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Nick Borelli: Event industry requires us to be knowledgeable and connected

A member of Pan-Baltic Event Awards' Jury and Baltic For Events Forum speaker Nick Borelli, President / Strategist @ Borelli Strategies answers our questions about event associations 


Nick Borelli has spent his career developing marketing and sales strategies for event industry companies and events believing that one size does not fit all. He has
20 years experience in the event industry, he networked in with the industry’s best movers and shakers, he consulted businesses of different scales, missions, and markets, he spent 10 years as sales and marketing educator. And he has always been on the forefront of the latest marketing trends and technologies because it’s his passion.


- You are a member of numerous Associations. Can you tell us why they are needed and why they are important for the event industry? Should there be many of them? Or one is enough for a particular region?


I‘ve been a member of a number of different associations that represent different aspects of the live events industries. More than that, I’ve had the chance to impact through speaking, content writing, and collaboration associations with very broad missions as well as very niche ones. I believe in associations. Mostly, I believe in their potential. We’re in a rapidly evolving industry that requires us to be knowledgeable and connected in areas as vastly different as psychology and structural safety. With as much work as all of us working in this over trillion dollar industry have on our plates, we need organizations with macro-level goals to empower us to expand our potential. When it comes to more niche associations, the ROI can be as simple (yet profound) as connecting two organizations who have solutions for each other’s most pressing challenges. There are a lot of digital threats to traditional associations’ abilities to provide value in today’s market. That’s why I, above all else believe in the potential of associations…especially ones who are focused on changing their offerings to meet their member’s needs.


- What are the benefits of Association membership for event agencies?

Here are a few areas that associations can impact for event agencies:

Business Accelerator – While you’re worrying about your clients – they’re focused on giving you tools to grow your business including education, networking opportunities, and ways to delineate yourself from your competitors.

Big Picture Focus – It’s too daunting for any business to focus too much on the biggest issues facing our industry but associations can give you the voice you need to impact the world. 
Collaboration – Events are inherently collaborative which means you are always in need of the right partners for different challenges. Getting to know the services offerings, reputations, and people behind potential partner companies can make all the difference in your business.

Leadership Opportunities – Serving in an association can give you a totally different perspective and grow your personal and professional development by leaps and bounds.


- Are there any real examples when Associations changed the whole event market and event industry in the region through their efforts?


The inclusion initiatives created by PCMA’s Ascent program have pushed conference organizers into making inclusion a priority through awareness, education, and leadership buy-in. In the United States these issues are debated by this association has drawn a line in the sand for these progressive principles and it’s having an immediate effect on the landscape especially in the design of panels and selection process for speakers.

Another example is MPI’s commitment to education on the issues of human trafficking within the confines of events and hospitality. Hotels and industry leaders such as Maritz Global Events and Experient have committed to fighting these evil practices and MPI and industry associations are providing the connective tissue to collaborate on solutions.


- Why do you think different business events for event professionals are needed and important to the industry development?


As the digital marketplace evolved and became more sophisticated, so did those who exploited it. Industries have been mired with faux experts, fly by night solutions, and an erode sense of trust in what is written online. Face to face, while no longer the only way to do business, becomes an important differentiator. With an increasing desire by consumers for everything to be commoditized and immediate, trust is still earned in a richer way in person.  
Outside of sales, the trust earned in face to face opportunities can be applied to collaborations between organizations that can create industry-changing results. Industries are not advanced through silos and silos break down faster and more productively when people are in the same room.


- At our forum you will speak about instruments of useing FOMO in the interests of events & marketing stratagies. Can you give us a little preview of the subject in order to intrigue the audience?


FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a phenomena that has always existed but has grown exponentially more pervasive due to social media. It’s the fear that others are doing better then you. Now when you apply that to the experience economy we are living in today, it can be an incredible call to action for attending live events. Designing live experiences that transform attendees into converted advocates can multiple future marketing outreach by thousands. I’m excited to share different ways of thinking about where event marketing and experience design overlap in order to increase attendance and attendee fulfillment. I hope to realign how you prioritize what goes into an event in order to shift the focus from telling your story to enabling your attendees to use your event as context to tell theirs.



- What changes are taking place in the event industry on the European market? And what trends can you predict in 2019?


GDPR had a global impact that can be felt heavily even now on events. While that was the watershed moment of 2018, the battle between technology implementers, the desires of consumers for connected and intuitive solutions, and data privacy will continue in 2019. The live events industry is still behind where it needs to be with its relationship with data. My hope is that CMOs will push event organizers to produce more and richer data as a stakeholder deliverable. I also hope to see an increase in data analysts as part of event teams’ rosters.


- What makes you loyal to BFEF and Baltic Events Awards? Why did you accepted the invitation to become a member of Jury? And why do you think it may be interesting for event profs to participate in the Awards & BFEF?


As a consultant and industry pundit, I’m only as good as the knowledge and experiences I have. While working primarily in North America, I get to work with many international organizations with varying scopes…but that’s not the whole picture. I’ve been very fortunate to have great relationships with industry veterans in Europe that give me different windows into the eccentricities of the diverse landscape of events taking place across the pond. One such relationship is with my friend James Morgan, PhD, CSEP. I have total trust in his recommendations and he recommended I get involved with the BFEF and Baltic Event Awards. He told me I’ll learn and much as I’ll teach and I need to have a better appreciation for live experiences being produce in the Baltic region. I’ve been a judge on a variety of international awards over the years and I find the process to be thrilling! I’m a sponge when it comes to industry inspiration and reading these types of submissions gives me a wonderful perspective as they are often more thorough than a case study. As a judge, I’m always looking at the criteria given to me first but after that…I’m looking for a professional’s ability to overcome challenges. That’s what real creativity is and I’m hoping for some great examples of just that this year.


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