The recent Event Planners Talk took place on 21 February at Allianz Park in London. It was entitled ‘Pitching for Success: Pitfalls and Opportunities’. We welcomed an esteemed panel of leading business leaders specialising in corporate events: Kevin Jackson, founder of The Experience is the Marketing, Scott Seaman Digby Collins, Group CEO at Hawtrey Dene Group, Craig Pugh, Proposal Response Manager at DRP Group and Angie Mason, Chairman at Absolute Corporate Events. The discussion was moderated by Caleb Parker, Future in 15 Show host. This panel discussion was a follow-up on a previous Q & A with Kevin Jackson, focusing on whether agencies should charge for pitching and why building a relationship is a more effective alternative to the often-uncertain pitching process. The discussion offered multiple perspectives from both agency and compliance sides on the issue of charging for pitches, and ultimately why that wouldn’t become an industry standard.
Pitching: agency’s cost of sales
According to Angie, there should not be a charge for pitching. It doesn’t matter in what business you are in, there will always be a cost associated with gaining a new piece of business, and only if you have a product or service clients want will they subsequently buy it. According to Craig, it’s also ‘no.’ Throughout his career, it hasn’t occurred to him that they’ve charged for pitching because it is rather difficult to argue the case forward. In contrast, they turn down pitches ‘When you start seeing many pitches coming in without particular opportunity you have to be very careful moving forward.’ Whatever business you have, you will have to cost your sales. Kevin added that ‘Most people put this cost to advertising. Those who don’t advertise, their cost of sales is pitching. We just spend what we need, and that can be any amount. Hence, you have to say ‘no’ to pitching because you can’t pitch most of the time.’ Kevin has mentioned to clients in the past that ‘I can’t afford to pitch; give me the work I’ll do it but I’m not going to pitch for it.’ That provides a way of handing this situation as well.
‘There is no such thing as sales’ is the name of Kevin Jackson’s latest book. He shares the encapsulation of his past 20 years working in advertising and marketing with the leading agencies, including Jack Morton Worldwide, George P. Johnson and now his newly launched businesses in strategic consultancy and events, including The Experience is the Marketing, Muslim Lifestyle Show, London Halal Food Festival and Blueprints.org.
On 21 February, Kevin was a keynote speaker at the Event Planners Talk event about ‘pitching for success: pitfall and opportunities’ and shared very important insights about how agencies can win business without needing to enter the often-uncertain pitching process against other agencies, and instead, make themselves the agency of choice from the get-go.
In Spring 2016, the Munich-based event agency trendhouse organised an incentive in Edinburgh, Scotland, for best performers of a direct selling company. Trendhouse is a reputable events and communication agency that specialises in complete event management and strategy. The agency takes a personal and hospitable approach to its clients and is known for going the extra mile with attention to details to each client project.
Their clients are both based in Germany and internationally, particularly due to their proximity to Switzerland and Austria. This incentive was organised for a group of best performers of a direct selling company in Austria.
Edinburgh matches the client brief
Trendhouse was hired for the second year by the client to organise a reward incentive for best sellers. In the previous year they went to Athens, Greece, and after being at a southern destination, the client requested a northern destination, and pre-selected Iceland, Scotland and Lapland.
This coming May will be one year since I teamed up with Laura Notarbartolo, Founder at Italian Special Occasions DMC and Farhan Huseynli and his wife Aysel, independent photographers, videographers and producers, to create a documentary about Milazzo, Sicily. Several content pieces have been produced about this journey, and next week I will host an Event Planners Talk event during ITB Berlin, at the International Club Berlin regarding the topic ‘Over-tourism and the MICE industry — looking for solutions’. I will be joined by Laura Notarbartolo, Pauline Kwasniak from TurnedSee and Joel Francisco Vicente from LineUp Events Factory and Portugal Incoming DMC and together we will address this problem further, as well as look for applicable solutions that group travel bookers can implement strait away.
The following post is a case study example of how this project resonates with the topic of over-tourism and what can be done to support small regions, their local business and crafts and ensure that their legacy will live on.
When an event has a red carpet, you know that it will be a good one. Such was the case for ‘Unexpected Monaco’ event on 13 February at the prestigious Relais & Châteaux Restaurant Lafleur in Frankfurt, followed by an educational workshop the next morning, 14 February, at the stylish La Brasserie am Luisenplatz in Wiesbaden.
The Monaco Convention Bureau and six of their partners came for a roadshow in Germany and hosted events in Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden. I had the honour of joining them for the last two events and here I want to share with you my insights. This time, the focus was on both presenting the destination but also offering an educational ‘think tank’ format, teaming up with Maximice. The topic of the think tank was General Data Protection Regulations (more specifically, the GDRP) and was presented by the well-known lawyer Thomas Waetke, who’s firm specialises in IT, event law and data protection.