Newsletter Issue 30: October 2016


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Event Leaders Dinner
17th November
Kings Place
The Conference Summit
9th December 2016
99 City Road
The European Association Awards
24th February 2017
The Awards Awards
10th March 2017
Plaisterers' Hall
The Association Excellence Awards
31st March 2017
The Hurlingham Club
The Conference Awards
30th June 2017
Tobacco Dock

An interview with Jason Romain, CMO at IQPC

As Chief Marketing Officer at IQPC Jason Romain has helped shape their global marketing strategy and changed the way they interact with their customers and prospects. Here Jason shares some of the changes he’s seen whilst there and his view on what’s coming next.

What do you think are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in marketing strategy over the last 10 years?
It's changed a lot in the last 10 years. I remember marketers sitting around in groups, putting stamps on envelopes and handwriting addresses to personalise packages that went out, and we all used to line up at fax machines

Trying to reach the customer has become harder and harder. It wasn’t just about direct mail and fax then; the phone was a key part of our strategy too. Our outbound delegate sales essentially cold called prospects and drove 50% maybe 60% of revenue, now it’s harder to get someone on the phone, so we do as much work on trying to nurture leads as we do on other marketing mediums. Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube none of this existed; and these changes have affected consumer behaviour as much as they have marketing strategy.

Customers have more filters in place, there are more barriers to entry, most people don’t have secretaries anymore but they have automated phone systems, they use email and social media to connect; it’s just not as simple as picking up a phone and calling someone anymore. Social selling is on the rise and consumers interact with brands and products in a really different way.

So how have you adapted to this?
We definitely spend a lot more time on online marketing then we ever did before, whether that is pay per click, looking at google analytics, communicating through social media channels, or trying to craft a compelling message. But certainly the generation of content and how we leverage it is the biggest change. We no longer focus on just the brochure and a sales letter, now we want to produce value based content, white papers, info-graphics, videos; more formats to reach people in an interactive way and drive inbound leads which we work hard to nurture. We post the content on multiple social media channels, including some of our own online communities. To reach people we have to cut through the noise. We talk about fishing where the fish are, trying to reach people where they are already interacting in groups so that we don’t have to interrupt. We also try to find key influencers, the people who lead those communities and engage with them and we work hard with some of our speakers and sponsors so that they also shout about our events.

Storytelling is also important. We talk a lot about the customer journey at IQPC. Storytelling is in essence a modern way of saying copywriting; but it’s also about how you can communicate with your customer by adding value. For us that used to be about crafting a compelling ‘main mail’ sales letter, now it's about creating meaningful pieces of content for our customers, content that is relevant for each individual or skill or sector that we are targeting for a particular event. Content that “adds more value than we can capture.”

So what’s coming next in marketing?
For IQPC its marketing automation and that means more work on lead scoring and automated responses to behavior, so if the customers interact with our marketing in a certain way they get a certain response. And it’s all pre-programmed ahead of time so we can just watch the results and tweak the communication to make sure its working. This is all driven by the Oracle sales and marketing cloud software that we’re implementing and some very smart thinking by our marketing teams! The system will help us understand customer behavior better, for example how people interact with our website will now be incorporated into our lead score and this should have dramatic impact on inbound marketing. I also think we will continue to see a lot more leads being generated, huge increases in volume which means we will be able to focus our sales team on the higher scoring leads, We might not even call some of the lower ranked leads and instead put them into lead nurturing campaigns, so that will be a big change internally as well.

I also think we are going to see ongoing proliferation of social media channels, there will always be new channels coming up that we are going to have to deal with.

I think we will also see big changes in email which will be extremely challenging, not just regulatory but also how companies filter emails. We will also see the continued rise of re-marketing, which I hope will also become more intuitive and effective.

So how is this affecting the type of people you look to hire? What qualities do you look for in a new marketer? Do they need to be extremely tech savvy?
I think the younger generation of marketers that are coming through are already much more tech savvy because they study it at university, but they are also mostly digital natives, they grew up with it. In fact they are introducing the skills to us, which is to be honest the most exciting bit. But I think underlying all this is that more than before, you have to be passionate about marketing. It didn’t matter before if they had a degree in English or the Arts of whatever, and maybe it doesn’t matter, but I think it helps to have a specialist degree in marketing and at a minimum they have to show that they’ve self learned a lot of these different skills, whether it’s SEO or pay for click, social media etc. A lot of this stuff has to be self taught so they have to have that passion.

I think all the same skills like time management, copy writing, analytical ability; these basic core skills have to be there too, but an over-arching passion for marketing and specifically digital marketing is probably more important than it’s ever been.

The best marketers these days are the ones that are always self learning; you have to keep up to date with stuff. So we’ve tried to create a culture where people are constantly sharing things. So I’ll have a Marketing Manager in Dubai email me and say "hey have you heard about this new thing?" and quite often I won’t have. There’s such a proliferation of channels and technology, some of which don’t require a massive installation and this stuff they can just implement tomorrow. So it’s about staying aware and constantly testing. That’s why I think if we can hire people who are passionate about marketing and constantly interested in learning they will also drive this learning journey for themselves and for us.

This interview is based on an article which appeared on the IQPC company website

GCN Events review

London Venue Awards - winners announced

Venues from across the capital were honoured at the second London Venue Awards on Friday October 14th, with over 380 industry professionals attending the celebratory lunch held at the Emirates Stadium. See winners gallery.

Hosted by Tiff Stevenson, the awards were presented following a rigorous judging process carried out by a panel of over 30 expert representatives.

To be kept informed about the London Venue Awards 2017 please complete this form.

European Association Awards

With over 2,000 business associations in Brussels alone, the inaugural European Association Awards will recognise the key individuals and teams who ensure their members voices are heard whether the association’s core activities are at European or national level. The deadline for submissions is 4th November 2016. For details and to enter see EAA website.

Awards Awards

No typo, that's right we are launching an Awards event for the best Awards events. With Directors of Awards companies as judges this is a long overdue chance to receive recognition for the best Awards initiatives and ceremonies. The deadline for entries is 18th November so start work on your submissions now. For details see the AA website.

Association Excellence Awards

The Association Excellence Awards 2015

The deadline for the 3rd annual Association Excellence Awards is approaching fast on 18th November. If you are an association looking to raise your profile by becoming award winning then get working on your entry. There are a range of categories to pick from and it all culminates in a ceremony at the Hurlingham Club on 31st March when the winners will be announced. For details see AEA website.


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