In My View: It's time for organisers to kick the late spring habit

April/May is one of the industry's busiest periods. The perception seems to be that late spring is a prime time for events because the weather's getting better, we're settled into the new year and, well, that's when everyone else holds their events, so it must be right, right?

Wrong. Just because it's been this way for the past 20 years, that's no reason for it to continue. There are some real disadvantages to holding events at congested periods, such as suppliers not being flexible on the offering or the price. But more importantly, the event is competing against a very noisy backdrop. We were recently asked by a large IT company to look at phasing a new event into its portfolio in May, smack in the middle of all the other events competing for the same audience. We worked out that there were about 1.2 million delegate places in this sector across Europe over this two-month period. When the total available audience being targeted only makes up a fraction of this, it's clear that the audience generation ability of many of these events will be severely compromised.

Given that most (if not all) exhibitions are based around generating demand, why aren't more events scheduled to help the sales cycle? Surely it's best to fill the sales pipeline with leads when you are trying to build awareness or act on interest, a period that tends to fall from January to March. If your year-end is in December, then this period is the best time to build awareness and interest and if your year ends in April, then this is the optimum time to close deals and deliver on set objectives.

However, the January to March period is a comparatively vacant landscape from an event point of view.

The most effective event strategies, not only in terms of resources but also outcomes, ensure that events are spread across the year to help the sales team deliver business through the sales cycle. And if event organisers don't offer this option, clients will do it for themselves, by way of proprietary events where they have control over which partners they share the space with.

In this world where the mantra is differentiate or die, organisers need to think from the clients' perspective and create events with the right content to the right audience at the right time.

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