ProcureCon Marketing – a success, and consensus emerging on Marketing Services procurement

ProcureCon Marketing at the London Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel  last week was a big success. There were comfortably over 200 people there on the two main days, with around 130 present even for the first (optional) day. As well as the impressive delegate numbers, there was a good range of sponsors (around a dozen) and from my discussions with a number of them, they felt very positive about the discussions they had, the contacts they made and the leads they gained from their investment. (Even if our friends from ProProcure in the picture don't exactly look delirious with joy!)

Way back in history, ProcureCon had a reputation for slight arrogance. That has long gone, and their (young) team seem to have a really positive, hands-on and customer focused attitude.  On Tuesday, after the main proceedings were finished, one of the ProcureCon team was literally getting her hands dirty, busily helping the chap from Miroma sort out his display stand – which seemed to be going above and beyond the call of duty!

There is also a real sense of a community building in the Marketing Services procurement area, and a willingness to discuss issues openly. That doesn't always happen in other spend areas, as my colleague Jason Busch pointed out recently. And perhaps because of the nature of marketing, the people are in the main outgoing, effective communicators and generally a good bunch to spend a few days with.

The general standard of the presentations and sessions was good, with several outstanding presentations and very few that dropped below the good level.  It was a real international and blue-chip line-up as well - Mars, Pernod-Ricard, Sainsbury's, Deutsche Telecom, Coke and so on. We’ll be featuring some of the best specific sessions here  over the next days and weeks.

In terms of anything constructive to suggest for next year,  I did think that by day three there was a slight sense of sameiness in some of the practitioner presentations .  But that is, in part, because a clear sense of conceptual good practice is emerging in the sector, even if there are still outstanding questions around how this can best be implemented. That very clarity, somewhat ironically, means that ProcureCon will need to keep looking hard for innovation and variation in the agenda and speakers who aren’t simply re-iterating what others have said, even if it is all ‘good stuff’. Perhaps even some counter-intuitive content: by the end, I was longing for someone to stand up and say “never mind all this collaborative stuff, our strategy is to beat the  heck out of our agencies”!

Equally, there’s a need to make sure the agenda isn’t dominated by sponsor presentations. I thought that was managed well, and a number of sponsors very sensibly got clients to present on behalf of or with them, or used panel discussions rather than giving us a simple sales spiel. So all in all, I would expect that delegates gave the event very positive feedback ratings; and I’m sure it was a big commercial and reputational success for ProcureCon.

We’ll be back later this week with our views on what that emerging good practice referred to earlier looks like, and then some further detail on the best of the individual sessions.

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