In My Opinion: Sally Stanley: Let’s celebrate Scottish marketing talent

THE party’s over, the rain is incessant, the credit card bills are lying unopened in a heap in a corner and work has started again with a vengeance; so I’m feeling a bit grumpy. Grumpier than usual, that is. Living in Scotland, this feeling is not transient. It’s often a long Winter. It’s not just my age.

Still, perhaps, there is no better time to think about our successes and seize the opportunity to celebrate these. For even we curmudgeonly marketeers – or maybe, especially, we curmudgeonly marketeers – owe it to ourselves and our teams to open our marketing office doors and welcome visitors inside.

Marketing continues to be perceived as somewhat of a closed shop within organisations, let alone the world outside which we endeavour to influence. Temperamental bunch, short fuses, don’t recognise a P&L when they see one; you must have heard that kind of thing.

The pressure on budgets, the innuendo about effectiveness, the compound effect of sustained interrogation; none of this recedes during a recession and for that, I say, we should be grateful.

When we get the opportunity (and times such as these are a case in point), I say we should throw open the door and invite the curious in to view the world we inhabit. The world we know can pave the way to the future success of our respective organisations.

I frequently find the lack of understanding of the value of marketing infuriating. However, one thing I have learned over my many years in the marketing world is that the only people who can influence that positively are us. How often have we acknowledged with regret that we are so preoccupied with promoting our own brands and products and organisations positively, we have overlooked our own PR?

Which leads me, via a slight detour, to the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards 2014.

Let us take this opportunity to allow the spotlight to shine on our combined marketing excellence and perhaps take collective responsibility for celebrating the excellence we have to share and to spread this success through the organisations we represent beyond our own offices’ front doors to those we would care to influence most positively.

This is a wonderful opportunity to ‘sock it to them’, whoever ‘them’ is to you; your colleagues, your competitors, your management team, your investors or maybe just to prove to yourself that all the effort was worthwhile.

I figure if you have produced work across any of the categories judged in our awards that is deserving of attention, has demonstrable results, exceeded expectations and is of a standard of which you are proud, then you ought to share it with your fellow marketeers and allow it to be subjected to their scrutiny.

The truly deserving will win, along with the exceptional.

And while in a small place like ours, we shall always welcome our regulars, whom we frequently recognise as delivering sustained marketing excellence, I am also terribly keen to encourage individuals and companies who are new to our fold to consider whether their work merits entry. Everyone is worthy of consideration in our club.

I invite you to investigate all categories at and peruse the opportunities available to you. The principal categories are strategic, development, sector, communications and champions. Within these categories lie a whole range of award opportunities, from those you would expect to those you may not. Within the sector category you will find ‘financial & professional services’ and ‘retail’, for example, where we aim to attract legal and accountancy practices and retailers to consider applying.

My friends at the Marketing Society are offering free first time entries in any category and have introduced new categories for your consideration, including Employer Brand of the Year, which will serve as a stunning accolade for the deserving winner.

Indeed, you or your organisation needn’t be a member of the Marketing Society to enter either, so another hurdle removed if that’s applies to you, although we’d very much welcome your membership in due course.

It is a real thrill for me to be allowed to encourage the celebration of marketing excellence through chairing the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards in 2014. The talent is stunning and we must celebrate its success.

This year’s campaign theme, appropriately, as 2014 unfolds is ‘Reach for The Stars'; so go on, get on that website and go for it. If you haven’t seen me grumpy, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Sally Stanley is group strategic development director, Highland Spring, and chair of the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards.