As with many professions there is a major difference between consultancy/agency work and in-house/corporate positions. We’ve met many people that work in an agency when they are better suited to an in-house position and vice versa.
The hospitality sector in our experience tends to be the sector that many academic institutions believe is the ‘events industry’ when in reality it is a relatively small part. B2B conferences, B2C experiential campaigns, exhibitions, business improvement (incentive programmes), outdoor/sporting events and venue management are all larger sectors of the industry where corporate event management companies compete for business.
Most agencies are quite small, usually around 5 -10 people and sometimes less, but the larger agencies that are usually based in London can employ up to 50 – 100 people and will have overseas satellite offices. The US, Singapore and Hong Kong are the main cities but the Middle East, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and more recently Qatar are becoming major locations for high profile, big spend event projects.
Agency life is dominated by winning clients, retaining clients, constantly developing new ideas, pitching for business and arguably most importantly making money and profit to reinvest in the business, employing full time and freelance staff.
The world of live events is extremely varied comprising of conferences, conventions, exhibitions, brand experiential campaigns, multi site roadshows, awards ceremonies, product launches, sporting and entertainment events. Each is different and requires people and event management companies with differing skills and experiences.
But what exactly does corporate event management companies do?
A ‘full service’ events management company will provide a broad range of services either employing people directly in house or engaging suppliers and freelance staff to meet the requirements of the project. Project management is one of the key core capabilities of a successful corporate event management company.
Services that a “start to finish” corporate events management company can provide include; creative content development, technical production, logistics planning, venue sourcing and selection, speaker and entertainment sourcing, delegate management, design and print and video production.
When the live events agency becomes trusted by their marketing and communications clients there is an expectation that the corporate event management agency will challenge the client and if they think something is wrong they’ll say so, however they must be prepared to offer up a solution that is clearly better.
The final thing to highlight is the difference between in-house corporate events management team and agency corporate event management teams.
The corporate event management buyer who in addition to managing one or more agencies across a range of projects has responsibility for an annual programme of events aligned to business objectives and client needs, making tight budgets go as far as possible, managing multiple in house stakeholders and proving ROI as well as organising in-house events that don’t justify external support. Corporate agency event management life is different but we should not fool ourselves in believing it is harder work than that of our in-house colleagues.