At the recent trade show hosted in Manchester, Richard Waddington, chairman of Event Marketing Association, James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab, and Holly Moore, founder of Make Events, discussed the developments in advertising.

Drawing examples from past uses of marketing campaigns, the three panellists listed brand activations, influencers and live events as marketing tools commonly used today.

Live events

Live events are gaining more recognition as effective advertising tools and earning a larger share of marketing budgets. Traditional advertisements, such as TV or radio adverts, are short-lived in a prospect’s memory. Live events, however, provide genuine opportunities to engage and interact with prospects while they create lasting memories and opinions.

“We need to have a culture of live conversations – this is the way brands are moving,” James claimed.

However, the panel agreed that, though live events are very effective, they can also be detrimental if orchestrated incorrectly. Presenting the same event time and time again does not allow brands to grow and advance with current social or technological climates. Audiences are constantly changing; therefore, events need to evolve with them – don’t follow the “cookie-cutter” process!

Environment is key

Stating that she encourages her colleagues to visit events as attendees, Holly claimed inspiration and creativity can be inspired by viewing events from the audiences’ point of view.

Environments need to be considered when planning an event: boardrooms and conference spaces inspire thoughts of dull settings with an overabundance of briefcases. Environments need to excite and inspire engagement, so Richard advised event planners to consider shaking up the event’s location in order to capture the audience.

Keep them informal. Research suggests audiences prefer to have more control over their time at an event. Scrap plans for rigorously structured timetables and allow attendees to choose their own meetings or presentations while grabbing a coffee to network whenever they choose.

No pain no gain

The results gained by events often outweigh the potential risks of hosting one in the first place. ROI, reach, engagement, interaction and feedback are just some of the many benefits that live events can produce. Being blunt, Holly stated, “Sometimes, you just need someone at the top to say, ‘sod it!’ and take the first step.” 

She referred to Innocent as an example due to the Un-Plugged Festival the smoothie-making company created to connect with customers.

Bottom line

Advertising evolves with changing attitudes, technologies and expectations. Keeping a strong clutch on traditional and dated modes of marketing has proven damaging to brands and companies. It is essential to listen to audiences and alter events accordingly. Never assume, just because you’ve done it once, you’ve done it right!

Molly Hookings
Author: Molly Hookings

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: