M&IT reporter Emma Channon catches up with In2Events co-founder Gavin Farley as the agency celebrates its 10th anniversary. See the full article below:
If Gavin Farley is meeting up with a client, he'd rather do it in a pub. Not because he likes the taste of beer (although that doesn't hurt) but because he knows it immediately puts them at ease. Take someone out of the stiff office environment and a to familiar spot, he argues, and that's where real ties are forged.
His uncanny knack of being regarded by clients and colleagues as more of a friend than a business associate is a strength Farley and his team at In2Events are known for. "We wanted to work out what our USP is and we asked ourselves 'why do people work with us?'," Farley explains. "The feedback we get from clients is along the lines of 'nothing is too much of a problem for you guys' and 'you're always accessible and friendly'. So I thought, what's wrong with building a company on people? We're not in a B2B or even a B2C industry, we're H2H - human to human. No company buys anything, its people buying from people."
This year sees In2Events celebrate its 10th year in business. Farley is in his element at the moment, and probably still recovering from a celebration bash he threw at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden at the end of May. Back when it started in 2007, In2Events operated from a small office - just enough room for two chairs, a share desk, phones and the Yellow Pages as its database. It was just Farley and his business partner Adam Baxter, who at the time was also a part-time DJ.
Since then, the agency has grown headcount to 15 full-time staff and has just finished a rebrand to help it mark its first decade.
Farley is keen to continue growing and promises to never stand still, setting a goal of hitting turnover of £10 million by 2020. Danone, Epson and Autodesk are among some of the brands to have recently partnered with In2Events. One of Farley's growth strategies might appear strange, but he believes it will pay off. "I want to continue to do more for less for everyone. We're in a service-based industry selling our knowledge and experience, we're not selling widgets. If you forget about short terms wins and focus on the long term value, it will work to your advantage. Have faith," he says.
" A client with a £250,000 budget came to us from a £200 venue find five years ago. Yes, a job for £1,000 might seem small but we're not busy fools for the sake of being busy fools. Something that starts out small can turn into something a lot bigger." Once a client is on board, the retention rate is high, Farley adds: "We make sure the client is happy with us and, more importantly, we know if they're not. Over the last two years we have invested in a dedicated account manager for each client, purely to work with them on the bigger picture, maximising the value they can get from working with In2Events."
it appears to be working. Along with the personal touch, Farley attributes client loyalty to a strong work ethic and time spent getting to know the brand.
He says: "We're working hard now to understand their business rather than being a provider or partner. I'm spending more of my time understanding where we can be a partner rather than a provider."
Within the last two years, Farley has invested more than £250k in staff training and development and also reaches out to other young industry professionals, giving occasional talks to event management students. He doesn't mince his words.
"I think people need to realise this isn't a glamorous job. I have people applying for jobs and talking to me about their dreams and aspirations. I tell them 'great-can you do a spreadsheet?' My advice is just to work hard and be great," he says.
I ask him what the biggest issues are facing the industry. "Security has long been an issue, it has been since 9/11, but the world bounces back. The biggest risk I think is to just stop. You've got to be aware of risks but you have to embrace them and evolve. It's a challenge but it's also an exciting time because I think the industry is changing in a positive way."
Article features in M&IT Magazine July 2017.