The IPA’s Bellwether report, which was published in January, indicates that 22% of marketing spend is now committed to a sector categorised as ‘other’. Collectively this sector covers numerous disciplines, including corporate hospitality, exhibitions, conferences and seminars, public relations and sponsorship. Foley’s concern is that such a large percentage of spend is not more accurately attributed. He said: “More than a fifth of the pie is left floating in an actuary’s no-man’s-land. Sponsorship gets a mention but what about event marketing? Many of the most innovative marketers are making sure they’re part of the action when it comes to events, exhibitions and experiential opportunities.”
Foley pointed out that recent research by the live agency Mice Group suggests that 62% of respondents predict ‘experiential’ to be one of the big marketing growth areas in the next five years. Of those polled, 58% claim to have increased experiential budget over the past two or three years.
He added: “Will marketing’s significant other have stepped out of the shadows by the time the next Bellwether report is put together? With marketing spend and economic growth predicted to exceed many people’s expectations in 2007, the events industry says ignore us at your peril.”
On a positive note, the report also acknowledges that budget setting for 2007 across the whole marketing spectrum will be the most buoyant in seven years. It also states that improved business conditions have seen budgets stabilise.