Best Marketing • 31 August 2018

Getting the most from small budgets

Peter McPartlin, marketing and media advisor from Ireland, shared his insights about successful marketing communication in Balticbest 2018 conference.

Peter McPartlin  

The media market in Ireland is doing quite well. Our ad spend per capita is 239 EUR, almost as high as before recession years, and approximately 5 times more than in the Baltics. At the same time the challenge for marketers is increasing constantly, because we have to get the attention of consumers who are, you can say, busier every day. The problem is that when people are speeding up like this, advertising becomes just a blur. One does not form a deep and passionate relationship with a blur - at least it is not so common that you could build an effective strategy based on that.

Even worse, the "building a relationship with a brand" phrase is actually a metaphor, don´t take it too seriously. Let`s be realistic: we are struggling to build meaningful relationships even with humans. Having one with a brand is definitely not a priority from customer's point of view, to say the least.

There are also some new marketing beliefs that are more or less deceiving. For example: “tight targeting is the best approach”, “unpaid is making paid media redundant”, “activation strategies are now the best way to drive growth”.

These misconceptions might cause bad marketing decisions. Companies have drawn billions of euros out of strategic brand effects to short-term activities like sales activation.

Peter recommends to read the research report “Research report, “Media in Focus, Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era” by Les Binet and Peter Field to understand how superficial these beliefs can be.

3 key findings of the research defy the misconceptions:

⦁ Effectiveness requires both short-term and long-term activities (60%/40% rule)

⦁ In the long run, brand effects are the main driver of growth

⦁ Mass marketing still rules effectiveness - scalability is essential for growth

The clarity and focus on what the brand stands for helps to eliminate waste. It is said that think outside the box, but honestly, it is just another marketing consultants´ hype. Sometimes it is really useful to think inside the box and do it really well, because we all know that limitations exist. To think better inside the box, Peter recommends to read “A beautiful constraint” by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden.


There is so much mediocrity, that good stuff really stands out. Creativity is definitely a key to success, but do not forget that it should be aligned with your strategy (and for that you need to have one), because the main competition is not between products, but between strategies.

Aim for fame, not for awareness. Awareness is not everything, for small-budget companies it is really difficult to achieve high awareness. Fame-driven companies absolutely work. Try to generate that fame.

Let customers validate your ideas in early phases. Creative brilliance is now clearly defined by the consumer. Is the idea so good that they would be looking for it?

To sum it up:

- do not just think short-term

- narrow targeting is seductive, but underperforms in the longer run

- campaign reach and scalability are vital

- aim to stir emotions

- creativity is your most potent weapon.


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Maarit Eerme
Maarit EermeManager of Bestmarketing.eeTel: +372 514 4884
Hando Sinisalu
Hando SinisaluBest Marketing Head of ProgrammeTel: +372 502 8561
Laura Reiter
Laura Reitereditor-in-chief of bestmarketing.eeTel: +372 5561 9490