Complex spend categories, such as meetings / events and business travel, while considered mere costs of conducting business on a global scale, are becoming more strategic spend areas of the modern enterprise. Both business travel and events comprise a significant chunk of the average company’s overall budget (industry standards peg these two categories as encompassing nearly 20% of the average budget) while contributing varied levels of strategic value to the greater organization.
In the year ahead for meetings and events management, companies across the globe will face more challenging issues in how they address the spend, supplier and marketing aspects of this category. Both internal and external problems may also plague the typical executive responsible for planning and executing corporate events, but there are opportunities abound to address the intricacies of meetings management.
With 2014 expected to be the year in which the social stratosphere even more so invades the business world, and with collaboration becoming a more strategic component of any corporate program, meetings and events management will experience a slew of interesting items in the new year:
- The social attributes of engagement management will be just as critical as spend management. Social media is now an accepted component of how enterprises conduct their business, and, with corporate events as inherently “social” gatherings, the underlying social strategies for promoting events and engaging attendees (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) are critical in developing a successful meeting. That’s not to say that spend management strategies will sit on the backburner; social media efforts will be just as important as supply management initiatives for this category in 2014.
- The marketing team will balance emotional, quality and financial metrics in determining the performance of an event. The modern marketing executive is focused on promoting the company brand, engaging attendees and future prospects, developing high-quality events and, of course, driving revenue. In 2014, for those marketing execs responsible for developing and executive a slew of strategic meetings, there will be a balance between achievement of all these goals in lieu of honing in on just one. While revenue has been a classic mark of success, improving the attendee experience and holding high-quality, effective events are just as critical in the years ahead.
- Mobile applications will be even more crucial in developing high-quality, meaningful events. The contemporary business executive holds his or her time to be extremely valuable. Making the most out of a conference or event is one significant block in taking value from time away from the office. Mobile apps that help attendees find exactly who they’re looking for, content that may be of interest, and the ability to set one-on-one appointments with sponsors or other attendees are critical elements in improving the event experience.
Speaking of predictions, we invite you to attend this upcoming webinar where Andrew offers up his Predictions and Big Trends for Procurement in 2014 (click to register). Rumor has it that I may be making a guest appearance to talk about complex categories.