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Is big no longer beautiful in the Meetings & Events industry..?

“After the recent years of mergers and acquisitions are we beginning to turn full circle again?”

An interview I read with Jo Rozsich, Crown Commercial Service’s category lead for creative, events and insight, reminded me of a recent conversation with a good friend of mine who started his own business earlier this year. The statistic that leapt out at me was not that the number of suppliers on the new framework had been culled from 123 to 19. That is just eminently sensible, talk to any of the 100 or so previous “successful” suppliers who saw no business in 2 years if you want to know more about that. The statistic that I thought revealing was that 17 of the 19 suppliers were Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s).

89% of the suppliers appointed to the Government £50m events tender were SME’s.” C&IT June 2014

The conversation I was reminded of was with Pete Morris who had told me of recent meetings he had with two of the biggest and well-known brands on the planet. He admitted a little surprise that he had been able to meet with them in the first place as he assumed they would only consider doing business with enterprises of a similar size in their field. What really surprised him, however, was that they both said that the way they were procuring suppliers was changing.

In their words they were actively seeking niche organisations who were of a size that meant they would take a bespoke approach and come up with a solution that fitted the particular challenge they faced at that point in time. Their impression of the ‘big boys’ in their fields was they were becoming too formulaic in their approach.     

“We have done this for similar organisations as yourselves and it has worked previously so we would recommend the same approach”. The response to that is… we are not similar to other organisations. We are unique and expect to be approached as such rather than offered a solution from your shelf.

The brands will remain nameless but they are American corporations, and where the US tread others tend to follow. Or are organisations involved in the UK M&E industry already doing so..? It may be my heightened senses due to the move I made recently but it does strike me we are seeing an awful lot of start-up agencies so far in 2014. There is a common theme underlying this also with the individuals coming from the bigger established agencies. Is this natural career progression or do some know something others don’t?

The Doctors would love to hear from procurement and planners, does this approach to sourcing resonate with you? We would also like to hear from the bigger agencies, anything for you to consider or are you happy for niche operators to succeed to a point where you will try to buy them to bolster your offering? Those who have set up your own agency, or left larger agents to join smaller outfits, tell us what you think…

Email us: enquiries@conferencedoctor.co.uk

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