Event Strategic Management Series #1
Today, I decided to start a new series of blog posts, which will be related to Event Strategic Management. This week, we will start with an introductory post, where I’ll provide you with one of the hundreds of explanations regarding what is Strategy and Strategic Management (SM), and the importance of utilising strategic management as a tool to improve your event and organisation. Then, I’ll have two/three different posts, where, in each, I’ll give you some of the possible theories to analyse the industry, market and your organisation, from an internal and external perspective. And a final post to present all of the findings from this analysis and a conclusion.
In the last few years, the Global Event’s Industry has suffered a rapid expansion. To be more precise, in 2018 the size of this industry was valued at $1,100 billion, and it is predicted that until 2026 it will double in size, reaching the $2,330 billions (Fung, n.d.). This means that there has been an increase in the number, variety and size of events organised and staged, thus, reflecting a rise on the local, national and international demand levels.
The question now is: Ok, we know that more events are staged, and what does this imply?
Well, this means that event organisations have more competitors, trying to sell the same service as you – a competitive event. So, looking at the basic management principles, your organisation has to be strategic enough to offer a different event experience. Overall, to differentiate itself from its competitors.
Now, the question is: What is Strategy?
According to Porter (1996:1), ‘strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities’, within an organisation. Essentially, developing a strategy for your organisation, means setting the ‘long-term direction‘ you and the other stakeholders want to have (Johnson et al., 2018:4).
This involves setting a strategic/tactic plan with the overall goals and objectives that your organisation needs to achieve to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals.
In the event’s context, organisations face one major problem. Many event organisations pay much more attention to those urgent tasks, ‘rather than looking ahead and taking a longer-term view‘ (Evans, 2015:14).
And to be completely honest, this is one of the biggest mistakes an event organisation can make. Because as my father always said:
‘Strategy is never an objective or aim, but rather a path. The process is much more important than the actual outcome. So, Strategy is a never-ending process’.
In sum, event organisations have to analyse their businesses from both an internal and external perspective (Johnson et al., 2014), towards understanding what good or bad practices they have used and the possible challenges and opportunities they will face. To do that, these organisations need strategic management and some of their theories.
Strategic management is, essentially, the process that evaluates an organisation and its competitors, ‘and sets goals and strategies to meet [maybe even overcome] all existing and potential competitors‘ (Lamb, 1984). In my personal view, strategic management applied to the context of events, turns into an organised process focused on helping an organisation find and search the challenges and opportunities of planning and delivering events that, in fact, are successful.
The final question now is: How can you do all of this? And with what?
Well, strategic management theories are focused on explaining ‘the origin, evolution, principles and applications‘ (Omalaja and Eruola, 2011:64) of this type of management. If you look at any management book, you’ll find a diverse range of theories that can be applied to your specific context (for example, setting the vision and mission of your organisation and events). Here I’m only going to mention and then use (on the next posts) a few.
To conduct an internal analysis of your organisation, you could apply the marketing mix framework, which talks about the product, price, place, promotion, physical evidence, people and process within an organisation. “Marketing mix” is a phrase generally used to describe the different options organisations have to make in the process of bringing a product or service to market. In the events context, this means that you just need to create an event that a particular group of people would like to attend, put the tickets on sale some place that those same people visit regularly, and price it at a level which matches the value they feel they will get out of the event, and do all that at a time they want or are most likely to buy.
On the other hand, you want to conduct an external analysis; you could apply the generic competitive strategies or Porter’s five forces or PESTEL. PESTEL, for example, refers to the analysis of the different political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors an organisation’s environment and industry faces.
In conclusion, setting a long-term strategic management plan for your organisation is of crucial advantage to be able to compete with your rivals and offer a different experience to attendees. While at the same time aligning different stakeholder interests with the organisation’s.
Evans, N. (2015). Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events. New York: Routledge.
Fung, T. (n.d.). ‘Report on Global Event Industry Trends’. Deal Room Events. [online] available from: <https://www.dealroomevents.com/report-on-global-event-industry-trends/> [6 February 2021].
Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Scholes, K., Angwin, D. and Regner, P. (2014). Exploring Strategy: Text & Cases. UK: Pearson Education.
Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Scholes, K., Angwin, D., and Regnér, P. (2018). Fundamentals of Strategy. United Kingdom: Pearson.
Lamb, R (1984). Competitive Strategic Management. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall.
Omalaja, M., and Eruola, O. (2011). ‘Strategic Management Theory: Concepts, Analysis and Critiques in Relation to Corporate Competitive Advantage from the Resource-based Philosophy’, International College of Management and
Technology, 44(1-2), 59-77.
Porter, M. (1996). ‘What is Strategy?’, Harvard Business Review.