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Eleven Most Talked About Predictions for the Conference and Events Industry for the Near Future
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Eleven Most Talked About Predictions for the Conference and Events Industry for the Near Future

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What is going to happen to organisations working in this industry over the next 5 years? ...

What is going to happen to organisations working in this industry over the next 5 years?

The conference and event industry is in a critical stage at the moment, those that are still doing the things that used to work 10 years ago and have not changed or adapted to the new trends will be left behind.

BrightBull and CatchTalk have partnered to create this ebook that is the result of conversations with event industry leaders and marketers who had their views on the future of the industry. We have gathered our views in this easy to digest ebook.

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  • 1. 11MOSTTALKEDABOUTPREDICTIONS FORTHECONFERENCEANDEVENTS INDUSTRYFORTHENEARFUTURE TM
  • 2. 11.DELEGATESALESWILL CONTINUETOBE SQUEEZEDDESPITE THEDEMANDFOR FACE-TO-FACE EVENTSINCREASING Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 3. 1 Budgets and time constraints will continue to exert pressure on the paying delegate, yet the effectiveness of doing business face-to-face will see demand for the channel continue to grow. However the demand for face-to-face has an imbalance, in that it comes disproportionately from suppliers, which means sponsorship and exhibition (spex) money will continue to underwrite a lot of events. So while demand for face-to-face will not diminish, the ability to charge delegates from the buy-side will continue to be put under immense pressure, unless they can be offered exceptional value - which leads to point 2. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 4. 22.MEDIOCREEVENTS WILLSUFFERMOST Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 5. 2To succeed at charging both sides of a market, events will need to display four main qualities: Uniqueness - events will need to offer content and networking that genuinely cannot be found anywhere else. Experience - event organisers will need to invest more, not less, in the onsite experience. Those too focused on margins and penny-pinching will find themselves managing an event in terminal decline (even if they don't know it yet). Successful events will invest in a brand experience that can succeed for the long-term. L L Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 6. 2 Flexibility - organisers need to embrace digital distribution channels and flexible event formats, rather than fight them. Delegates are demanding to engage with a brand on their terms, at times that suit them. Forcing them to only interact during a 2- day period at a set location is a sure-fire way to cut yourself off from thousands of potential customers and alienate your existing ones. Stickiness - The three above elements combined should create 'stickiness' which means returning delegates and a loyal base of core customers. These become the bedrock of a successful community, 365-days a year, which will be the engine for future growth and good word-of-mouth marketing amongst your industry audience. L L Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 7. 33.ASHIFTFROMSMALL CONFERENCESTOLSES OR 'WINNERTAKESALL' Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 8. 3Smaller 'me-too' events will continue to disappear, as the bigger events build up further momentum and the pull of their gravity sucks up remaining sponsorship and delegate revenues. In niche markets this may not equate to a Large Scale Event of tens-of-thousands, but it will leave room for only one winner. This is classic marketplace economics being brought to bear on the conference industry. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 9. 44.PUBLISHERSWILLCONTINUE TOENCROACHONCONFERENCETERRITORY -CONFERENCESWILLHAVETOFINDA WAYTOFIGHTBACK Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 10. 4Traditional conference companies will continue to find their media partners encroaching on their territory and launching events because of their low barrier to entry, high margins and profitability. To fend off this danger, conference companies will need to move into publisher territory and become more adept at the frequent production and dissemination of top quality outstanding content and industry news. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 11. 4One major advantage conference companies have in this fight is a ready source of high value, high quality video content. Video is proven to be engaging and sought-after by business professionals, so conference companies will need to invest more in filming their events and their production value. At some point in the near future it will become hard to find any pure-play publishing or conference companies, and the fight will be focused on mind-share of a particular industry, which should result in more advertising dollars and more delegate revenue for the winners. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 12. 55.IT'SALLABOUT "COMMUNITY" Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 13. 5This fight for audience attention across all media is essentially about building up a community, rather than maintaining a purely transactional relationship which most traditional conference companies have had with their markets. If you're not already chanting the "community" mantra - well this needs to be the key focus for all conference players - whether established or starting out. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 14. 66.VIDEOWILLBECOME CENTRALTO MOSTCOMMUNITIES W Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 15. 6Video has been proven time and again to be one of the most compelling and engaging media on the web, and given conferences are in the 'live events' game, they have multiple chances per year to cheaply create excellent video content. Video gives conference companies the chance to show off the quality of their content, build up brand awareness, provide value to their prospective delegates and create an engaged audience (to name just a few of the benefits). Conference companies will start to invest more in the medium and, assuming they have a solid distribution strategy, reap the benefits. L L L Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 16. 77.MARKETINGDEPARTMENTS NEEDTOFOCUSON INBOUNDMARKETING ANDCONTENT Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 17. 7The cost and burden of generating fresh leads and registrations from traditional 'push' marketing will lead events organisers to: Work more closely with distribution channel partners to drive potential customers via "Pull / Inbound Marketing" See how effective original, quality content is in building engagement with their customers and prospects, and they will therefore focus on creating more of it. L L Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 18. 7L L Analyse the effectiveness of their communication channels and website conversion rates much more closely Invest in marketing automation and metrics tools allowing trackable and measureable means to demonstrate the effectiveness (or not) of their event campaigns See the importance of mobile traffic and start to focus on mobile optimisation strategies L Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 19. 88.PRODUCERSNEEDTO FOCUSONBECOMING EDITORS Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 20. 8Producers will stop becoming just programme managers for their conferences, and will be expected to become industry experts, editors and content engines. This means companies that try to have one producer churn out several conferences on unrelated topics will suffer, while those who hire up and let producers focus on a smaller number of tightly related events will start to win the fight to 'own communities'. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 21. 99.OPERATIONSTEAMS NEEDTOFOCUSON RISKMANAGEMENT &ONSITEEXPERIENCE Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 22. 9 As delegate revenue remains under pressure, operations teams will find themselves in a bind. Some will be unlucky and simply become risk managers, trying to cut costs here and there, going for the cheaper AV, lowest- band food option or 3* out-of-town hotel with no minimum spend or room block. Others will be lucky, and tasked with creating truly unique, compelling onsite experiences that resonate with attendees (and spex clients). The majority will be tasked with both, hence them being in a bind. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 23. 1010.SALESTEAMS WILLBETASKEDWITH SELLINGMOREANNUAL, MULTI-TOUCHPOINT PACKAGES Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 24. 10While this is already happening, the pace will pick up, as clients demand more integrated solutions across offline and online properties, ideally sold to coincide with their annual budgets. This is a very different approach to the typical sales cycle which had to fit in with the timing of conference cycles (not the clients) and deals were always done on a piecemeal, ad-hoc basis. It will also mean developing a better knowledge of how digital publishing works so the value can be fully conveyed to clients. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 25. 1111.PORTFOLIODIRECTORS ANDMDS WILLNEEDTOFOCUS ONBRANDANDDATAINTEGRATIONS Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 26. 11Devolved power and the resulting silos/politics between teams are not uncommon amongst most major conference companies. It will be the jobs of mid-to-senior management to shake this up and act as stronger product managers, shepherding and forging strong brands, and forcing more collaboration such as sharing of data where necessary. It will be a painful process, but completely necessary for them to survive and thrive against the backdrop of the other trends we'll start to see. Tweet this presentation Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn
  • 27. In conclusion, the industry will continue to face many challenges, but it also has an enormous number of opportunities in front of it. The key will be to avoid, in words of Peter Drucker “slaughtering tomorrow's opportunity on the altar of yesterday”. CONCLUSION Grabbing these opportunities and making the most of them is how we help conference organisers, exhibition companies, online communities and publishers. Get in touch now: @BrightBull ricardo@brightbull.co.uk brightbull.co.uk BRIGHTBULL CATCHTALK @CatchTalkTV henry@catchtalk.tv catchtalk.tv
  • 28. CatchTalk is a free-to-use, video content distribution platform designed especially for business event and conference organisers. You can host your videos on your own dedicated event page, with direct links to your social media profiles, websites and registration page. We offer a great way to increase engagement, find new audiences and build new revenue streams with our optional ability to charge for your content. Email us at henry@catchtalk.tv to learn more about how we can help you grow your audience. BrightBull is a B2B marketing and design company with a special focus on the event and conference sector. We advise entrepreneurs, CEOs and managing directors of conference, Exhibition companies and online communities on driving leads, visitors delegates and revenue through inbound and content marketing. BrightBull’s mission is to shake up the B2B and events environment through inbound. If you need to reinvigorate your event marketing, email Ricardo on ricardo@brightbull.co.uk. With thanks to Mark Walker @jfdimark who authored the blog 11 predictions for the conference industry which served as inspiration for this ebook.