What the Heck is SMMP?

What the Heck is SMMP?

One of the hottest and most talked about trends in the industry today is SMMP. Event planners are looking for it from providers and providers are finding ways to offer it to their clients. However, what exactly is SMMP? Do you know how to use it? What it can do to increase your event’s efficiency? How it has evolved in 2015?


Not to worry we are here to tell you all about SMMP and how the metric driven program will change the way that you evaluate your events. SMMP stands for Strategic Meetings Management Program; In other words, ROI (return on investment). To many event professionals that have been in the industry for years, the idea of adding processes and metrics to the business is not an easy thing. You see great events come together because of blood, sweat, tears, stress and passion; not because of metrics. As event planners we are creative driven not numbers driven. Without the numbers though, we would not be successful from event to event.


It's time for planners to recognize that SMMP forces you to measure ROI (cost, revenue, profitability, productivity) Boring, but it is essential in today’s economy. It forces us to implement processes and when 80% is under control, it is much easier to deal with the unexpected (as opposed to the 20% planned). It forces us to dive deep into all the aspects that make an event a reality.


Think of it this way, do you use a flip-phone or a mac classic? We hope not, we hope you have moved into the digital age! That being said, maybe it is time you try 2015 SMMP, aka meeting ROI.


What is SMMP’s original goal?

Basically, it is about breaking down all the measurable event aspects to outperform them. It mostly applies to groups, often corporate, that have to manage A) a large budget and B) a large number of events. Event management involves a supply chain, logistics, marketing investment, travel and housing management, sales effectiveness and more. From a meeting planner’s angle it is a lot of layers to deal with. From a large corporate perspective, the investment will get sprayed into multiple responsibilities, teams, and governances - making the exercise incredibly challenging when it gets to controlling the performance better (understanding profitability, cost versus revenue, and the cost of the teams productivity).


SMMP will tell you nothing about the content, the speaker, the colors, taste of the food, or the ugliness/beauty of the venue – barely anything about the attendee experience. It will tell you the average cost per attendee; help you to control hundreds of events from a budget perspective, control the workflow, manage better rooming allotments and travel fares.


Economically speaking, it is great. First, it is room for improvement on many cases - let's be honest, saving a couple of zeroes on the bottom line doesn’t hurt. Second, it plays a role in better serving your community with more control on your vendors and how your process is executed. But what SMMP forgets is the very user experience, the final return of investment, which your brand benefits from. Even more, most CMOs have a hard time fully understanding how to fully measure and optimize the event channel.


The classic SMMP field:

  • Meeting Design: logistics, cost, workflows, objectives
  • Budgeting: forecasting, real negotiated savings, cost per vendor - per meeting - per attendee
  • Strategic Sourcing: hotel, venues, airfare, transportation
  • Procurement Process:  standardized contracts and service agreements management
  • Corporate Meetings Calendar: communication, tracking locations and participants/groups within the company
  • Business process: rules for approvals, workflows
  • Meetings and Attendee Management: attendee registration, travel and housing expenses, PNRs (passenger name records)
  • Reconciliation of Expenses: assign specific event costs to specific budget codes
  • Measure and Evaluate

In 2015, being procurement driven is necessary for large groups on one condition: SMMP needs to be transitioned into P&L management, where events become an enterprise within the company that delivers a product. There is no shame to productize events. Isn’t Apple providing great brand emotions? Doesn’t Nike deliver great experiences with products?


Again, the point is that productizing is okay as long the quality is there. SMMP is not the evil side; it just has to be balanced with what makes an event a success: the content, the interaction, the emotion, the experience. This has a cost, generally leading to success and then to ROI.


To learn more about how SMMP has changed & a new player for 2015 go to the etouches blog for the full story!


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