By Nick Gold, managing director, Speakers Corner
With summer at an end and the back-to-school mentality washing over meetings and events professionals once more, I thought it was high time to post another blog on our on-going Speakernomics campaign.
In the last article, I explored the value of entertainment as an incentivising and motivating tool for the workforce during straightened economic times. Today I’m embarking on a slightly different tack; for the numbers, I draw on BDRC Continental’s Leonie Bulman.
Of course, all markets are subject to fluctuation in line with the changing nature of the economy, and it’s fair to suggest that the last five years have been turbulent and unpredictable, especially for the public and the third sectors.
During tougher times, the marketing and events budget is one of the first things to be put on hold and this was certainly registered by us through the drop-off in enquiries from charities, associations and the public sector, which hit an all-time low of 164.
BDRC’s advanced analysis of the data shows that even small fluctuations in GDP and Consumer Confidence Index have a much greater impact on the association, charities and public sector, compared to other industries. On average, a one-point change in the Consumer Confidence Index causes a 40% change in the volume of event speaker enquiries, reflecting a tighter meetings & events budget.
Other sectors are much more resilient to socio-economic changes, with only a 4% average shift in event speaker enquiries for every one point change in Consumer Confidence.
The not-for-profit sector has one of the most measurable event ROIs, especially for fundraiser events where the amount of donations coming from attendees can be directly measured. However, with purse strings tightening in periods of stunted growth, the negative impact on this ROI often means events are deemed not viable. For other sectors, the event ROI might be more focused on longer-term considerations such as building awareness or loyalty, making decision-makers more reluctant to cut budgets.
During this time speakers were usually requested for business & management, entrepreneurship, change, leadership and motivation, suggesting that events focused on maintaining optimism and steering businesses through the recession.
As the economy started to rally in 2012, enquiries started to pick up again with requests coming in for more forward-looking areas including creativity, innovation, inspiration and peak performance. Futurists also became more popular as events focused increasingly on areas for future investment, rather than just staying afloat through the recession.
The recent political unrest, caused by the EU Referendum result and a change in political leadership finds us entering an era of massive uncertainty, but one that we anticipate will open great opportunities.
At Speakers Corner, we will be watching our data closely to see how it affects the public and third sectors. We’d love to hear the views of our MICE sector peers and their experiences so please do share your thoughts in the comment bar below.