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3 days, 3 conferences, over 300 stalls and speakers, all under one roof!

Picture of Charlie Jones

I recently had the pleasure of travelling down to London! I attended the White Label world expo; the largest event of this kind in the world, as well as the Event Production Show and the Performance Marketing World Expo, both of which are the largest in Europe. I cannot begin to talk about how beneficial the trip has been for me! I learnt so much about upcoming technologies and trends.  

I saw 16 talks, from Google to EA Games to Body Shop to TikTok UK themselves, and even innocent smoothies (no free smoothies provided)! Hearing from leaders in the field and what has worked for them has been incredibly inspiring, and I was able to share concerns with them regarding the future of events and marketing.  It really is a very exciting time to be in this field.  

The hottest topic of this conference was definitely AI and ChatGTP, especially in regards to the security of our jobs! The main takeaway I got was that we should embrace the new technology, but not rely on it, as currently it’s certainly no replication for the ‘human touch’.  Technology should make the boring bits of our jobs easier so we can focus on the bigger picture. AI is a field that is not going away anytime soon 

The metaverse was also heavily discussed. If you are unfamiliar with the metaverse term it involves VR or AR allowing people to interact in real time with other people digitally. The game ‘Roblox’ is one example. The concept itself is quite scary, however hearing these presentations and benefits I feel now more inclined to give it a try -it’s the future! You never know, maybe one day M-SParc will also exist in the metaverse!  

  

I had several talks regarding TikTok. Social platforms are changing drastically, and we’ll be looking at our own social media audiences’ needs. One of the areas I found most interesting was sponsorships ads and competitions, and how beneficial they can be. The case study we got given was for the Xbox Pringles competition, where the sales of Pringles when through the roof and the winners got a custom made Xbox. But people gain a lot of little instant wins such opening a Cadbury’s half and half creme egg! Keep your eyes peeled we may be giving something away soon (it will most likely be a cup of tea – but I won’t say no to that!).  It was also insightful to hear more about how we as a company can look at diversity and inclusivity and be more accessible – something that’s so important to us at M-SParc.  

With my 3 access passes and my nickname of “Mr 3 Lanyards”, I was hop, skipping, and jumping through the 3 conferences; so much so that security guard started to get to know me! I spoke with the head of marketing at Lloyds Bank, Vitality, Depop and Just Eat (yes somebody did say JUST EAT), and that is before you begin to name all the fantastic stalls that were exhibiting there! It was mind blowing. I had to choose one of my favourites it would have to be the talk by John Thornton. Previous copy writer for innocent smoothies, now working for a start-up cereal company, his delivery of the presentation was fantastic and insightful and by far one of the funniest things I have ever seen. He really made me think about Twitter as a platform and how we should go about using it. He discussed the benefits of being more human and the impact it has on your brand (not negative!).  

I am really looking forward to sharing all this information with the team and seeing where can take it further ourselves. It all comes back to understanding the audience fully. A prime example of this is when Innocent released a blue smoothie, which was actually green in colour, but they stood by calling it blue despite audience responses to the contrary! They understood the audience and due to this it ended up going viral and has been one of their most popular smoothies, with people taking photographs of people drinking it on the tube etc. I know I have spoken a lot about this talk, but I think the bravery and confidence that innocent has in their team too is unbelievable, they have a rule of “if you are 70% sure just post it”. (Emily…if you’re readingmaybe we can compromise on 85%?) They are not afraid to get blocked off Twitter or to change the logo to a photo of their managers wedding. It is what was incredible about it. Rarely do they mention their brand in the successful tweets. But it made them more human 

I attended the event production show which was as you can imagine all about EVENTS! I think what surprised me was how hand in hand marketing and events really go. Unless you have a good event to sell then your marketing isn’t going to work/pay off. There has also been an incredible shift in events and live experiences. I’m not sure if this is due to covid 19 pandemic or people wanting to fully switch off from just starting at a screen, but people want to be fully immersed in events now and have a full experience encompassing all 5 senses!  

  

There are people already across the country doing this and having been to some of them myself I’ve found they are fantastic. Add in the metaverse too, and you’re really on to something!! I cannot wait to see how the events industry changes and develops in the coming months and years as it is very fast paced and the technology available now is incredible. Look at ABBA voyage in London, where ABBA perform to sold-out crowds nightly, despite being holograms! I hope to be able to bring some of these ideas and technologies to M-SParc in the near future to make our events even bigger and better! (Pryderi, if you’re reading…I promise I won’t bring ABBA!) 

Marketing is equally fast paced, with new platforms emerging all the time and trends popping up almost daily! One thing that was apparent in this conference was the importance of TikTok and video on social media now. There has been a decrease in the amount of people watching television since the launch of TikTok due to that being the media in which they consume everything, from advertising to which restaurants to go to and what clothes to buy. People trust the brand and the app despite its data and privacy concerns. TikTok also has a very rewarding and fair algorithm which allows for anyone to be a creator, and will only show you what you like to see with a couple of curve balls in the mix. You will be many more reels, YouTube shorts and TikTok from us! If you aren’t following us already head on over! @msparc.  

  

My overall views of these conferences in one word was AMAZING! The talks were absolutely fantastic and coming to London and taking a step back from the office has allowed me to return with new ideas and ways in which we can improve. I have spoken heavily in this blog about things we need to improve BUT by no means am I saying what we are currently doing is wrong, just that we’re always learning!  We have to keep moving forward and moving with the times and these conferences allowed me to keep up to date with that. The confidence these conferences give me too both in myself and in my role has been incredible. Thank you all for reading my blog and for listening to me ramble on. I can talk about marketing and events until the cows come home so please feel free to get in touch here! 

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager

tom@m-sparc.com

Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.