July is upon us and the economic news is less than encouraging. In June, the U.S. economy slowed as it added 83,000 private sector jobs against a loss of 125,000 positions (in a large part due to the end of the temporary employment of U.S. Census employees).
Paul Kasriel, chief economist at financial-services company Northern Trust, warned that “in general, the economy is downshifting, maybe to stall speed, or just above stall.” (see the New York Times).
The Canadian economy fared slightly better, as the Toronto Stock Exchange ended the first half of 2010 up slightly, even though Statistics Canada reported that there was no real change in Gross Domestic Product in April after seven months of increases (see Statistics Canada reports).
All of this means that companies will once again be looking at ways to reduce expenditures to boost the bottom line.
Last year, when companies followed that logic, it cost the meetings industry thousands of events.
Therefore, now is when we should be advising our employers, clients and the government that the time is ripe for running meetings, events and incentive-travel programmes.
The companies that recognize that face-to-face events are one of the most successful ways to build relationships, market goods and services to cost-conscious clients, and motivate their employees will take the advantage away from any competitors who withdraw from the marketplace.
Meetings and incentive professionals know the real value of events.
MPI, Site and a host of other industry associations have spent the past 12 months presenting white papers and study findings that describe and quantify the benefits arising from good meetings and events.
Yes, putting on events cost money, and if you only look at expenditures, it would seem to make sense to cut events.
But if you can prove the value of your events – increased sales from motivated staff, improved relationships with clients and potential clients, a better informed and aligned marketplace, etc. – the real economic value of meetings should be obvious.
Look to the industry associations if you need facts and figures to prove your case.
Even more useful are any proprietary statistics that you have collected to demonstrate the value of the events you organize.
Now is the time we should be showing the business community that they should be meeting now, to drive future economic success.