What are the challenges facing event professionals in 2013 and is there reason to hope the future of the industry will be positve?
I recently touched base with David Adler, CEO and founder of event industry media company, BizBash to get his latest take on these questions. The following is a Q&A taken from our email exchange. You can read part one of this interview here.
What are the greatest challenges facing event professionals and how are they being addressed?
The Need to Monitor the Competition – Being able to peek over the fence to see what others are doing is the single, most important reason I started BizBash. Companies that operate in a vacuum will not grow. My philosophy was that if we created a marketplace of ideas, everyone would benefit.
The Need to Stay Curious – Everything is changing so quickly that an event professional who does not keep up with these changes should just hang out with their horse and buggy, and ultimately will be left behind.
The Need to Build Your Own Intellectual Capital – In order to grow, an event organizer needs to spend the time learning by going to conferences and investing in new technology. Each year I try to learn a major new piece of technology by taking a course with the Event Leadership Institute, going online to learn how to start my own website using Wordpress, or gaining a complete understanding of all the elements of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine, Hootsuite, Salesforce, Marketo and others.
The Need to Change The Way We Think About Everything – It’s no longer about “Sell and Tell”, its about “Ask and Engage”. We all need to change our attitudes about control and let go. It’s subtle but important. It also starts with the event organizer changing all aspects of meetings and events to accommodate this radical new thinking. It may mean less time preaching and more time listening. It may mean more space and time for lounges and un-programmed agendas. As an event organizer, we need to think like an attendee.
The Need to Curate the Attendee of our Events – It’s becoming less about content and more about connections. If the right audience is not in the room, all the planning in the world means nothing. Being a sector curator and knowing the attendee is the number one threat to a good event. Getting the right people to attend and having them come back year after year is the biggest challenge in the industry.
The Need to Prove Effectiveness – This is still a critical piece of the puzzle that is not standardized. The true conversion is if attendees either come back to another event or if a sale or contribution is made. It will always be an issue but the good news is that events are thought of as “Must Have” strategy now and we are not sitting at the “Children’s Table” anymore.
What gives you hope for the industry as it stands today?
Event organizers are really “Programmers of Human Interaction” and have been experts years before all the technology programmers entered the scene. In fact, event organizers are what programmers are trying to emulate online.
Event organizers are getting more sophisticated than ever. The new generation of event and meeting organizers are digital natives and are thinking about how humans interact, learn, and process.
If you look at Crunch Data and put in the word “event”, more than 4,000 pages come up in the search emphasizing all the new thinking that is going on and waiting to come on line. It’s about how people collaborate and make progress happen. Our meetings and events are the new town square where ideas bubble up from conversations that change the world.
photo credit: jdlasica via photopin cc