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Farewell to ships, Mark Rayner

October 2017 |

The 193rd and last charter by Richmond Events, using cruise ships to run strategic business forums, took place 4 – 7 October, last week. 

The Richmond format, developed in 1990 and used to run 660 events over the last 28 years, has arguably changed the way that the business world meets. 

The format offers a more cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to traditional exhibitions and conferences and has been copied (or part copied) by companies around the world. 

In 1990 the Richmond format offered an effective solution to the changing world of business events, as traditional exhibitions and conferences failed to deliver satisfactory audiences in our changing world. 

The world has not stood still. Today people are under ever increasing time pressure and fewer are prepared to spend 2 days and 3 nights away at conferences. Further, the need to be 100% connected 24/7 is viewed as a must, not a nice to have, and WIFI on ships is limited to say the least.

So, with reluctance and a certain nostalgia, Richmond says goodbye to ships and thanks to all of you who have supported us over the last 28 years. 

In 2018 we will run 50 events, more than ever before – and all will be on land – mostly in 5 star venues with first class WIFI, great service and a first rate list of participants. 

We look forward to welcoming you to what we believe is still the most effective event format in the market.
Forum portfolio

Everybody's working harder – so why is productivity in the doldrums? David Smith, Economics Editor, The Sunday Times

October 2017 |


Britain, if you had not noticed, has a productivity crisis. Official figures showed that productivity, measured by gross domestic product per hour worked, was down by 0.1% in the second quarter of this year. For each hour worked, in other words, 0.1% less was being produced than in the previous quarter.

That does not sound too troubling, but it was part of a pattern. Productivity on this, the preferred measure, fell 0.5% in the first three months of the year and has been going nowhere fast for a long time. It is currently slightly below the level it stood at in the final quarter of 2007. We have suffered a lost decade of productivity. Had it performed in line with long-term trends it would be up by 20%,

It matters that we have had no growth in productivity, and that Germany is 34% ahead of us, France 29% and America 28%. It matters because, as Paul Krugman, an American Nobel laureate in economics once memorably put it: “Productivity isn’t everything but in the long run it is almost everything.”

Productivity drives living standard. Had it grown as normal real wages, instead of stagnation, would be 20% higher than they are. It is crucial for the public finances. A bigger hole is about to be blown in the public finances by new, and gloomier, productivity assumptions from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

There is, however, a puzzle at the heart of this productivity weakness. Everybody I come across is working harder. The days when you could coast along in a job, happy in the knowledge that everybody else was doing the same, are long gone. I cannot remember the last long business lunch I attended, let alone one fuelled with copious amounts of wine. Event organisers, including Richmond, will tell you that it is more of a challenge to get people away from their desks for too long these days. They will come, but only of it is worth their while.

The very existence of many hundreds of thousands of zero hours contracts tells you that some firms are keen on cutting out the downtime among their workers, applying almost “just in time” principles to employment. The aim is to get the maximum amount out of workers for the hours they are there.

The Journey to Modern Marketing: 10 Best Practices for the Modern Marketer.

October 2017 |

By Fred Isbell, Senior Marketing Director, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and Digital Business Services Marketing, SAP

It’s been my pleasure to attend and speak at Richmond Events Marketing Forums in recent years.  There’s nothing like getting out and networking and speaking with marketing peers and professionals.  In fact, I make it a regular habit to “get out of the office” and participate in and speak at events such as these.
Last spring I gave a session at the spring Marketing Forum where I gave prescriptive advice for marketers to navigate the journey to Modern Marketing – and discussed it afterwards in “Why the Modern Marketing Journey Doesn’t Begin with Just One Step”. My session, “Navigating Modern Marketing, Digital Transformation and Innovation,” focused on the unprecedented transformation happening in the world of marketing and how marketers can take advantage of it before it’s too late.

As we prepare for another exciting Marketing Forum next week, and with it another session on the Modern Marketing Journey, “The Art & Science of Modern Marketing: Three Key Best Practices for the Journey”, I thought it would be good to step back review the “10 Best Practices for the Modern Marketer” we covered back in the spring.  I’ll be drilling down into three specific areas next month – thought leadership, the modern webinar/digital marketing and performance management and analytics – and this is the foundation for what another great session. 

So, in the spirit of late night TV’s “David Letterman’s Top 10” lists, here are the Ten Best Practices for the Modern Marketer:

1. Understand how innovation technologies drive digital transformation: It is critical to comprehend and embrace technologies that are reshaping industries, such as cloud solutions, Big Data and analytics, social media and marketing platforms, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Although some of these technologies have yet to ascend to the peak of the hype cycle, they still offer incredible promise fueled by the unprecedented proliferation of data.

2. Tell your story through thought leadership: This form of simplified storytelling continues to help modern marketers do everything from content management to creation and delivery of the right message at the right stage of the buyer’s journey. The key is to provide a point of view that adds value to the customer conversation.

3. Plan and execute the modern webinar: As discussed earlier this year in my blog, “Confessions Of A Webcast King: Modern Marketing, Webinars, And The Future Of Digital Marketing,” webinars create the perfect storm of a story told by credible speakers and subject-matter experts and kept fresh with an engaging, conversational approach.

4. Define and use buyer personas: The modern marketing conversation is outside-in and tied to the specific messages and value of buyer personas. SiriusDecisions and research and advisory firms have refined this approach to an art form, providing the right way to target buyer-centric messaging, value propositions, and conversations.

5. Guide customers on the new buyer’s journey while uniting and aligning sales and marketing: It’s time to take “new” out of “buyer’s journey” and focus on executing successful customer experiences with the right content, multi-touch interactions, and unified sales and marketing operations and insights.

6. Implement structured methodologies, processes, and governance: Even though the backdrop hasn’t changed, businesses still need an underlying framework of systems and processes, dashboards, and analytics/reporting, and most importantly, continuous governance and review. In my blog, “The Marketing Funnel May Not Be as Dead as We Think,” I discussed some issues of the traditional marketing funnel and the latest modern marketing models, SiriusDecisons’ Waterfall Model, addressing key process improvements.


UK Business Panel Research on the (in)effectiveness of global institutions

October 2017 |

Richmond Events’ latest UK business panel research looked at UK and international institutions and asked whether they are working successfully, need to change or are completely unfit for purpose.

Here are some headline findings. If you would like a copy of the full report please contact David Clark

The UN – Only 5% of the panel feel it’s performing very well, playing a crucial role in maintaining international order.  38% feel it’s either inadequate or performing poorly and needs to improve quickly.

The IMF – 48% believe the IMF is central to the global financial security & sustainable economic growth in today’s globalised economy.

55% believe the IPCC (Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change) is partially delivering, though it needs to start showing its value more than it currently does.

The EU – 0% believe it’s in a very healthy situation, though 22% believe it’s quite healthy, on an upward curve.  10% believe it’s terminally ill, with Brexit just another nail in the coffin.

Public sector pay – after the Government announced the lifting of the cap in some areas we asked what should happen next. 

16% of the panel felt other areas should follow and the increases should be higher, whilst 7% said the cap should be maintained for all but essential public sector workers. 

The highest proportion of the panel, 36%, feel it is time to accept that if we want properly funded public services we should bite the bullet and raise taxes.

The US CIO Forum Proust Questionnaire

October 2017 |

The original Proust Questionnaire was designed by the French writer Marcel Proust to get to the heart of one’s personality. Since the late 1800s when it was first used, it has been modified in many ways, most popularly by the magazine Vanity Fair when interviewing celebrities.

Our CIO Forum version aims to get to know not only the personality of the CIO and the issues they face, but also the person behind the title.  

Bruce Mizell
SVP & Group Information Security Officer at Citigroup

30 years’ experience in information technology, 10 years at Citigroup. Currently managing one of many InfoSec Officer teams, focused on global application security on all areas - including web, mobile, ATM, voice, internal and vendor hosted solutions. Prior to this I was the head instructor/manager teaching Certified Ethical Hacking, Microsoft Certifications and other courses at multiple training centers. I also proudly served in the US Army for 15 years – Airborne (Paratrooper) Infantry and as Bradley Master Gunner

Which IT Industry person do you most admire?

Steve Jobs

What is your current state of mind?


What do you consider the most overrated IT trend?

Cloud (we have been using the Internet forever with clustered servers as well, nothing new just rebranded).

What is the quality you most like in an IT Exec?


Which industry words or phrases do you most overuse?

Industry Standard

What is the biggest IT challenge you are facing right now?

Agile Transformation Security

What are you most passionate about?

Doing the right thing at the right time. Especially for my family.

When and where were you happiest?

When I went to college (in the next state) – really became a grown up having to be fully responsible for myself.

Which talent would you most like to have?


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Teaching and passing on my knowledge.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A bowhead whale – they are likely the longest living creature – over 200 years.

What is your most treasured possession?

My wits (my memories of all my fabulous times, now and in the future, with my family in particular)

What is your most marked characteristic?

Honesty and Passion

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty and Passion

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Enjoying the fruits of my labours, be it having nice things or seeing positive results from my contributions.

What is your greatest fear?


Who is your hero of fiction?


Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Einstein – I may not be that smart but I have my moments.

Who are your heroes in real life?

The Military, Police and Fireman out there every day protecting us from harm so we can go about our day to day desires freely.

What is it that you most dislike?

Unnecessary cruelty. (be it to a person, animal or nature in general).

What is your greatest regret?

Not getting deeper into IT sooner.

What is your motto?

This one is a toss-up for me – I have two: 1. Do the right thing. 2. Stay curious – keep learning – there is a universe out there.

A confusion of politicians, a jumble of Eurocrats, and a divorce, Nick Turner

October 2017 |

As the fourth set of Brexit talks begins 15 months after the “referendum” it comes as no surprise perhaps, that to the ordinary man in the street, there seems to be a positive revulsion at the word “Brexit”, as soon as it is pronounced on any news item.

This period of “rejoicing” or indeed “mourning” as Britain frees itself from the shackles of Europe has been blighted by apparent inaction, internal squabbling, lack of strategy and above all a growing sense of uncertainty.

Within these pages our monthly newsletter has often highlighted the hopes of business, and we have, through our regular surveys, monitored the confidence or otherwise of the business trading conditions, aspirations, and the direction our clients hope or believe trade is taking. Buoyance in the markets has been maintained. Growth, albeit slowed, has continued. But the subcurrents of a weakened pound, pressures on the cost of living, inflation and interest rates are beginning to bite.

So where are we with the “talks”?

The trouble seems to stem from that human failing of posturing, a belief that as a negotiating representative it is a matter of “fighting your corner”, rather than mediating.

Our politicians and their bureaucrats are approaching every issue as if this were the Treaty of Versailles, where an Armistice was treated as a surrender, and Germany was so dishonoured that it is often said that the Versailles Treaty meant that the Second World War was inevitable.

Even as a “Remainer”, I can see it is not difficult to perceive that we are now in a fight rather than a negotiation, and that it is the UK making more and more concessions.

This form of “NEGOTIATION” will fail to satisfy the Brexiteers, and it has the added risk of losing critical areas of value to the UK economy, by surrendering vital economic issues particularly in trading and banking.
France, buoyed by the election of technocrat Macron, chastened by the strength of the far right in home politics, is circling like a vulture to direct her energies in attacking the UK’s financial markets’ domination in derivatives, and euro trading (worth trillions to the UK economy)

Macron sees an opportunity to try and assert Paris as the new city for those markets, and of course Frankfurt is not far behind.

National interest is prevailing. Germany, like France, now sees the spectre of the far right, assuming political relevance domestically, and she, too, will need to show international force to assuage the voters at home, that they are “fighting” for Germany, as Macron is “fighting” for France, and their specific economic interests.
I am sorry to single out France and Germany, but the same applies to the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Italy.

And even sorrier to say that it applies to our stance in the UK also.

Brexit was triumphed as a victory for Farage, the UKIP leader at the time, the people decided, without regard to traditional party stereotypes. Labour heartlands, and Tory shires spoke with one voice that, in part, centred on immigration as the most important issue.

Hate crimes have more than doubled since Brexit, sadly, but that is of course the lunatic fringe. More importantly the voters were telling the politicians we don’t want to be legislated by unelected Eurocrats. We want to know who we are inviting to our country. And for those outside London, we want our voices to be heard, and our quality of life to improve.

With this mandate our politicians are left “fighting” for the UK rather than negotiating.

This is self interest from every quarter. The EU has no common stance except resentment, make the UK pay and take what they can out of the wreckage or so it seems to anyone who listens to the despondent Brexit updates.

Hence the overwhelming feeling at grass roots level is negative and pessimistic.

The feeling at the political level is hard to judge. Before the Summer it was “Hard Brexit” all the way, from the two main political parties.

Both pro Europe before the referendum, both are driven now by votes in marginal seats. Both are driven by trying to capture the “political climate”.

Both are suffering small but perceptible in-fighting, as some politicians come to the realisation that the vote was 52% to 48% when the reality of Brexit was sold as massive new funds for public services, new wealth, prosperity and the halting of refugees from war torn countries where the UK had been an active participant or contributor (Kurds/Iraqis/Afghans/Syria/Somalia).

15 months in, most ordinary people now realise that none of those outcomes is likely, feasible or possible. The shrewder politicians on either side realise in these minority Government days, whilst Brexit talks stall and bumble along, that the softer the Brexit, or the more prolonged the negotiations are, then the likelier we are to end up with a deal that is borne from the actual reality we find ourselves in, and the fact that economically the status quo wasn’t that bad after all. But a referendum is a much bigger obstacle to ignore than a political election promise.

Repeatedly and recently we hear about the dual mantra of remaining in the single market and the customs union.

We still are, however, beholden to countries who have those same problems we have, a reactionary right-wing sub current, nationalism, and self interest.

I have not conducted any surveys, but I had many heated arguments pre-referendum and I was impressed by the substantial number of friends, business acquaintances, and even young people who were quite vociferous in their Brexit support.


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