Suzanne Gaunt , EMAP, gives her take on what’s important for the events industry

We asked Suzanne Gaunt the marketing director at EMAP

about what has got her to where she is and her

thoughts on the future of the events industry.

 

Q If you were to tell your 20-something self 3 things they should definitely do to help further their career what would they be?

A. Build your network; Don’t stop learning; Push yourself

Q. Who in the business world has inspired you?

A.  Many people but I was fortunate enough to work for an inspirational entrepreneur at the start of my career, he taught me many things and I continue to follow his success.

Q. What would you say is the biggest issue being faced in the events industry at the moment?

A. Too much choice, certainly in conferences and exhibitions. It’s important to differentiate your event from the rest.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in 2018?

A. Uncertainty in the economy and politically. Brexit is preventing people from doing things, as a result projects are halting and people won’t attend events if activity is stalled.

Q. What innovative measures should the industry adopt in the next few years to ensure market sustainability and growth?

A. We need to do things differently. So many events feel the same. Next year we’re focused on providing a different feel.

Q.  Why do you think events such as the Event Marketing Summit are important for the industry?

A. To my first point it’s all about growing your network, meet with people who you can learn from and share your own learnings so the industry can benefit.

Nick Field tells us why you shouldn’t worry too much & why venues are a challenge …

We asked Nick Field, former MD of Legend Exhibitions, about his experiences in the past and predictions for the future of the events industry:

 

Q.  If you were to tell your 20-something self 3 things they should definitely do to help further their career what would they be?

A.  Don’t worry too much. Like most things in life, you can spend a lot of time planning and plotting, but the things that make the biggest changes are the things that come out of the blue. Don’t try too hard to stay on a rigid path. You’ll miss out on some great opportunities – and a lot of fun! Don’t be scared of failing – it’s how you learn. Treat colleagues and clients in the same way you would like to be treated. Life’s too short to behave like an asshole!

Q.  Who in the business world has inspired you?

A. I’ve been inspired by a large number of people – and Peter Jones is one of them. He has great self belief, supports his team – and when he gets knocked down, he gets back up, learns from the experience, and comes back with a smile.

Q. What would you say is the biggest issue being faced in the events industry at the moment?

A. People have so many more ways to get information nowadays. The days when exhibitions were just a few days of rows of stands have long gone. Organisers – and exhibitors – have to find ways to engage with their audience all year round, and to supply information that is clear, concise and very, very relevant.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in 2018?

A. On a practical issue – venues! In London, Olympia has recently been sold and will probably be re-developed, Earls Court has already gone, and Excel won’t be able to accommodate everyone. When you look at the government support given to the exhibition industry in other countries (such as Germany), the lack of support in the UK is really short sighted.

Q. What innovative measures should the industry adopt in the next few years to ensure market sustainability and growth?

A. Events can’t stand alone. They need to be part of a year round strategy, using a wide variety of platforms, that provide not only a platform for their respective target markets to gather information, but also provide an opportunity for those industries to really get involved. It’s no longer about ‘us and them’ – we all need to work together more than ever.

Q. Why do you think events such as the Conference Summit are important for the industry?

A. Events like Conference Summit are important in order to share ideas and move the industry forward. If events are successful, we all benefit. If some fail, we all feel the negative effect. We should all be in this together!

Events Events speaker Peter Jones tells us about his career & the events industry…

We cornered one of the Events Events speakers — Peter Jones, Chief Executive of Nineteen Events — and asked him to divulge his views on the past, current and future state of the conference industry:

 

Q If you were to tell your 20-something self three things they should definitely do to help further their career what would they be?

A. Make mistakes. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We learn our biggest lessons from our failures. It’s OK to fail!  And if you don’t take the leap of faith in your 20s you’re less like to do so in your 30/40s once you face school fees and a whopping Mortgage. 

 

Who in the business world has inspired you?

A.  My chairman Phil Soar for his ability to see into a crystal ball that to the rest of us is just a Ball! And selling a business for £635m! Nick Field for being one of the smoothest and calm operators I have worked with, a relationships man, having gone onto to grow and sell a show for £16m! Then, anyone else who takes that leap and goes it alone. Courage and tenacity inspires me.

What would you say is the biggest issue being faced in the events industry at the moment?

A.  HA! I often get asked this. Or ‘what is the new way to grow a business’… at the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, I have been launching and selling companies for 15 years and things really haven’t changed ‘that’ much. You need to:

  • sell stands 

  • attract visitors 

  • collect the cash 

Any clever stuff outside of that, you’re probably wasting your time. 

Sure. Life isn’t quite that straight-forward but I am sure we’ll get to discuss more at your conference..

Q What do you think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in 2018?

A.  GDPR. It’s one of those things we all know is coming but few realise the full implications.

Q What innovative measures should the industry adopt in the next few years to ensure market sustainability and growth?

A.  People talk about innovation and new measures a lot. And pressures from increased competition, and, and… But you know what, opportunities are rife! Did you know that there are more millionaires made in a recession than any other time? You just need an idea, then the right people involved and a lot of elbow grease, determination and grit. So many people will tell you why a launch won’t work but you have to be determined and head strong. It you hit something enough times with your hammer from all different angles, something eventually will crack and you’re in!

Q. Why do you think events such as the Conference Summit are important for the industry?

A.  Sharing of best practice, ideas and especially in the face of an eager and enthusiastic audience wanting to carve out a successful career in Events, reassurance that it’s not as hard as you think. It’s about commitment, hard work and not accepting no for an answer!