Donna Ahern talks to Neil Campbell, client service director, CPM Ireland.
Can you tell me about your company?
CPM is Ireland’s longest-established and largest field marketing agency, and is 36 years in business in this country.
We grow brands and drive sales for our clients by providing integrated sales solutions that increase profitability.
How would you describe your role?
I head up our direct sales department, which includes field sales, inside sales and digital.
Each of CPM’s customers has a client manager, and my job is to support them to deliver brilliantly for their customers.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
When I was a teenager, I cleaned the Fishermen’s Mission every Saturday in my home village, in the Scottish Highlands.
I learned that there isn’t always a ‘right’ way to complete a task. All that was holding me to account was the personal satisfaction I got from a job well done.
What do you enjoy most about your current job?
The freedom to shape my own ways of working – in particular, to build a team that I trust, both personally and professionally. I put a huge amount of value in trust. We work in a volatile industry, and you’re not always going to nail success.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I’ve a lot more to achieve in CPM, but eventually I plan to start my own business in the endurance sports industry.
What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?
Work hard when no one is watching. In my opinion, people who successfully and continually grow their careers do so in tandem with their own self-development.
What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?
I’ve worked in three companies since I moved to Ireland, and they’ve all been fantastic. Prior to CPM, I managed the National Aquarium in Galway, and I then ran a not-for-profit tourism marketing agency.
What do you think the government could do to help business in the current climate?
Investment in infrastructure, particularly transport and technology, and supports for hybrid working would go a long way.
Which three business people do you most admire, and why?
James Dyson – he was supported financially by his wife, and when he did finally create a winning product, he had to be highly innovative to get it launched. He credits some of his success to the determination he had to show in attempting to be a cross-country runner in his youth, which is something I can relate to.
Next, Rory McIlroy – I admire the way he conducts himself.
His sport is his business, and he is hugely successful at building his brand, on and off the course.
Finally, our CEO, Lorraine Butler – apart from the fantastic work she does leading our company, what really impresses me is the time she reinvests into the people who work at the coalface of our business.
There is real humility there, which is wonderful to see from the figurehead of an organisation.
Which advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?
The classic Old Spice ad. It is a clever, funny ad, taking the passé ‘sex sells’ mantra and turning it on its head by pitching a ‘male’ product to a female audience – and it’s all done with a knowing irony, which means that it doesn’t come across as misogynistic.
What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up?
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
Paul McCartney. I am a huge Beatles fan. What amazes me about him is how a true genius and incredibly successful person can remain so unaffected by his circumstance.
Douglas Adams – another genius, who, sadly, was taken far too early. He was essentially a writer of comedy fiction, but he had the mind of a philosopher.
And, of course, my amazing wife, who would bring the wit, charm and sense on my behalf!
What is the best piece of advice that you have received?
It’s OK to be competitive, and it’s OK to want to win, but it should always be done fairly, by the rules, and in the ‘spirit’ of the competition. My parents taught me this. This applies equally to business.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Sport is my passion, whether it is competing, watching or discussing! I am a qualified triathlon coach, and I love coaching amateur athletes.
How much time do you spend on social media in an average week?
Too much! It’s a great way to connect with friends, families and colleagues, but I do get drawn to my phone far too often.
Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?
Facebook. I’m not on Twitter and use LinkedIn sparingly.
With which fictional character do you most identify?
Sherlock Holmes – I’ve always found him to be a fascinating character. He is a logical thinker who is passionate about his work.
Most likely to say?
Every problem is an opportunity.
Least likely to say?
Great to see Scotland win the Six Nations this year!