As we head into a new year with all the changes and uncertainties that 2016 brought never has it been more important for marketers to be bold and lead by example.
Apart from all the changing political, economic and cultural dynamics across the world, there have been significant advances in marketing science, from access to big data, the development of programmatic advertising to the open democracy of social media.
Trust in business, brands and institutions is also at an all-time low, with organisations being challenged to have a social purpose at the centre of their activities and not simply as a PR exercise.
The Marketing Society has a vision of building a world-leading marketing community in Scotland by being bolder marketing leaders.
A sense of community is central to this vision, with marketers across all sectors and at all levels recognising the importance of working together and learning from each other.
It’s about Scottish-based clients working with Scottish based agencies – the public sector learning from the private sector, academics engaging with industry, graduates connecting with employers.
In 2016 we launched our Manifesto for Marketing Leadership, which detailed the key priorities for successful marketing leaders.
1) To create a shared vision on how to build a successful and sustainable future for their organisation;
2) To engage and inspire their organisations to be customer led;
3) To deliver clear, effective and measurable plans.
We have built our event programme around these requirements, from our Star Awards which recognise and reward the brightest talent and the most inspiring work, to Digital Day, with a focus on what is coming next and how we need to prepare and plan.
With our Inspiring Minds programme we look at five key areas of best practice: Inspiring Briefs, Inspiring Planning, Inspiring Creativity, Inspiring Results and Inspiring Presentations
The Industry Insights events provide our members with the opportunities to gain insights into different sectors, organisations and disciplines.
We believe that leadership skills are required at all levels in marketing, not just in the senior roles.
Talent Exchange is an initiative whereby leading member organisations offer to provide valuable experience to members from other member organisations.
Future Leaders is a new programme designed to develop the leadership skills of rising talent in our industry.
One important area where we hope to make a real difference is in promoting gender equality in the marketing sector.
The Mind The Gap research we conducted in 2016 demonstrated that whilst there remains many areas of inequality there is also a definite enthusiasm to tackle them. Our Inspiring Women initiative has a wide of range of plans to address these issues, from publishing successful case studies on gender equality to providing strong female mentors and inspiring women speakers, as well as ensuring a gender balance across all of our events and activities.
The Star Awards remain our most important platform to demonstrate bolder marketing leadership.
We have five Star categories where we recognise and reward great work and outstanding marketing talent. Development Stars, Strategic Stars, Communications Stars, Sector Stars and Champion Stars.
The Development Stars range from Star School and Star Marketing and Creative Student Awards to Rising Creative, Agency and Marketing Stars.
Strategic Stars range from Brand Development and Marketing Planning to International Marketing and Marketing in Society
The Communication category covers all disciplines and media channels, from Advertising to Design and PR to Brand Experience.
The Sector Awards range from Financial and Professional Services to Food and Drink, Retail, Tech and Public Sector, Tourism, Leisure and Sport
The Champions Awards include Star Agency and Star Marketing Team of the Year as well as Agency and Marketing Star of the Year.
In 2016, Carole Graham of Graham’s The Family Dairy was awarded Marketing Star of the Year for the outstanding work their business and brands have done in a highly competitive market.
The Scottish Government won Star Marketing Team of the Year in recognition of the bold and important work they do with many of their social and health campaigns.
The entry deadline for the Star Awards is 17 February and not only do you have to be in it to win it, you need to demonstrate bolder marketing leadership.
Going forward it is the only way to survive and thrive.
Full details on The Marketing Society Star Awards can be found on starawards.marketingsociety.com. Graeme Atha is a Director of The Marketing Society @graemeatha, @marketingsocsco