I think each of us who works in the event industry believes that meetings and incentives drive business.
First, there are thousands of jobs that are directly related to the event industry: planners, venue personnel, AV staff and decor specialists.
Then there are the tens of thousands of jobs that are not designed solely to service the meetings and incentive industry, but definitely benefit from it – wait staff, hotel personnel, photographers, coach operators and anyone else who comes into contact with an event attendee.
But the employment benefits are only part of the picture. Overwhelmingly, events are all about driving business success.
Every sales leader (whether selling cosmetics, technical services or aircraft) believes in the power of face-to-face interaction and knows the value of events.
But the relationship between events and business success may not be so obvious to many other people.
That’s why all event professionals need to be able to address the concerns of the business leaders we interact with, in a manner that appropriately addresses their interests.
Whether we describe how our events encourage sales efforts and reward high achievers, serve to educate and motivate, or assist in building stronger client loyalty, we need to relate the events to sales and revenue generation.
And we need to phrase our conversation in a way that speaks to the interests of those who sponsor or fund events.
If you are talking to the chief financial officer, he or she will want to understand the dollar impact of an event – not just the costs, but the size of the potential revenue generation or sales increases that will be a product of our event.
Procurement’s interests are probably more centred on maximizing value for expenditure or minimizing financial risk, while maximizing cost avoidance, but again, we need to be able to address the return on investment.
Strategic planning, return on objectives, data measurement and analysis, and return on investment need to be in every meeting professional’s lexicon.
If we don’t (or can’t) present our thoughts in a way that business leaders understand, we will not be able to justify our event budgets and we run the very real risk of having events marginalized when times turn tough.