The following is a guest post by Tony Lorenz, Founder and CEO of bXb Online.
As the world gets smaller and flatter every day, it is inevitable that the fantastic content created in the meetings and events industry will be increasingly scalable – thanks to the emergence of virtual extensions of face-to-face events.
From Friedman to Wilde
Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat in his most recent work, That Used To Be Us, has done it again with a book that hit home in an increasingly converged world. In collaboration with Michael Mandelbaum, Friedman and Mandelbaum talk about the danger of ignoring our problems. They quote Oscar Wilde who says, “There are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
They reference Wilde in the context of the United States and its rise on the world stage, the increasingly diminished power of communism and how the loss of that enemy contributed to a loss of focus in the US; loss of its seemingly unstoppable rise to higher and higher ground it had before in a more competitive political landscape.
They talk specifically about a state-of-the-art convention center in Meijiang China recently going up in a year, while a simple escalator in Friedman’s Maryland subway is in disrepair for two years, engulfed in red tape and excuses. There is of course time to regain that unstoppable rise, but a sense of urgency needs to be there.
Relation to Event Marketing
Event marketing had an incredible run for a long time, largely at the expense of print advertising. But when competition with print went away, so went focus in a big way. We talked about measurement, but real adoption was scarce. We stayed in essentially the same business model for half a century. Huge margins and unstoppable growth in all service sectors was the norm in event marketing until, of course, the Great Recession.
And then highly interactive online digital events came into view as a means of content sharing, community building and commerce.
The difference between this scenario and that of communism and the United States, however, is that digital events are actually a fantastic complement to face-to-face event marketing. 1+1=4 when it is done right. One without the other is less than ideal. Democracy and communism on the other hand is largely a zero sum game. One wins and the other necessarily loses.
The Next Generation of Event Marketing
INXPO and its best peers deliver technology solutions that will serve as a foundation for a progressive next generation of event marketing. They will be the convention centers on which we build great digital experiences. They took the early chances for the benefit of the industry and built out infrastructure that we can now fully employ today.
Hybrid is on an emerging long term run. Every event of any significance will have face-to-face and online environments. And as events become increasingly integrated, their power as a newly converged media will increase dramatically.
The enemy? That would be our reluctance to recognize the reality of the day, cling to 50-year-old business models and margins gone by, and not adapt to a marketplace that absolutely demands change today.
It’s a new day. As we come together in this industry, everyone who embraces positive change, and progression toward a fully converged event marketing industry will win.
bXb Online has been put in play to help.
About The Author
In September 2011, Tony Lorenz launched bXb Online, a marketing agency uniquely focused on activating global business stories and experiences online. This new agency offers hybrid and virtual event solutions that result in experiences that corporations and associations are seeking to deliver to their key audiences.
Tony began his career in event marketing in 1988, then founded ProActive in 1992 in the endeavor to develop an organization where experienced and talented individuals would thrive in the fulfillment of communication objectives of the world’s most respected brands. He set the standard for ProActive’s services that differentiated the agency from other providers of live and fully integrated experiential marketing services.
In 2011, Tony co-founded rEvolution, a premier sports marketing firm based in Chicago, IL.
In April 2007, ProActive became a member of Freeman, an industry-leading exposition and exhibit producer. In July 2009, he fully integrated ProActive into Freeman where he lead the its creative function. Freeman creates and delivers many of the industry’s most recognized face-to-face marketing programs every year.
Tony serves on several industry and civic boards including Business Marketing Association, Children’s Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. He is past chair of the Marketing Taskforce of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).
Post contributed by Dennis Shiao