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A bright future for marketing

9 April 2019 by

A bright future for marketing

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Bernie Keogh Leadership, Data, Digital...


The World of Work in the 21st century has changed utterly, presenting new opportunities and challenges in equal measure. As a result, Ireland Inc. is involved in an intensive battle to attract and retain talent.

The certainties of the past (where salary and benefits were the ultimate deciding factors in any career choice), are now merely elements of the overall decision about what type of career to pursue, where to work and for how long, before eventually moving on. Flexibility, Culture and Engagement are now key components of what makes a role or employer an attractive proposition. Those businesses that don’t embrace this new reality will be left behind.

As the business that first introduced and pioneered the notion of Flexible Working into the Irish commercial landscape - and now at the forefront of the Gig Economy movement – Alternatives, as Ireland’s No.1 Brand, Marketing, Digital and Data Talent solutions specialists, is uniquely placed to offer a distinctive view of the market.


As technology and data drive much of the transformation happening in business today, the role of marketing is incredibly varied and increasingly specialist with significant variations in terms of functions, skill sets, expertise and KPIs across businesses and industry sectors.  There has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer than now as many businesses align their focus to the central goal of marketing which is to drive growth by creating value for the customer and deliver a great customer experience.

Indeed, the use of new technologies aided by data and analytics makes it easier today for marketers to be chief growth architects. In certain industry sectors they can segment and target customers with precision in real time, demonstrating their effectiveness at generating demand and converting intention to purchase along the customer journey in a way that has never been possible.

In addition, some of the key findings of the Alternatives and Marketing Institute Salary, Market Insights and Sentiment Survey provide interesting signposts for the future. Conducted between June and August of this year and with almost 1,200 respondents across 25 industry sectors, it is the largest survey of its kind for the Irish marketing, digital, data & customer talent community.


In the battle for talent, companies are increasingly accessing flexible resource as a way to attract or retain in-demand talent. 80% of companies access flexible resources (interim managers, contractors, consultants) and one in three respondents have contracted or freelanced before.

42% of companies do so a moderate amount or a lot, in particular financial services, Agri, telco, tech and utilities. 1 in 3 respondents have contracted or freelanced before - for work/life balance, for portfolio working and for the variety and project way of working

The preference for flexible working has also become more gender balanced, debunking the myth that it’s just mums that want to work more flexibly.

The most in demand ‘Flexible Talent’ skills within the marketing function are predominantly across strategy & planning, brand, innovation, digital and transformation, insights and customer experience, all critical to brand and business success today.


Overall, respondents were well remunerated ranging from support level at an average of €30,000 base salary to Directors at an average of €123,000. In addition, 61% of respondents were awarded salary increases in the last year.

However, in the “More to Do” column, the gender story remains unequal. Male respondents in general are better paid, receive more non-salary benefits, feel more secure and are more engaged. Male respondents are paid more for the same roles than their female counterparts at almost all levels from practitioner level upwards. The pay differential increases the more senior the career stage. For instance, a male director will get €15,000 more than a female director (+13%). A number of male respondents are less well paid at early career stage however.”

Males get more benefits than women across almost all benefit categories in areas such as bonuses, contributory pensions, healthcare, share options and cars. The exception is flexible working, which is also considered more motivating for women than men.


42% of respondents said that marketing is perceived as a strategic, revenue driving partner and has board representation.  Many of Ireland’s most successful marketers essentially co-create their role, responsibilities and metrics with their CEO or senior executive team after detailed discussions regarding the future strategy of the organisation, organisation structure and short to long term commercial objectives. This avoids the pitfalls of a mismatch between expectations, responsibilities and actual ability to have an impact.

Successful senior marketers are also very adept at understanding that companies have different needs, challenges and goals and they adapt their discourse to speak the same language as the business.

Successful marketers also demonstrate tremendous dexterity and agility in their thinking and are empirical in their approach. They are willing to change their minds publicly when new data proves them wrong and experiment and learn from failure. They are more attached to demonstrating effectiveness and delivering ROI than the campaigns they develop.


Marketing remains one of the truly customer centric and market focused functions within the organisation which can directly impact how and the frequency with which customers purchase or engage with the business.

The future looks bright. Indeed, there is significant reason to believe that, as a community, so long as we are ambitious enough, we will continue to go all the way to the top in ever increasing numbers.