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BPMA – Looking to the NextGen

A new industry group is helping the younger members of the merchandise industry chart its future, says Jon Birrell.

As an industry we need to ensure we are keeping up with the current trends, communicating in the right channels and using the right messaging to engage with the new generation of marketers, so the NextGen group was set up. Recently a group of like-minded industry professionals gathered for the first Promo Meets networking event in London.

Many companies around the table were celebrating key milestones and proud to say their businesses were twenty, if not thirty years old. It is great to see so many merchandise suppliers and distributors doing well, however there were comments about the future generations of the industry. We discussed what the group around the table would look like twenty years from now, with the new intake of staff into our industry in a very different economic climate and a world where the so called ‘Millennial’ generation communicates and engages in a new and diverse way. After all, it was only 12 years ago when the first iPhone was launched and social media kicked off.

One of the action points from this meeting was to reach out to the younger merchandise professionals to find out their views, challenges and perceptions of our industry. In April, the first NextGen meeting took place at the Great Connaught Rooms in London. We were pleased to have a 50:50 split across suppliers and distributors.

We covered a number of topics in the first meeting including training, the best way to get our message out to clients, preferred event formats and what our industry could do better. We gathered very useful insights and plan to deep dive into relevant topics at the next meeting, which will lead to actions and content creation to share with the industry to drive our message forward and aid recruitment into our industry.

Jon Birrell, CEO, BPMA

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