by Nick Gold MD of agency Speakers Corner
As professional speaking continues to mature as an industry among ever heightened demand, it is clear that some major trends of 2015 are set to shape and challenge the conference and event industry in a big way, especially in terms of marketing and management.
So what do we feel we have learned this year at Speakers Corner that can strengthen event marketing in 2016?
Delegates working in a fast-paced world recognise that time is precious. As such, they seek to understand what they will gain by putting their day-to-day workload on hold in order to attend an event. From a marketing perceptive, this means deepening the experiential aspects to demonstrate that an event is a conversation to be fully immersed in: delegates can expect to be taken on a journey and come out the other side with their usual thoughts and processes enhanced, or even changed.
With higher expectations for lasting impact, it follows that defining and measuring ‘success’ will become an ever more critical part of planning an event. Going forward, the initial planning stage of any event should be putting a stake in the ground about the ROI (Return on Investment) that will be generated from it. This will mean developing procedures and tools, with an amplified emphasis on post-event feedback and innovative ways of measuring ROI by harnessing technology.
‘Disruption’ will continue to have impact in the coming year. Companies, sectors and industries are taking a step back to consider their value, how they will be affected, and how they themselves can be at the forefront of change. The event industry is no different, as it asks itself how it is being challenged by new (and old) companies disrupting the modus operandi and, importantly, how it can do this itself. Harking back to the growth of the experiential, a starting point for this will be to address the traditional set up of ‘stage and audience’ by providing dynamic event proposals for clients.
There has also been a key shift with regards to gender representation at events or conferences. As it becomes more of an industry standard to have even numbers of women and men speaking on a wider range of topics, putting together programmes that are gender-balanced is requiring less proactive consideration by event organisers.
Meanwhile, other areas are attracting more attention, significantly innovation and creativity. While the event industry can legitimately claim to be at the helm of these areas as clients look for new and interesting ways to deliver their message, it will need to continue to show that it can deliver original solutions if it is to remain a pioneer.
The ramifications of these themes, trends and tactics are pronounced: as we move into 2016, event marketing is on track to evolve from the ‘entertainment’ budget of a company into a legitimate part of business development and growth.