From concerts to national conferences, to major sports tournaments, Covid-19 severely impacted live events in 2020 across the world. What resulted was a digital transformation in the industry, with live events switching to virtual events and musical artists reaching their fanbase through live streams. As such, the speed of innovation and the need to gather have been more important than ever. In fact, the events industry is expected to reach 1,552.9 billion by 2028.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Shearon, Founder of Proscenium, where he provided some insight on their experience through the global pandemic and offered insights on where they see the live events industry heading next.
Jeff Fromm: What is the current state of the live event industry?
Mark Shearon: Before I answer the question, let’s take a moment to reflect on how difficult the last 2.5 years have been. With the onset of Covid-19 and for close to two years, the live event industry came to a complete stop. We made the best of a bad job by switching to virtual events, but they were less effective and less profitable. They also were not as much fun! There was plenty of talk during that time that live events were gone, and that companies would continue to hold events virtually. The word hybrid was bandied around quite a bit. Hybrid was going to be the new normal, but no one could define what hybrid meant. And did clients really have the budget to hold in effect two events: the live program and the virtual one? So, what is the current state of the live event industry? Well, it is back and back big time. The pent-up demand for human interaction is at historical levels and the live events industry is as busy as the crazy busy 1990’s. There are some challenges with supply chain, cost increases across the board including wages, and shortages of materials and people. But overall, the live event industry is busy, vibrant, fun and back!
Fromm: What are some best practices in corporate event marketing?
Shearon: Always agree and set goals and objectives for the programs. What do you want the event to do? What action do you want to get your audience to commit to? What do you want them to say or do after the event? And then take a good look at the audience. How can we match their needs with the goals and objectives of the brand organizing the event? When you figure that out, you create amazing value for a brand.
Fromm: How do brands create increased stakeholder engagement?
Shearon: Many people see engagement as the goal of an event. At Proscenium, engagement is not enough. We want to promote commitment. Commitment from the audience to do something to take some action. That could be to buy a product for a customer or to commit to a new business plan for an employee or a new contract for a business partner. To this end, we write out the Attendee Journey. We look at every possible touch point or interaction from the Save the Date email to the arrival at the airport to the check-in at the hotel through the keynotes and breakout sessions. We can then decide with our clients what messaging and what proportion of the budget is applied to that touchpoint. This way, we create a memorable and valuable experience for the attendee and the brand.
Fromm: How will sustainability be integrated into future events?
Shearon: Sustainability is a key part of Proscenium’s planning process for every event. It starts with the venue. Are they a sustainable entity? If so, that helps a great deal. We look to Reduce, Recycle and Reuse wherever possible. Things like alternative fuel generators, designing in LED lighting fixtures and screens, using local businesses to cut down on trucking, carbon offsets for flights, renting and using many times rigging / staging/ other equipment, not using plastic water bottles and using compostable disposables if we must use them are just some of the steps we take. It makes good business sense and is the right thing to do for the planet.