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Wake Media thoughtfully re-building community of MiMbers

They say years in the maritime industry share the dog/human year calculation (just kidding, nobody says that). But if it were true, and sometimes feels like it, I’ve been in the industry for 70 years. That’s a lot of maritime conferences, exhibition, seminars, webinars and networking drinks under my belt. I’m fluent in ‘Cheers’ in Finnish, Norwegian, Greek, Mandarin, German, Korean and Japanese and probably a few other languages. I’ve joined, sponsored, hosted and sold them. I’ve pestered management into paying for them (with varying degrees of success), been inspired by some and utterly bored by others. I’ve spent weeks of my life (that I’m never getting back) arguing in internal team meetings about the apocalyptic consequences of not showing up at Exhibition X (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of €). All this to say, I have a deeply personal relationship with marketing and events in maritime.

So it was with much joy I received word from the good people at Wake Media about their revival of Marketing in Maritime – really the only community of its kind for a group of often tortured souls expected to be miracle workers. The surprising part, they weren’t going to wait until they could host it in person; instead sensing a pressing need and choosing to power ahead with a virtual edition, so that’s where my first tick is going.

MiM 2021 also ticks a few other boxes, and these are well worth considering if you're planning and/or been invited to a virtual or in-person event:

Find a worthy & timely cause to align with. Generously share your platform.

Diversity sense check – are you providing enough space & time for everyone? MiM achieved a 36% female & POC representation on the programme, higher than your average maritime event. Could it be better? Sure. But it’s a start. The next step is for ‘usual suspect’ speakers to call out disparities, rather than relying on event organisers to do all the heavy lifting. When invited to be on a panel or make a presentation, ask what the balance is – if it’s skewed, put on your thinking cap and help them find someone who would bring a more diverse viewpoint.

*Bonus tip: Sign the pledge at Change the Stage and commit to more inclusive stages and screens.

Participants are also people. Don’t be afraid to include elements that might feel ‘out of scope’ or irrelevant to the industry but could help them be more balanced individuals – and therefore better professionals. Burnout is a common challenge among maritime marketers. I was on burnout leave for 8 weeks a couple of years ago; it was a lonely and pretty awful place to be. A session like this would do wonders, especially for younger maritime marketers who might be able to catch the signs before it’s too late.

Tangible takeaways. When I first heard about the marketing toolbox, I was all over it – what a brilliant idea! It’s one thing to send out a post-event report (which they’re also doing) but there’s something special about a toolbox that’s co-created by the community; it harnesses the experience of everyone in the room and the best part, you should be able to start using it right away.

Design for joyful moments. Arguably, features like chat rooms work better for tight-knit communities with years of shared experiences (such as knocking back Aquavit in Oslo or Ouzo in Athens). While MiM 2021 is likely to welcome many MiMbers who’ve known each other for years, I hope we’ll also see the next generation and some newer folks embracing the connection-making possibilities. And who doesn’t love a bit of live music!

All in all, I think we’re set for a fun and inspiring time together next week (love the 3 hours x 3 days split too - a lot of research has shown that we learn and engage better in short sprints, especially online).


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