Dublin.  With over 100 faculty members, 1,300 students and 75,000 alumni worldwide, UCD Smurfit School is one of a small number of business schools worldwide and the only school in Ireland, to hold triple international accreditation (US - AACSB, European - EQUIS and UK – AMBA). The school’s programme has been consistently ranked among the leading European business schools’ programmes by the Economist and Financial Times, since 2000.

 

The School is also a member of CEMS and the Global Network for Advanced Management, which are alliances of leading global business schools.


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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A Day in the Life of... Alan Morris, Marketing Campaigns Manager at Laya Healthcare

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 14 February 2018
Updated: 13 February 2018
Alan Morris Laya Healthcare

The Marketing Institute: What does a Marketing Campaigns Manager do?

Alan Morris: As Marketing Campaigns Manager for Laya Healthcare and Laya Life I am responsible for lead generation, both online and offline, using our various marketing channels.  At the core of this is the planning and delivery of all our consumer facing marketing campaigns. I work directly on our advertising creative work and media planning but I also coordinate the delivery of all the other campaign elements (PR, social media, research) with the other members of our marketing team.   I have a lot of interaction with external agencies (digital, creative, research, media) so this gives me huge variety in my role. There is never a dull moment and always something fun and interesting going on.

 

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

A.M: I've had a pretty varied path to get me to where I am today.  I started my working life in AIB on their graduate programme where I was involved in their B2C and B2B internet banking offering, which gave me a really good understanding of how to speak to the consumer over digital channels.  Next I joined the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), a quantum leap from the banking sector but this is where I cut my teeth on the more traditional methods of advertising (radio, press, event management, trade shows).  When the opportunity came along to join a national brand like Laya Healthcare, the variety and hands on experience I had built up over the years really stood to me.  It goes to show that marketing is a really transferable skill between different sectors.

 

MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

A.M: I find the biggest challenge in marketing today to be attribution.  Like every other company that uses multiple marketing channels, it’s always hard to attribute performance to a particular channel with absolute certainty.  While digital allows for measuring to a greater degree in theory, I am yet to see a perfect way to attribute performance across a multichannel marketing mix, particularly when you mix traditional and digital channels.  Its getting better and there are improvements all the time but I am yet to hear about the perfect attribution model.

 

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

A.M: To be effective I need to be good at planning to make sure that the multiple deadlines my projects entail are met.  As I deal with a lot of internal stakeholders and external agencies I need to be good at  coordinating opinion and feedback to make sure  that each piece of creative we produce meets all the high standards and approvals we set against our campaigns .  As I work with multiple account mangers across multiple marketing agencies, relationship management is also a key part of what I do.  Making sure the work gets done and our brand and values are being promoted and protected at all times by everyone involved in the campaign is one of the most important parts of what I do, while also maintaining that positive working relationship with everyone involved in the campaign.  And finally an understanding of the customer is vital in any marketing role.  Laya Healthcare prides itself on being customer obsessed and myself and all the rest of the marketing team are at the forefront of delivering this.

 

MII: Describe a typical working day.

A.M: Most of my working days kick off with a bit of exercise at home or going for a quick run in the morning.  Then it’s off to creche with my little boy and on into the office to start my day in our offices in Little Island in Cork.   Then its full throttle from there on.  Generally we will have a number of campaigns in the pipeline for Laya Healthcare and Laya life so I’ll spend a good bit of my day on the phone to our various agencies in Cork and Dublin.  This can be dealing with media plans, creative work like scripts or storyboards and even things like picking locations for video shoots or picking voice over artists for various piece of creative work.  These days in marketing there is a huge emphasis on reporting and metrics so a portion of my day is always spent reviewing performance against target both online and offline and identifying any areas for improvement.  Our industry is changing all the time so there are regularly items in the news or activity from our competitors  that keeps us on our toes as well,  so very often my day starts one way and finishes very differently!

 

MII: What do you love most about your role?

A.M: I really enjoy the competitive industry that we work in.  There are only a small number of health insurance companies in Ireland so there is a constant effort by all insurers to keep moving forward and to capture the imagination of the consumer ahead of our competition.  This brings a huge amount of variety into my role and allows for huge opportunities at being creative and innovative with our marketing.  

 

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

A.M: It’s hard to say.  I’m really satisfied in my current role.  The people I work with challenge and impress me every day and even though I am based in Cork where there is a brilliant marketing community,  my role also gives me great exposure to the Dublin marketing environment when dealing with our agencies based up there.  I am still learning every day and always feel challenged working with a brand I truly believe in.  While the majority of my current role is consumer focussed, I would like to develop my skills more across the corporate side of our business which is a big part of what we do as a company.

 

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

A.M: I work with a brilliant marketing team in Laya Healthcare, so finding inspiration locally is never an issue.  I also believe that Irish agencies hold some of the best international creative and media planning talent that you can find, so I am constantly inspired to learn more and to push our brand’s creative barriers by our agencies' wise words and guidance.    


View all Day in the Life features

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Core and IAPI join forces to find the best young marketing talent in Ireland!

Posted By Core Media, 12 February 2018

young lions core media

L - R: Shane Doyle, Core Media, Paddy Carberry and Rachel Crawley,Vodafone, 2017  Young Marketers winners, and Aidan Greene, Core Media

 

  • Marketing professionals urged to enter ‘Young Marketers’ competition to demonstrate strategic thinking and creative approach to solving marketing challenges

  • Winning duo will receive all-expenses paid trip to Cannes Festival of Creativity, the world’s largest advertising festival
     

Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications group, are once again joining forces with the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) as part of the 2018 Cannes ‘Young Lions’ competition.
 
Core have retained their sponsorship of the ‘Young Marketers’ prize, which is open to pairs of young marketers aged 30 years or under working on the client side of the business.
 
The ‘Young Marketers’ competition is an opportunity for the brightest professional minds working in the industry to demonstrate their strategic thinking and creative approach to solving important marketing challenges. Core recognizes that creativity is not simply reserved for agencies - it’s at the heart of clients’ businesses too.
 
To enter, each team of two will have to answer a brief as the brand they currently work for. For example, last year’s team from Vodafone answered the brief using the Vodafone brand to tackle the issue of sustainable energy use in Ireland.
 
The 2018 brief relates to www.checktheregister.ie, the website which allows people to check their eligibility to vote in elections and referenda.

Full details of the brief will be outlined at a seminar in the Odeon Cinema, Point Village on Friday, February 16, from 8am. The competition will be explained, the brief and the jury panel will be introduced and an explanation will be given of how the Young Lions competition works. Teams who wish to enter the Young Marketers competition must attend this briefing and register their interest on the morning of the event.

The deadline for entries is 5th March 2018.

Shortlisted entrants will be invited to pitch to the local judging panel and the overall winner of the ‘Young Marketer’ competition will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Cannes Lions in France in June 2018. The trip includes flights, a full week’s delegate pass, invites to the gala evenings, and hotel accommodation in Cannes.
 
The winning Young Marketers duo will be part of a bigger team of 12 Young Lions representing the best young creative talent in Ireland in PR, print, film, media and social media. They will then compete in Cannes against the best young marketers from each country attending. Cannes Lions is an eight-day festival of world class creative thinking, digital innovation, education and networking, with over 17,000 delegates from over 100 countries.
 
Shane Doyle, Group Strategy Director of Core, says:

 
“Creativity has a profound and quantifiable influence on marketing effectiveness, with international research proving that creatively-awarded campaigns are six times more efficient than non-awarded campaigns in growing market share. Core wants to support the next generation of marketers to unleash their creative thinking.”
 
For further details on Cannes Young Lions, please go to www.iapi.ie/awards/cannes-lions.
 
 
www.onecore.ie
@Core_IRL #CannesLions
@IAPI_Updates

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2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals That Trust In Journalism Rises As Fear Of Fake News Remains High

Posted By The Marketing Institute & Edelman, 08 February 2018

8th February 2018 – Trust in traditional journalism has rebounded by five percentage points to 53 percent while trust in search engines and social media platforms has plummeted by eight percentage points to 33 percent since last year, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. The annual study shows that as a significant majority (64 percent) are concerned about fake news there is a yearning for journalism that provides accurate, credible information. According to the study a strong majority of Irish people believe that traditional journalists are meeting expectations in terms of investigating corruption (56 percent), guarding information quality (54 percent) and educating on issues (61 percent). 


This year’s study shows a revival of faith in experts. Academic (68 percent) and technical (66 oercent) experts are seen as the most credible spokespeople for a company, while trust in ‘a person like yourself’ dropped 2 points to 52 percent. Trust in CEO’S as a voice of authority increased by 14 points to 41 percent.

The research finds that business is now expected to be an agent of change. 63 percent say that CEOs should take the lead on change rather than wait for Government to impose it. This show of faith in business comes with high expectations. 75 percent of respondents believe that producing high-quality products and services is the most important job for CEOs, followed by ensuring that the company is trusted (73 percent) and has high ethical standards (66 percent). In Ireland trust in US headquartered companies fell by 6 points.

“At a time when people are struggling with who and what to believe there is a notable rise in trust in journalism.   People’s trust in social media as a source of news is collapsing, leaving an opportunity for journalists and bona fide experts to inform society,” said Joe Carmody, MD, Edelman Ireland. 

According to the Barometer, Government is seen as the preferred institution to lead Ireland to a better future ahead of business and NGOs.    Trust in Government is also increasing year on year and now stands at 35 percent.  Over the past five years trust in Government has increased by 15 percent, the largest increase of each of the four institutions during that period.

Manufacturing (61 percent) and education (70 percent) are the most trusted sectors, according to the Irish study, with financial services (29 percent) and automotive (44 percent) the least. The study also reveals that trust in industry sectors including technology, food and beverage, telecommunications, entertainment, automotive and consumer packaged goods declined over the past five years.

The presentation is available below.

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A Day in the Life of... Maeve Harrington, Founder & Director of In and Out Marketing

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 07 February 2018
Updated: 06 February 2018

Maeve Harrington In and Out Marketing

The Marketing Institute: What does In and Out Marketing do? 

Maeve Harrington: In and Out Marketing is my business which I set up in September 2016. Over the course of my career to date I have been passionate about the role of marketing in building brands and I have over 28 years’ experience working in marketing across a broad range of industries - where does the time go! Having worked as a Marketing Manager, Marketing Director and now business owner, I understand how there are times when it would be useful to call on an experienced marketer on an in and out basis, who doesn’t carry agency costs and who has a practical, personal and hands-on approach to working with a business. I named my business In and Out Marketing because I will work with clients to develop marketing both internally and externally. Also, I will be in and out in that I apply a project management approach to the way I work so there is a defined beginning and end with clear objectives and targets agreed with clients beforehand. Some projects are big and some are small, I am happy to help in any way that I can.


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

M.H: Having completed my Psychology Degree and Diploma in Business Studies in UCD, I started out my career in research with AGB Atwood. From there I was approached by Lever Bros (Ire) Ltd to join the team as a Marketing Executive and leaving the position of Product Group Marketing Manager years later, I joined Irish Permanent as Marketing Communications Manager and from there I went to Esat Clear as Marketing Manager. After Esat, I joined the startup team at eBid.ie, Ireland’s first online auction marketplace, as COO and when the market changed for our business, I joined Ogilvy & Mather as Senior Account Director. I was headhunted from there to join Canada Life as Marketing Director to establish a professional marketing team and following the acquisition of Irish Life by our parent company Great West LifeCo, I set up my own business. To date I have completed projects with KnowledgeBase.ie, an online platform we created to provide solicitors and accountants with a guide to the new Companies Act and changes to Employment Law, and most recently I joined Pinergy on a consultancy basis for a period of 12 months as acting Head of Marketing. Here I worked closely with the management team to devise a clear strategy and positioning for the business to form the basis for growth from a domestic pay-as-you-go provider to the energy services business Pinergy is today. A major priority of my work during this period was a strategic review of Pinergy’s brand positioning in the context of both a dynamic market and the company’s evolving business model in both the domestic and commercial markets. To date, I have had a joyous 28 years working in marketing across a range of Industry sectors; Market Research, FMCG, Finance, Telecoms, Internet start-ups, Advertising, Life Assurance and Energy industries.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role? 

 M.H: I am passionate about marketing and the positive impact it can have on building brands. The challenge for my role is to ensure that a company’s brand positioning is right and the marketing strategy brings that positioning to life for consumers in the most appropriate and effective way through the most appropriate and effective marketing channels within budget. The challenge for marketing is how to connect, how to position your brand in a way that it clearly stands out from other brands so that customers always choose your brand over your competitors. Many businesses don’t have a big marketing budget and for me I think that makes a marketer even more creative.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to get a business to put the customer at the heart of everything that they do, as that is the key to building a long-term relationship with customers.


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

 M.H: Listening is a hugely important skill for me as my starting point is meeting with clients to listen to and understand what marketing problems or issues they are facing in their business. Working with management teams on a project basis requires excellent teamwork and communication skills. Also empathy is important so that I can effectively & positively contribute to a business team. Understanding the business & the market, competitors and consumers is critical in order to be able to do my job and above all, a passion for and an understanding of marketing is the master skill. 


MII: Describe a typical working day. 

 M.H: The wonderful thing about my business is that no day is a typical day. After I meet a client and we agree that I can add value to their business, my first task is to spend time with my client to discuss the scope of our project and agree objectives and key deliverables together. Then my work begins and I start by meeting the team to ask a series of 6 questions focusing on what the business does, what makes it different, why I should believe it and why as a customer I should choose this brand over others. I also ask, what is working well and what can be improved in terms of marketing. This is a very interesting exercise and gives tremendous insight into the task ahead. Next I research the market landscape and conduct an in depth study into every competitor, drawing on all the information available.  Then I gather every bit of information available about the customers and their experience and study those who are not yet customers to understand how best to connect with them. From this I devise a clear strategy and positioning for the business to form the basis for growth and work with the team to implement this strategy. An important focus of my work is to make sure that every internal and external touchpoint to the target market clearly reflects that strategy & positioning. I have also been involved in finding the right marketing resource for a business and have recruited for an internal marketing role and sourced external service providers to suit a business. I have also introduced management dashboards that track performance against key performance indicators and have implemented budget management processes and reports to track return on investment. The projects I work on can be big projects encompassing all I have described above or projects may be more compact in terms of what is required, it depends on what the client needs. That is why no day is a typical day for me.


MII: What do you love most about your role? 

 M.H: For me, marketing is about connecting a business or service with a market to form a relationship that is mutually beneficial for both; profitable for the business and always rewarding and fulfilling for the customer. Working with business teams across different industries, learning about their business and their market and gaining an understanding of their target consumers’ beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and determining the best marketing channels to connect a business with their chosen market to position their brand ahead of competitors, is what I love most about marketing. It is very rewarding and fulfilling for me to apply my marketing experience to my clients from the range of industries I have been lucky enough to work in.


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

 M.H: I relish the opportunity to work with businesses to make marketing work for them. Whether this is with big businesses and their marketing teams or small enterprises who perhaps don’t have a sufficient in-house marketing resource or maybe don’t want to engage with a full services agency but would like an experienced marketer to work with them for a period of time. This is where In and Out Marketing can help. So far, In and Out Marketing has worked with KnowledgeBase and Pinergy and I am actively looking to take on new projects during 2018. In and Out Marketing is all about offering a personal, practical hands-on service and my starting point is listening to clients and understanding what marketing problems or issues they may be facing in their business. I will meet with businesses, at no cost, to explore if and how In and Out Marketing might assist a business with marketing. Any business who would like to contact me, can email me at maeve@inandoutmarketing.ie or complete the contact form on my website www.inandoutmarketing.ie


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

 M.H: I was very fortunate to work with great role models in my early career, among them Tom McGowan, Kevin Donnelly and Barbara Patton from whom I learned a great deal. I am inspired by Natalie Massenet founder of Net-A-Porter, Lady Michelle Mone founder of Ultimo & Jo Malone founder of Jo Malone and Jo Loves for their passion and perseverance and because their businesses and brands have made a powerful and enduring connection with their customers and they place customer experience at the centre of their business. I admire Sir Richard Branson for the way that he brings his people along with him and respects all those who work with him. All his Virgin businesses demonstrate the essence of teamwork. I was lucky enough to attend this year’s Pendulum Summit to see some of my role models speak, which was so inspiring. Going back to where I started with my psychology degree I now have a new person I look to for inspiration and that is Dr Martyn Newman, a psychologist with an international reputation as an expert in emotional intelligence and leadership who tells us of the key skills we need to become great leaders and that we need to learn how to quiet the noisiness of our world today to develop peaceful minds in order to make good clear decisions. I think I can learn a lot from him and I never want to stop learning.

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