A look at how digital marketing in Ireland compares to the international experience through the eyes of our international network partners.


Digital Marketing has fundamentally changed how we think about consumers, how we craft campaigns and even how we structure our brand and agency teams to deliver our message. All of these are positive and have brought about significant changes in terms of marketing effectiveness. They will also irrevocably alter how we will do our jobs over the coming years. It’s hugely significant and hugely exciting.

What worries me however, is that we’ve been here before. Email as the internet’s killer app anyone? So, unless we counterbalance our industry’s undoubted potential with the clear identification of our salient challenges and address them head-on, then the potential that digital marketing offers brands will not be fully realised.

The good news is that this is a global issue and there will be global solutions that we can tap into. The challenges we face here in Ireland in terms of scale, budget availability, proper commercial KPI’s and brand attribution etc etc are exactly the same as those being faced by some of the biggest brands with the biggest budgets in some of the biggest markets in the world. What follows is an international perspective on the challenges faced in digital marketing internationally, contextualised to the Irish experience.

John Baker

President dotJWT, New York

“Social becoming Paid Media Platforms – clients have embraced content but now they realize Facebook and Twitter require promotion to get their content in front of people. This is pushing creative and media back together again since the decision on which social content to promote is often difficult to plan in advance.”  

This is a very real challenge and offers a very significant counterpoint to the oft-quoted “Always On Digital” strategy. Traditionally employing some combination of PPC and sporadic social activation to somehow claim a meaningful and ubiquitous presence in consumers lives is no longer enough. Without paid media support, John points to the sobering point that brand content simply wont be seen to any significant level. We are seeing this in Ireland too. Well thought out content plans that are invested in from both a creative and media perspective are the solution. Brands are now realising that to market effectively in digital channels requires some financial skin in the game. The reassuring thing is that the levels of creativity in Ireland lets us play this game better than most.

Saurabh Garg

Associate Director, Planning & Strategy, Social Wavelength, JWT Mumbai

“Accountability - clients ask for business accountability and measurability. Often, the campaigns we do are on social / digital platforms where we can’t really “sell” products or services.”  

In a market the size of India, you can see the potential issue for Saurabh and its implications. That we are a mere fraction of India’s size doesn’t in any way diminish the potency of his argument. Any lack of proper accountability metrics weakens the case for investment in the type of channel neutral content that can deliver the step-change in digital output that we all strive for. It’s not that digital marketing in Ireland doesn’t have relevant metrics. It does. It’s just that it has quite a few irrelevant ones too. And ultimately it’s the direct impact on sales that we crave. I am aware of at least two research products being developed in Ireland to this end – both exciting and both requiring investment. It’s in all our interests that we find the means. The end will justify it!

Maxime Garrigues

Managing Partner, X-Prime Groupe, JWT France

“Be in real time - brands have to adjust more and more often their digital strategy and sometimes in real time. The time when brands briefed with insight in order to produce a road map for the next three years and how it was to be activated are over. All this evolution involves organisational change and new decision making processes.”

This is an issue that exists on a number of levels in Ireland, and it’s no surprise. Plus ca change! Digital marketing presents organisations, agencies and personnel of both hues with challenges. Traditional ways of working need to be adapted, skill sets need to be improved and new behaviours learned. Whether it’s the true embrace of channel neutral thinking and a willingness to accept where that takes us, or a new appreciation of what’s involved in delivering a brand digitally, perspectives need to be altered. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of control. Maxime points to increased effectiveness born of seeing how consumers react in real time, and altering course accordingly. Sometimes instantly. We’ve all seen the brilliant case studies of real time reaction to live events on social. Now think of how many Irish brands are set up to deliver that level of topicality. The barriers are real and justified, but there are safe ways around them. It’s time to try.

Mark Millard is Managing Director of RMG, the Digital and Direct Marketing arm of The DDFH&B Group – Ireland’s largest Marketing Communications Group.


3 Christchurch Square
Dublin 8, D08 V0VE, Ireland
T: +353 1 410 6677

Get Directions