Marketing – the Force Awakens for another innovative year

Disney's promotion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens 'will surely be one of the best marketing campaigns created' by the company
Nick Read

THE 16th CIM Marketing Excellence Ireland Awards were held before Christmas in Belfast; an annual opportunity to celebrate the creativity and success of our local companies as they plan and implement their marketing campaigns.

Companies from all over Ireland entered, from large to small, from the marketing department to the individual marketer, and from those with large budgets to those with little. What the majority of the entries did have in common, though, was that they successfully combined both online and offline marketing techniques.

It’s interesting to think back 16 years to when the awards first started and reflect on the things that were important to us then. In 1999, we feared the millennium bug and we thought our computers would stop working. Today, cyber safety is a major issue.

That year the Rugby World Cup was hosted by Wales – this year the English tournament was a major sporting and marketing success. And in 1999, Star Wars the Phantom Menace was released. In December, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened after what will surely be one of the best marketing campaigns created by Disney.

As marketers, we continually adjust to our surroundings, whether this is new technology, economic factors, and cultural phenomena such as Star Wars, or changes in public opinion.

We have faced many challenges over the past few years; we have dealt with tight budgets, pressure on consumer spending and increased “buyer power”. This has meant that our profession has had to be more creative, agile and responsive to the market, and to embrace new technologies in order to win the support of our customers.

In the most recent awards, all of our 14 winners had shown great skill in adapting to a changing world with exciting, creative campaigns that had impact.

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In 2016, the challenges for marketers include the pace of change, the increasing demands of our customers and the growth of innovation in technology. Now the voice of one person can be heard worldwide – making us part of a global conversation.

This technological change and potential for global conversation allows us to explore new markets, new ideas and engage with our customers in their millions or on a one-to-one basis, no matter how big our business is and no matter what our resources are. This is the big change from 1999 - we can combine digital technology with creativity in our branding and messaging to capture the imagination of our customers. And, by enabling a two-way conversation, we are able to create a deeper engagement with our brand.

The winners in the CIM awards were those who were able to show a clear understanding of the marketing process following steps to demonstrate to the judges the planning, execution and evaluation of their campaign. Add to this creativity and integration of the campaign, and you have a recipe for success and a simple reminder of the marketing process.

As always, we must be adaptable. What new innovation and exciting challenges will we face as marketers in 2016? I can’t wait for the Marketing Excellence Ireland Awards to see what new strides we will have made.

Nick Read is chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Ireland board. Visit for more information or follow @CIMInfo_Ireland


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