Michael Chambers, Director, Cloud Nine

My Life in Promotions: Michael Chambers, Cloud Nine


Promomarketing.info’s ‘My Life in Promotions’ feature shines a spotlight on the people who make the promotional marketing industry work so well – the heroes of the promotional world.

On a regular basis, we turn the spotlight onto people working in all sectors of our industry and at all levels – whether at brand owners, agencies or service providers. We’ll be finding out what makes them tick, what makes them get up and go to work every day and what their plans are for the future…

This week’s subject is Michael Chambers, Director of prize management company, Cloud Nine

Name: Michael Chambers

Age: 38

Gender: Male            

Company name: Cloud Nine Incentives

What does the company do? Cloud Nine provide exceptional travel incentives, prize fulfilment services and asset management.  We work with marketing and PR agencies, brands directly and media owners.

Position within company: Director

How long have you worked for this company?

Cloud Nine was created in 2011 so we have had an exciting six years where we have been growing year on year.

How long have you worked in promotional marketing?

I started working in the industry in 1996, when I was 17.  Back when the IPM was the ISP, promomarketing.info was Sales Promotion Magazine and was delivered to the office each month, and when every quote for clients and piece of correspondence was either faxed or posted.

How did you get your start in promotional marketing?

At the tender age of 17, I got my big break as a YTS (Youth Training Scheme, a form of apprenticeship) at a local company called Protravel who created holidays for competition prizes. Over the next few years, I progressed through the company to become General Manager.

What’s an average day at Cloud Nine like?

First thing, the team get together to discuss what live briefs need working on and when for.  Once that’s done, a lot of the day is spent ensuring we answer them as creatively as possible.  It’s hugely important to give clients the best chance of winning a pitch, or giving an edge over a competitor on the supermarket shelves.

We also have to be reactive throughout the day with tight deadlines, urgent briefs or some lastminute ideas for a client en route to a meeting.

Finally, updates with the travel and operations team are conducted.

And probably too much coffee!

What has been your greatest achievement at your current company?

Working with the world’s leading brands and agencies provides a sense of achievement on a daily basis.  Especially if you’re in a pitch situation and you win; and, down to hard work and experience, wins are more common than losses.

However, as cheesy as this may sound, my greatest achievement so far is growing Cloud Nine into something I’m proud of, looking after clients we’ve had from our inception, and working alongside a brilliant team of people that truly believe in what we stand for, and that what we do is the best out there.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Launching Cloud Nine at the tail end of the financial crisis was tough, but if we hadn’t done it then, we never would have.

We knew with our experience, passion and knowledge of the industry that we could help agencies and brands provide something special with real added value and excellent service.

However, the real challenge was doing this with three kids under seven; they’ve been there throughout, and I’ve have become very good at “juggling”!

How do you see the promotions industry changing in the next five years?

In terms of what we do, the world’s becoming more accessible in some respects, so depending on the demographic, the prize envelopes can be pushed. However, as it’s an uncertain time for lots of people, there may be a revival of more traditional prizes, ensuring that audiences aren’t missing out on day to day “luxuries” i.e. holidays.

Across the board, with new technology advancing so quickly, brands are going to be able to gain even more insight into their audience and what they like.  Mechanics will become more tailored to the audience and promotions and rewards could become segmented/tailored to specific areas of an audience.

If you had a time machine and you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would be your three key pieces of advice?

  1. Regardless of position, make sure you continue to do the elements of your job that made you love it in the first place.
  2. Rarely is something as bad as you expect it to be; tackle it head on and get it out of the way.
  3. Get out of the office, even if it’s for a ten-minute walk. It changes everything (well your view on it at least).

What do you do outside work?

I spend lots of quality time standing on the side lines of football matches with my seven and four-year-old. We also have a one-year old daughter too, so weekends are pretty busy! To keep fit and to get time to think, I cycle frequently, and do a spot of racing.