Newsletter Issue 29: September 2016


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Event Marketing Summit
7th October 2016
Chelsea FC
London Venue Awards
14th October 2016
The Emirates Stadium
Event Leaders Dinner
17th November
Kings Place
The Conference Summit
9th December 2016
99 City Road
The European Association Awards
24th February 2017
The Awards Awards
10th March 2017
Plaisterers' Hall
The Association Excellence Awards
31st March 2017
The Hurlingham Club

INTERVIEW - SARAH PAYLING, How to have the courage to innovate when your event is in decline

Sarah Payling, Event Director for the Housing Conference and Exhibtion at Ocean Media Group will be sharing her insights of managing an event in decline at the Event Marketing Summit on 7 October. We caught up with her ahead of the summit.

How do you get the courage to innovate when your event is in decline?
When your event is in decline it can be hard to innovate. The natural instinct is to cut costs and play safe. In Harrogate 2011, I nearly put on a show without carpet such was the pressure we were under. Thankfully I resisted this and in 2012 and 2015 we innovated mainly through initiatives that did not affect the bottom line but significantly changed the event experience. Innovation is not about money it is about speaking to people, matching their needs and in the event world creating an environment for these to be met.

What was your strategy to reach out to a new audience?
We have an interesting chat every year about marketing spend. Through our print and digital titles and our relationship with the Chartered Institute of Housing we pretty much own the route to market. I have been quoted as saying our delegates almost know they are coming before they see an advert, cost or speaker line-up - so let’s scrap the marketing budget! This is great in one respect but on the flipside some segments of our market aren’t so sure whether they should attend.  We had to have a new reason for a new audience. Interestingly we not only messaged this directly to them, but also to the people that would sign off their attendance – our existing delegate base. The result was great and paying delegates really appreciated their organisations were eligible for the free conference places.

What are your 3 top tips for personalising event marketing messages?
1. Make it relevant – what will the event experience offer them?
2. Make it relevant – what will they personally walk away with?
3. Make it relevant – what will their organisation gain from them attending?

How important was content marketing in your campaign?
Taking it a step back the question is more how important is content in our event? As we all know the pressure on time and ROI increases for people year on year and we have to ensure that we give people great content at our events. This does not always have to be in the form of a seminar or conference session. There has to be a ‘buzz’ in the run up to the event and we think our content is the most important reason our event is what it is. Once you have excellent content there are no limitations as to how you can market this. We encourage all speakers to be involved in this and have an editorial and PR strategy that ensures this great content is circulated to all registered attendees, media, prospective attendees and our key stakeholders.

What are the next challenges you are planning to tackle?
Our vision for 2017 is for every exhibitor, visitor, delegate, speaker and sponsor to have a brilliant experience – unrivalled in scope, breadth and business return.

We are totally focused on the customer experience and we have some exciting new plans to grow our audience numbers whilst ensuring they walk away thinking that was the best event they have ever been to - in a work environment of course.

Another focus is on data. Last year we put up a paywall for our online housing portal. It has been a great commercial success, but most importantly it has also given us access to more data. Over the past 18 months we learned a lot about how our customers are interacting with content. As a result of that we are introducing a mobile first strategy this year.

© Kontenthaus 2016 –


This month we feature the highlights of a roundtable discussion we held recently with Operations Directors from various event companies. The event manager’s job has never been more demanding. Running an oil event for 500 people in Gabon, staging a trade exhibition in Cuba? What could be easier!

The Challenges of running events overseas.
With many companies seeking to expand their portfolios and explore opportunities for event launches in new countries, the event manager’s job has changed significantly. As the proverbial multi-tasking plate spinners of the event team, they have had to become adept at dealing with the unexpected in locations increasingly outside of their comfort zone.

GCN invited some of the industry’s senior operational heads to discuss the challenges they and their teams face running events overseas. Hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board at etc.venues - Fenchurch Place, Rory Ross Russell, Director of GCN and Fiona Paterson, former Group Head of Operations at Incisive Media led a discussion with senior heads from Informa, EMAP, Clarion Events, International Research Networks and Osney Media. Read more...


All-male panels face backlash

KNect365 partners with London & Partners

BVEP surveys on Brexit issues

Informa agrees to buy US rival Penton for £1.2bn

Guardian publisher and private equity firm sell off £200m of shares in media company

Ascential acquires One Click Retail

Other GCN announcements

Over £500 raised for charity at the Conference Golf Cup

The stage is set for the London Venue Awards

Awards Awards to be held in March 2017

Event Marketing Summit - future marketing leaders initiative

Training calendar for Autumn 2016


If you’d like to discuss a recruitment campaign – or your next career move - Kevin can be reached on 07958 704261 Katharine on 07803 078236 

For more information about GCN Talent see:

Commercial Director -Highly competitive salary plus excellent OTE, London

Portfolio Manager, Marcomms Events - £34,000 - £38,000 basic up to 53K OTE, London

Research Analyst – Media Consultancy – up to 28K base, 32K OTE, London

Head of Event Content – £40,000 basic up to 47K OTE, London

Senior Client Relations Manager - £45,000 - £60,000 up to 90K OTE, London

Chief Operating Officer - Events and Consultancy Business,  Highly competitive salary plus excellent OTE – London

Head of Conference Production – USA, £61,000 - £68,000 basic + profit share