ROI forces agents to opt for marketing or management

Event organising agents need to decide whether they fall into the event marketing or event management camp as return on investment (ROI) takes a greater hold in the industry. At a ROI workshop at the C&IT Forum, delegates concluded that agents tend to perform one role or the other, based on their decision to embrace or ignore the issue. "Either agents offer logistical roles, in which case they are not concerned with measuring ROI, or they offer a more consultative role where measuring success is part of the deal," said George P Johnson senior programme strategist EMEA Nonie Hyde. However, a warning signal was sent out to agents who ignore the issue of ROI. "We have clients who just don’t want to be bothered with measuring the success of their events," said GJA Communications account director Liz Sargent. "But, if one day they ask us what value we are bringing to their business and we can’t tell them, then we’ll lose the contract." This was backed up by THA business support director Phil Whetter. "It’s a serious business and we cannot rely on logistics alone. It’s not just about the coffee being hot," he said. As a starting point to measuring the success of events, Hyde stressed that agents need to understand the client objectives right from the start. "Set a maximum of five objectives," she said. "Only measure what you need to and don’t start until the client understands exactly what it is you’re measuring." Agents, however, were sceptical about the investment involved in working with a client that doesn’t know what it wants. "You can’t really know a client’s business unless they’re prepared to invest in getting you involved in defining the project objectives," said Whetter. In Any Event UK managing director Elaine Smith added: "It’s all about getting in front of the decision-maker. If the client doesn’t know its objectives we walk away."

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