UK planners fail to see value of live events as part of CRM

Events agency First Protocol has published the first research document on customer relationship marketing (CRM) in the business-to-business sector focusing specifically on the events industry. The paper reveals that UK event planners are failing to grasp the value of events as part of a fully integrated CRM strategy, particularly at a time when marketers are moving spend away from above-the-line advertising to focused events-based marketing activity. "Planners have a tendency to see events as nothing more than ‘bums on seats’," said managing director Mark Riches. "They concentrate on the destination and the venue instead of taking responsibility for the bottom line." Chief executive officer Richard Waddington said planners need to think more closely about how they "earn the right" to a relationship with clients. According to Waddington, planners can start to do this through more intelligent database management – inviting the right people to an event – and by matching events to a client’s desire for return on investment. "Senior managers can no longer afford to have a fun day out of the office; they need to gain something from the time," said Waddington. "An event needs to offer a networking opportunity or a forum for business." The report was based on the results of interviews carried out by First Protocol with 24 senior marketing executives at international FTSE corporations about their group CRM strategies. According to Waddington the results highlighted that the UK events industry is more developed than its US counterpart. "It is easier for UK companies to implement CRM because they are smaller," he said. "Mergers and acquisitions in the US mean CRM systems are embryonic, but they have a fresh approach and a desire to communicate with clients. The US comes up with ideas and we refine them." The paper is available from First Protocol by calling 020 7787 5995.

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