Corporate Hospitality: Why Investing in Clients is Important Even during an Economic Crisis
Corporate Hospitality was originally created as a means of creating an event for the benefit of a company’s staff members and prospective clients at the organization’s expense. These events would create networking opportunities for future business leads and would also support business relationships.
As the current economic recession is continuing to be a burden to most industries, American companies are feeling the pressure and are now utilizing corporate hospitality as a way of investing in their clients to maintain relationships while increasing revenues. By spending quality time with clients, companies can focus on potential clients by providing them with information about services and products in a casual environment.
Additionally, when a country is going through an economic crisis, oftentimes consumers will return to brands they know, value and trust, creating another reason why marketing strategies and corporate hospitality should remain in the forefront. While it’s true that consumers pay more attention to their budgets during a recession, it’s also important to remember that customers will look for the best value on the dollar. If a customer believes that they get more value from your services and products, they may not seek a cheaper, more unreliable alternative if the opportunity arises.
Customer loyalty is an important part of a business’ revenue and referral strategies, therefore taking care of clients first is an important step when managing customer relationships.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Corporate hospitality events are usually held in the corporate facilities of a sporting event or other major entertainment venues – some popular sporting events often include occasions, such as the Breeders' Cup, Belmont Stakes, the US Open, MLB and NFL sporting games.
An upscale arrangement with comfortable seating with meals and provided entertainment allows a company to make a client feel they are important and valuable to that business. These facilities also provide a controlled platform to announce a new product launch of sample offerings of the merchandise or service.
MAINTAINING AN IMAGE
For many large companies who host corporate hospitality events with their clients, their brand and company image have already been established. Large-scale events that invite employees, vendors and clients help to maintain a company’s image as well as staying ahead of competitors.
Simultaneously, the optimization of ROI must also be taken into consideration and serve as a benefit to the company’s budget as well. It’s important to create an experience where clients can relax as well as feel motivated in an effort for continued patronization.
It’s important to remember to scale back when it comes to staying within budget for a corporate hospitality experience. Companies can think of ways to be creative without spending an extraordinary amount of money.
INVESTING IN CLIENTS
Face-to-face interaction is imperative when maintaining relationships with clients and corporate hospitality events allow a company to reinstate their business and brand values. While an economic recession is daunting for business owners, it should be addressed directly, planned accordingly and executed wisely.
Jacob Turnage, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing for EB Corporate Sports has worked with many Fortune 1000 clients for their needs for exciting corporate hospitality. EB Corporate Sports provides turnkey solutions when it comes to hosting upscale events for companies to provide a casual atmosphere for their clients.
“We do things differently than our competitors,” Turnage says. “We get a feel of the client and their budget, give them ideas about possible options and provide more of a consulting service to see what solutions will best suit the client.”
“For many people, maintaining corporate hospitality is considered a luxury, but I think it’s actually vital to maintain customer loyalty, especially during a recession. You can’t really cut corners when it comes to your customers; you can scale back on some things, but you definitely can’t forget about them.”
Turnage definitely noticed a difference in his workload since the recession, but is positive that the economic climate is headed for recovery. “We understand our customers and we can get creative when they have limited resources,” he says. “I’ve already had three calls this morning with companies looking to use our services.”
Corporate hospitality may be of one of the most interesting ways to invest in a client. Benefits and perks are appealing to a client and allow them to have a more open mind when it comes to spending money.
Corporate Hospitality Spotlight: Breeders' Cup
The Breeders' Cup World Championships, taking place November 5th and 6th at Churchill Downs will be the prime event for international horse racing competitors vying for a $26 million pot. Last year’s winning and undefeated horse, Zenyatta, will be defending her title and the 14 championship races will be televised in 140 countries. Corporate suites are available to those companies looking to host a memorable hospitality event. Visit http://bcwc2010.com/ for more information.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.