Beyond Return on Investment (ROI)
Traditionally ROI has been calculated based on cost of event activity versus the benefit the event organiser has reaped. While this is a common approach in most marketing activities, it is often very difficult to measure these benefits. In the past we have seen many event organisers revert to “soft” metrics when looking at return which doesn't necessarily translate to financial justification for an event.
In 2019 we believe that an event cannot be justified on vague or soft return metrics. Organisers will be looking for direct revenue from their events or directly attributable profit from the event activity.
“Direct revenue” could include sponsor revenue or ticket sales. These forms of revenue have always existed for awards and exhibitions, but we anticipate that organisers will be looking for these revenue streams to apply when the audience is suppliers, clients or even staff from different business units. Expect to see event costs to be covered by these direct revenues. We believe this will apply to sales conferences, product demos, round table discussions and other knowledge-sharing events.
“Directly attributable profit” is revenue that an organiser will expect to see, that they would not have otherwise, had the event not happen. Organisations organising events such as product launches, training events and annual sales conferences will be looking at the revenue that is directly related to the content and activity delivered at their events.
Because of these shifts, organisers will have to take a much more commercial view of their events in 2019. This will not necessarily mean a focus on cost reduction, but instead a laser-focus on ensuring that the event performs for the organiser commercially.
At SXS we understand that our involvement ultimately needs to drive these revenues for our clients. Because of this our pitches and concepts are filled with excellent ways of driving revenue and profit for our clients.
2019 Trend Statement
Events Shifting from a “Cost Centre” to a “Profit Centre”
This ties in with the above point. In uncertain times finance directors are looking to reduce costs and drive additional profit for their organisations. The days of vanity events are over!
At SXS we have a simple approach to all our clients’ commercial requirements from events: “Let’s turn a cost centre into a profit centre”. This means that for every project we do, we look for innovative and value-adding ways of driving additional revenue for our clients. We have several examples of where we have turned the work we do from being a cost to our client, to being profit centre by aligning what we do with revenue that the client would not otherwise have had.
Flexible Event Spends Matter
Many event organisers are driven by sponsor revenue. While ticket revenue can be reasonably predictable, sponsor revenue can vary wildly due to the external factors. Because of this, event organisers need to see a more à la carte style pricing. At SXS we are doing this for all projects where there is a mixture of core production requirements and additional add-ons. This helps give cost clarity to our clients and also allows a high degree of flexibility to adjust scale and spend depending on sponsor revenue.
Most people are witnessing exceptional live event production on television - they expect to see just as good production when they attend events; be it a conference, awards show or exhibitions. A big video screen and some colour changing lights simply is not good enough these days.
We must remember that we are selling an experience to both our clients and the delegates
In 2019, organisers need to give their guests and delegates an experience of something that they will take photos of to share, tell everyone about and, most importantly, remember for years to come.
While jaw-dropping experiences may have traditionally been reserved for stage spectacles, 2019 will be the year when events like conferences will start to look and feel more like arena shows.
SXS integrates esoteric and revolutionary production concepts into traditional events with awesome results. In 2018 we were flown all over the globe to deliver on our HOLOX holographic solutions, Hudor water screens and Immersitech Suite. 2019 will see a higher demand for this and organisers who want to keep up may need to review the kind of production companies they are working with. We love hearing from new clients and are always keen to share appropriate concepts with them. Please get in touch!
Virtual Reality (VR) vs Real World
There has been a lot of hype around VR. We love VR and think it has some incredible possibilities in engineering, gaming, design and experience-creation. However we don’t believe that VR is scalable for events at the quality required. Beyond this, in a technology driven society, people value time spent face to face more than ever. Real world immersion and human connection are what makes events the optimal environment for understanding concepts and changing perceptions. VR does not deliver any of the amazing things that real-world events can create. Becuase of this we think that VR is a great gimmick to have at an event but looking to VR for a new wholistic event experience is likely to undermine the wondrous stuff an event can deliver.
At SXS we are ensuring we keep our focus on why people love events and real-world experiences - we will ensure we magnify the real-world experience and keep back-hairs on end!
While VR is tricky to scale we think AR (augmented reality, the adding of digital elements to the real world) will become ever more popular. Whether this is through mobile technology or at a larger scale.
More Screen Equals Less Screen
There’s been an explosion in LED Screen technology over the past few years. With pricing falling further and further we’re going to see more and more screens at events of every size. As the visual real estate increases combined with the ability for presenters to stand directly in front, the screen will start to disappear and the presenter will be immersed in a digital environment. This offers great opportunities to cement your event brand, deliver a real story through a keynote, upsell a sponsor on a heavily branded set for their session and a complete change around for an awards evening.
New and interesting shapes and sizes.
In 2019, we will continue to push the envelope with how messages are delivered. The ultrawide conference screen staple of the past decade is slowly going out of fashion, with curved, square, and circular screens becoming more prevalent. With delegates and sponsors needing to become ‘all encompassing’ we will see the use of room encompassing banner screens more and more, as well as screens that fit the identity of the event, for example an oval screen to match a brand or event logo.
More Motion Graphics, Everywhere
With more screen there is of course a need for high quality motion graphics content. However, we think this will go beyond the screen. With UX design becoming more a part of our everyday lives through mobile applications and web design we will start to see more animations everywhere. Starting with your event website, social media channels and through to digital signage around the venue. Brands are becoming more and more animated.
The Rise of Real World A.I.
We’ve heard about the power of A.I (artificial intelligence) for a number of years but now it’s starting to trickle down into our everyday lives, through the voice assistant on your phone or in your home, the navigation software you’re likely using to get to the event, and chatbots, which help you save money, order a Starbucks or deliver customer service. We think this is where A.I. will make an impact in events. Offering delegates the ability to ask a chatbot questions about the event and agenda. Saving them time by taking them directly to the answer they need.
Social Media Image Management
All events we did in 2018 had a strong social media presence. The possibilities from this are fantastic and include reaching a larger audience, allowing attendees to see other content and creating a fantastic digital record of the event.
In 2019 we expect to see organisers take a stronger lead with the social media content that gets our - especially the quality of pictures and video.
We are now offering clients a suite of fast-turnaround content solutions that ensure that online content is of the quality needed and is consistent with the brand and event message. This can include overnight highlight video production and same-day holographic content creation.
Sustainability Credentials of Events
With the millennial generation increasingly in the driving seat with event budgets and event spend, issues around sustainability are becoming extremely important. In 2018 every single one of our clients knew that they must do more to help the environment and reduce their waste.
In 2019 this will be THE number one issue for the events industry. We expect to see event organiser’s eco-credentials have substantial impact on their revenues.
We are leading the industry with our approach towards sustainability and taking direct action to mitigate the impact of producing events. Our involvement in events can help organisers show they are making big steps to improve their sustainability. Clients have found our experience and knowledge in this field incredibly valuable.