106 Communications

6th Sense

106 seconds with… Mike Hopkins, Director of Marketing and Tourism, States of Guernsey

April 2015 | 106 seconds

Mike Hopkins has over 25 years’ experience in marketing and sales and has held senior positions in big brand organisations including Sony, ICI, Yell and BT. Mike moved to Guernsey in 2008 to join the board of Vets4Pets, a young, fast growing veterinary business, and during his time with the company helped to successfully establish the company as the leading veterinary group brand in the UK. Following the sale of Vets4Pets to Pets At Home in 2013, Mike joined the States of Guernsey, his first public sector role, to head up the Marketing and Tourism department.

You’ve worked for a range of organisations.  What was your best experience? 

Each role has been enjoyable and fulfilling in different ways. I worked for Sony during their heydays when the CD and the Discman were introduced, Camcorders took off, the first digital and high definition TV’s were developed, miniaturisation was moving at a pace and the PlayStation was launched; all very exciting for a young marketer.

My time at Yell and BT was a real education in working with all sizes and types of organisation and helping them to market and build their businesses.

My contribution to building the third largest Veterinary group brand in the world from small beginnings, and seeing the brand live on after Pets At Home acquired it, was very satisfying.

And now marketing and promoting Guernsey, my home and a wonderful place and product, is a daily delight.

How has the role of marketing changed over the years?

The biggest change has been the increase in marketing communication platforms and the speed at which you can develop, test and evolve your message and then get it in front of your customers. Speedy, responsive and agile marketing is essential in today’s fast changing technological environment.

How easy is it to go from marketing vet practices to promoting tourism?

The proposition is different, but the same marketing principles apply; you just need to be clear on who your market is, what they expect of you, how your product or service will benefit them, and why you are better than, or different to, the competition.

In the last 18 months, you’ve grown visitor numbers, launched two festivals and increased marketing spend.  What’s your secret?

Having a clear strategy; one that is customer-focused, one that your stakeholders and partners buy into and support, and one that delivers results.

Why should we visit Guernsey?

Guernsey is the hub for a small and easily accessible archipelago, comprising four wonderful islands; Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm. Each island offers a special and unique experience, outstanding natural beauty, a rich and extraordinary history and heritage and delicious food and cuisine. If you would like a lazy short weekend break in a fabulous hotel, or a not too energetic walking holiday along the cliffs and sandy beaches, or an island hopping holiday full of discovery and adventure, Guernsey is for you. Visit www.visitguernsey.com to find out more.

You’re a keen sailor.  Where in the world would you most like to sail to?

I have only sailed in and around the UK and in the Mediterranean, so I would love to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then further south.

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