Exhibition News September 2018 - Page 14

AGENDA The industries we serve Two organisers take a closer look at their place in their audience’s world 14 Alex Jones, Marketing Director – Healthcare, CloserStill Media Max Quittenton, Director, Elevate, COPA & Elite Sport Expo Within events, more often than not we get into a yearly cycle where we constantly ask our exhibitors and visitors for something; it’s all emails, texts, tweets and direct mails asking them to register or book. The first step for us at CloserStill in the healthcare portfolio was looking at our visitors as people with families, stressful jobs and also consumers outside of work and so subconsciously were starting to judging their experience of attending our events way before they even made the decision to register. We decided it was time to stop the normal event cycle and do something different, the result was mind blowing! We had already sent out a post-show survey on our Best Practice show asking them to ‘Click Here’ and have your say to shape the future of your event. Same old survey, same old results – no surprise there. We knew that burn out among GPs was high and so we send them all an email thanking them for all the hard work they put in for keeping us safe and that we knew how hard they were working, but to know they were not alone and we were there for them. This one email got a 55.2 per cent open rate, no clicks because we weren’t asking for anything, and more than 300 GPs responded back. We listened, and that allowed us to started a real conversation. We connected all of the GPs and 267 of them, with our help, put together a national survey on GP burn out and within two weeks had some startling results to put together a national report on the state of general practice which we took to Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens and lobbied on the doctor’s behalf. That year not only did both Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens speak at Best Practice in front of 5,500 GPs (32 per cent more than the year before) they made the announcement that general practice will be given £3m more investment in addition to the original budget as a result of this very report. We stopped talking for once and listened, and then the real conversations started. I am not part of the industries that Elevate serves. I make that point regularly in meetings. Unless we open a gym chain, coach a Team GB medallist or I become Max Wick we never will be. That’s more than ok because if any of those things happen – transforming into Max Wicks being the least plausible – we’d have to hand over the reins for Elevate to a team who’d never care about these industries or the event as much us. We are not experts in physical activity, human performance or rehabilitation. Our amazing speakers, supporters, exhibitors and attendees are. ‘We just make the container’ - I think I am stealing that wonderful metaphor from either Bryony Mansell-Lewis or David Wood, possibly both (hope you guys don’t mind). Our job, and it’s still a very valuable job, is to be the quiet observers that produce B2B events in physical activity and sport that are both interesting and properly important. Without being truly independent and from ‘outside’ of the industry we’d never be in a position to develop the understanding and relationships needed to achieve that. My ‘industry’ is the event or exhibition industry. Whilst it might not be perfect or the most revered - which is fair enough because let’s face it we’re not exactly ebola nurses or molecular scientists are we? - I am very proud of that. It’s always given me the confidence to walk into any market knowing that I am equipped with half decent skill set that’s being backed up by a very capable industry of my own. When things go well, we move all sorts of other industries forward by creating environments that have the potential to stimulate innovation, progress debate, start collaboration and allow the experts in their field share their hard won knowledge. September 2018 | exhibitionnews.co.uk