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EXHIBITING- July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk 13 cover story Brands prefer to spend budgets on the event itself because they have anecdotal evidence that the event works. Brands often measure event success in softer ways, by speaking to their staff and customers, so they don't feel the need to rigorously measure it. And, of course, big brands would not continue to invest in events if they didn't deliver. Media planners prefer to buy media channels that are measured to within an inch of their lives. The data extracted from traditional TV, radio or print campaigns can sit happily on computer screens and be used to precisely plan a campaign. I'm not saying that this is wrong; these people are effectively a guardian for a brand budget and they need to justify spend. But, perhaps it's time for them to come into the real world of experiences and not just plan campaigns by relying on what it says on their screens? It's a numbers game to them and they tend to go for size over substance: " If our adverts are seen by over 1m people, then that just has to be better than just a few thousand at an event?" But, by seeing brands exhibiting at or hosting a live event, a smaller audience really connects and engages with them. Surely that's better than passively viewing a TV and simply changing channels? I t's an issue I discuss a lot but, in my opinion, media buyers and planners still seem unable to get their heads around the effectiveness of live events. Live events are getting recognition in their world, but they are often the first thing to be removed from the marketing mix if budgets get cut. Measured for success? I think it may be hard for media buyers to understand the argument for events because, traditionally, the effectiveness of events has been hard to measure. We know that event effectiveness can be measured, but often brands do not feel the need to invest in the measurement process. Ian Irving It's not just a numbers game anymore Director of RPM Corporate, Ian Irving, wants media planners to throw away the tape measure and seriously consider live events. " Brands often measure event success in softer ways" Although traditional marketing avenues provide statistics, can figures create brand advocates the same way live marketing can?