Jeremy Bevan, the founder, marketing executive, CMO, and transformational leader at PurposeRocks talks to The Ortus Club’s Hannah Hodkinson about the art of purposeful marketing, his love for coaching and the future of engaging events.
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First of all, tell us about your company. What does Purpose Rocks do?
I decided to start my own company at the start of this year. I really wanted to focus on one-to-one individual team coaching combined with marketing consulting from the many years of experience I’ve had in doing marketing. I think the biggest motivation for me was really based on what brought me personally the most energy and fulfillment in my life and in the work that I do.
Fundamentally, it is about teams. It’s about people, crucially. Hence the name of the company (Purpose Rocks) which means working with purpose. Probably what I love the most is this wonderful connection that I’ve seen as I started to establish what is needed in coaching as well as in marketing.
What is your role in your company and what are your primary marketing objectives right now?
I’m the sole consultant in my company right now. I work with other consultants and coaches that will partner with me in certain types of projects but my role is obviously to provide the services that I’ve focused on which is a combination of coaching services and marketing consulting services.
Although that sounds like two separate things, what I’ve found out is that there is this lovely connection between the two. One of the biggest skills in coaching is actually an ability to listen. It sounds obvious but it’s not just listening to what a person or a team is saying but actually to sense and feel what’s underneath, what’s behind, what’s not being said, what emotion is there and what motivation is underneath and really it’s even more than that. It’s about reading the room.
I think that’s where there is a big connection with marketing because no matter what we do in marketing, it’s about creating emotional connection, an empathetic connection. In marketing, we know we need to convey and communicate information and facts about our products, services, and our solutions.
Having an emotional connection does not disregard the logical and rational part. Actually, if as marketers we fail to connect and communicate at the emotional level, there’s actually very little impact there. That’s the power of stories in marketing.
Describe the most successful marketing campaign you have ever worked on. What made it so successful?
I was very fortunate to be part of the new brand campaign that was launched at Cisco under the CMO Karen Walker. I think it’s an outstanding example actually of where we really powerfully combined a strong statement of company purpose to the brand messaging, to the imagery, to our authenticity, and to the use of customer voice.
“A successful campaign is one that connects the company – its employees, its partners, and its customers, in a way that really feels right and authentic to the company. It’s authentic to where it came from, what it stands for, and it’s true to its purpose.”
Now let’s talk about marketing and events a little bit. So many marketing opportunities especially related to events and event sponsorships became no longer feasible due to the pandemic. What type of new event opportunities are there for marketers today?
I’ve led a lot of regional and global events through the teams I’ve worked with throughout my career – probably thousands of events over the years quite honestly. And naturally, a big part of my strategic focus on events was always about how you can integrate the event experience into the totality of the customer experience. In other words, how events should be an important part of the human touch points on the total customer life cycle.
When the pandemic hit, we’ve all experienced this massive switch to the digital platform. While the digital has its own advantages, we know that physical events need to come back to re-establish some of that missing human connection.
Most of us are now talking about doing this in a more hybrid way -merging digital and physical events together which is frankly what we were doing and thinking about even before the pandemic but has certainly accelerated now.
All of our experience now points to something that we knew all along which is that we need to be looking at new and engaging ways of inspiring people. Quite honestly, I hope we don’t go back to the days of packing people in to listen to long boring presentations by an uninspiring speaker. We need to be thinking about events that are truly two-way interactive experiences. If you do need to convey a lot of information through some kind of long keynote, then how do you bite-size it? How do you delight the audience along the way? how do you bring in emotion and experiences that can really engage them? I think there’s so much opportunity to really think outside of the box here and event teams of the future are going to need to be thinking that way.
Do you think there are enough or as many as there used to be?
I think there are plenty of event opportunities. I think that there are a lot of opportunities for marketers to be truly marketers, to think about events in a very holistic way, and to use all the tools at their disposal. There’s probably never been a better time in some ways to be very strategic as an event planner.
What do you think is the most exciting marketing trend at the moment? How can marketers use it to achieve their goals?
This probably goes back to one of the reasons why I set up my company with a name that it has – PurposeRocks, because regardless of all the different tech trends out there, and there are a lot of them, I actually think that purpose-driven marketing is probably more important than anything else. For me it’s still actually one of the most exciting things that marketers can focus on.
What we’ve learned in 2020 is that businesses that pursued and publicly defined a clear and consistent purpose actually simply did better than those that did not. From a consumer point of view, consumers are way more likely to recommend your brand if you are articulating a strong purpose that that consumer can connect to.
What’s one piece of career advice you have received that’s been particularly valuable to you as a marketing leader?
Know the “why” behind what you’re doing. This probably is my favorite piece of advice during what I think was a pivotal point in my career. When I was making a decision on whether or not to leave the company I was in to start as a CMO at another much smaller company, my boss at the time asked me these questions: “What are you doing most in this decision? Are you running away from what you’re doing because you’re weary and bored of it? Or are you running towards the role you’ve been offered? Where’s the balance here? Are you being pushed out or are you being pulled towards?”
I think that in that moment, something kind of crystallized for me. I realized that actually I just needed a change of perspective. When I was looking at things the other way around, I realized that I just needed a simple change in my own way of thinking about my role. I realized there was a lot more impact and room in the role I had than in moving to another role. In other words, know the reason behind what you’re doing. If it’s running away, just make sure that what you’re running away from isn’t something that you might regret running away from later.