Greek Australian marketing expert named Marketer of the Year

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*Demetri Hughes being awarded by Australian Marketing Institute CEO Lee Tonitto with Life Member of the peak professional body.

Queensland Marketing expert and Managing Director of 1Up Communications Demetri Hughes is celebrating back-to-back wins, scooping the 2018 Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Certified Practising Marketer of the Year for the state of Queensland, which followed a 2017 Lifetime Member award from the AMI National Board and the peer-nominated 2016 Certified Practising Marketer of the Year for the state of Queensland.

This year, more than 200 organisations from around Australia entered the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Awards where Demetri was recognised for his long-term marketing achievements and contribution to Queensland and the broader Australian industry.

“AMI membership shows that professionals are willing to be held to account and consistently strive to deliver best practice,” he said.

Demetri began his career in the commercial and industrial property development sector and believes brand consistency is key to success.

“I recognised that consistent brand strength is vital to a business and impacts the financial strength of the overall organisation,” he said.

“For a business to thrive, marketing and communications can’t be an afterthought, they have to be seen at the boardroom table as fundamental to long-term and immediate short-term growth.

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*Demetrios Halkeas (Snr) with Demetri Hughes as a young boy

Demetri spoke about his deep sense of pride for his Greek heritage, as passed down to him from his grandparents. His late grandfather Mr Demetrios Halkeas is the brother of Greek Sydney printing and business identity Mr Stan Halkeas.

“My Greek ancestral roots are a deep source of pride for me and my family – just like it is for many Greeks, irrespective of whether they were born in Australia or over in Greece.

“You could say being half Greek and born into a Greek household had its subtle differences from a traditional Aussie household and had its elements of My Big Fat Greek Wedding!

“For instance, I was told by school friends that I was different after being dressed as a Greek Kandyla any time there was a primary school superhero day or Greek national celebration to be had, and my grandfather had built a house in Queensland which was modelled on the Greek Parthenon with nearly as many columns!

“Many of my earliest most vivid and treasured memories involved time spent around my late Grandfather (Pappou) Demetrios Halkeas or Jim as he liked to be called, whose namesake I was privileged to be named after,” he said.

“Whilst Papou Demetri may have had a thick accent and spoke with broken English, he overcame challenges through his strength of personality and likeability.

“Pappou Demetri is my founding example for what it is to be a businessman who can be ambitious yet motivated for success for the right reasons.

“He came to Australia with absolutely nothing and as the patriarch of our family showed what it is to be hardworking and a business owner – his down to earth nature resulted in him commanding respect from all those around.

“Today, many people attempt to simply command respect before they have earnt it.

“Pappou Demetri taught me through his example, to succeed in anything you must throw yourself fully into it, this is the story of the Greek entrepreneurial spirit and why many Greeks have gone onto achieve great successes throughout Australia.

“In whatever job our future generations participate in they must strive to work hard, be bold and have a business purpose.

“I continue to aspire to live up to his legacy of work ethic and determination, it is for these reasons that I dedicated my recent industry awards to my late Pappou," Demetri says proudly.

1Up Communications engage as a Brand Counsel to mid-tier and large organisations throughout Australia, with the responsibility to advise CEOs and Boards on creating, growing and protecting their brands and their overall business interests.

“A good marketer needs to have an insatiable desire and curiosity to understand all facets of the business they’re working in and to see how marketing and communications can add value across the board.”

Adding value has seen Demetri serve the AMI as its longest appointed State Chair, recognising the value he brings across the industry in engaging with practitioners, as well as educating and mentoring emerging talent.

Demetri’s unique experience across marketing and communications led him to give back by lecturing emerging practitioners at The University of Queensland bringing students industry best practice.

“I now use my networks to invite well-respected industry speakers from Queensland and across the country who generously give of their time by joining me in guest lecturing.

“This provides students with a cutting-edge perspective of the concepts and campaigns they are learning being put into practice.

“The opportunity for me to give back is hugely rewarding, with many students contacting me after graduating to tell me how they have been accepted into diverse and exciting internships and full-time roles working in the field either in Australia or overseas.”

Demetri says marketing requires solid educational underpinnings with a focus on how to drive alignment with business goals.

“I’m a firm believer that successful marketing is built on solid educational underpinnings, complemented by real-world testing, measuring and understanding how and when to adjust marketing strategy,” he said.

“This is the skillset that artificial intelligence can’t easily replace.

“I’d advise new marketers to be courageous and unapologetically bold in the face of the digitisation and automation of many tasks.

“We need practitioners who think about the big picture and can drive an organisation to align its business and marketing goals towards a profitable future.”