The lion's share of the £60bn the UK events industry contributes each year involves the business industry - I can well believe it, having been invited to more than ever before this year, and I'm the first to admit my diary is packed with other competing appointments. But there are certain quality events I make sure I am free for - they're a great way to not just press the flesh but keep abreast of industry trends and activity.
Next week is the second year for Advertising Week Europe (AWE) based in the heart of London's west end, BATFA, and it's set to be even bigger and better than its UK debut last year. With four days of back-to-back sessions, over 14,000 attendees and a star-studded Advisory Council from top ad agencies, media groups and technology companies, AWE promises to deliver the 'premier gathering of marketing and communication leaders'.
The AWE welcoming reception last week reminded me how industry events bring together the vast talent and creativity within the media community but in an egalitarian way - job titles go out the window. They're also about overlooking the fact that you're shoulder to shoulder with competitors but celebrating the industry as a whole. This is not just me paying lipservice - one of the sessions I'm involved with sees me actually chairing a debate with some of the other big agency players in mobile including Weve, Tapjoy and Amobee.
Unlike AWE last year, where it was very much an American and British affair, with thought leaders from both sides of the pond dominating the seminars and workshops, the 2014 festival can expect more participation from continental European players as well as an impressive line-up of global brands such as Microsoft, Google, Hotels.com and ESPN. 2014 promises another dynamic programme of events that will educate and inspire, in equal measure, and in turn will demonstrate to the rest of the world that we continue to have our finger on the pulse.
The agenda this year is a mature one, with focused topics addressing the full spectrum of marketing issues, trends and technologies. In 2013 the conversation revolved around the importance of content creation and growing opportunities in native advertising. For 2014, while all forms of media will be represented (TV, online, etc.), it will be mobile that will take centre stage. The focus will shift towards programmatic buying, the role of mobile in the media mix and video marketing.
This theme is very much reflected in the high calibre speaker line up in many of the seminar sessions, such as Fast Company Disruptors, The Mobile C-Suite and The VC View: Full Disclosure. Audiences can expect to hear from seasoned marketers and businesses from a wide range of backgrounds, but all increasingly focused on delivering real-time marketing to consumers who function across devices and platforms. The dialogue and panel discussions between C-level marketers will be interesting, no doubt, particularly in regards to how mobile is shaking up the digital world.
Feel free to swing by and say hello if you're there, too - you can catch Fetch at any of these sessions: http://advertisingweek.eu/calendar/?date=2014-03-31&keyword=Fetch