Summer Eventia review: Pitching in

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Every year, the Summer Eventia attracts a loyal crowd of agencies, venue owners and suppliers, all eager to question what’s happening in industry…

Agencies and end users that take liberties when it comes to seeking discounts with last minute bookings should take note – if you take the Mickey it will cost you more. That was just one of the clear messages of warning to come out of this year’s Summer Eventia. A light-hearted yet serious session on the issues of pitching was just one of the topics to generate discussion at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff.

According to Gareth Crowder, head of procurement, Zibrant, emotional engagement is a most important strength yet any engagement is ruined when procurement enter the door and start talking pounds. And more interestingly, why do people bother tendering and pitching when many times it’s quite clearly a question of price or building a relationship?

During the session, the audience was asked who is as guilty as those who stand accused – how many agencies email a brief to a supplier on a Friday, when it was received on a Thursday, and want it for Monday, because the client wants an answer on Tuesday?

Everyone needs to take responsibility, said the panel. Ask yourself: Is what’s in your pitch document relevant to what you will be graded on? At the same time, the prize needs to justify the time it takes to pitch, and there’s also a question of when should intellectual creativity get paid for?

Staci Clark, global marketing manager, Cisco Live, says that the organisation owns all creatives and makes agencies sign an agreement that they can’t re-use concepts for other clients without their prior approval.

But what are the other dilemmas? Emma Nielsen, deputy head of events, Barclays, says that whilst banking is seeing more growth in events, cautiousness remains, and it now has to ponder whether it organises events internally or outsources them to an agency but with a lower budget. Nielsen confirmed that occasionally it will outsource venue finding but on the whole likes to talk directly to convention bureaus and DMCs. She was joined on stage by Linklater’s global head of events, Sharyn Hadfield who outsources AV, production, global travel and venue finding services too.

First Protocol’s managing director, Mark Riches commented that the problem revolves round trust: It’s missing in the event industry. Much effort is put into a pitch without considering trust, he said.

In another session to focus on the Olympics, Nick Grandvionet, head of sales, IHG, which is a sponsor of the 2012 torch relay, told the audience that it is running a competition to find 70 IHG staff that do good work in the community. The competition is being used to motivate staff and the 70 chosen employees will then take part in the relay.

Other news to come out of the 2012 seminar included:

● September 2012 will see a significant blip in employment because the Games will be over. Talent will be there but people will need jobs.

● There remain opportunities for corporates to get tickets for 2012.Thomas Cook is doing a lot of business with corporates because they are finding prices “too spicy”.

● Employers should put TVs in the office. They were urged to embrace the Games and keep staff happy, as the 100- metre final only lasts 10 seconds.

● Adecco is focusing on the Paralympics and will not fight amongst other brands in a crowded Olympic space.

● Adecco’s Steve Girdler says that
20 per cent of London 2012 personnel employed will be black or Asian to reflect the London area.