22nd March 2018
Andrew White, MD of marketing communications agency Triggerfish (pictured), fills us in on how the events sector is finally being recognised as part of the marketing mix – and how this could mean the industry is about to hit boom time.
Judging by the daily trade media feed around refurbishments, new developments, expansions and increased manpower to fulfil demand; events are on the up. Boom.
The question is; what is driving this demand as other sectors ready themselves for Brexit?
The over-arching driver has to be the digital transformation that is affecting how we do business and how we interact with clients, delegates and consumers.
Twenty years ago video conferencing was said to be a threat – it actually made us travel more. And digital is having the same kind of effect on the events market; the immediacy of reaching people at virtually zero cost through online platforms is being echoed by bringing these tribes and groups together to experience the brand or product.
The ramifications are far and wide; brands are creating events that will draw in their target audiences, consumers are posting and boasting about their lives, venues and organisers are seeing huge opportunities to capitalise on bringing likeminded people together. Immersive, experiential, brand activations may be the buzz words, but drawing audiences together to interact is the age old premise of the event industry.
Not only is the sector seeing a new type of audience and increased demand from the brands, the traditional event agency model has evolved from solely venue finding to becoming a full service organiser providing creative, logistics and fulfilment solutions. Events are ingrained as part of today’s marketing mix and as such the more progressive and full service events agencies are becoming acquisition targets for the global marketing networks and companies.
This is ratified by Tony Walford, partner at corporate finance advisors for the international marketing, media and technology sectors, Green Square.
He says: “The world of marcomms M&A has been very focused on martech in recent years and for good reason – agencies that can prove the value they bring to their clients by being able to directly track and measure the results of their campaigns will always be of interest.
“However, the corollary is that in focusing on ROI metrics, brands have started to lose that personal and direct touch with their audiences, and hence we have seen brands focus a lot more on social media interaction, open feedback, and reviews.
“However, where the real opportunity exists is reconnecting with consumers in a more human way. We seem to be talking more often with acquirers about experiential and event agencies which can bring the ability for brands to directly interact with their audiences in a more physical manner – be it bringing awareness of product benefits via an experiential installation, launching new products at a major event or simply giving the opportunity to sample products at a festival.
“As people, we love to be entertained and an immersive, personal experience with a brand’s involvement in a relevant way is a great way of building brand saliency, awareness and ambassadors.”
For some years the event sector has struggled to find a voice, however, being increasingly recognised as being part of the marketing mix can only drive dividends both for the industry and the numerous private event agencies that exist in the sector. Disruptive technologies and the digital economy are driving demand for face-to-face and with companies like Green Square homing in on the sector, we are set to see a raft of interesting new allegiances; boom time for the event sector.