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Boosting Highlands and Islands business through strategic marketing

Published: 09/10/2018

This November will see a leading expert in strategic marketing come to the Highlands.

Dr Mario Vafeas, senior lecturer in marketing at Bristol Business School, will deliver a two-day Strategic Marketing masterclass in Inverness on 6th and 7th November 2018. Mario will share learnings and experience, having grown a marketing agency with clients including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Pernod Ricard, and entering international markets, including Europe and the Middle East.

The masterclass, which includes a networking dinner, is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of its entrepreneurship programme. HIE is providing help towards travel and accommodation for those with travel expenses in excess of £70 so that as many entrepreneurs from across the Highlands and Islands can benefit from this masterclass.

The session will give attendees the skills to apply a strategic approach to marketing and gain a deep insight into customers, competitors, markets and opportunities.

Speaking ahead of the masterclass, Dr Mario Vafeas said: “To achieve growth, I believe it is fundamental to adopt a strategic approach to marketing. By doing so, businesses will increase their ability to build and sustain a competitive advantage.

“Today, more so than ever before, the danger is that businesses think and act tactically rather than strategically. In part, this is a consequence of digital marketing and social media. Social media is a tool, and it is still critical to first work out who your customers are and what it is you can offer them that your competitors can’t. At the masterclass, we’ll take delegates through a systematic approach in which environment and resources are analysed to make informed decisions about who should be targeted, with what, and how. We’ll also give delegates the opportunity to apply learnings and begin the process of developing their own marketing plan. By working through this, we can increase the ability of businesses in the Highlands and Islands to build and sustain a competitive advantage.”

Louise MacDonald, senior entrepreneurship manager at HIE, said: “A strategic approach to marketing is a powerful organisational process that can lead to increased profitability and productivity, so it’s great to have Dr Mario Vafeas and experts from Bristol Business School sharing their knowledge with Highlands and Islands businesses. Attendees will go away with a tailored marketing plan and hopefully new relationships with fellow entrepreneurs, increasing their professional network.”

The Strategic Marketing masterclass takes place 6-7th November at Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness. The networking dinner will be held at the Kingsmills Hotel on the evening of 6th November. Further information and details of how to book can be found at

For information on help towards travel and accommodation expenses, please email