The NEC broke the ice

29 March 2017 Jenna Hadley

The NEC created an inventive campaign to open conversations with a mix of agencies, corporate businesses and venue finders who have not yet used the UK’s No.1 venue for a conference or live event. The campaign has received a phenomenal response rate with over 71.5% engagement.

NEC Director of Marketing, Martin Clarke, said: “We wanted to create a campaign that reached out to the right contacts and companies who might be thinking of the NEC for their next conference or live event. In such a competitive market, we had to ask ourselves what would help us stand out, make an impact and make sure our messaging is being seen by those who would be a great fit with our venue.

“By using a disruptive form of direct mail, we have created a concept that take the idea of ‘breaking the ice’ in a literal, but memorable way.”

The campaign was launched to a total of 240 recipients with a strong winter theme, the marketing team ensured that every element linked back to the “ice-breaker” idea. The box, designed to look like a solid ice-cube, was sent out in January and contained useful items to help the recipient literally break the ice with NEC branded gloved ice scraper and de-icer spray, along with a thermal mug and hot chocolate to keep them warm through winter.

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Inside the icebreaker box

NEC Marketing Manager, Gemma Piggott, explained the idea behind the concept in more detail saying: “The collateral included was not only personalised by name but was also segmented into two versions. This ensured each recipient received information on the flexibility of our spaces that was relevant to their businesses event requirements as determined by our pre-campaign research.”

Gemma added: “Continuing with the Icebreaker concept and introducing a digital element to our campaign, the collateral contained a mini ice scraper used to reveal a hidden link under a latex panel which directed the user to a landing page. In a fun ‘spot the ball’ style game, a winter warming prize had been hidden beneath one of the ice blocks and the user had to claim their chosen ice block to find the prize. To further increase engagement, the winner was only revealed when the temperature on the on-screen thermometer had risen enough for the ice to melt and reveal the prize location under the ice.”

As with any B2B marketing campaign, the follow up process is integral to the overall success which is why the NEC planned in-depth post campaign follow up activity, compromising of both emails and direct calls to fully maximise the opportunities the campaign had created.

Adrian Evans, Director of Conference and Live Events at the NEC, said: “We are delighted with the response to the innovative communication sent by our marketing team. The engagement has been huge, and has led to over £three quarters of a million in opportunity value and over 24 client meetings, which is which is just a fantastic return.” 

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