A Closer Look

EN meets the leadership team heading up the next stage of CloserStill Media’s evolution. Andy Kiwanuka, MD – Asia Pacific How did you get into the industry? I was approached to help launch the Internet World brand in the UK for Penton Media Inc., just before a management buyout by the leadership team from Independent Exhibitions (Andy Center and...

EN meets the leadership team heading up the next stage of CloserStill Media’s evolution.

Andy Kiwanuka, MD – Asia Pacific

How did you get into the industry?

I was approached to help launch the Internet World brand in the UK for Penton Media Inc., just before a management buyout by the leadership team from Independent Exhibitions (Andy Center and Phil Nelson) to form Penton Media Europe.

What’s your role at CloserStill?

I’m responsible for driving the long-term development and sustainable growth of CloserStill’s Asia Pacific business. I was brought in to help establish CSM’s event footprint in Asia, building a network of key stakeholders, partners, suppliers and customers and managing staffing in the region.

Tell us about your portfolio

We deliver large scale trade events for the technology sector in Asia – focused on providing content-led events that are practical, relevant and inspiring for the IT industry across Asia.

Our tech cluster of events run in May (Hong Kong) and October (Singapore) and provide the IT community with information on the latest cutting-edge enterprise IT solutions.

What are your plans for the future?

We intend to continue to scale up our presence in Asia through new launches, targeted acquisitions and the international replication of some of our European event brands into the Asia market.

What’s the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

With increasing consolidation, how the industry can continues to stay innovative, entrepreneurial and dynamic.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in exhibitions?

The power of digital marketing and social media has completely transformed our industry as we know it.

Mark Penton, MD – learning portfolio

How did you get into the industry?

My first taste of real exhibitions was at Brintex in the mid 90s. At the end of the 90s myself and Ian Smout set up Principal Media and launched Learning Technologies. Principal Media was then acquired by CloserStill in 2009.

What’s your role at CloserStill?

The early days were very much about integrating our product set into the growing CloserStill portfolio and having a shared vision of how to grow the product and revenue base. Since then we have created one of the largest e-learning events in the world, which we are all incredibly proud of.

Tell us about your portfolio

The CloserStill Learning portfolio in the UK consists of our flagship exhibition and conference, Learning Technologies. The event continues to grow in importance, value and attendance year-on-year and is designed around the needs of learning and development professionals.

What are your plans for the future?

We are incredibly proud of the events we run and how we run them, and hope that this will continue as we develop the events and business over the coming years.

What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

Just to move with the times. Exhibitions and conferences will always play an integral role in the marketing mix and we don’t want to change the essence of what we all do.

What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in exhibitions?

Technology and social media has totally transformed the way we promote events and interact with our audiences throughout the year.

Matthew Butler, MD – healthcare portfolio

How did you get into the industry?

I worked at Reed Business Information for Ralph Collett. He left and went to William Reed Business Media, and gave me a call out of the blue asking if I’d like to come and do something a little bit different. I knew nothing about the industry. It was a perfect opportunity to do something else, and I trusted his judgement. I started at William Reed 16 years ago, running one exhibition: The National Convenience Show. In nine years I went from sales manger of one show to group event director.

What’s your role at CloserStill?

I started as event director on the Pharmacy Show, which was seven years ago. Then it was just a case of working on more shows, growing the portfolio, growing teams, launching new products etc.

Tell us about your portfolio

The Pharmacy Show, the Clinical Pharmacy Congress, The Occupational Therapy Show, Therapy Expo, Trade Days, Dentistry Show and the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show, Pharmagora Plus and FranceVet. [check these]

It’s a mixture of launch, growth and purchase. They each require their own level of management and focus. It depends on the product and what need to be done; each market operates in a slightly different way.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to grow all the products, and I want to look for other opportunities within the markets plus other opportunities that aren’t too far away from what I currently do to make a difference here at CloserStill. I’d love to launch some new stuff.

What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

Recruiting the right people is really difficult. We’ve created our own grad programme, so we recruit for telemarketeers and then grow them within our own training academy. We find that better than recruiting people externally. People understand the culture and what we’re trying to achieve.

What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in exhibitions?

Health & safety and the regulations around build and breakdown of shows have become much tighter. But I think the most significant change is going to be GDPR.

Ralph Collett, MD – medical portfolio

How did you get into the industry?

I was roped in to a rebook when I was an ad manager at Reed Business Information. I had never done a rebook before but I had just bought my first house and they offered me five per cent on everything I sold. I built an extension on the back of that house with the commission!

At William Reed I ran the exhibition sales teams and helped to grow the portfolio with new launches and partnerships. It was a great place to learn the craft and develop as a manager. At UBM I introduced the training and medical portfolio which quickly became a very profitable new events division, however UBM at the time were less interested in launching large scale medical events and that is how I became a partner at CloserStill Media.

What’s your role at CloserStill?

I joined CloserStill Media to launch a series of events in the healthcare and medical sector. The first event I launched in 2011 – The Commission Show.

Tell us about your portfolio

When I joined CloserStill Media I had six months to launch the first event: The Commissioning Show. That event has now developed into one of the most important NHS transformation events in the country – Health+Care. Following that I launched Acute & General Medicine. Best Practice came shortly after and is now the UK’s largest general practice event. In 2017 we also acquired the Care Show from UBM.

What are your plans for the future?

The CloserStill medical portfolio is incredibly exciting, we have so many ideas to continue to grow our existing events and launch in new countries.

What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

The industry needs to continue to promote itself to government, institutions and universities. Graduates are taught barely anything about the power of exhibitions in their business management and marketing degree courses.

What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in exhibitions?

Slicker technology is facilitating better buyer – seller interactions.

Rob Chapman, group event director – veterinary portfolio

How did you get into the industry?

I had been working in IT selling hardware boxes. The job was secure but not exactly exciting. My marketing manager knew about my passion for events and introduced me to her friend who was one of the founders of CloserStill.

What’s your role at CloserStill?

I joined CloserStill in 2009 as sales manager on the launch of the London Vet Show. I was lucky joining when the company was so young that I got to learn directly from the best. I was made show manager for year two, and quickly progressed to event director for the third edition. In 2015 I was made group event director responsible for London Vet Show and France Vet. In 2017, I was made MD of the Vet Group.

Tell us about your portfolio

The vet market is one that we immediately felt comfortable in. It is a great bunch of people who have generally made a choice to focus on doing something they love, rather than focussing purely on the salary they could earn.

What are your plans for the future?

The New York Vet launch was the most successful to date and that event has the ability to rapidly overtake the London mothership, but the American market is such that we can easily replicate it without cannibalising our own audience. We’re also looking at other countries where we can expand the events globally, and we are close to making some significant announcements, but until we make it official I can say no more than that!

What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

Recruitment. We have a great track record of moving people across departments in CloserStill and I think more people should do the same. Get the right people in the right jobs, rather than the jobs they have done in the past, and the results are fantastic.

What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in exhibitions?

The advancement of technology and particularly social media. I look at my exhibitors and now more than ever they are seeing the benefits of engaging face-to-face.

Thomas Standley, MD – technology portfolio

How did you get into the industry?

I left university in 1999 and got sucker-punched by one of those, ‘are you a grad, have you thought about a career in media sales?’ I realised I could sell, but in 2004 got my break into the exhibitions industry at UKIP Media & Events.

For most of my time at UKIP Media & Events I worked with David Pegler, launching Professional MotorSport World Expo in Cologne, that’s when I realised that exhibitions would be a hard industry to leave.

After five years I left to launch my own exhibition with a business partner. We sold it well, but under-delivered on delegates. It was frustrating, with a few hundred more delegates we would have had a show to be proud of.

What’s your role at CloserStill?

After winding up my own business, coming to CloserStill was a breath of fresh air. With direct access to people like Phil Nelson and the support of a fantastic marketing team lead by Sophie Baker-Davis and Alexia Maycock, it was clear CloserStill was the place to grow my skills.

Tell us about your portfolio

The events in my portfolio are held in London, Paris and Frankfurt, with London being our largest. Cloud Expo Europe was the roots of our tech cluster, growing from a conference to a multi-million cluster of shows in Europe.

What are your plans for the future?

I love working at CloserStill; its energy, its passion, the desire to win, bringing on bright young things and all the people I work with – it genuinely is like a big work family. My future is firmly here. And there is still a lot to do; we have new and exciting technologies to add to our event cluster.

What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

We, as an industry, need to work on a campaign to address how important face-to-face is in a marketing mix, whatever the market.

What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in exhibitions?

World-class speakers on the exhibition floor. More and more shows have followed the model of building free and exceptional content at the heart of the exhibition.

A closer look was last modified: May 22nd, 2018 by Nicola Macdonald
Source: exhibitionnews.uk