Jacob Fleming Conference
From pre-communication and organization via execution and atmosphere to post conference communication I was really impressed with the conference! Great value in content, excellent insight into the industry’s efforts to improve the marketing and sales functions.
Before Jacob Fleming approached me to speak at their annual chemical conference for marketing & sales effectiveness I didn’t really know much about the company and their events. A colleague recommended the event and there were many interesting topics on the agenda so I agreed to participate and speak both in my own session on “Centralization of competitive intelligence in a global chemical corporation” and as a panelist joined by a couple of high caliber speakers.
The conference producer, Monika Gonda, located in Barcelona, Spain, exhibited a very professional easiness in approaching potential speakers and guiding me through the process with much politeness - always timely and friendly.
At the venue she was accessible at all times and very supportive to the participants as were all of the Jacob Fleming staff. I never felt pushed into their commercial stakes which is not always a given by conferencing companies.
To align the chemical industry behind mutual marketing & sales effectiveness topics makes perfect sense as this special breed of the global economy shares a lot of common interest, ways of conducting transactions with the mutual customer base and among each other and with that many of the marketing and sales approaches.
If you would have drawn relation lines between the 120+ participants in the conference room it would have been a very dense jungle of lines running back and forth. By the very nature the chemical industry is very diverse, fragmented, yet dependent from it own supply lines among competitors and partners.
The blend of speakers for this two day event was excellent, mostly project and department leaders in conceptualizing and implementing state-of-the-art marketing and sales systems, methodologies and programs.
The Okura hotel in Amsterdam is a rather expensive place but offers a great deal of comfort. It seemed almost a bit over the edge in terms of luxurious offerings with its fine in-house dining and excellent atmosphere. The walking distance to Amsterdam’s stunning inner city of about 20 minutes (a lot quicker by cap or tram of course) seemed like a blessing for the conference participants to really exclusively concentrate on the event without too much unrest.
The conference topics were divided into six main tracks: Improving sales strategies, innovative pricing strategies, competitive intelligence, key account strategies, new marketing instruments and distribution systems and customer relationship management.
The various tracks featured speakers from DSM, BASF, Brenntag, Dow Corning - Xiameter, Ciba, Reliance, Huntsman, GEMS, Sigma Aldrich, Dynea, Solvey, Yara, Cytec, Degussa and Arthur D. Little.
Many of the presentations stressed the theme of a necessary customer segmentation. With pricing enjoying the most presentations customer relationship and segmentation combined with strong pricing analysis and systems were covered exceptionally well.
Phil Allen, the president of GEMS Europe, demonstrated utmost excellence in chairing the event with informative introductions of the speakers, well balanced comments and solid Q&A sessions he lead.
Expert panel discussions in between the presentations made for very interesting and lively exchanges focusing on more practical detail with the speakers offering more insights.
Competitive Intelligence session
With competitive intelligence being subject to Jacob Fleming’s chemicals conference series for the first time I decided to approach the audience in a little bit more general fashion. The session named “Centralization of Market & Competitive Intelligence: Challenges, Obstacles, Path to success” was received very well as post conference evaluation metrics show.
Serving as a panelist in the following expert panel discussion I enjoyed the lively exchange surrounding topics such as CRM systems, sales challenges in a globalized world, Asia/China and some other topics side-by-side with Professor Dr. Kaj Storbacka of the Business University Nyenrode, the CEO of Dow Corning Xiameter Shelley Bausch, Ubald Kragten of DSM, Klaus Hoffmann of Dynea and Lionel Breuilly of Huntsman.
Although I had to reject another invitation to speak at Jacob Fleming’s conference equivalent in Florida for timing constraints I would be glad to be part of this fine event in the future.