European Event Industry Grows

Last year, Maarten Schram presented the first LiveCom Alliance industry survey, here in our studio. Now that the second edition of the Pan European survey is ready, he’s back with us here to tell you all about it.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Last year, Maarten Schram presented the first LiveCom Alliance industry survey, here in our studio. Now that the second edition of the Pan European survey is ready, he’s back with us here to tell you all about it.


Hi Maarten, welcome to our studio.


Hi Kevin, welcome. And great to be back.


It’s the second time we meet, of course. Last year, it was the first time you conducted the Pan European study.




This year is the second edition. What did we learn?


Well, several things. The good news is that there is growth all over the place. So on all fronts we see growth in budget trends in the budget forecast. But also, in a number of events. And also in the share of Live within the marcom mix. And of course, it’s great to build on the snapshot in the first edition last year. And we now have a more comprehensive picture.


Okay. You say, we see growth in all the regions. Are there any particular differences between regions?


Well, of course, it varies a little. However, at the end you see among all our members, growth. So that’s really good news, yes. And I think, of course, in some parts of Europe, economics are faster, or growing faster, or a little slower. But overall, it’s growth. So that’s really positive news.


Okay. That’s great to hear.




There is of course, growth. But I can also imagine there are still some challenges for the industry.


Yes. I think the figures speak for themselves. What you see, is that the other side of the coin of this growth, is the pressure on project margin. Doing more for less is a kind of familiar mantra, that is difficult to leave out. That’s a little downside of it. But I think it’s also due to the fact we are experiencing an evolution of our industry. We’re working on our business models, and things are changing. And that are also factors that influencing the results and influencing this particular thing.


When you presented the results of this survey, in Porto, I think it was…




You’ve also introduced the code of ethics. What is that about?


Well, what you see is as an alliance… Well, the great thing is, that we see and we feel it’s working. Our first interview at your studio, was all about launching the Alliance. Back then, it was with six countries, and now we have nine and we’re welcoming our tenth member… Switzerland, early next year. So that’s great. And what we see and experience is, we are all dealing with – of course – the same topics, more or less. We can support each other, and share the insights, and be inspired by how we deal with things, in the several countries. And at the same time, it’s really good to be shoulder-to-shoulder, and try to give a signal to the industry. Both on the industry side, as to the client side: okay, this is how we should work together. And that’s where the code of ethics came from. We pursue a sustainable, and professional and fair Pan European playing field for the Live Communication industry. So that’s the goal.


And what will be next for LiveCom Alliance? If you look to the future, next year, what is on your roadmap?


Well, for the Alliance itself, of course it’s also important to grow. From the tenth member, hopefully next year, we will welcome some other countries as well. Because the more we are, the more impact we can have in the topics we’re dealing with. Of course, next year, we will be heading to the third edition of the industry survey. And I think from a snapshot of what I already mentioned, to a more comprehensive picture now… we are aiming at a fully online survey tool for next year, to benchmark results. Another thing, what we are working on, is pitch guidelines. And of course, that is something very, very connected to the code of ethics. And it’s a topic of all times, I would say.




How we are dealing with pitches. Again, both on the client side and on the industry side. So what is the impact? How could we deal in a more sustainable way with this phenomenon?


From your personal perspective, what should change to pitches?


I think the most important thing, and that’s not new, first of all it’s the live component. I think it’s crucial to meet each other before you decide who to work with. Because our industry is connected to a lot of adrenaline, and in pressured timeframes we have to deliver huge projects. And I think it’s crucial to meet live and to feel and see: okay, are we a good match? And also, connected to live, is if you ask, for example, three agencies to deliver a creative idea and a concept, let them present that live. So those are the growth components of live. And the other thing, of course, has to do with the number of agencies you invite and involve in pitches. Three would be ideal. So please, take into account the impact on the industry. And I think it’s all about… We try to approach this subject not in frustration, but it’s all about information. And I’ve many, also, recent examples that if you explain a client, okay, we should do this in another way, like this, like that, then for many clients, it’s totally an eye-opener. “Oh, wow. Okay, I’ve never looked at it in that perspective, so thanks for sharing. And yes, next time, I will.” So it’s also about information, from the positive side.


A lot to do then in the next few months and year. Maarten, thank you very much for sharing the insights in the survey.


Could I share one final thing, Kevin…


Yes, of course.


…on this session? I almost forgot. I think it’s also in the infographic, but I would say that talent, our future generation talent… is also a very important topic for the Alliance next year. And for all of us, to be honest. How can we breed and nurture talent? And at the same time, how can we bind them into our industry, and show them how great our industry is to work with? It’s a call to our members in the several countries, but also a call to the industry… to keep that in mind and take your responsibility there. And we see, for example, in France, they’ve even created their own event school. It's école. and in Belgium, your country, it’s a fascinating career. It’s a website where they portrayed several jobs in our industry with videos and kind of blogs. And show the next generation how great jobs are in our industry. And for example, in Holland, we have Talent Scout. It’s a kind of kick-start of your event career event. Where the biggest talents get the stage to perform and show them why they make a difference in our industry tomorrow. So I would say talent is maybe a good thing to end with.


Okay, great, Maarten. Thank you very much. And probably, I see you next year.


Yes, absolutely. It will be a pleasure.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week