Newsletter Issue 24: March 2016


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Venue Summit
13th May 2016
The Brewery
Association Event Directors Dinner
16th June 2016
CEO Event Dinner
22nd June 2016
Conference Awards
1st July 2016
Tobacco Dock
London Venue Awards
14th October 2016
The Emirates Stadium
Event Marketing Summit
7th October 2016


Isobel Peck, Chief Audience Officer at Informa Knowledge & Networking

Informa is undergoing a massive transformation to grow its audience via content marketing and a renewed focus on digital channels. We caught up with Informa’s Chief Audience Officer Isobel Peck, who is also one of the judges of the Conference Awards this year. In our interview we discussed the changes at Informa and how it has impacted her marketing and recruitment strategy.

Question: We’ve heard a lot about big changes at Informa recently. What’s going on?

Isobel Peck: Like every other business we are really focused on growing the top line. We are restructuring the business in a way that will make us more productive, customer-focused, have more standardised business practices in place and operate as one homogenous business, rather than a group of smaller business.

We are restructuring into three core verticals: finance, life sciences and telecoms. We do cover other vertical markets like maritime and customer insight & information, but these are our key areas.

In terms of marketing we are focusing on building a team of people who are absolute experts in their fields. So we are doing a lot of restructuring around content marketing and digital as well as social channels. Our objective is to have people who are experts in maximising the potential that those channels can give us.

We also need people who are excellent at campaign marketing, who are working with speakers and sponsors and the key stakeholders to ensure we are pulling everything together at the right time, in the right way.  Our ultimate aim is to grow our audience and our top line.

Q: Does the restructure reflect an underlying strategy change within Informa?

IP: Yes, we are moving from being a highly transactional business, where customer relationships are usually confined to the duration of an event, to a more value based relationship, where we have an ongoing dialog with our customers.  Our strategy is to use digital to provide our customers with value 365 days a year.

I don’t think that’s a new thing, but the bigger the business the harder it is to tackle. We are trying to make the investment once, but do it really wisely to ensure our digital transformation is pushed everywhere throughout the business, rather than thriving in little pockets. Obviously, this involves investment in platforms, investment in skills, creation of new processes, branding and product development. It pretty much touches every little thing in the way we communicate to our customers.

Q: Do you think it’s still viable to just do conferences?

IP: Conferences are still a profitable area to work in and I think this will remain so for the foreseeable future. I simply don’t believe conferences are dying out. There will always be a need for the face-to-face. By bringing people together you are creating the opportunities to do business, come up with new strategies and new ways of approaching industry issues. There will always be a need for conferences that deliver that.

However, we also need to extend those relationships digitally. That’s probably an area where we can do better. There are lots of product opportunities than run alongside that as well. So, I don’t think conferences are dying out, but I do believe they can be supplemented by digital channels.

Q: How do you deal with internal skill gaps as you’re moving more to digital?

IP: I think it’s a combination of training and smart recruitment. We have some people internally that possess digital skills innately and we just need to identify those, look at where the skill gaps are and supplement that with training. And it’s always good to bring in some fresh blood as well. The whole millennial generation has a very different way of looking at the digital world. New people can bring a lot fresh experience, which can only help us move forward as a business.

With the people we’re hiring I’m not looking necessarily for a conference background. We’re looking for people with inquisitive minds and creative ability. And we are specifically looking for smart ideas on how you can take a piece of content and repurpose it in different ways across the year and still keep interest and engagement going.

Q: Is digital content a revenue opportunity or a marketing tool for Informa?

IP: I think there is potential for monetising content online, but I’m not convinced that this is our primary goal here. Our opportunities are more around customer engagement and customer centricity.  In the conference business we’ve been quite guilty of looking at things from our perspective as in “how can we do things to make our lives easier” rather than “how can we do things to make our customers’ lives easier”.

Q: As your company is venturing into a digital world, what is the core value Informa can provide to its customers?

IP: I think we are uniquely placed in that we have fabulous relationships with people that the markets want to access, whether it’s our speakers or sponsors. It’s something that’s much easier to do through a company like us than try and do it on your own. Right now we have an event running in Berlin where Al Gore is speaking. Not many people would be able to access a person like that unless they came through us. So, we’re really the middleman, curating exclusive content as well as creating unique and valuable experiences.


In 2013, the Olympia London Conference Centre was refurbished to create a multipurpose space that could easily cater to 250-500 delegates. It includes a dedicated auditorium, 988m2 of exhibition space and now, several versatile break-out rooms. Despite this, we were facing an increasingly wide-spread perception that the venue was only suited to the larger events for which we were better known. In fact, only 54% of potential conference organisers were aware of our Conference Centre offering. With this is mind, the team decided that 2015 was the year to shine the spotlight on the purpose-built space and set out to create a memorable ad campaign.

We knew that in such a tight-knit and competitive industry, changing perceptions of the venue’s size would be a long-term project. However, the dedicated ‘Smaller than you think’ campaign successfully honed the message that Olympia London’s conference centre is the perfect location to hold a conference, launch event or debut show.

In addition to advertising across industry publications including Conference News and C&IT, Olympia London created a blog as a platform for some of the industry’s leading professionals to share their insights, tips and expertise. The blog furthered the reach of the ‘Smaller than you think’ campaign by providing content for both contributors and Olympia London to share across social media.

The campaign saw 15% more exposure than the previous Conference Centre-focused campaign. It reached 60,000 event professionals and generated an up hilt in marketing-driven enquiries by 20%—the largest single increase seen to date. The campaign and the subsequent increase in awareness largely contributed to supporting a 51% increase in sales revenue in 2015.


GCN are committed to researching and providing data and analysis on the B2B conference and events industry. As part of this, GCN will be conducting surveys and insights into specific job functions and roles. The first of these is the Content and Producer Survey. All respondents will receive a free copy – simply click here to complete.


The London Venue Guide features all of the shortlisted and winning venues from the inaugural London Venue Awards. Celebrating the very best of venues in London, the guide is an ideal resource for event organisers holding events in London. Click here to download your free copy.


UBM Plc Results for the year ended 31 December 2015

Informa PLC , Results for 12 Months to 31 December 2015

Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC trading update for the period to Jan 27 2016


For more information about GCN Talent see:

Head of Event Content – London £50,000 - £55,000 basic 60-66K OTE

Head of Digital and Live Content – Amsterdam £46,000 basic 55K OTE

Head of Event Marketing – Maternity Cover – London £45,000 plus bonus

Live Content Producer – London £30,000 - £40,000 plus profit share

Sponsorship Sales Director – London £35,000 - £40,000 basic 50-60K OTE

Head of Production – London £50,000 - £55,000 basic 70-80K OTE

Business Development Manager – London £35,000 - £45,000 basic 50-60K OTE

Commercial Manager – London £35,000 basic £45,500 OTE

Business Development Manager – London £35,000 basic 70K OTE

Sales Account Manager – London £35,000 - £40,000 basic plus 20K OTE

If you’re a recruiter looking for help with a particular vacancy or recruitment campaign, please call us on +44 (0)20 8123 5805 or email and we’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements and how we can help.