12/09/2018 | Promotional Marketing, Promotion Fulfilment, IPM, MRM

Some highlights from our first 25 years

In the final part of our conversation with our Executive Chairman, Peter Kerr reflects on some of the highlights of our first 25 years.

How would you describe the MRM team?

It takes a whole melting pot of stars to make our business work. What we have benefited from since day one is the engagement and goodwill of staff. Our culture has always been inclusive, allowing people to express themselves through their work or thoughts and as a result we have seen some incredible characters along the way.

How would you describe the way that advancements in technology have impacted your day to day working life, coming from the ‘olden days’?!

Technology is the most significant change and has impacted how we do things and how we communicate. Some of our younger members of staff have never seen an internal mail envelope!

Back in the 1990s, we had our daily post delivered throughout each department and could hear the post lady (Barbara) at least 10 minutes before your daily post arrived! I also had a P.A. when we first started the businesses, although I quickly learned to manage on my own and know my colleagues are deeply impressed by my computer skills ;-)

Even when we started MRM in 1993, there were computers but email didn’t exist and so we relied a lot on internal memos, whereas using the telephone and face to face meetings were crucial for our client relationships. I do regret in some ways the regression in this area, where we sometimes have an over-reliance on email – we don’t always pick up the phone enough to simply chat with a client.

I’m very much an advocate of new communications tools such as video calling & voice conferencing as they allow you to engage directly with your client whilst still being efficient in time management. I’m always saying to my teams that although computers have undoubtably helped to increase throughput of workload, it’s vital that we don’t lose the personal side of our client relationships – so I love that we utilise a mix of meetings at MRM, out at client sites plus conf calls/webex demonstration.

Internally it’s also vital that we take the time to talk between departments and don’t rely on emails – daily focus meetings allow key individuals to get together and talk about what’s going on in each area and to provide support.

I’m sure there have been some interesting client pitches in the last 25 years?

Through the years we’ve enjoyed some intriguing pitches along the way, including one where our client host actually fell fast asleep during the presentation (we didn’t win that one!).

Then there was a pitch for what is still a current client where our written submission delivered on the Thursday earnt us the opportunity to come in and present face to face on the following Tuesday. The only problem was I had just started a holiday in Northern Cyprus so had to hastily arrange a flight back (leaving my wife at the bar with my credit card!). But at least we won the business…

Perhaps one of our more intriguing pitches was for British Gas who were looking for a prize draw mechanism for all their customers – and although we lost the pitch, the client told us that our price was the most competitive and that we had by far the most innovative solution which, they added, they were planning to use! They further explained that as we didn’t have a working relationship with them they were constrained to having to work with a rostered provider but they promised to come back to us with other opportunities. I’m delighted that British Gas grew into a top three client within two years of that pitch and now use us right across their business.

What motto do you live by?

If it’s an embodiment of MRM values and how I would want to be perceived – I’d like to think I’m open, honest, consultative, fair, reasonable and entrepreneurial – that is certainly what I want our clients to see in MRM.

Interestingly, you’ve interviewed me on a day when we’ve just had lunch with a client (they paid for it actually) and where they thanked MRM for seeing them through the last 18 months where they have adopted new systems which will improve their business overall but ultimately be to our detriment as they will be able to reduce their reliance on us. From an MRM perspective, I don’t believe we behaved any different to normal throughout this period, but as far as the client was concerned we had been respectful of those changes, engaged in their processes whilst maintaining our dignity and professionalism all the way through. I guess that’s the motto we live by.

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