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Ashish Pherwani, Advisory Partner, EY, illustrates The Changing Role of Event Agencies

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Ashish Pherwani, Advisory partner at Ernst & Young, delivered a talk at the recently concluded India Event Management Summit 2014 that elucidated the changing role of event agencies and the challenges to come.



Actions may speak louder than words but numbers speak the loudest. And loud and clear they sure were as the full house of event planners at Hotel Holiday Inn in New Delhi was slowly introduced to some revelatory figures pertaining to their industry.



Based on EY estimates, surveys, discussions and secondary research, Ashish brought to light the fact that marketing spends on BTL are substantial and increasingly on the rise as seen in the last 3 years.



Marketing Spends on ATL vs BTL 



He went on to develop that there are merely 10 brands that deploy significant budgets towards events. They usually contract one of the 29 most popular event and activation vendors year on year.  When asked to review, 4 out of 10 would say the service provided was satisfactory while rest 6 would be of the view that it could be better. All brands would agree that there was a reasonable initiative from the agency’s end, but that being said, no one brand could say that the agency outperformed.



Performance of Event Management Companies





Throwing light on the biggest strengths that most event agencies in India possess, he proclaimed that cost optimization is the most common faculty.



Strengths of Event Management Companies





With regard to their weaknesses, he reveals that lack of providing strategic inputs that could add value to the brand or experience has come across as a major shortcoming.



Weaknesses of Event Management Companies





Brands are very much in favor of integrating digital into the live experiences they deliver to their consumers with 50% who would be okay with some amount of digital integration while the rest seemed pretty gung-ho about it.



Digital Integration with Live Events





With a closer look into Sports sponsorship, it was seen that for 70% brands sports appears to be a desirable advertising platform and they would like to explore experiential possibilities around it. Cricket is of course the sport of choice in this regard, followed by football and subsequently hockey, golf and marathons trailing behind.



Importance of Sports on Sponsorship Agenda





When the same brands were asked whether they see their event agencies as partners or vendors, 70% exclaimed they saw the agencies they contract in the light of a partner or strategist as opposed to a mere executor.



Event Agencies: Partners or Vendors





Summing up, it was communicated that clients generally want 5 areas to be covered when they seek the service of an experience provider. These include ROI measurement, digital integration, brand level inputs, a sports specific consultation and national reach.







Ashish concluded with the following illustration of the key opportunities that exist for experiential and event agencies as would be seen in the next 3 years.




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