Events First

Our Strategy

'Events First'

Five key strategic priorities - Growth, Customer insight, Operational exellance, Standardised technology & data, High performance culture

Our vision to become the world’s leading Business-to-Business (B2B) events company.

Our purpose is to help our customers succeed through the power of market-leading live events and the human-scale interactions that ignite and activate global trade, knowledge and networks.

Our strategy ('Events First') is to focus our resources and investment on delivering exceptional B2B events in a wide range of industries and geographies. We do this because we see an exciting opportunity to offer greater value and features for customers, rewarding careers for our people and to drive sustainable growth, margin and returns for our shareholders.

To deliver our vision and fulfil our potential we are focused on five key strategic priorities.


We adopt an agile approach to both organic and acquisitive growth with a focus on how we drive value for customers and shareholders. The principal elements of our approach are:

  • Managing our Events portfolio actively and strategically. Our event planning process focuses on ensuring we are directing resource, attention and investment towards the right places and that we are driving organic growth drivers appropriately in all events. Through this we actively manage both our larger, higher-margin event brands to scale and those smaller events which have the potential to grow fast and be the big brands of the future.
  • Enhancing our portfolio through strategic acquisitions. The global events market is highly fragmented and we see strong opportunities for high-quality acquisitions that accelerate growth, complement our portfolio and where the sum is greater than the parts.
  • Improving the alignment between all our activities and our events. In a world where the cyber and the physical powerfully combine, we ensure we align all our digital and content activities to more effectively support our customer communities, and to exit those activities where this alignment is weak.

We infuse our business with a highly customer-centric approach to all our interactions, supported by a focus on deep, high-quality insight and a passion for customer-enhancing innovation. Key elements include:

  • Understanding our customers better through enhanced data and analytics. We operate consistent global metrics across our events which enable teams to target improvements and allow us to benchmark performance effectively and efficiently so that we drive new learnings across all our events.
  • Marketing excellence initiatives and investments in technology that equip our marketers with the right skills, tools and information to really understand and engage our customer communities.
  • Exploring new ways of improving our events and how we serve our customers – incorporating focus on Customer Experience, design thinking approaches, and taking more systematic approaches to rolling out successful innovations.

We strive to continuously improve our ways of working, systems and processes - identifying leading practices, tools and common approaches that enable our teams to become more efficient and more effective. Our initiatives have included:

  • A global Sales Excellence programme which defines our best practice sales model and processes; performance management and training, and ensures we provide our sales teams with support and incentives to attain high performance.
  • Implementing a common global finance system, which has significantly improved our management information capabilities and enabled the identification of significant procurement efficiencies and operating gains
  • Reviewing global costs and actively focusing on those value-added activities which support our business teams and customer outcomes, and ensuring we take appropriate advantage of shared services and low-cost model opportunities.

We are underpinning our business with common technology platforms and standards, implemented in a phased approach. Common technology platforms allow us to maximise the impact of our investment and to secure the benefits for all our events, part of building a truly scalable platform for B2B events success. Notable initiatives include:

  • Introduction of a global ERP system. This enables operational excellence initiatives and management data which drives both our agile growth, insight and efficiency agendas.
  • Common CRM platform. Rolled out in our EMEA region, and to the rest of UBM over 2017-18 – our CRM solution puts the tools and information at the fingertips of our sales teams, enabling them to drive sales through delivering the propositions and experience our customers demand.
  • Standard digital platforms. We have brought over 200 digital properties globally onto standard platforms, driving operational efficiency benefits, better mobile device support, procurement opportunities and enhanced information security.

We demand, expect and support high performance of our people – the heartbeat of how we deliver our strategy. Key areas of focus include:

  • Ensuring the organisational structure and balance of resources support the strategy and enable the right level of agility
  • Investing in the skills needed for the future with targeted spending
  • Upskilling all levels of management to lead engaged and high performing teams.
  • Creating an aspirational employee brand to attract quality talent