The first pan-European study in the live communication industry predicts a growth of the events industry with increasing or consistent budgets. Initiator Maarten Schram of LiveCom Alliance can tell us all about it.
Hi Maarten. Welcome to our studio.
Hi Kevin. Good morning. It’s great to be back again.
LiveCom Alliance, conducted the first pan-European study for the live industry.
What was the result of that study?
Yes, well, it reveals a widespread expectations of growth for events. So that’s an important one and a strong agency position as well. So, of course it was kind of a first snapshot of the pan European live community industry but a good result so far. I am really happy with it.
Okay. Before we dive into the details, how did you conduct the study?
Well, first, to do a market survey project like this was one of the first ideas when we started Alliance. But of course resources are limited in time and also in money. So, we thought, let’s do it in the way the LiveCom Alliance is founded. It’s about sharing local insights and build our industry with it. So we did it exactly in that way. We captured existing data from our members but also from non-members, so other countries and other associations.
So, you based yourself on existence reports?
And combined that into a pan European study?
Yes. And it was quite a challenge I must say because captured the data from seven countries and of course it was quite a challenge to benchmark some results. So, first of all, it took us some time to gather all the results. Then, well, in fact we put it on the table, looked at it for a couple of hours, and then we thought, okay, we need a professional. So we asked a market research agency to help us out and look through all the data and to try to make some benchmarks and get some highlights out of it. Yes. And we did, so it’s good.
I did see you also included for the Belgium and the Netherlands our own event monitors study?
Yes. What I also did see is that it was a study of the beginning of this year.
Isn’t that a problem that the data is almost a year old?
Well, it was a combination. Of course, we used also I think the third quarter in the results.
It was a combination of both. And yes, of course, it’s still challenging to again benchmark the results. Because some of them are early the year, some are mid-year, and other results are really actual and accurate, so yes it is. But I think the effect will be, and we already see it, that especially our members see now the importance and use of this project and are preparing the research projects for next year. And adding questions and changing, if possible, timing. In order to match our planning. Okay, indeed. So, the results predicted growth, or at least the same budgets for events. Growth, yes. Do you see differences between countries?
Or is it the whole European Union is going up?
Well, all over you could say it’s quite positive. I think it was over 80% of the respondents expected budgets to stay the same or growth. And within that growth was double the respondents for events with budgets staying the same. So it was really positive, really positive and widespread growth expectations for event budget.
Is that the result? Because we had a crisis and now the economy is going up again?
Well, what we see is that in some European countries crisis is still kind of a topic. And could influence budget, yes. But I think already many countries, the crisis is far behind, so to say, and we left it a couple of years ago. And I think the most important driver for increasing budgets is the importance of the medium of live communications in the media mixture and in the marketing strategy. And brands and organizations see and know, in this digital age, more and more important to…
To have the live contact?
To have the live contact with the audience. And it could be consumers, could be clients, could be employees. Yes. That’s essential.
You also looked at the position of the agencies in the market?
How do you see that?
Well, I think in line with the remark I just made, what you see… Well, two interesting things. One of them, that you see, is that clients, about 50/50, prefers a specialized agency for events. Because creating effective live experience is still a specialty. It’s a craftsmanship. But the other half prefers or works with a 360 degrees agency so…
Because it’s easy and you have just live content?
Yes, multi-disciplined and know how to integrate all channels, yes. So that’s one of the interesting outcomes. The other thing you see is, as I mentioned before, creating an effective live experience, is not only about adding some core elements of an event. It’s really about strategic thinking. It’s about a multi-channel approach. And what you see is that clients and brands appreciate, and see the importance of agencies breathing this craftsmanship 24/7.
And working together with a close network of suppliers and partners, creating the best for them.
Okay. And did you see in the study any topics for the future?
Yes, I think they are quite obvious. To be honest, of course, it’s about ROI. It’s about how to measure results of our events.
That’s something we are talking in the industry for a long time.
Are we still not there yet?
Well, maybe not yet. I think what you see is, apart from the market, especially some clients adapted some kind of models to really calculate the outcome of events. And other ones use more approach like, okay, let us pose the questions we should ask. So what is the audience? What do we want to reach? How we can measure the outcome? How we can check during and after the campaign what we reached? And there are many tools for them of course... and technology and apps, you know. So, I think it’s an important topic to just stay discussing. Because we also sometimes still have to compete with more traditional media and we know measurement there is far more developed. So, I think it’s an important topic but I agree, we already talking about it for quite a while. And it’s also even about design, how can you influence, not a customer journey, but a visitor journey of an event. And of course it’s about strategic approach and it’s about innovation. You should know about it, you should follow it, you should know how to integrate it in your events.
Okay. Maybe to conclude with, how is it going with the LiveCom Alliance? Because last time we were here to introduce the Alliance.
How is it going now?
Yes, well, I’m very happy to say that meanwhile... I think in the previous interview we had six members, we started with six members. A very important industry firm joined us a short while after and. So we are seven. And I’m very happy to inform, or to announce, that Famup, a German association, will join us from next year, 2017. And also Emba of Austria will join us so we will be nine by the start of next year.
Thank you, thank you. I’m really happy with it. Yes.
Okay Maarten, thank you very much for coming over.
Thanks for having me, thanks.
And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.