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Event marketing budgets grow at UK record rate: IPA report

Event budgets outpaced other marketing departments to grow at the highest rate on record across the UK, according to a new report.

The latest Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) study marks the ninth straight quarter of growth in this area and the highest increase in 11 years of data tracking.

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Event marketing spend jumps 23%: IPA report

Events led the UK marketing budget surge in Q1 with a 23% increase, according to a new report.

Research in the latest Bellwether report by S&P Global for the IPA documented the highest growth in spend in this area over its 11-year history.

The record-rate increase of event marketing budgets outpaced direct marketing (7%), sales promotions (4.9%), market research (1.4%) and PR (0.6%).

Findings also suggests events will continue to be a key area of budget expansion as “anecdotal evidence indicates a desire among companies to continue investing in marketing tools which have yielded good results”.

Joe Hayes, author of the report, said: “Greenshoots of recovery are appearing across the UK economy.

“With business survey data suggesting UK GDP will expand in the first quarter, it’s no surprise to see another strong round of marketing budget growth.

“Cost-of-living pressures and high borrowing costs has led household and businesses to retrench in recent times, making the market more competitive to earn and retain customer business.”

For 2024-25, events are predicted to lead marketing budget growth with an 18.7% net increase in spending – significantly surpassing direct marketing’s 11.9% projected growth.

Patrick Reid, group CEO at Imagination, added: “The latest IPA Bellwether Report highlights the UK’s resilient marketing landscape, with events and experiences remaining the standout performers.

“In the last quarter, events saw a record expansion, with a net balance of +23.1% – the highest in the survey’s 11-year history.

“This resilience demonstrates businesses’ strong desire to connect with customers, as well as marketers’ recognising the power of experiences to enable them to achieve this.

“As the UK economy recovers from recession, businesses recognise the importance of experiences as a tool to drive their bottom line.

“Looking ahead, the outlook for events remains positive, with promising continued growth.

“The report indicates that a net balance of +18.7% of companies plan to increase their event budgets in 2024/25, suggesting that events are set for even more robust growth in the coming years, which rings true to the activity we’re seeing across our client portfolio.”

GL Events reports 28% increase in Q1 live events revenue

GL Events recorded a 28% rise in live events revenue to $206 million in Q1, according to its latest financial statement. 

The organizer also saw a 7.1% year-on-year growth in venues of $101m, while revenue from exhibitions fell 11% y-o-y to $107m during the same period.

This took the company’s overall revenue to $414m during Q1, up 10% from $376m from the same period in 2023.

Olivier Ginon, chairman-CEO of GL Events Group, said: “Building on the strong momentum of the last few quarters, GL events is off to an excellent start in 2024 with strong growth in the first quarter.

“This performance has largely been driven by gains in France, China, the UK and Chile.

“By division, Live and Venues reported higher sales whereas the Exhibitions division was impacted by an unfavourable biennial effect in an even-numbered year.”

He added:  “This solid double-digit growth has further bolstered our strategic position in the universe of major events worldwide.

“This year’s Olympic Games in France will provide us with a new showcase on the global stage for the complete range of technical services offered by our three divisions – Venues, Live and Exhibitions – but also the ability of all GL events employees to offer the public truly memorable, festive and sustainable events.

“In the meantime, GL events is continuing to invest in all its businesses, highlighted by ambitious projects like the brand-new Anhembi site in São Paulo, which will be delivered on schedule.”

AEO to welcome 250+ delegates at annual 2024 conference

The Association of Event Organisers will open its doors to more than 250 industry delegates at its yearly conference.

Delegates are to include MDs, group MDs, portfolio and SME directors as well as department heads from the UK and overseas.manchester centralThe 2024 event will be held on September 5 at Manchester Central and will explore key topics vital to fostering innovation and creativity – such as international opportunities, community development, sustainability and culture.

Chris Skeith, CEO of AEO, said: “We are thrilled to bring our audience to Manchester this year to shake things up.

“With fresh perspectives and new experiences, the host city perfectly embodies the theme of ‘Motivate. Innovate. Create.’

“Manchester has continually evolved as a hub of innovation, boasting a thriving tech sector driving research and development, alongside a vibrant cultural scene that champions creativity in music, arts, and media.”

Tom Forshaw, director of sales at Manchester Central, added: “We are delighted to welcome the AEO conference to Manchester Central this year.

“It’s always a stand-out event in the calendar and we’re very excited to bring it to Manchester for the first time in its history.

“Manchester continues to demonstrate its credentials as a world-class destination for events and we’re really looking forward to giving members and attendees a real taste of what we have to offer.”

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