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Time magazine has appointed a new type of CEO, giving events a seat at the table. Is 2024 the year all organizations should prioritize holding events as part of their business strategy?

Time magazine’s appointment of a Chief Events Officer has prompted many companies to consider whether events should have a bigger priority in the overall business strategy for 2024.

When announcing the promotion of Dan Macsai from Vice President, Time Events, to Chief Events Officer late last year, the media company revealed that events was its fastest-growing revenue line in 2023, up 84 percent year on year.

Events have typically received a bad rap for being a huge investment of money and energy with little to no return on investment (ROI), but are the tides turning with how businesses view and utilize the power of events to achieve key objectives?

Sure, ROI can be hard to quantify and track with events, especially if we’re not talking purely about dollars, but there are ways to measure the success of events against their objectives.

The Strategic Benefit of Events

So the question is, what role do events play in a company’s strategy? The rise of social media saturation, Zoom fatigue and hybrid working means in-person business events are poised to take a front-row seat in the strategy of three key areas – finance, marketing and human resources.

Clearly for Time, it is seeing a massive boost in revenue as it continues to increase the quantity and quality of its events. Financial return on events can come from ticket sales, sponsorships and partnerships, but this isn’t guaranteed. Luckily, this is not the only type of return that events can deliver.

In-person event experiences that create brand touchpoints, foster relationships and generate buzz are gaining attention as a channel not to be dismissed.

More and more businesses are turning to events to achieve their marketing and sales objectives at all stages of the funnel. The tech trends and world events of recent years have led us back to a high demand for human interaction, meaning events have transformed into powerful platforms for storytelling, brand engagement, customer education and conversion.

People buy from people, and in-person event experiences that create brand touchpoints, foster relationships and generate buzz are gaining attention as a channel not to be dismissed.

Boost your Team

For many executives, the perception of internal events is either some afternoon activity that’s been itemized as ‘team building’, or an expensive bar tab at a Christmas party that leaves us wondering if any of it actually contributes to staff engagement or retention.

However, when done well business events are increasingly being recognized for their role in talent attraction and building company culture.

With a focus on quality, not quantity, businesses are moving away from regular social activities to make way for annual team retreats and off-sites. This allows teams to get away from the day-to-day and creates space for strategic planning, celebrating company milestones and bonding.

Moreover, in the competitive landscape of talent acquisition, companies are hosting industry and professional development events to position themselves as an employer of choice.

Setting Objectives

Integrating events into the business strategy can yield significant ROI, not just in immediate financial return, but also in the cultivation of brand awareness and positioning, new and loyal customers, and an engaged and healthy team.

This year presents an excellent opportunity for business events. As for Time, CEO Jessica Sibley reveals demand for events right now exceeds even the levels before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are going to continue to drive our event opportunities because that’s where the demands and the client asks are,” she said in December.

Events have the power to inspire, delight and ignite human potential, unlike any other business activity.

So if ‘hold an event’ is on your to-do list and you need to make sure it’s a success, there are two crucial steps. First, get clear on the objectives for the event, so you know where you’re headed and you can measure the success and return on your investment.

Second, be clear about who the event is for – what do they like, why would they come and how can you tailor the experience for them? As you plan the event, always come back to these two things – what are you trying to achieve and who is it for?

Events have the power to inspire, delight and ignite human potential, unlike any other business activity. How will you harness that power to deliver your company’s objectives in 2024?

Jodie McLean

Contributor Collective Member

Jodie McLean is the Founder and Director of event management agency JEM events. With more than 12 years’ experience planning and managing corporate events around Australia and overseas, she has seen firsthand the power that events have to inspire, delight and ignite human potential. Her expertise and experience has seen her recognized as a Top 5 finalist in the Australian Event Awards and the Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards. In 2021 Jodie launched her second business, Events Academy, a digital education platform to equip admin professionals with the knowledge, tools and resources to plan successful business events. https://www.jemevents.com.au/

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