Bud­get In­crease? Keep on Dreamin’!

Di­rec­tor of Con­fer­ence Fo­cus, Max Turpin is shar­ing his in­sights on a range of topics with a reg­u­lar col­umn in BEN. Topics in­clude new gen­er­a­tion events and mak­ing events ef­fec­tive and valu­able.

Business Events News - - News - If you’d like to learn more about how to make your events fresh, in­no­va­tive and ef­fec­tive, please con­tact Max Turpin at Con­fer­ence Fo­cus on 02 9700 7740 or visit the web­site at con­fer­ence­fo­cus.com.au

ANOTHER new year is upon us and not for the first time my thoughts go to cor­po­rate event bud­gets and their con­tin­ued scru­tiny, stag­na­tion and re­duc­tion. It’s a se­ri­ous is­sue for the in­dus­try and one I find very frus­trat­ing, mostly caused by blink­ered, naïve or ig­no­rant think­ing. From my ex­pe­ri­ence, here’s the prob­lem, and so­lu­tion….

Events make up part of an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sales & mar­ket­ing or travel & Entertainment bud­get. As with all com­pany ex­pen­di­ture, their costs and value are reg­u­larly re­viewed. Just as the value of an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign might be re­viewed, events are too. But the ben­e­fits and ROI of most events are never put through the same mea­sure­ment rigours as a mar­ket­ing cam­paign. There are var­i­ous rea­sons for this – of­ten, no clearly de­fined goals are set in the first place (so there’s noth­ing to mea­sure); par­tic­i­pant sat­is­fac­tion lev­els and feel­ings are mea­sured but not post-event re­sults; ef­fec­tively mea­sur­ing event ROI is of­ten dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing; the skills and tech­niques of mea­sur­ing ROI are not taught in event man­age­ment cour­ses (bud­get v’s ac­tual does not count); most event or­gan­is­ers fo­cus only on lo­gis­tics (and fair enough since this is the only cri­te­ria on which their com­pe­tence is mea­sured), the list goes on. Over­ar­ch­ing all of this is the quite nor­mal and ac­cepted prac­tice of the in­ter­nal event owner – the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion maker, of­ten a depart­ment head and non­event ex­pert – con­trol­ling the bud­get and mak­ing most of the de­ci­sions re­lat­ing to the core el­e­ments of the event, in­clud­ing their ob­jec­tives, their for­mat and de­sign, key mes­sag­ing, con­tent, speaker se­lec­tion and men­tor­ing, etc. With­out the value of events be­ing me­thod­i­cally mea­sured and ROI de­ter­mined, bud­get in­creases be­come a dream.

The so­lu­tion is to prop­erly mea­sure event ROI and prove their value, thereby hav­ing the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to seek a bud­get in­crease if war­ranted. But this very sel­dom hap­pens. Many or­gan­i­sa­tions spend thou­sands on an event web­site, guest and mo­ti­va­tional speak­ers, team build­ing, award nights, entertainment, im­pres­sive light­ing dis­plays, etc. – the im­pact of which might only last till par­tic­i­pants re­turn home – but are not will­ing to in­vest any time or money on meet­ing de­sign and ROI track­ing to achieve bet­ter out­comes and much longer last­ing ben­e­fits. Lazy, blink­ered, naïve? What­ever, I don’t get it. And as for their bud­get in­creases…. just keep on dreamin’!

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