The story of the Meetup and the humans who put it together

A brief story of The Marketing Meetup

In 2016, Joe Glover was a young marketer in Cambridge, looking for a place to meet his peers and learn about the craft he loved. Layered into this was the fact that Joe was a nervous networker. Walking into rooms full of strangers was intimidating, and everyone just seemed to want to sell stuff. If you weren’t deemed worthy of selling at, people moved on without getting to know the person they were speaking to.

Feeling like there was something missing here, Joe started the ‘Cambridge Marketing Meetup’ on a random train with terrible connection. The idea was the events would feature two speakers and lovely networking before and after. Quickly, the group gained traction with other likeminded people, and eventually was voted as Cambridge’s favourite networking event, which was really nice as Joe will never claim to have a single clue about what he’s doing. 

In many ways, within a couple of months it was mission achieved. However, because it was so much fun, things continued to grow and take new directions. Today The Marketing Meetup community is over 4,000 people strong with monthly events (except in August and December – we all need a rest!), across 5 locations in the UK. We also have a podcast, a Facebook community, and will be running workshops alongside our expert speakers in 2019. 

Things we hold true to our hearts

The Marketing Meetup was set up with the duel mission of providing somewhere lovely to network, and a great place to learn about relevant marketing topics. 

The latter is easier to address. The Marketing Meetup provides marketers with a place to learn from expert speakers. Talks are pitched at a Marketing Manager/Solo Marketer in a medium company/Freelancer level – meaning to say we tend to take things to an ‘intermediate’ level in the events, while the workshops are for more advanced stuff. 

On the providing somewhere lovely to network front, we have just tried to create the events we would like to attend. The three values that hold our events together are: 

  1. Listening. Ever get that nagging feeling someone is trying to sell to you, or simply thinking about the next clever thing they are going to say while you’re talking at a networking event? Yep. Us too. We thought it was annoying so we actively encourage everyone who walks through the doors of the Meetup to build a genuine human relationship with their fellow community members first, before thinking of business later.
  2. Saying hello. Networking events are reeeeeeally intimidating for a lot of people. So we’ve tried to create an environment where saying hello to a new person or someone stood by themselves is totally normal and seen as a good thing. Hello really is the hardest word in networking.
  3. Being positively lovely. A lot of this should be obvious, but The Marketing Meetup is a place where we encourage you to put the needs of the people in front of you first. Although slightly counterintuitive, we’ve found people end up getting a lot more in return when looking to help others first. 

As well as these things, we also believe where possible we should be eco-conscious, try to get a 50/50 male/female in our speakers, and be welcoming to anyone who wishes to enter our community. We are ultimately a community of ideas, not job titles.

Where we want to go

Growth to date has been organic and easy, and we’re all good with that. Nonetheless, if we were to state a mission, it would simply be to ‘help as many marketers as we can’. Here, ‘help’ is the key word, as to us it is the quality of the impact we can have on people that matters most. The ‘as many’ bit comes from the fact that if we’re doing something good, let’s try and do it for a lot of people. Finally, we want to help marketers because as marketing is what we know best, this is how people we can help people most.

The folks behind the Meetup

Joe Glover – Founded The Marketing Meetup. Nice and happy. Runs Cambridge, Norwich and London.

James Sandbrook – Runs the Birmingham event and is a wise sage on Marketing Meetup strategy. Cyclist and top chap. Runs Birmingham. 

Nicola O’Loughlin – Delightfully dry, and the first person to raise the idea of a Marketing Meetup franchise. Co-runs Bedford.

Fiona Baillie – A wonderful soul. The other half of the Bedford team.

Georgette Glover – Joe’s wife who sat watching him type this, so we included her on the page too.