In my View: The real cost of changing how you describe your job

When I renewed my car insurance recently, the member of staff who took my call checked my details to provide me with the most competitive rate.

When asked to confirm my profession, I said "marketing" - a generic term that I felt best described my way of life at the moment. I then learnt that I had been insured as a conference organiser for two years, since it was the closest term they had to describe what I did at that time.

To my huge surprise, I was told that being classified as "marketing" carried more risk and would increase my premium by roughly 10%.

As I questioned further, I was informed that if I was being 'creative' about what I do and was in fact a conference organiser after all, then I may not be covered in the event of any claim. Five seconds later I hung up and phoned another company, but I couldn't help drawing parallels with what I see happening in our business.

In pursuit of growth and in response to considerable client need, many event companies are reinventing and moving towards the classification of 'marketing'. Many suppliers are describing themselves as production companies, design and creative houses are now brand experience agencies and event management companies are now event marketing, or live communication businesses. The whole market seems to be shifting and moving closer to the client to offer solutions and not just services.

My fear is that this is more about window dressing where companies have put on nice new clothes and speak in a more sophisticated way to describe what they do, but won't actually be able to deliver on their promises.

Perhaps this is just natural development driven by client need, or perhaps it is about companies broadening their offering to appeal to a new client base. Either way, this should not be taken lightly. Living in a more strategic space is very different to being able to run events effectively. Being classified as 'marketing' carries additional risk and requires more investment.

This doesn't come cheap; it is more than a makeover. Being able to charge an additional premium for new services is appealing, but unless you can walk the talk, you may suffer the same sort of result as my insurance company.


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