Maarten Schram (Managing Director of IDEA, Dutch Platform for live communication and event agencies) has been active in the event industries for more than 20 years. He prefers call his field of expertise ‘live’, referring to the growing impact of face-to-face encounters in this digital era. Events are a true enrichment of online campaigns, and have gained an essential position in Marketing Communications. At the same time, data are becoming more and more important. How should event professionals approach these future trends?
Data give insights
The financial crisis and new legislations made more people think about the return of an event. “Data play a very important role in this matter, not only because of the new GDPR legislation” says Maarten Schram. “We want to use data to increase our Return on Investment, and the need for data driven professionals increases quickly. ROI will remain an important topic for live, forcing us to look for new, smart tools. Innovations like Momice help event professionals reveal the return of their event in terms of visitors, conversions and survey results.”
Live as important part of campaigns
IDEA represents more than 60 prominent, independent live communication and event agencies in the Netherlands. From that capacity, Schram sees that events are more often seen as an important part of a larger marketing campaign. In his opinion, the outreach of live has increased because of technologies - leading to a lower average cost per delegate.
“More and more often, events become the heart of a campaign - the catalyst for creating content, that can be published on other channels. This asks for more extensive knowledge of trends in marketing, communication and events. The role of an event should be clear. This requires the ability to take the brand perspective as a starting point for the campaign.”
IDEA celebrated its fifteenth birthday recently. This was celebrated with, wait for it, a series of events. We came up with the slogan ‘Lang zal ze live’ (a line from a Dutch birthday song, red.) Not only are we celebrating our anniversary, we also want to emphasize the fact that there is a clear momentum for live events - and that this momentum will last for some time. We have supported important initiatives and developed initiatives of our own. A good example of this is PitchHiker, providing a pressure cooker pitch on wheels for inspiration during events. Other examples are the third edition of The Experience Conference and the latest IDEA initiative EventStreet, transforming the city center of Haarlem into a large networking playground. We will close this anniversary year with an internal events for members and partners - Momice being our registration partner.”
Events are here to stay. By giving live a more prominent role, it can become a catalyst for other elements of the MarComms strategy. Making smart use of data and taking the brand perspective as a starting point allow companies and agencies to create more impactful events, now and in the future.