The Future of the Experience Economy: Managing Risk in Risky Times

In a world where the unthinkable and the impossible are rapidly becoming the reality, the challenges for organisations and businesses are also the opportunities. The key is to understand the trends, stay focused on vision, mission and key success drivers, and to implement flexible strategies based on what will happen, what could happen, and above all, on what you want to happen.

This is the third and last of my short series of posts, distilling insights from the conference I attended on Wednesday 15th June : The Future of the Experience Economy, organised by Eventbrite.

The final panel session of the day, Staying Connected in a Digital World: The Future of Experiential for Brands, comprised representatives of some of the most innovative agencies in the UK:

  • Jason Megson, Managing Director, George P. Johnson EMEA
  • Adam Azor, SVP Integrated & Digital Marketing, Jack Morton Worldwide
  • Jessica Hargreaves, Joint Managing Director, Pretty Green
  • [Moderator] Mark Walker, Head of Content UK & IE, Eventbrite

So here are my top three takeaways from the session:

  1. Focus on ROI: When resources are limited and risks appear to be unlimited,2016-06-15 17.51.45 understanding how your initiatives and activities deliver value to your brand is vital. In doing so, the starting point for any strategy or tactical initiative is to ask “How will this add value for the customers of my brand?”, the point being that the actions you take must have a tangible and realistic justification – that is, a measureable Return on Investment (ROI). Jess Hargreaves is leading on building an industry model for proving the value of live experiences to brands, which will be an exciting development for all event organisers. (She expects guidelines to be produced via the Institute of Promotional Marketing by autumn 2016). Events and live experiences often tend to mask poor ROI behind the glitz and glamour of the event itself – which is the issue being addressed by Jess – however you could apply the same argument to other activities, including networking, teambuilding, training and general marketing.
  2. How to deliver a great event/marketing initiative:
    • ALWAYS start with “Why?” – which should be the client’s/customer’s “Why”: without a clear understanding of the purpose and desired outcomes, your initiative risks delivering little or nothing tangible. Define what success looks like – as specifically as possible. Ensure you can measure the success indicators – be they financial, customer satisfaction, reach or whatever.
    • Execution eats creativity for breakfast” – however great your concept, the majority of your focus needs to be on the implementation.
    • Know your audience – be clear on the insights you want them to gain, and tailor the activity to that.
    • Finally, however much money you plan to invest in your event, campaign or facility, ensure that you have allocated a commensurate amount to recruit, train, engage and motivate your team – the people who will deliver the vision. The success of your initiative – and of your brand – rests on their shoulders!
  3. Budget for growth, take intelligent risks: on the principle that it’s vital to innovate,Staying Connected in a Digital World taking an ROI-based approach to creativity may not always be possible. Adam reminded us of a simple and very useful approach to budgeting:
    • 70% for ongoing/core activity;
    • 20% for new/innovation to drive growth;
    • 10% for new technology/”out there” projects that may fail – or may be the future of your business.

If you’ve found this post useful, you can read the first two at the POSITIVE Customer Experience Blog. Click the “Follow” button beside this post (or at the bottom of the page if you’re on mobile) to receive new posts as soon as they are published.


Stephen Spencer is a keynote speaker, business coach and consultant, helping organisations create better Customer Experiences to unlock team and profit potential. He has over 25 years’ experience as a leader, trainer and experience developer with some of the UK’s most prestigious Retail, Tourism and Hospitality brands. Sign up for Stephen’s POSITIVE Customer Experience newsletter here.

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