A washout year for events and experiential industry: Prashant Kaul, MD, PMG South Asia

At a time when physical events will not be happening for a while, revenue from our other verticals should ensure that we survive writes Prashant Kaul.


When the news of COVID-19 first broke in early 2020, no one in their wildest imagination would have thought that the year would be a washout. Now it seems like it will be, especially for the Events and Experiential Marketing industry!

Initially many of us optimistically thought (and hoped) that we would be back in business by June. This appears to be a moving target and realistically looks like it will be September and maybe even December.

Yes, this virus has been disastrous for economies, nations, businesses, families. But it has also been a boon in some ways. I for one, have spent more time with my family in these 3 months than I did in the last 3 years (maybe more). I’m sure like me, a whole host of parents have engaged and bonded with their kids far more than they ever have. I certainly will cherish these moments.

Besides spending time with family, a number of us have also found time to upskill ourselves. Something we always wished we could do, but never found the time to do it!

Survival of the “Fattest”

COVID-19 has also been an eye opener for us. It has shaken us up because this is not supposed to happen in real life. It is supposed to be confined to the Reel Life of Hollywood!

Marketing Communications Firms have realized how vulnerable they are and how quickly they can be wiped out if they stick to just one Core Competence. I know of a number of Event Management firms that have shut shop and laid off their employees as soon as the crises hit. This was because they stuck to just one Vertical which was hit the hardest in this crisis.

A number of firms will fold up by the time this pandemic is done and dusted. Whether they will bounce back or not, we’ll have to wait and watch.

The “fattest” however will survive. Fattest in terms of Bank Balance and Size of their Solutions Portfolio.

Cash Flow is critical. Those that have rupee reserves will be able to ride and survive this crisis as long as they manage these available funds astutely.

Marketing Communications Firms with a big solution base (depth and breadth) will have a much higher probability of survival. Unfortunately, those which rely on Events and Experiential Marketing only, will fall by the wayside, if this crisis carries on until next year.

Fortunately, PMG’s Worldwide strategy has always been to diversify its business. Hence, over the last 25 years, PMG developed competencies in various verticals besides Events and Experiential Marketing. We developed in-depth expertise in Virtual Events, Digital, Retail and Channel Management, PMV (Print and POSM) and Global Sourcing (Premiums and Promo products). Each of these verticals is managed by a specialist who is highly experienced and trained within that vertical. In fact, all these verticals have enough muscle to function as separate independent entities.

Therefore, at this time when Physical Events will not be happening for a while, revenue from our other verticals should ensure that we survive.

It’s always about the 3 Components of Content

Very early into our inception in Singapore in 1995, we realized that our industry revolved around 3 components of Content. i.e. Content Creation, Content Management and Content Delivery. Irrespective of what happens, these 3 will not change. What will keep changing is “How”. All the solutions that we offer today, which I have mentioned above, are still based on these components.

Even in this crisis we’ve seen that these 3 components haven’t changed. But there has been a change in how the content is created, how is it managed and how it is delivered. For example, Pre-Covid, the content was delivered through physical events. Post Covid, we are still delivering the content but it is being done virtually.

Only time will tell what impact Covid will have on our industry. Who will sink, float or fly, no one knows. What’s certain is, those who can ride this storm will make hay when the sun shines. And Shine, it certainly will!

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events experiential industry Virtual events pmg

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