How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
Making the most of large format events
Vijay Singh, MD, 141 Sercon
Large format events are intriguing business – they tend to be larger than life, much talked about, much visited and, I dare say, even glamorous. However, there are very serious business objectives behind the creation of these ‘events’. I believe these could be loosely classified in the following three formats:
a) Pure revenue generators: These are events where the objective is solely to generate profits from the project. The majority of the standalone events/projects which you see are of this format. An organisation or a smart entrepreneur spot opportunity in any given scenario, be it by way of need for entertainment, knowledge or networking. They create a property like a music event, consumer exhibition, entertainment show or an event around it. In order to ensure success, high event visibility is created and hence, public interest. Revenue is generated from sponsors, participation or pure space sales.
A number of projects in this category are one-time shows, while some tend to become annual events till the interest level lasts. This format of events also sees the largest number of failures and one time shows, as the category’s interest areas shift.
b) Media extensions: Media formats like TV and print are one way communication vehicles and hence, are eager to extend their offerings to create pragmatic and experiential touchpoints. Events in all their forms are the best experiential options to create a stronger bond with the consumers. Hence, media houses create events and shows which address the specific niche they wish to establish. They are very well suited to do this as they understand the category well, which includes its trends and shifts. Also, they are the category’s content experts and have the media vehicles to reach out to the consumers/audiences.
Over the years, almost every media house in the country has understood the power of these experiential forums and a large number of these have been spin offs (may be one too many).
In fact, some of the largest exhibition and show management companies around the world are predominantly media companies, who have decided to extend their scope of activities. This is especially true for niche publications, which tend to be best suited to launch specialised B2B shows – for e.g., a specialised metallurgy publication can easily spin off a super specialised B2B exhibition, allowing its advertisers to engage its readers one on one, and also bringing together opinion leaders of the industry to create ‘must’ attend conventions.
While the genesis of this format was to extend the reach and create experiential opportunities, however, some media houses are increasingly looking at these as revenue generating opportunities and that’s a shame.
c) Marketing campaigns with embedded events: This is probably the most challenging format as it adds strategic marketing objectives of trying to engage its target audience with a brand or cause. These marketing campaigns are created around a strong brand marketing challenge, wherein the objective is to create touchpoints for the potential customers to participate or buy into the campaign. This format would have all the elements of a classic marketing campaign focused on the core thought/idea. It would tend to use all of media vehicles available to create awareness. It would normally try and create a larger fulfillment channel (extended reach) and hence, create engaging and intriguing sub-plots to induce the target group’s involvement and then finally reward such involvement.
Like any event format, the books need to be balanced in this format as well. However, this format has larger strategic objectives hence, is always an exciting challenge for a marketing services agency like ours.
A classic example of this category of event would be the country-wide shopping festivals, which initiate new buying seasons and in turn generate additional tourist traffic and create a rewarding shopping experience. They also ensure that the government’s exchequer is richer at the end of the campaign.
As the economy booms, lifestyles undergo changes and become more consumption oriented, and attention spans get shorter, one can predict a multifold increase in each of the large format events in years to come and expect the embedded events to score over all others.