In the prizeologist hot seat: joanne kimber

This month we speak to Joanne Kimber, Managing Director of Granby Marketing. Joanne is a veteran in the industry starting her first promotional marketing job 25 years ago. She joined Granby in 2000 to work on business development and progressed into various roles until she was made MD in 2010. Back in 2013, Joanne led a MBO – financed through bank funding and VC support – making her Granby’s majority shareholder with overall responsibility for the business.

Can you remember your first prize promotion?
My first prize promotion at Granby was the “Coca-Cola Music for you” back in 2001. It was one of the most complex mail-in promotions I have worked on, as of course at that time online and digital redemption channels were still emerging, so it was a very traditional mechanic. Customers had to collect tokens from packs to redeem against single or album in the charts. Yes, a physical music product.  The reason this is such a memorable campaign for me was down to the prize options available and sheer volumes involved, it was quite complex, but a successful campaign for the brand and Granby. IT certainly gave me a rather steep learning curve.

What’s the biggest prize promotion Granby has ever fulfilled?
Granby have been privileged to work on some of the UK’s biggest promotions over the years and we continue to do so, the very nature of our business particularly lends itself to ‘big’ large volume activity. One from the past that I particularly recall was the “Olympic Torch” campaign for the Beijing Olympics back in 2008. We had to plan the entire torch relay across the length and breadth of the UK, over a 6-month period. We were also responsible for managing the torch bearer nomination process and the adjudication of all the nominations, many of which were competition winners. As you know this carries a lot of in-depth checks and processes which we had to complete within extremely tight timescales for the smooth running of the campaign. It was such a high-profile campaign and logistically quite complex, but we delivered it and it was a great success. We were and still are proud to be associated with that campaign. Definitely, one of the largest prize promotions Granby has undertaken over the years.

You’re the major shareholder of Granby, what one piece of advice would you offer women who want to make a name for themselves in business?
Throughout my career I have met and worked with some influential mentors who have always championed my position as a woman in business and particularly within the promotional marketing industry. Personally, I have never felt held back as a woman in business, or had any negative experiences as woman in business. I have always felt I have earned my place and position through hard work, knowledge and pursuing my goals and ambitions. I have been very much supported by my mentors and peers, both male and female, which has absolutely helped and supported my career. I feel the marketing industry in general is very equal and balanced, and full of talented, creative and entrepreneurial business people.
The single piece of advice I would offer to women in business today is to focus on being the best you can be. Find mentors that inspire you, both female and male, as well as communities and groups that you can join, and take an active role in those communities.  Learn from feedback you receive and of course from your mistakes. It is important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and employ people with better skills than yourself and value their opinions. Create a good structure for you and your business– you can’t do everything on your own!

How do you think prize promotions will develop in 2018?
The prize promotion landscape is constantly changing, technology is moving at such a fast pace and is so accessible we have to ensure our industry is keeping up and adapting at the same pace as customers adopt emerging tech. Digital prize promotions will continue to lead with more automation with tech solutions facilitating the mechanics of promotions, for example with digital receipt validation, a prime example of utilizing the speed and evolution of technology platforms instead of more traditional mechanics for prize redemption. Shoppers and consumers will continue to search for experiences they can share, and instant gratification in the promotional marketing sector I think, will drive and shape strategies in 2018.  As we are time poor when it comes to brand engagement and over stimulated with messages from being always ‘on’ I think prize promotions will continue to focus on delivering a fast and effective experience for those who participate in promotions, and it is up to us in the industry to ensure we create impact and push creativity in the strategy to encourage participation.

What’s the worst prize you’ve ever won?!
As previously mentioned, the ‘experience’ is so crucial to the overall success of a promotion. It is a huge bugbear of mine when a prize contains small print which incurs hidden costs, which then impacts on the whole experience for the shopper/ consumer. For example, a couple of years back I won a spa day for two, which sounded great. Of course, I claimed my prize and took a friend with me, however it was a far cry from what I was expecting. We were only given access to a pool and sauna and there were no treatments included, which meant for me and my friend to have the experience we expected the brand had given us, I ended up paying for the treatments myself. A big letdown for me. It left me with real negative impact on my perception of that brand. Ultimately that could have been avoided in being clearer in the detail. However, would I have participated in the promotion if I had truly understood the prize on offer? Perhaps not, and I think this goes back to my point about the Industry pushing creativity and delivering high impact experiences when developing the strategy, after all social media provides a very broad platform for feedback.

Joanne Kimber is Managing Director of Granby Marketing @granbymarketing.

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