Tim Hodgson is the Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. He has had 16 years’ experience within sports and entertainment marketing, content, sponsorship and events management industries. In this exclusive interview with Connect Intelligence he shares his insights on marketing challenges and increasing customer loyalty and relationships.
Q: What are some key lessons you’ve acquired since taking on the role of Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer?
I could bore you with a multitude of craft skills I have developed further in sponsorship, marketing, social media, communications, corporate governance and Games operations. I have learnt much about leadership styles, about the power of a common purpose in a small team, about the balance of pushing hard whilst attempting to retain balance and enjoyment in life, and about working virtually as a team across the country.
But I am scribbling off the back of the Toronto Games. And so here are two of the things that I have learnt, at the risk of becoming too deep, that come from the competitors and their support network that I have just witnessed first-hand.
Firstly, richer lives are led by those who are in the service of others, who have a persistence and resilience to always drive forwards, who have a goal (long or short term) and attack that goal with a never say die attitude, and never give up. And in the crazy world we currently live in, where the human is sometimes lost from the human being and the kind seems to drop from mankind (stolen from a TVC I have just seen), as a bunch of creatures on this earth we are truly ‘Stronger Together’, supporting each other.
Which circles back to the need for us, as a small local organising committee, with a huge task ahead to deliver a very successful and high-profile Games, to ensure that we approach the task with passion, understanding the privilege we have to work on these Games, supporting each other to drive through the tough times we will have, but with enough balance and energy to enjoy the ride.
Secondly, there are simply ‘no excuses’ in life. Everyone faces adversity at some stage, however significant. It is how you respond to it that counts. And if you find yourself making an excuse, stop yourself, look within, dig deep and just think about how you can change the situation yourself…
Q: What key attributes and skills do you think people in your role should imbibe?
Passion, patience and perseverance! I think I have the first one, sometimes I need to work on the other two!
Of course, driving Commercial, Communications and Marketing requires a fairly broad level of experience. Each area is so complex now that it requires good strategic level understanding, and then some great recruitment skills and connections to bring in the really smart operators to help deliver the dream!
Q: How are you using technology to reach out to the consumer in today’s cluttered marketing environment?
We are working on this. The reality is, ours is a sprint, and we are still mapping our consumer journey all the way to the Games, in particular in the final months leading to the Games. Technology will come into play in our communications to our different client groups, in our internal comms, in our fundraising, in our Games delivery, and more specifically in our education programme that we are building to reach school aged children.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced in marketing the Invictus Games Sydney 2018?
All our challenges tend to point back to the balance between available time, available resource and the scale of our ambitions. We would like to do everything and we would like to say yes to everyone that is keen to support and be involved in our Games. We are trying to find a way to be able to actually achieve this, but ultimately we are a small charitable organisation, with a big job to do in a small amount of time. That takes some prioritising requiring some tough decisions along the way, although we are building programmes that anyone can be involved in, whether you live in Sydney Olympic Park, NSW or regional Western Australia… More to come on this!
Q: What initiatives have you employed to foster authentic stakeholder relationships and customer loyalty?
This is one of the wonderful things about the Games. Every stakeholder, corporate partner or communications partner that has signed up to the Games are fully invested. From the outset, we built out our vision for Long Term Impact – agendas that partners can latch onto and support, that they can drive and use the spotlight of the Games to help amplify, initiatives that will be delivering benefits to the communities we serve well beyond the Games in October 2018.
This has galvanised the partners, a real team feel with a common purpose to make a difference via the Games. Collaborations are developing, initiatives are hatching. They are empowered, behind a movement that is gathering pace, to demonstrate that their organisations can truly change people’s lives. Our partners hold the power of the Games in their hands, and will determine the impact that the Games can achieve.
Tim Hodgson, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, Invictus Games Sydney 2018 will be expanding on his interview at Brand Forum, 21st and 22nd February, 2018.