Ruby and I attended the Victorian Chamber after dark event that was held at Mercedes Me.
In the marketing world Mercedes Benz is well known as being a pioneer in defining the customer experience across their purchase journey from pre purchase activities to purchase and post purchase.
As part of the pre purchase and post purchase phase of the customer journey the brand has created Mercedes Me cafes. These cafes provide potential and existing customers the chance to experience the brand and what it stands for.
The venue itself looks kind of like a giant tree house with wooden paneling, plenty of plants and sleek bars on both the top and bottom levels. There was also a car situated on the bottom floor that was part of their AMG range.
The event was packed with close to 100 people in attendance. When Ruby and I got to the event the top floor looked like it was already at capacity. Catering for the event was provided by South Melbourne local St Ali- so the food and wine were a great complement to the event. St Ali has a cafe within the venue.
The CEO of Mercedes Benz Australia Horst von Sanden spoke at the event. Horst is an unusual CEO as he rose up the ranks by holding marketing roles. Often we find from our experience CEO of organisations of the breadth and depth of Mercedes Benz usually have CEOs with and Accounting or legal background so Horst was a refreshing change. He spoke about the fact that he came from marketing being something that really helps him to get ahead in his role.
Attendees at the event were a diverse mix. As with many other Victorian Chamber events, there were plenty of Business Development Managers. I have to admit that the presence of so many business development managers in some way as a business owner is a bit off putting as everyone is very “salesy”. There are the usual screening questions of name, position, organisation size and clients that we work with and when they don’t see the opportunity, they move on. If I was a business development manager, I would find this event a waste of time as it would not have been of value for me to network with other business development managers.
The event also attracted business coaches, lawyers and bank managers. I found that they seemed rather out of place within the glitz and show that the business development managers were putting on. It was quite awkward going to this event as a business owner – and I am not sure if I would go to this type of event again. We have in the past spoken to the Chamber about this however they continue to run their events this way which would most likely lead them to have a high turn around in membership numbers. It is like hitting brick wall sometimes speaking with the Victorian Chamber when making suggestions on how to improve – perhaps looking at their marketing governance/ marketing strategy may assist them? Eventually things will need to change.
The speaker at the event had a fascinating story, and so does Mercedes in terms of its customer experience and brand promise. It would have been great if they could have spoken about this more, and perhaps provided a tour of the venue and why it has been designed they way it is set out. I think this may have also led to a different crowd attending the event and also enabled Mercedes to really shine.
Things to Note:
Location: Mercedes Me Store 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Highlight: The amazing Mercedes car in the cafe!
Cost: Member rate
Hot Tip: This is an event more for a networking pro as many of the attendees were business development managers
Speakers: 3/5 – Liked the Mercedes speaker
Networking Opportunity: 2/5