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Interview: Paul MacDonald, Portfolio Director at Centaur Live

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By Alexandra Gold  //  Mon 16th June 2014
Paul MacDonald, Portfolio Director at Centaur Live, heads up the Marketing Week Live event which launched in 2009. Here he tells us why nice people can be successful, what the future holds for  marketing events and why being audience obsessed is key.


What was your first job?
Sales exec on the National Nursing and Care Homes Exhibition, the Northern Nursing and Care Homes Exhibition, and Clean UK (a dry cleaning exhibition) for the Daily Mail.


How did you get into the events industry?
Knocked on the doors of all the major sporting companies asking to be a marketing exec. Didn’t get anywhere so went into events!


What is your favourite campaign / brand?
The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project.


Marketing to marketers is tough indeed, what’s your secret?
To be audience obsessed, understand their DNA, how they live and breathe.


Which resource do you always turn to?
My marketing manager, Ali Tweedlie.


What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?
The biggest lesson is that when the going gets tough, you need to be first on the show floor and last to leave, not hiding in the office.


Best piece of career advice?
Nice people can be successful.


If you could work on any event, what would it be?
The Ryder Cup.


How do you feel the diversification of marketing events into specific verticals has impacted visitor numbers and commercial opportunities?
It hasn’t affected Marketing Week Live as we bring all the verticals together. Silos don’t work, because marketers don’t think in channels, they think about their big challenges, and they have to integrate the channels to present their brand consistently, so that’s what we give them at the show – challenge-led content which resonates with the way they work.


What do you feel that the future holds for the events industry?
In B2B events, the future is smaller, more focused events that happen in different formats, times and locations to meet the need of the visitor at certain points in the decision making process. A portfolio of events, from round tables and summits, to conferences, congresses and exhibitions.


Ideal holiday?
Something adventure driven

What is your favourite pub?
The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham

Lager or Real Ale?
Real ale



Paul MacDonald, Portfolio Director at Centaur Live, heads up the Marketing Week Live event which launched in 2009. Under his leadership it has grown to become the undisputed market leading B2B event for the UK marketing community. He is proud to be leading such an iconic brand in a fast moving industry but is the first to admit that marketing to marketers can be tough!

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