From the Editor: A decade of intense effort brought us to the top table

When this publication launched in 1997, the concept of face-to-face marketing via exhibitions was still in its infancy. Strategic event marketing through large-scale production and creative thinking was almost unheard of, aside from the hangovers still felt by the excesses of the early 90s.

This, however, was a new age with a new government, and from key happenings emerged important players who have since shaped not only the way exhibitions and live events have evolved, but also the way they are seen by marketers as vital to the exposure of brands (page 35). For this special 10th anniversary issue, 10 people from within exhibitions were asked to state which occurrences they think have shaped the sector (page 51). The sale of Earls Court and Olympia by P&O in 1999 to the Morris family, plus the birth of Excel as a state-of-the art exhibition facility, are popular choices.

But it's the entrepreneurs who have dedicated their careers to devising and building content within UK venues who are the true foundations of this industry. Many served apprenticeships at Blenheim and came to the fore in the years following its merger with United News and Media's publishing arm, Miller Freeman. Some grew out of BBC Haymarket Exhibitions or the dawn of the Morris era in west London. But all have ensured that, during the past decade, as show attendance has declined, what were once regarded as marketplaces are now experiential event environments, reinvented to offer strategic one-to-one marketing solutions or branded entertainment.

A change in rights ownership of TV shows will see more organisers team up with production houses to launch events that tap into popular culture in 2007 and beyond. Brand Events' 'Who do you think you are?' is just the beginning, enabling brands to align to TV shows in ways more targeted than advert-break media-buying. This is the new dawn of event marketing.

What part will it play in your marketing strategy?

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