Laura Jefferies, Marketing Manager, Twickenham Experience
1 Marketing Manager at Twickenham Experience must be a huge responsibility, tell me a bit more about your role.
My role is hugely varied, in essence, I market pretty much everything that doesn’t throw a rugby ball at one of the most iconic stadiums in the world and the Home of England Rugby; it’s an incredible privilege. On a day to day basis this means overseeing the marketing for Twickenham Stadium’s non-match day conferences and events and match day retail which includes all the public bars and food outlets on a major event day. On a non-match day we have 34 event spaces across four stands, offering events from a meeting for as little as two delegates in a pitch-side box, right up to 1,200 for a conference.
On a match day we can have up to 82,000 visitors, which is a lot of hungry mouths to feed and it’s my responsibility to make sure we provide the right messaging around the catering we offer. For many visitors on a match day it’s not just about the action on the pitch anymore, it’s the whole experience.
2 What do you enjoy most?
I love the variety of my role and all the different people that I get to work with. One day I will be getting stuck into a food photography shoot, the next I’ll be planning the next phase of our website. No day is the same for me and at Twickenham there are always new and interesting things for us to be talking about! We’re soon to be launching the new East Stand development, which gives us another eight event spaces to be used on a non-match day, including a pub and roof terrace. To be involved in a multi-million pound project like this is super exciting, I just can’t wait for it to open now.
3 What is the best career advice you’ve been offered?
To get involved in anything and everything, even if it’s outside your remit.
4 To get to where you are now, what has been your biggest challenge?
I chose not to go to University and people around me said I was making a mistake. At college, I didn’t feel as if there was much support for those who wanted to look at options outside of Uni and at the time there weren’t many internships or apprenticeships to apply for in the events industry. In the end it just motivated me to prove that I could make a career by making my own path.
I took a less conventional route into the events industry, marketing around events was something that I knew I wanted to do, and my first job was an entrepreneurial one; myself and my boss at the time had access to a space locally that we thought had potential and went about releasing it into the market for events. It was the first step for me into an industry I’ve grown to really enjoy.
5 In your view, what makes a good leader?
For me it’s simple, I think a good leader is someone who recognises how to get the most out of each individual and always leads by example. I’m surrounded by good leaders at Twickenham both on the pitch and around it!
6 How do you continue to develop yourself and your skills?
Google is my life-saver, I must Google how to do things at least five times a day, whether that’s finding a detailed video on how to do something technical, or just simply looking up how to do something on Excel. I also try to surround myself with people far more knowledgeable than me, which can sometimes be highly intimidating, but I learn a lot from other people.
7 What do you see as a big challenge for the industry at the moment?
From a marketing perspective, I think technology is a big challenge. The tech industry is moving at such a pace, it can be challenging to keep up to date and identify the fads from the things that will actually make a lasting impact on the events industry. I have heard and read many people talking about AI replacing humans, but I believe it’s about us adapting to change and using technology in a way that benefits us. They say that the job of an event planner is one of the most stressful jobs, so I say let’s embrace technology to help us reduce that stress, rather than see it as a threat.
8 Any words of wisdom for those wanting to get ahead in the industry?
I’d say try and get experience in the industry, whether that’s interning, an apprenticeship or a placement year out of Uni. At Twickenham we offer a placement year and it’s amazing to see how much the students learn from a year in industry, before going back for their final year. We have one of our previous placement students back with us, working as a full time sales executive now!