New research released last week by CWT and BNT Group showed that although 96% of companies who adopted an SMM programme believed it was successful, less than 50% of organisations have one in place.
In light of the research, CWT outlines why SMM programmes are likely to become more popular in future:
Gill Day, head of business development at CWT, said that one of the key reasons people adopt an SMM programme is simple: to manage spend. "Of the companies we’ve spoken to, the majority have no idea how much they’re spending on meetings and events, with up to 70% of the budget going on smaller events which aren’t being properly documented. An SMM programmes allows companies to better keep track of their spend – which really appeals to a lot of our markets."
Liz Quinton, regional director, operations for UK, IE & Northern Ireland at CWT, added that security had become a key issue facing everyone in the industry. "Companies can see a huge benefit to bringing the meetings work under an SMM programme, consolidating into the programme. There’s a huge benefit to being able to track your people and know where they are at all times. We actually spoke to companies who regularly sent their staff to small meetings and events, which weren’t being centrally managed. While they were able to keep close tabs on staff travelling abroad, the same couldn’t necessarily be said for local events. An SMM programme gives companies the chance to manage this much better."
Some companies get bogged down in the logistics of supplier payments, according to Day, who said this process could be simplified. "SMM programmes enable companies to keep control and reduce their number of suppliers. You can consolidate the number of suppliers or manage it through an agency. For example, one life sciences company had more than 35,000 suppliers, all of which had be put individually through the payment system. By consolidating this through a global SMM programme, they could put all that through one agency."
Tailoring to the market
For Ian Cummings, vice president CWT M&E EMEA, SMM is the ‘future of the meetings industry’, and can be tailored to any market. "Traditionally, I think people might be put off by SMM because of the ‘strategy’ element," he said. "But people are now learning that it doesn’t have to mean dry meetings in hotels. We can work with a wide range of venues and offer a creative product. For example, one company wanted to arrange an event in a barn full of hay. An SMM programme can work for any type of event."
Compliance and booking
Chris Goundrill, head of account management at CWT, said SMM could control other aspects of the meetings aside from cost, which appealed to many companies. "If you look at the finance market for example, that’s one market where SMM didn’t really take off, as they saw it as a just cost management. Now it’s getting more and more popular with finance service companies, as they see it as so important for improving booking systems. SMM programmes have long been popular with pharmaceutical companies due to the strict new compliance regulations in place. However, the issue of compliance is relevant to all industries now, so I think we’ll see more uptake as result."
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