Let’s identify the stars of marketing

It’s time the profession became better recognised for the contribution made to business and commerce, says Graeme Atha

The Marketing Society Scotland is scanning the horizons to reward  true creativity. Picture: Getty
The Marketing Society Scotland is scanning the horizons to reward true creativity. Picture: Getty

REACH For The Stars is the theme for the Marketing Society Star Awards for 2014.

Whilst a parody on the hyperbole often associated with marketing communications, there is an important underlying message encouraging marketeers to explore new frontiers and boldly go where others fear.

The Marketing Society has a mission to inspire bolder marketing leadership and the Star Awards provide a platform for marketeers to demonstrate their value to their organisations and society in general.

Marketeers should be proud and confident leaders – demonstrating effective marketing is central to business success and inspiring young professionals to follow this career path.


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When asked what they do for a job, there should be pride in using the title “marketeer” and not using the more apologetic and vague sounding “I work in marketing”. Then providing a clear and confident response to the inevitable follow-up question: “What does that actually mean?”

Other professionals such as accountants, lawyers and engineers, are rarely asked to explain what they do.

Nor is it good enough for marketeers to default to “it involves advertising” as easier to explain and then using the Mad Men TV series as a reference.

Not that there should be any embarrassment in recognising the importance of creativity and innovation in marketing and explaining it is the combination of art and science that makes it such an interesting and stimulating career.


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Marketeers do not only try to sell more things at higher prices. The promotion of social causes also plays an important role in society encouraging happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.

In the 2013 Star Awards, the Scottish Government and its agencies won a number of Gold Star Awards for various social and sustainable marketing campaigns.

Now in their tenth year, the Star Award categories range from the Star School Award and Marketing Student of the Year to Marketing Team and Agency Team of the Year; from the Rising Stars to the Champions of Marketing – the Agency Star and Marketing Star of the Year.

Creativity in marketing is recognised by the Creative Student and Rising Creative Star Awards. All of the marketing communication disciplines are recognised from advertising and design to media and PR.


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The key industry sectors are also recognised from food and drink to tourism, leisure and retail. From financial and professional services to retail and cause related.

Organisations of all sizes are encouraged to enter, with work judged on the basis the quality of the paper and results, not the size of budget. There is no cost for first-time entrants and there is also a special award for the best paper from a small to medium-sized enterprise

Marketeers are encouraged to enter the awards as a way of capturing work they are proud of as a professionally written and presented case study. Often clients and agencies work on the entries together developing their relationship. Award-winning case studies are also an effective way to demonstrate expertise and can help promote organisations as great places to work for and with.

A new award for 2014 will be the Employer Brand of the Year which recognises the importance of recruiting, developing and retaining marketing talent in Scotland..


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With this award marketeers and HR professionals work together to using their respective talents to ensure the organisation is being promoted as effectively as its brands.

This year, for the first time, all members of the Marketing Society in Scotland are invited to be part of the two-stage judging process. In the first stage the entries are scored online before panels of Business Leader members meet up to agree the Gold, Silver and Bronze Star winners.

The awards dinner will be held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh with more than 450 guests ranging from school teams and students to organisations, agency and client, big and small, public and private sector. It is the glitziest celebration of marketing in Scotland in the year.

Sally Stanley, group strategic director at Highland Spring, is the 2014 Star Awards chairwoman and she said at the launch: “I urge marketeers to be brave, to go beyond the day-to-day job and demonstrate the value of your work by entering these awards. This will also help build the reputation of Scotland as a great place to study, work and invest in marketing”


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• Graeme Atha is director of Marketing Society Scotland. Full details of the Star Awards at www.marketingsocietyscotland.com/stars14