“Anything that can be done digitally is being done digitally, so information-based events are being scaled back,” notes Mark Baltazar, CEO and managing partner of top New York strategic communications and brand experience firm Broadstreet. Marketing events “are still going full speed,” he says, but with “reduced budgets and higher expectations.”
Jean Wilson, chief operating officer of Chicago's XA: The Experiential Agency, sees a similar trend.
"“Events taking precedence are launch and brand messaging events," she says.
In party-savvy, talent-filled Los Angeles, the top creative trend is to “set trends, not follow them,” says Russell Harris, head of RH Event Group. “Whatever I do has to be better, different, more upscale than what I did before.”
STOP AND FOCUS
But budgets are still tight, which is another trend and one that seems here to stay for the foreseeable future. As a result, the key is to create “focal points” and areas of large impact—unique treatments, dynamic flooring, exciting palettes—to get the most bang for the client’s buck, Harris explains. “With no money," he adds, "it’s hard to do details.”
If there’s an overarching business trend in her market, Wilson says it’s the demand for measurable return on investment. Particularly in the emerging world of social media, “You do have to be able to show your client a data-reporting stream and an element of measurement to justify it,” she says.
See the full story in the March-April issue of Special Events.