It seems that we professionals share a common challenge – how do we properly portray what we do and describe the value that we bring to our clients and companies?
The fact that we are depicted as “meeting or incentive planners;” “event professionals;” “experiential marketers;” “third-party planners;” “hoteliers;” “event suppliers;” “audiovisual professionals;” etc., shows how challenging it is to define what we do.
Even if we accept that the position titles are probably more a reflection of our corporate cultures than an indication of how we see ourselves, it almost can be depressing to hear how some professionals try to describe their responsibilities in a five-second sound bite.
Have you ever heard a cardiologist describe his role as a ‘heart doctor’?
Never – they are immensely proud of their profession and the sacrifices they have made to gain the skills necessary to diagnose and treat diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system, and they will usually refer to their lifesaving expertise and the patients they have assisted.
Okay – I know we don’t perform open-heart surgery, but the impact we have on the success of our organizations is often immense but undervalued.
I think the trend to simplify what we do in one sentence, as if we were sending it out on Twitter, can really undervalue the work we perform for our companies and/or clients.
Each of us touches vast numbers of attendees and helps define the relationship they have with the event sponsor.
Our events educate and motivate participants, encourage the face-to-face exchange of ideas, build corporate culture and reward top achievers.
We generate employee and client loyalty, help propel new products and services into the marketplace, create unique participant experiences, and differentiate the event sponsor from other companies in the minds of the consumer.
Our events produce sales leads, generate revenue, gain publicity in ways that static marketing seldom does, and reinforce social media campaigns.
We are masters of project management, sourcing, contract negotiation, event logistics, print and digital communication, virtual media and program budgets.
We create motivating team experiences, supply rooming and transportation lists, master complex breakout schedules, organize content, deal with temperamental speakers and entertainers, shepherd executives and VIPs, and create lasting impressions that are the envy of advertising executives.
With that (incomplete) list of skills, let’s stop oversimplifying our role by saying we’re event planners or suppliers.
Let’s make sure we at least say that we create experiences that propel the success of our organizations or clients.