John Donnelly

Chief executive at Marketing Edinburgh

John Donnelly is Managing Director/CEO of Marketing Edinburgh, the body responsible for promoting Edinburgh as an outstanding city. He has UK and pan European experience of driving both commercial and brand/sponsorship programmes in addition to destination marketing and has a rich history with marketing agencies in Edinburgh and London.


Q: What do you love about your job the most?

The opportunity to promote Edinburgh is outstanding. Having worked on global brands marketing a three dimensional city takes it to a different level. The depth, texture and intensity is wonderful, but it’s not without it’s moments. When it comes to promoting Edinburgh, everyone working in the industry here has an opinion. It’s terrific to have that passion, but it’s not always conducive to getting on with the job in hand.

Q: Where do you see the biggest opportunity in marketing and MICE industry?

Marketing and MICE industry should move up the food chain and adopt a more strategic and well-thought-out leadership position. This industry is still largely underdeveloped from a reputational and credibility perspective regarding attracting and retaining talent. This is where opportunity lies.

Q: How do you deal with marketing jungle on daily basis?

I try to retain focus and do my best to not overcomplicate matters. While channels are more mutiple than ever never forget the basics: what are you trying to achieve? Who are you targeting? What is your key message? Keep true to that and everything else will follow. It’s always the idea before the media.

Q: How did the best events you attended so far make you feel?

Positive, inspired, international.


Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off until the end of 2017?

Watching Celtic playing Real Madrid in the Champions League in the Bernabéu.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why?

David Bowie … Do I really have to answer why? Isn’t it obvious?


Q: What would you share with our participants if you would have only one minute?

Hopefully something they don’t know already.

Q: What are you bringing to Conventa Crossover?

A view on the Marketing Jungle we find ourselves in and a sense of how to survive and prosper. Oh, and a charming personality.


Learn to survive the marketing jungle and join us in the mighty jungle, where no lion sleeps. Become a part of our community and make sure to join us at Conventa Crossover 2017, register here and check out the events’ storytellers here.