As we come to the end of the first year of the Scottish Marketing Association, it is worth reflecting on what we have achieved so far and what we hope to achieve in the coming year.
Most importantly, The SMA got off to a great start in 2005 with 30 agencies signing up as members within the first three months. Agencies of all sizes and all disciplines were keen to get involved and support the initiative. Membership was eventually restricted to the first 30 organisations that signed up, allowing for an efficient and democratic process to planning and decision making.
The initiative was launched to coincide with the first ever Marketing Excellence Awards, which had been developed by the Marketing Society and the University of Strathclyde. The SMA sponsored the Marketing Services Agency of the Year category, which was won by The Leith Agency from a shortlist that included three other SMA members – BD Ntwk , Elmwood and Frame.
The SMA will sponsor the award again in 2006, where agencies have the opportunity to have their entry read and marked by some of the biggest clients in Scotland including RBS, The Scottish Executive and Scottish & Newcastle.
One of the other early initiatives of the SMA was to arrange a meeting of many of the other membership organisations within the world of marketing in Scotland.
These included the IPA, DMA, IPR, Marketing Society, PPA , Edinburgh and Glasgow Publicity Clubs among a few others. Called ‘The Scottish Marketing Assembly’, the meeting was hosted by The Scotsman at its HQ in Edinburgh. A key point on the agenda was to provide a better understanding of all the organisations involved; who their members were and their key activities as organisations. It became clear that greater coordination was required with the amount of events and awards that were planned each year. As a result the SMA agreed to publish full diary of events on www.scottishmarketingassociation.org.uk
It is hoped that this group or organisations will meet again on an annual basis to help ensure greater coordination and collaboration across the industry.
A number of other successful networking events were held throughout the year. These ranged from industry conferences to social events such as a client golf challenge with Colin Montgomerie at Turnberry to an exhibition of SMA members’ work at the Lloyds TSB building in Edinburgh.
Looking forward, the results of the recently-published Scottish Enterprise study demonstrate that there is a real requirement for the Scottish marketing communications industry to work more effectively together. This is key if we are to increase our share of 25% of marketing budgets of Scottish-based clients. Equally important is that we expand our horizons and encourage greater spends from organisations beyond our borders.
Membership to the SMA has now opened again and I would encourage all ambitious agencies to get involved in 2006, giving us an even greater mandate and marketing muscle to champion the cause.
Graeme Atha is chairman of the Scottish Marketing Association.