Are we a sales or marketing led industry? Members of the EN30/30 give their view.
Gayle Trott - CloserStill Media
There is no ‘I’ in team, however sales is at the heart of a successful exhibition. The marketing team work hard to promote and heighten the profile of the exhibition, but you need a well-driven and focused sales team working throughout the year to build good business relationships and create the content of the exhibition. This then allows marketing to create innovative ideas to promote the exhibition.
Anthony Goodey – Media 10
The fundamental reason people visit a show is to gain a 3D experience with a service or product that cannot be achieved in a magazine or online. What better way to talk with your customers than face-to-face and to be able to demonstrate your product to them. It’s the chicken and egg scenario – without sales there would be no money to invest in marketing or content – but without marketing there would not be visitors – and therefore no sales. Fundamentally, money makes the world go round. But for me, content is king.
Miranda Martin – SME London
It is sales led no doubt. Every event begins with an idea, one that must be sold to potential investors/participants/clients. Marketing is a vital by-product rolled out once the idea has been bought.
Bhavika Pattni – i2i Events
Sales are responsible for generating the revenue and ultimately lead the growth and existence of the exhibition industry. Therefore, we are still led by sales - if we weren’t, there would not be enough investment for the marketing department. However, in the future the pressure for marketing to lead will be stronger as we can already see companies have adopted extremely sophisticated strategies in order to compete.
Jazmin Beale – Olympia London
With more CEO’s and event directors coming from a sales background than any other, decision-makers in our industry could be perceived to prioritise cutting deals and earning revenue ahead of the visitor experience. However we’ve seen massive strides in putting the visitor at the heart of events. An increased emphasis on content at shows such as Marketing Week Live has changed the experience dramatically; inspirational features at Ideal Home Show provide insight which guests can’t find elsewhere. Many organisations are playing the long game, increasing retention through customer satisfaction and ultimately increasing the lifetime value of the customer. This sustainable model is of course, marketing-led. As a channel to market, exhibitions compete with Youtube, Amazon and Netflix for education and entertainment. If the rest of the world is focused on their consumers, we need to be too.
Alexander Angus - Montgomery
This question is the same as what is your favourite packet of crisps. Everyone thinks they are right and no one can prove otherwise. I completely acknowledge this, but I will still shout from the rooftops that cheese and onion is the best, and the same applies for sales. Every level of the exhibition involves sales, but not every level involves marketing. Don’t get me wrong, marketing is imperative to the success of any exhibition. It is salt and vinegar, an integral element to the multipack, but I’ll go with cheese and onion every time.
Fay Gillard – UBM
As an industry, we have always carried out research – but I have often found that it gets analysed and discussed at great length, but not always implemented afterwards. I have noticed in recent years that this is changing hugely, hence why our industry is changing so rapidly. Because of this, I think the future will move towards us being a marketing led industry – if we are not there already.
Toby Moore –Diversified Communications
When it comes down to brass tacks, the reason why businesses exhibit at events is to sell. However, in an exhibition environment, the game afoot is how you present yourself and make your brand stand out against your competitors. It is undeniable that without sales, nothing happens. But when the real challenge is learning how to differentiate yourself, quickly and in close proximity to you competitors, the core skills and capabilities of a strong marketer come right to forefront of succeeding in the exhibitions business.
Chelsea Cox – Telegraph Events
I don’t think you can be one without the other, it would be like bread without butter. I truly believe marketing teams and sales teams who work closely together make for a better event as a whole, at Be:Fit London we regularly talk through decisions as a team regardless of who holds the job description.
THE RESULT: MARKETING WINS
This article was first published in the November issue of EN. Any comments? Email Jamie Wallis