|David Hodge - Chief Marketing Officer, Alpari|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 11 March 2013 11:13
David joined Alpari in October 2011 as Chief Marketing Officer and was appointed to the Board in June 2012. He is responsible globally for the account opening, brand marketing, client services, corporate PR, E-Commerce, market commentary and sponsorship teams. Prior to joining Alpari, David was the Group Marketing Director at IG Group.
He has over 20 years’ experience in both marketing and commerce and worked in various roles at Wilkinson Sword, Cadbury Ltd, Scottish Courage and bmibaby prior to moving into the financial sector.
David is married with two children and lives in Warwickshire. He is a keen cyclist, swimmer and tennis player and enjoys cooking and travelling.
You’ve got 20 years of marketing experience under you. What challenges did you face when you joined Alpari?
The first thing is that it was very much pitched as a transformational role, so usually with these briefs there are two challenges. Firstly is to get to grips with the business model and the ambitions of the shareholders; what are they trying to achieve and what are their goals? Then secondly it is very much around demonstrating that marketing can deliver a Return on Investment (ROI). Breaking that down it’s about finding some quick wins so you have time to build for the long-term.
You further expanded your relationship with West Ham by becoming their Principal Sponsor. How has your relationship with the club developed since 2011 and why West Ham?
The interesting point about the whole West Ham sponsorship is that we actually approached this new initiative, where we are now the Principal Partner, with a blank sheet of paper. Our objective was; how can we cost efficiently and effectively build our brand on the world stage through potentially sponsorship? We actually looked at a number of sponsorship options in the sporting arena such as tennis, cycling, football, rugby and golf and we indexed that versus our target audience. We very quickly got to a decision that actually, there was good value to be had in football, particularly in the Premier League. In this current environment you can really secure an interesting proposition.
The attractiveness for Alpari was that the Premier League is a global phenomenon now. It goes out to 212 territories and reaches over 700 million households globally and that was the appeal for us because we didn’t look at the Premier League as a UK only benefit, we looked at it as a global sports platform. We are a global business and we are keen to build our brand on the global stage, so we quickly got to the solution that the Premier League was the right place to go. Then it was a case of what football clubs are available and it just so happened that West Ham’s shirt was up for grabs. We had initial conversations with them as we already had a good existing partner relationship. We also knew what their capabilities were; what they could do and what they could not do and the discussions moved very quickly from there...
You’ve already touched on this, but can you add more on how partnering with West Ham helps with your global strategy?
The way to look at this is that West Ham are one of 20 clubs in the Premier League and we see the Premier League as the gateway to global awareness and that is why we have done it. The benefit of partnering with West Ham is that when West Ham are on TV, particularly when they are playing the big clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool their games are always televised and that goes out to a global audience. The fans of those teams will then see our branding on West Ham United players.
What is your ROI from the new West Ham deal?
We have taken a long-term view on this deal actually, so typically you would look for a three to one ROI and that would be, the investment we spend on this property, are we getting it back in account value from clients? But there is a lot of intangibles as well that are equally important. One is about stature for our brand and the second is about awareness. Particularly in our space, stature and awareness are very critical, so there is an intangible component to this that is not intrinsically linked to an ROI.
You have partnerships with a number of different sports. Which sports partnership do you think is the most successful for Alpari?
It’s a good question, they all do different things. We are heavily involved in sailing with the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and that does a really specific job. If you think about the people who follow or are involved in sailing, they are quite affluent and aspirational individuals. Our sailing sponsorship enables the Alpari brand to really target this niche audience in a very concentrated way. Football on the other hand enables the brand to do a broader targeting of a more mainstream audience. So they both work in different ways. We see the sailing as niche, premium marketing and we see football as very much more mainstream for our brand and as a result they both have effective roles to play. I wouldn’t say that one is more successful than the other, I think they are both going to be very effective at what we want them to do.