The use of events as communications tools is not new. Indeed, the innovative use of sporting and culturally orientated activities for political purposes dates back to Greek and Roman times, at venues that even by today’s standards were outstanding. Up to 50 000 people in the Coliseum and 250 000 in the Circus Maximus in ancient Rome at any one time, would gratefully receive the latest event provided at great expense by politically orientated nobility. The product was mass entertainment but the objectives were to secure the popular vote.
Some 2000 years on, events are still staged for such communication purposes. However, in an age where customer expectations and choices increase simultaneously, an innovative approach for both event communications and the management of events as communications tools has perhaps become more critical. In presenting a strategic and innovative approach for communications in the events industry, this text is necessarily concerned with attaining and sustaining competitive advantage. It proposes an integrated approach in order to stay ahead of the crowd.
Innovative Marketing Communications
So what is innovation? Innovation in marketing communications is not necessarily about being first with new ways of doing things, it can also be about renewal or alteration. To innovate is to renew, alter, or introduce new methods (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 2000). The extent to which change is required is only as much as it takes to achieve the objectives set. Therefore, new ideas, concepts, tools, techniques and strategies are not required every time and repeat strategies can still be considered innovative if they are successful again. In determining innovation then, this text looks to how effective communications strategies are and have to be to achieve the objectives set for them. If new communications strategies are needed, or existing ones renewed or altered and the objectives are achieved, then innovation has been applied.
The text is divided in to four sections. The first sets the scene and describes exactly why an integrated approach to marketing communications is effective. This is achieved by looking both at how events should approach their markets and how organizations should consider events as communications tools.
Section One starts with the marketing plan, with the first chapter providing an overview of the communications planning process and the importance of integration. Each of the key elements of the marketing plan is then covered in Chapters 2, 3 and 4, research and analysis, targeting and communication objectives, and strategy. The aim is to build an understanding of the planning process and the integration aspect of communications.
It also highlights the need to fully integrate a variety of activities over the long term. The focus here is on the strategic combinations of those techniques that will have the most impact and be the most effective within the events industry.
The final chapter summarizes the continuous thread running through this entire text, the need for longer-term planning. Chapter 15 considers the current trends in marketing communications and the challenges and opportunities that are likely to arise in the future. In particular, it considers the impact of one-to-one enabling technology, the ever-increasing need for innovative media and the postmodern dedifferentiation occurring between audience, media and event