Our People - Diane Carters on the latest event trends

Head of Commercial Development, Diane Carters, shares her first-hand insight into a commercial role in events and her outlook for what’s to come this year. 

It’s a massive cliché, but no day is ever the same when you work in the events industry!

My role within the Commercial team was created to drive forward our growth as a global agency, to champion our presence in the industry and ensure that we are responding to client briefs with our best work.

A project I’ve really enjoyed getting involved with is Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Trust Conference. We’ve been working with the foundation since 2019 on their flagship event and as an international event on human rights, the topics and speakers have always been incredible. Last year, after two years of holding the event virtually, the conference took place in-person with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a keynote speaker. Her testimony was unbelievably moving and reduced most of the audience to tears including our crew. 

To be a part of an event which has such a strong following globally is very special.”

How did you get into the events industry?

I fell into events – there were no vocational courses or routes into events as a career path. I started working in venue sales for a theatre and really enjoyed the sheer variety of projects. We had a 1,000 capacity auditorium and could be working on corporate events one week and then the following week could be managing a kid’s dance competition.”

Do you have an insight into the latest trends in events or what businesses are looking for from events in 2023? 

In-person events are back with a bang, but organisers need to work so much harder to get the audience there. Creating a personalised experience is so important and engagement prior to the event and post-event is really key. 

Data is also a major requirement – event budgets are smaller and need to really justify why they are necessary. Digging into the KPI’s for your event and deciding on what factors to measure to ensure an event is delivering a return on investment is no longer a nice to have’. 

Sustainability is at the top of everyone’s agenda — as an industry we all need to be working together to help reduce the impact events have on the environment. As a business, we achieved carbon neutrality last year and are working with our clients and suppliers on sustainable initiatives.”

What is an important aspect of delivering a successful client experience? 

It’s really important to listen at every stage of the briefing process to ensure that you are aligned on the best approach to a project. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to come up with something that has lost sight of the objectives or budget. Good communication throughout a project keeps everyone on track and can be improved with project management software. Post-event, it is good to ensure a comprehensive debrief takes place for everyone to assess the project’s success and address any issues.”

What drives your creativity or motivates you?

We are fortunate to work in an industry which is ever-changing, and the pandemic — although terrible at the time, gave events a huge push into technology and forced us all to find creativity in new formats. It’s so important to attend industry events and exhibitions to keep up to date and see new advances in technology. 

There are also some great podcasts out there that I love to listen to for inspiration.”