Nick Varney: Marketer2marketer

  • Check out our feature on Merlin Entertainments’ Nick Varney – the marketer in charge of a £2.25bn business here
  • Get an insider’s view of Merlin’s structure here
  • Discover Varney’s six point growth driver plan here
  • See APR chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America Rosanna Fiske’s response to this feature here
/v/e/c/MarcSands.jpg

Marc Sands

Head of audiences and media for Tate galleries asks/ “Whatdo you think is the most efficient marketing channel availableto you?”

Nick Varney (NV): The most efficient channel for us is publicity. Getting TV and press to cover new rides or investments will often do half our job. We use PR agencies and have our own in-house teams to get the right type of publicity. Recently [news programme] London Tonight did a segment on our penguins’ trip from Weymouth to the London Sea Life aquarium. We had two minutes solid on the programme, which culminated in images of the penguins hopping out happily on the ice and diving into the water. You can’t emulate that even with advertising.

/t/y/n/JessicaReading.jpg

Jessica Reading

Head of marketing for Laterooms.com asks/ “Doyou have plans to expand marketing for your UK brandsin Europe?”

NV: The UK attractions that appeal to large numbers of foreign tourists tend to be the London-based ones. They generally get 50-70% of their market from overseas tourists who are already on trips to the capital. Outside London, you get very few foreign tourists. At Alton Towers, say, you might get 90% British tourists. If we thought this was changing and there was huge potential there for this to alter we would obviously do more.

/n/x/n/LaurenceBresh.jpg

Laurence Bresh

Marketing director for VisitBritain asks: “Do you think international visitors’ expectations of UK attractions has changed over the past decade?”

NV: I think everyone’s expectations go up over time. Now certain things are just hygiene factors, like having toilets everywhere. Also queueing without information isn’t acceptable and you can’t have surly staff, what I call ’slack-jawed youths taking your tickets’, at your attractions. Operating at that [higher] level is taken for granted now, whereas 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have been. On top of that, you have to offer people your brand values and regular reasons to visit.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here