2016 is well and truly underway, your chocolate orange intake has plummeted and the phone is ringing off the hook. Here on the media recruitment team we’ve been thinking about what the coming year might hold for our clients and candidates in the events business. Here’s three things we think you’ll see more of.
#1 – More content, more marketing
Sounds like two things, but these two are very closely interlinked. Our events industry survey in July pointed to a big shift from a traditional telesales-driven commercial model to one where digital marketing with a major focus on content is the key driver of awareness and attendance for events. We’re expecting to see this trend continue in 2016, with more and more investment in this area and more and more creative approaches to delegate acquisition – the days of persistent, slightly spammy email marketing are surely numbered. Alongside that, smart firms are increasingly using content from their live events to help them market and build communities around their events so expect to see a lot of HD camera equipment at events to capture proceedings for posterity.
#2 – Acquiring to innovate
We tried to turn that phrase into a trendy compound word but they all sound terrible (inno-quiring? acqui-vating?). Last year saw Clarion acquired by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, and the new owners have wasted no time putting capital to good use by making further acquisitions. But rather than further consolidation of the industry by buying up competitors wholesale, we’ve seen Clarion buying up events either one by one or in small groups, either by picking up events or portfolios from the competition or by acquiring small, specialist firms. Again this was a trend identified by respondents to our survey last year – rather than expanding their portfolios by launching new events themselves, the biggest players in the business will increasingly start buying up innovative new events from elsewhere. We’re confident Clarion will continue down this path, and intrigued to see whether it’s a strategy that other big brands in the industry will adopt.
#3 – A touch of the theatrical
This is a little more speculative than the others but we’ve seen an increasing trend in the wider events market for a more theatrical approach to factual content. Whether that’s the high-end production values of TED, or SXSW creating a meeting place and a product launch venue for Silicon Valley as part of a big cultural and music festival, the lines between traditional “business” events and entertainment seem to be blurring. With content, particularly anything that translates well to online video, becoming ever-more central to marketing strategies 2016 could see this mentality coming into B2B events which have historically stuck to more traditional formats.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments.