Marketers Learn and Engage at CAMP Let’s Connect
This blog was written by B2B Content Writer and Blogger Patrick Icasas.
TORONTO, ON – Marketers from all over the GTA converged the eve of July 8 to network with each other and learn from recognized industry figures. Held at Airship37 in the Distillery district, the venue played host to over 120 people, all of whom wanted to improve their marketing game and meet like-minded professionals.
The Power of Sponsorship and Live Events
The evening opened with a presentation from Kirk Lynn, President of Connection Marketing, a firm that specializes in helping businesses building better sponsorship campaigns. Kirk got into sponsorship marketing as a result of a previous job. “Out of all my marketing tasks that was the one I liked the most,” he said. “It’s the activity on event day. In a lot of jobs, you never actually get to join in the fun of all of your effort.”
There’s no denying that sponsorship is big business. In his presentation, Kirk related that 18-22% of the average marketing budget is earmarked for sponsorships. The top spenders for these are usually telecom companies, financial companies and automotive businesses. Sports is by far the most popular event, grabbing 70% of sponsorship budgets.
But it’s not as simple as throwing money at an event. Kirk said, “The objective is to increase the game day experience.” That means making sure your brand fits the event, and that your contributions (whether it involves money, swag or staff) make the event better, and not take people out of it.
After Kirk’s presentation, the evening switched to a panel format, where each of the panelists answered questions from both the audience and from Luigi Presta, CEO of thinkCOMPASS, who served as moderator.
Several notable themes emerged in the discussion, one of which was the theme of personal development for marketers and the skills required to succeed in the workforce.
Developing the Right Skills
When asked what marketers need to stand out, Hana Abaza, VP of Marketing for Uberflip, said, “Personally, I would only hire someone analytically-minded.” However, a narrow focus can be counter-productive. “They have to have a broad skill set, but able to apply them to marketing in different ways,” Hana added.
Hana mentioned that marketers are more accountable now than ever before. “We can now track ROI and other metrics. We can turn marketing from a cost driver to a growth driver, if we have the right skills.” Thus, it can benefit marketers greatly to develop skills that will profit the company as a whole, not just yourself as an individual marketer. “The most undervalued and rarest skill is budgeting,” Hana added. “If you can figure that out, your CFO will love you.”
In order to develop those skills, Hana suggests developing your own value proposition and personal branding strategy and setting goals that advance it. “Benchmark against yourself,” she suggests. Towards the end, Hana challenged the audience to set a goal for themselves and share with her the steps they took to accomplish it.
But being a marketer has a strong emotional component to it as well—motivation and drive.
Marketers as Cheerleaders
Rob Burko, CEO of Elite Email, believes in the power of enthusiasm. It fuels ideas. “Ideas breed more ideas,” he says, especially when the people tossing them around are full of energy. “Marketers have to be good cheerleaders. We need to make ideas exciting both internally and externally.” After all, if ou’re not excited about your next marketing campaign, why should the customer be?
Managers and businesses should try to fuel their employees’ enthusiasm as much as they can. He shared that every time they won an award or were recognized, everyone in the company got a huge morale bust. “It does mazing things for staff internally,” Rob said. “It makes the entire company feel great about themselves.”
This excitement should also apply to your own personal development. “What makes you special?” Rob asks. “It’s hard to be really successful if you don’t excel at something. What is your unique value proposition? Marketing is now both an art and a science. You still have to be amazingly creative, but now it turns into a science because we can measure everything.”
But let’s not forget that above all, marketers need to be professional in everyhing that you do.
Developing and Maintaining Professionalism
“It’s a matter of driving yourself to learn and grow,” shared Michael Gregoris, Digital Marketing Manager for ScribbleLive. “I never had mentors or events like this starting out, where I could learn from others. I just had bosses. Some were good, and I tried to learn the best I could, but others were bad, and I didn’t learn anything from them.”
One of the first things marketers need to develop is a balanced sense of professionalism. This is what’s going to carry them through their career and directly influence their success. “A lot of people want to be cowboys and do everything themselves, and they bite off more than they can chew. Then there’s the opposite side of the coin, where they’re capable of so much more but underachieve. As a manager, it’s my job to bring out the best in each person in the most effective ways.”
Working with others is an essential part of being a marketer, too. And that means making the effort to learn about other people’s specialties. “There has to be broad stock knowledge to make inter-team communication easier,” Michael said. “Each one has to understand what the other is doing so that everyone’s on the same page.”
Good Drinks, Good Food, Good Lessons—and Good People
The event was a rousing success, with attendees making great connections with the panelists and with each other. “I thought it was a great crowd,” Michael shared. “It’s a great mix of established professionals and soon-to-be marketers, and even people just interested about the field of marketing.”
When asked about the value about events like this, Kirk said, “Getting out and building a network, hearing other points of view, and listening to what other people do for a living is incredibly important. Sitting in your office doesn’t do much for developing your career. Getting out like this is important at any stage of your career.”
Patrick Icasas is a freelance writer and content marketer. When he’s not helping businesses sound awesome, he writes fiction and blogs about how to suck less. Tweet him at @patrickicasas to get a snarky response.