Marketing & Communications Working Group - 28 October 2015
The last meeting of the year for the Association of Event Venues Marketing & Comms Working Group took place at the ACC Liverpool on 28 October 2015. Paul Richardson, managing director of Vividink PR, acted as pro-tem chair in place of Jazmin Beale, the permanent chair, who sent her apologies.
The meeting began with thanks from the chair to ACC Liverpool for hosting the meeting, and a welcome to all new attendees. Round table introductions for the benefit of the new members followed the apologies and the group then went on to the formal business of the day by approving the minutes of the last meeting.
The chair then introduced the two guest speakers for the day, with James Bennett representing Vuelio, formerly Cision, and Michael Paradiso from Meltwater. Bennett and Paradiso outlined a number of media monitoring innovations that provoked considerable interest from members of the group. A brief discussion followed, and some members were able to recount their own varied experiences with media monitoring.
The group then moved to the next agenda item and discussed how they, individually, were measuring their PR and marketing activity. Some members reported that Advertising Value Equivalence (AVE) wasn't proving to be a useful measure of performance or value. Several members made the point that there was a certain familiarity with AVE at board level, having been the metric of choice for many years, that is mediating against adopting alternative measurements of PR and Marketing results.
The next topic for the group concerned corporate gifts, and there was a consensus around the table that whilst they were widely employed, there was little or no opportunity to measure any ROI. Some members revealed that they were actively investigating alternative models for corporate gifts that might be more measurable, or adopting a different approach altogether.
The measurement of exhibitor feedback to venues was the next subject, and Richard Cotton of the Harrogate International Centre began the discussion by explain how the venue captures feedback in real time. The venue has contracted the services of a specialist company, whose personnel visit the exhibition in question, and use iPads with bespoke software to record and upload exhibitor feedback throughout the day. The live feedback, explained Cotton, means that the venue team is quickly alerted to any on-site issue. The group also heard that Manchester Central manages feedback using a similar method.
The next agenda item dealt with managing comments on social media. The group reported a variety of experiences, with some venues abrogating social media duties entirely to their PR and marketing teams. Others employed their customer service personnel in the event of complaints on social media, but handed over to PR and marketing if the situation escalated.
The round table news followed, and featured several notable announcements including the opening of the Exhibition Centre at ACC Liverpool and the opening of Resorts World at the NEC. Several opening dates were also announced, and the group heard that the AECC will open its new venue in 2018 and the new Intercontinental Hotel at the O2 will have opened at the time of writing.
The group then agreed some agenda items and dates for the next meeting. Two dates and venues were suggested for the meeting, Wednesday 2 March 2016, and Wednesday 6 July 2016 at International Confex, Olympia London and Ricoh Arena respectively. Two items were suggested for the agenda, some members were keen to invite a guest speaker to address the group on crisis communications, and the group also wanted to discuss the value of trade advertising.
Richardson brought the meeting to a close with thanks to the ACC Liverpool for hosting the group and providing and excellent lunch.