Peter Jack has the distinction of being the creative driver behind the success of EMG (Events Management Group) and to be sitting on the AIME Advisory Board (Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo) where he also is one of the Creative Directors for Melbourne Convention Bureau. Peter Jack shares some of his vision and thoughts on the direction of Event Planning and how he sees Attendee Engagement as key to success.
“The industry is ripe for disruption and embracing innovation in the sector will see opportunities thrive” said Mr Jack. “I’m honored to be currently sitting on the AIME Advisory Board, providing insight on innovation within the industry. I’m also excited to be one of the over the next three years, looking at attendee touch points, social media and innovation.”
When asked how EMG connects to the event marketplace – Peter Jack responds – “EMG as a company where we know the world is changing at a rapid pace – Our philosophy is ‘We bring our world into yours’ – we do a lot of research around technology and engagement. Technology in itself is great but if it adds no value to an even, it is just technology.”
“Research has shown that between 6PM and 11 at night, people sit with their phone or laptop and that is when they do most of their research and surprisingly, when their buying decisions are made.”
“Technology in isolation is just technology – if you can’t connect it, [then] it does not work as a customer experience. For instance, Destinations are going to have to create a more immersive experience. But also when we look at venues and different events spaces such as hotels, no longer can you place a “one dimensional” view of what you think is important. It is about letting the viewer see what they want to view and experience in a 360 experience.”
“For someone like me as a Producer, I am interested in the infrastructure. I need to look at everything, including the ceiling. Whereas another client may want to look at aesthetics to see what suits their brand image.”
We asked Peter how the de-constructed environment can assist in breaking down cultural differences, “We are becoming a global community and we are more aware today and technology has enabled us to find out more than ever before – and also that in a business environment – you want to do business. We have seen that those people who have found somebody have done their research and brought to a couch over a coffee and do business and the relationship take place in a [relaxed] environment where they can have a conversation.”
“The Hub at AIME 2016 [was] an example where attendees can come and have a coffee, meet and network and follow-up on their research from the floor experience and create an even richer experience that integrates the space and the work environment. The Hub is an example that brings technological experience with a Virtual Reality experience alongside a relaxed work-space similar to what they are used to and where they make decisions.”
“The events industry globally is a Trillion dollar plus industry – we are the single largest platform that brings people together – it’s about events – it’s about engagement and return on investment. When you sit down with somebody to plan an event it’s about – what experience do they want [and] is technology or engagement relevant to that experience. What we are trying to do is that we have a rich depth of [information] that we can put on the table – let’s see if they can come together to create that experience.”
“From an event planners point of view – it’s about having that conversation first and working out if this customer journey we are creating for your customers (delegates, guests) the right experience. At the end of the day – are we giving the right advice the right experience – for me it’s sitting down and identifying what we do and how we do it – and doing it really well.”
When asked about the direction of events into the future he speculates, “The research that we have found is that there is still a need to bring people together. Even when we have worked with very large companies – even though they can do hybrid meetings and use technologies such as video streaming- they can’t get the same engagement as when they bring people together. It is about creating rich engaging content that inspires people that allows an organisation to do something as a collective that you cannot do as an individual.”
“With events, we have got to stop being afraid – and get back into design and be creative. It’s about thinking – ‘who is the audience’ – because as humans we like coming together and we like to be entertained.
Peter explains, “The AIME Welcome Event as a ‘networking occasion’ – When AIME first started it was conceived as a networking event – but where we are today is not where we were when AIME started – the Welcome Event is actually a celebration and about our community coming together – and I knew that if we created the right environment the right buzz, you would find the person that you wanted to talk to and connect with.”
Peter talked of the changing nature and audience of events – “We have a generational shift – the people making the decisions today are getting younger, they want to get energized to kick into two days of work.”
“People forget that I have got my phone out – found you on LinkedIn and I know you socially. I’ve determined your value to me and I will engage with you in a networking environment when I find you. Is that going to be at the cocktail party? Or – when I turn up at the event I will make a ‘bee-line’ for you because I have already done my discovery.”
“Networking is an interesting beast today – it’s not what we traditionally what people think networking is – and also depends on the demographic. Because what you and I might think of as networking – I can assure you that the team in my office don’t. So make sure you have the demographic right and you understand the audience and create the networking opportunity that’s appropriate to that audience.”