Salaries are on the up for salespeople
While marketing and sales people may bicker about who has the most to offer a business in raising the bottom line to new heights, a less biased observer might argue that the two disciplines each have a part to play. Fred Astaire would not have done a tap without Ginger Rogers at his side. And Oliver Hardy's slapstick would have fallen flat without Stan Laurel to ridicule.
Broadly speaking, marketing is about strategy, positioning and clever communications. To be effective in sales, you need to believe in your product, be persuasive and know how to close a deal. Marketing recruitment agency Alternatives, run by Charley Stoney, and the Sales Institute got together for the first time to interview some of Ireland's top sales people.
Survey results point to a career in sales as being secure and rewarding and providing a pathway to general management - or even higher up the corporate ladder. Salaries range from €30k to €160k and over half of the 350 respondents interviewed got at least €10k in bonuses.
As regards economic prospects, 70pc expect trade to improve in the next year. Retail did best with an 87pc return, followed by financial on 77pc. Looking at consumer sentiment, 78pc of those polled said it was "a little better" with 18pc describing the mood as "a lot better".
Financial services reported the strongest salary increases with 60pc of respondents reporting a hike in pay. At the other end of the scale, retail saw 5pc increases. The study showed there was no great difference in salary increase between male and female sales execs.
When comparing Irish and overseas companies, 54pc of commercial staff in international businesses reported increases. But the gap was less dramatic than what the survey's sponsors expected, indicating that Ireland Inc may again be investing in talent. The top three benefits a sales exec can expect are a mobile phone, contributory pension and healthcare. Customer retention and data analytics are skillsets high in demand. Staying put in a job is a trend, with over 60pc of respondents expecting to stick with their current roles for another three years. Some 71pc would recommend their company as an employer.
* Newstalk has a new free app on iOS and Android. Rebuilt from the ground up, it used listener feedback from 260,000 downloads on streaming problems, app crashes and a clunky user interface. Managing the upgrade was Newstalk's new head of digital, Kiela Brodigan. Headhunted from Fáilte Ireland, she worked on brand strategy for Dublin and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Developed by Dublin agency Redwind, the app provides news and sports on demand and podcasts of shows can be downloaded for offline listening. Content can be customised in line with listener preferences. Brodigan says it was a conscious business decision to offer the app for free. The rebuild was part of the station's strategy in developing a content publishing model. The latest JNLR reports that 95pc of listenership is on traditional radio and 5pc on mobile.
Newstalk sees digital investment as a way of adding new listeners. Brodigan says the station is just shy of 100,000 Twitter followers.
* Companies have until close of business tomorrow week (April 10) to enter campaigns for the An Post Smart Marketing Awards 2015. The Smarts aim to honour the 'foxiest' campaigns Ireland's marketers have to offer, highlighting consumer insights and results amid a smorgasbord of categories. Being an An Post initiative - replacing the long-running direct marketing awards - the sponsor hope that campaigns with a direct mail component will be among the gongs.
No self-respecting contest is complete without accomplished judges. Among this year's line-up are Bord Bia's Una FitzGibbon, Bill Kinlay, Mindshare and MCCP's Kay McCarthy. Two former Marketer of the Year winners - Fáilte Ireland's John Concannon, currently project director for Ireland 2016, and Ruth Guy of Barnardos - will also help decide on winners. Apres Match duo Risteard Cooper and Barry Murphy should put the guests in jovial mood at the awards night in the Mansion House on Thursday, May 5.
* Getting to great creativity is the theme of a one-day workshop for Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) member agencies on April 16. IAPI has hired the services of British adman Steve Henry of Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury (HHCL) fame to explain how to get to great. Henry will show how creatives can hit 'the sweet spot' of answering the client brief and to do it in a way in which no competing agency can.
* Former Fianna Fáil press officer and government media adviser Dan Pender has been beefing up his PR360 agency. After a contest, Pender has added Audi, Ireland's domain registry, IEDR and Lloyds Pharmacy. Fertility clinic ReproMed has retained PR360 and the agency is handling Icelandic airline Wow Air.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: firstname.lastname@example.org