Opinion: Marketing skills can be just as important as logistics

Is event management truly appreciated as a marketing skill? Why do event organisers appear to fall into the category of administrators rather than marketing professionals?

Every event is an exercise in communication. Essentially its purpose is to get a message across memorably and provide a positive experience.

This involves two important skills - logistics management and marketing communication.

Of all marketing practices, events have the most powerful direct impact and - particularly in these days of experiential marketing - require disciplines such as marketing communications, market research, pricing, distribution, placement and so on.

If we are to embrace events as critical in delivering this experience, organisers must be as skilled in marketing as they are at logistics management.

Sometimes the industry does not appear to support this, as organisers make their way into event management via different routes. A recent ad, for a conference organiser to cover maternity leave, demonstrated this very clearly.

It stated: "You will be responsible for all aspects of client conferences, including venue finding and set-up, sponsorship sales, delegate mailings, design and production of promotional materials, budgetary controls and on-site management of the event. The role also encompasses PA duties for two directors and line management of the office administrator."

What on earth is this about? The description shows a comprehensive conference organiser's job, but it also tells us that you should be able to hold down two entirely different and extremely challenging roles at the same time.

Does the fault lie within the industry? Is the event organiser's focus on communication, content and message, or delegate management, production and organisation? Do we expect an event organiser to be a logistics manager first and communications expert second - if at all?

Event organisers must become marketing experts if they are to truly capture the attention of an audience. So, let's dazzle them with perfect logistics and amazing production techniques - but let us also stimulate their minds and really touch their hearts with communications that are integrated, engaging and truly inspirational.

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