Cox prompts ro­bust ar­gu­ment over ed­u­ca­tion in mar­ket­ing

Irish Independent - Business Week - - APPOINTMENTS -

SEL­DOM, if ever, has a talk at a Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute an­nual CMO con­fer­ence sparked such an im­pas­sioned re­sponse. Core chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Cox made a speech in which he was strongly crit­i­cal of all branches of mar­ket­ing in Ire­land for ig­nor­ing the need to pro­vide a stan­dard of third-level ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to help raise the pro­fes­sional bar.

Cox ar­gued that the in­dus­try was guilty of turn­ing a blind eye to nur­tur­ing con­tin­u­ous pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment. It ex­plains why mar­ket­ing and me­dia re­lies heav­ily on opin­ion and far too lit­tle on fact. He urged mar­keters and agen­cies to join with the Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute and other in­dus­try bod­ies in cre­at­ing a new ed­u­ca­tional model which would be the envy of the rest of the world.

UCD Smur­fit Grad­u­ate Busi­ness School pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing Damien McLough­lin re­acted to the speech with a vigour that prompted a deaf­en­ing si­lence in the Google Foundry’s au­di­to­rium. Dr McLough­lin in­sisted Cox had no ev­i­dence to sup­port his claims. He de­nounced ref­er­ences to Mark Rit­son by de­scrib­ing the mar­ket­ing pun­dit as some­one who poses as “the Dun­phy of in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing”.

“We’ve ideas from great thinkers and the ser­vice is there,” the pro­fes­sor added. When in­vited to re­ply to Dr McLough­lin’s out­burst, Cox said his re­marks showed the gap be­tween academia and the mar­ket­ing in­dus­try. His talk was based on re­search. “There are some peo­ple who think all is rosy, but ad­land takes a dif­fer­ent line,” Cox added.

De­spite the ver­bal joust­ing, the two men later chat­ted ami­ably dur­ing a cof­fee break – per­haps heart­ened by the knowl­edge that they had trig­gered an im­por­tant


Damien McLough­lin of UCD Smur­fit Busi­ness School spoke at the Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute an­nual CMO con­fer­ence de­bate. The CMO con­fer­ence kicked off with a less con­tentious but equally ab­sorb­ing talk given by brand strate­gist Karen Hand. She said that while most mar­keters know the ba­sics, it’s how the ba­sics are ap­plied that counts.

Hand pointed to case stud­ies in high­light­ing the need for change and why brand own­ers must ac­cept the time for plan­ning in mar­ket­ing has shrunk. Block­buster didn’t act quickly enough, Net­flix came long, stole their lunch and the com­pany went bust. Di­a­geo re­alised in time Bai­leys needed a new ‘treat’ strat­egy to com­pete with lux­ury ice cream.

Mar­keters need to adopt a mind­ful ap­proach to busi­ness. The three prin­ci­ples here are great faith, great doubt and great de­ter­mi­na­tion. The great doubt re­volves around ask­ing if things have been done be­fore and to study pre­vi­ous ex­am­ples. Nar­cis­sism can be a good thing but mar­keters must be crit­i­cal of strate­gies.

Great faith? Hand cited Bord Bia’s Ori­gin Green sus­tain­able cam­paign fronted by Saoirse Ro­nan. The pro­gramme was aimed at mak­ing Ire­land the food is­land by get­ting right to the grass­roots – the farm. Bord Bia launched a vol­un­tary scheme, in­de­pen­dently as­sessed. They had the courage to ex­per­i­ment. Over­seas buy­ers and re­tail­ers were con­vinced.

The ISPCC’s Child­line and Voda­fone was a prime ex­am­ple of great doubt. The char­ity sought sup­port but more calls wasn’t what they needed. What fi­nally emerged was the Head­Bomz na­tional aware­ness cam­paign and school pro­gramme to get kids talk­ing.

⬤ This year’s John Lewis Christ­mas ad lacks the magic of the fa­mous re­tailer’s pre­vi­ous ‘Hare & the Bear’ ad with Lily Allen singing ‘Some­where Only We Know’. A handy promo for El­ton John, it res­onates in terms of a young boy’s dreams at get­ting the gift of a pi­ano from Santa. John Lewis isn’t urg­ing shop­pers to buy El­ton John’s em­broi­dered silk dress­ing gown or tinted glasses, but will be push­ing its pi­anos in the run-up to Christ­mas. Prices start at £150 (€168) for a key­board. The more se­ri­ous mu­si­cian might choose up­right pi­anos cost­ing more than £800 (€898).

⬤ TAM Ire­land, the TV au­di­ence mea­sure­ment ser­vice, has launched the Tamis plan­ning awards for Ir­ish TV cam­paigns. The com­pe­ti­tion’s four cat­e­gories com­prise best use of TV, best TV new­comer, best use of in­no­va­tion and best on­go­ing use of TV. The grand prix win­ner se­lected from the four cat­e­gories will re­ceive €100,000 worth of TV air­time. En­tries are free of charge and the clos­ing date is Jan­uary 27, with the awards event in late March.

Michael Cullen is ed­i­tor of Mar­ket­ [email protected]­ket­

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