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Will SMM Kill Off Events Planning?

SMM's focus allows for event planning to be distributed throughout an organization, to ensure all events are properly planned and approved to maximize return on investment and support the corporate brand.


You may have seen that NBTA (National Business Travel Association) launched its Strategic Meetings Management Certification course this month at Emory University, in Atlanta.

The course targets corporate travel, meetings and/or procurement professionals and suppliers who work in a strategic meetings function.

More than a decade ago, Meeting Professionals International launched their CMM (Certification in Meeting Management) program, to promote a strategic approach to meetings management, and more than 500 meeting professionals have taken advantage of the in-depth learning offered.

‘Strategic Meetings Management’ (SMM) is the fancy name for the process of developing policies and procedures to ensure that enterprise-wide meetings and events are managed properly, to achieve corporate objectives.

This is not the same as meetings consolidation, which concentrates the planning and execution of events into a small team, to provide consistency of delivery.

SMM’s focus allows for event planning to be distributed throughout an organization, to ensure all events are properly planned and approved to maximize return on investment and support the corporate brand.

However, it is interesting that the push to control the enterprise-wide meetings process comes from the procurement or travel-management professionals, who are more focused on controlling budgets and maximizing the return on investment – as opposed to the planners, whose value to their organization is often difficult to articulate.

As SMM spreads, the event professional who is focused only on event strategy and logistics could very well be threatened with extinction.

If the planners cannot demonstrate that their events meet strict measurement objectives, they will increasingly find that they will be circumvented by others, who understand the strategic approach that is required in all forms of marketing. Once all policies and procedures are defined and instituted, corporations will question the value of a meetings expert for small or internal events.

For years, event professionals have said they wanted “a seat at the management table.”

Are you ready to talk the language of the people already sitting there? Or are you going to hope to keep focused on logistics and last long enough to retire?

Please feel free to submit any comments (agreeing, disagreeing or furthering the conversation) to the M&IT blog by using the Leave Comment link below.

If these articles stimulate the kind of conversation we all want, to elevate our professionalism, I look forward to featuring some of your comments in future blogs.



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