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Grass Roots M&E to play the numbers game under Taylor

New meetings & events divisional MD to integrate elements of WPP's use of data

Pictured: New Grass Roots Meetings & Events MD David Taylor

An increased focus on data analysis will help take Grass Roots Meetings & Events to the next level, says new divisional MD David Taylor.

Formerly Grass Roots Group sales director, Taylor has moved into the M&E role after a year-long posting integrating Grass Roots engagement programmes with the company’s major shareholder, advertising and PR giant WPP. He replaces Des Mclaughlin, who left Grass Roots in December and was credited in transforming the fortunes of the meetings and events business. Grass Roots M&E, created in 2013 when the group implemented an overhaul of the entire business, reported a pre-tax profit of £2.1 million on turnover of £26.2m, in 2014’s accounts. 

Taylor says 2015’s figures are set to be the second best posted by the division, and plans to introduce some of what he learned from working closely with WPP.

“It’s nice to be back, I took a role last year which was very exciting for me to understand a lot more about the WPP model, and how our DNA works in terms of how we operate as a business, I had a great year in doing that,” Taylor said. “WPP is looking at data and what it tells you about current performance one of the areas we are going to focus on a lot more is what does data tell about meetings & events from a customer experience and how organisations drive efficiency. A lot of decisions are made on gut instinct, and a lot of people are looking at whether data improves us, how can we drive performance improvement and engagement with customers.”

Taylor was with Hotel Brokers International alongside Mclaughlin before it was acquired by Grass Roots in 2008, and while he is eager to follow the successes of his former colleague, is keen to put his own stamp on the business.

“Grass Roots has been undergoing quite a bit of transformation,” Taylor added. “The meetings and events business has been very successful under Des and we will be having our second best financial year this year and that is because of the strong foundations Des has put down. That is very much his legacy. Going forward it’s very much about what are the external drivers? How do we get our business customer focused to make sure we are delivering against expectations for their business?”

The possibility of growth through acquisitions was raised by Mclaughlin last year, and Taylor added that all options remained on the table. 

He said: “We want to be the agency of choice for our customer. I think it is very positive we have had a very successful 2015 and it is allowing us to create a platform for growth – all things are being considered.”

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