Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Marketing the Dojo @ CIPS Annual Conference 2013




Last week we attended the CIPS Annual Conference 2013 as quite possibly the latest entrants ever!  By chance at the September ‘13 eWorld event, we met Johnnie Norton, a Sales Exec for Supply Management and Ravjeet Kang, a Sales Manager for Redactive Media Group.  Johnnie mentioned the sponsorship opportunities for the CIPS event, located within the excellent facilities of Kings Place, London, taking place in just two weeks time.  Being an agile company we jumped at the chance after a spot of negotiating - we are procurement professionals after all!

What makes the CIPS conference unique compared to other conferences that we have sponsored is that the delegates have to pay not inconsiderable sums of money to attend.  To incentivise the delegates to part with their cash, the quality of the speakers and of the event as a whole has to be uncompromising, and so it proved on the day.  Some delegates we spoke to travelled as far as Nigeria and Ghana simply to attend, so to say they had a vested interest in the event would be an understatement.
There were approximately 300 delegates and 11 sponsors, equalling eWorld for footfall but with far fewer sponsors, which was great for us.  The sponsors covered a much broader range of goods and services, from American Express Corporate Payments, whom we also met at eWorld, through to procurement outsourcing and HR services.  The sponsors were all held in the main break-out room, which made it hard for us to be missed, although you feel apologetic for pouncing on someone ensnared in the queue for refreshments!

Initially we doubted whether there would be delegates interested in our relatively niche software tools for eSourcing, supplier innovation or category assessment.  However, as delegates had paid to attend, they made sure they returned to their office with some new ideas.  As a result our latest products, Innovation Dojo and Category Dojo, garnered a lot of interest given their uniqueness in the marketplace.  In fact, we received no fewer than two shout-outs during the presentations, one from Paula Gildert, the CIPS President, for our slightly unusual branding, and one from Tim Carrier, Product Development Director for Capita, for Innovation Dojo, as he has done a series of work on encouraging innovation from your supply chain.  Did you know for example that the Heinz squeezy bottle was an innovation from one of their suppliers?  Consider what great ideas your suppliers may have in store for you right now.
Another characteristic of this event, again tied to the delegate fee, was the profile of the delegates.  In previous exhibitions we had been used to engaging in discussions with those of less seniority, which is always beneficial to learn the pains and what we can do to help from the ground up.  However, here we were exposed to many more CFOs, CPOs, Supply Chain Directors and particularly those with global category management remits.  It’s all too early to say what may come from these interesting discussions, but you can’t fault the introductions that were made or the promotion of our brand to the right people.

In summary, this was an excellent event for both delegates and sponsors, and held in a great venue with staff so efficient they literally took your finished plate of lunch from your hand!  We relish the chance to brush up our negotiating skills once more to attend next year and we hope to see you there!

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