Bellwether industry reaction: maximum reach needed to justify event spend

Brands and agencies have said the industry needs to maximise the reach of experiential campaigns in order to justify spend on events.

Event spend on the rise, says IPA Bellwether report
Event spend on the rise, says IPA Bellwether report

It comes as the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) announced the results of its latest quarterly Bellwether report, which saw event budgets grow 7.8% and overall marketing spend up 12.6%. 

Alison Williams, head of events at L'Oréal Professional Products UK and Ireland, told Event the beauty brand is looking to incorporate experiential activations into its marketing activity during the next three to five years. "Events offer us engagement with the client on a personal level," Williams explained. "In the people business that we are particularly involved in, the fact that the consumer feels like they have a voice, input and effect on events is a hugely engaging area that is different to other marketing channels."

However, she explained a more immersive approach is needed pre-, during and post-event to create the maximum reach for money spent. 

Jonathan Emmins, founder of Amplify, which has seen a 27% year-on-year increase in spend across its top three clients, said both brands and agencies are getting smarter at leveraging and amplifying experiential activations, increasing the return on investment for what otherwise would be expensive, stand-alone events. 

"What's most interesting is that when you try to break down the spend across marketing channels, the lines are so blurred it's hard to see where experiential, PR, content, social, retail and beyond start and finish," he added. "Traditional and untraditional disciplines are integrating and fusing like never before. That's a good thing."

Williams agreed, explaining how L'Oréal is looking at technology to add value to events, as well as to measure the value of experiential. "Augmented reality is certainly an emerging area I wish to pursue in the events arena together with event technology, as well as the incorporation of app- and mobile-based digital engagement across the boards for events.

"Technology is changing so quickly, it is up to us all to keep in touch with new developments. Agencies need to help their clients implement tools for the measurement of success of events defined quite specifically for the activity delivered, which in turn would help all demonstrate the return on investment for events delivered."

However Matt Cowley, chief executive of agency The Bank, said agencies and brands should predominantly focus on the experience rather than technology to demonstrate the future value of events as a marketing tool. "I think we just need to look at consumer habits. Cinema attendance is up, you can't buy a ticket to a football match and things get sold out. Our desire to be part of a tribe and a social community is too powerful, no app can replace that.

"Having gone through two recessions in the last twenty years , I saw that events and experiential are the first budgets to get kicked into touch. However ultimately when the sun begins to rise once more, those budgets are the first to return - people are hungry for experience."

What do you think? Does the industry need to demonstrate more value for money for future event budgets?

Comment below to let us know what you think.

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