CEIR Research Council Spotlight on Toby Purdy
By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Toby Purdy is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience working across industries for both Fortune 100 companies and family held enterprises. He is known for being a “Difference Maker,” and has always believed that you earn your seat at the table but what you do in that seat and how you do it defines your Personal Brand.
Toby currently serves as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for The Expo Group, a 30-year-old family-owned business in the $800 billion events industry. In addition to his role, he is also a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Upon joining the company, The Expo Group’s sales were $53M with 75% of the customer base generating less than $300K/customer annually. In his five-year tenure, Toby strategically shifted how the company sells and its customer mix resulting in the company doubling in size. Today, the company has over 60% of its customers generating over $1M annually.
Prior to joining The Expo Group, Toby spent 15 years in start-up and turnaround businesses that generated over $14 billion in revenue. He was an executive in the start-up of Suiza Foods, known today as Dean Foods, which is the manufacturer of well-known household dairy brands such as Silk Soy Milk and Horizon. He was placed on the acquisition team for a dozen transactions that moved the company from $1B to $10.5B in annual revenue. After his time at Dean Foods, Toby went on to collaborate with other companies on successful turnaround efforts including Greyhound Bus Lines and Borden Dairy, both selling for high multiples in less than three years.
After completing the sale of Borden Dairy, Toby settled back into the industry he loves, Events and Trade Shows. He spent seven years as Chief Marketing Officer of Freeman, the world’s largest privately held events company ($3 billion). During his tenure, Toby played a significant role in the company achieving $2B in growth, organically and through strategic acquisitions.
While Toby is most proud of his professional accomplishments, nothing compares to how proud he is of his family. He is the father of two, Zoe (19) and Zane (16), and husband to the Honorable Monica Purdy, Judge of the 95th Civil District Court.
Here, Toby shares how he and The Expo Group apply CEIR research to help meet their business objectives.
CEIR: Do you collect data at/from your shows and, if so, how extensive is your process? What do you hope to gain from it and/or how do you use the data?
Toby: We collect and cross tab customer/prospect engagement data from industry events we participate in. The data is collected and used to work with customers strategically from Persona Mapping to development and execution of sponsored activation centers. We always complement the quantitative data with data we garner from relevant third parties to develop a more holistic approach with our customers and prospects.
CEIR: Which CEIR reports have you used to help you in your work? How have they supported your business actions?
Toby: The CEIR Index Report and CEIR’s various marketing studies help us communicate with customers the health of our industry from an accredited third-party, CEIR. Customers appreciate the opportunity to better understand the health and overall viability of our industry – it helps customers plan ahead while better understanding the intangibles that can provide value to their event.
CEIR: Where does the industry need to focus research efforts and/or to apply research available more effectively?
Toby: I want to continue to learn how shows are utilizing data to acquire/retain attendees and exhibitors. new attendees and data being utilized. Qualitative research to better understand mindset would be beneficial.
CEIR provides industry-leading, objective research on the exhibitions and events industry. Find out more about its mission, past and current research, and how you can maximize your business goals and objectives through CEIR research here.
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