One of my favourite sci-fi shows is Star Trek. Yup folks, I am a Trekkie. The opening show intro – ‘space the final frontier…to boldly go where no one has gone before’…still resonates with me. What I love about the show is Gene Roddenberry’s knack for weaving together storylines where the two protagonists, technology and human capital (and the occasional Klingon) pull together to create innovative solutions without losing sight of the Prime Directive.
Today’s economic melodrama is a storyline in need of a Star Trek solution. To position organizations to weather the ‘perfect’ economic storm C-suite executives are seeking innovative and immediate results. And where there is turmoil there are opportunities for those willing to think and act different.
In early 2000 forward thinking organizations like AIG (presently MIA), Kraft Foods and Kimberly-Clarke created the role of a chief strategy officer, something like a ‘mini’ CEO. These organizations discovered that with the complexity of conducting business in multiple cultures and dealing with political and environmental changes occurring at warp speed, strategy development was no longer a periodic process. As a result of a fast moving competitive environment, re-aligning strategy to support globally changing business environments has become constant. According to Harvard Business Review’s article, The Chief Strategy Officer, the recruitment process to fill this role can be long because the qualifications are so unique. Being short on time and not to mention the severely depleted pool of qualified human capital certain business sectors are already experiencing, most organizations cannot afford to wait to find a candidate who fits the role.
A viable alternative to the chief strategy officer can be to strategically align event marketing initiatives to business goals. An enterprise-wide event alignment can help C-suite executives manage the complexity of leading a global company in a time of constant change and financial disarray. It can also address industry convergence and human capital changes and their impact on corporate strategy. The fact is, meetings and events held by most organizations operate in silos and are aligned with business strategy on a case by case bases. This practice is astonishing considering the recent research by George P. Johnson.
- Up to 30% of corporate annual marketing budgets are spent on meetings and events
- Up to 3% of corporate annual revenue (no small change) is spent on event marketing and advertising initiatives
- Yet 80% of meetings and events are not aligned with corporate business and marketing goals AND are not measured
With a marketplace in transition it is inevitable that corporate leaders will increasingly seek non-traditional options to support their ever changing strategy and drive their corporate goals.
As Captain Picard might say, we may not be able to change the Prime Directive but it shouldn’t stop us from trying a different approach.