From MPI's Getting Business Done insert distributed to 300,000 US business professionals in 26 US metro areas this week through American Business Journals. Get it here
2011 is going to be a better year for business in the U.S. We’ve just endured a year where it seems everything from volcanoes to snow storms and oil spills to bed bugs impacted our respective businesses in some way. So, we dug in. We improvised. We innovated. We connected. And as a result our businesses are in better shape than they were a year ago, with a more positive outlook for the future. American consumer confidence has jumped 33 points in the past 24 months to over twice what it was in December 2008. The old adage “what fire doesn’t consume, it hardens” has never rung more true.
Through it all, we once again discovered that what would power businesses through the great recovery of 2010 was a steadfast commitment by business leaders to the power of being connected to their people and to their customers. During 2009, research done by Forbes Insight, Oxford Research and George P. Johnson confirmed that face-to-face meetings/events and business travel were critical to driving business performance. Businesses across America paid attention.
Despite the overwhelming temptation to eliminate or reduce sales meetings, customer meetings and business travel during a year of uncertainty, successful businesses made an investment in human connections. The MPI Business Barometer of meeting and event industry business activity more than doubled during 2010. Meetings and events were back and they were helping power the recovery.
Answering the call to innovation in a period of discontinuity, successful businesses redesigned their meeting and event experiences to better drive enterprise performance in a post-recessionary America. We’ve tried to capture some of those stories within the pages of this publication. In (“Building Events Around a Story”), Symantec focused their strategy on storytelling for their 2010 Worldwide Sales and Marketing Conference in order to help educate and engage attendees. The result was greater team communication, delivering transformational sales performance and customer satisfaction growth for each quarter of their new fiscal year.
This emphasis on redesigning meetings and events for the new business reality has spurred additional strategic success stories. Across the human connections spectrum, from incentives (“Re-inventing Incentives”) to trade shows (“The Big, Green Apple”) to regional conferences (“Local Favor”), we’re seeing that events must now deliver more than ever before on business objectives, overall organizational ROI and social responsibility.
What’s the outlook for meetings and events in 2011? According to our FutureWatch 2011 study, the number of meetings and business events is expected to see an 8 percent increase. Additionally, businesses are making an anticipated 5 percent increase in what they invest in meetings and events.
American business has long been a crucible for innovation when conditions are at their most challenging. Instead of retreating to the comfy confines and sterile light of their cubicles, successful businesses in America got out and connected during 2010, and they are not backing down in 2011. It takes leadership courage to take advantage of new technologies and new collaborative community approaches to drive performance from an investment in meetings and events. In the end, perseverance pays off.
The result is irrefutable. Well-designed meetings and events drive enhanced business performance. And that will translate into continued business success and economic growth in 2011 for America. We all need some more of that.