Marketing in an Olympic year, the general election and artificial intelligence were on the agenda. 

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Annual Conference took place on Monday, 26 February.

The hybrid event was well attended in-person and online with speakers covering topical subjects alongside networking opportunities for delegates and presenters.

The marketing panel, from left, Scott Rowley, Harry Sykes, Laura Szuca and Andrea Bristol, chaired by Rhea Freeman, was kept busy with questions from the audience. 

The conference began with Gillian McAteer from The Citation Group sharing changes on the horizon from a HR perspective. She discussed updates spanning employment law, Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024, paternity leave, new holiday rules, redundancy, maternity leave, worker protection, new legislation around non-compete clauses and more. 

Next, Graeme Chaplin from the Bank of England shared a sobering look at forecasts connected to inflation and growth over the next year. This session concluded with questions from the audience around learnings from low interest rates, the impact of elections, bitcoin and financial stability.

Before lunch, there was a panel discussion around innovations in marketing. 

Laura Szuca from Equilibrium Products shared her insight around the company’s award-winning Golden Ticket competition, Harry Sykes discussed the benefits of video and some tips on how to start using it effectively, Scott Rowley from SRPR talked about how to get the best out of rider ambassadors, and Andrea Bristol from Admire PR discussed the power of print. 

A Q&A session followed with questions from the in-house and online audiences. The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and IOC (International Olympic Committee) Rule 40 was discussed in relation to working with riders in an Olympic year.

Political insight

After lunch, John Arnold shared humorous political insight around elections, looking at the possible outcomes should different parties win the upcoming general election - plus the possible repercussions of geo-political issues such as the world economy, wars, and the American presidential elections.

Jessica Stark from World Horse Welfare gave a fascinating talk on public acceptance of equestrianism. She covered the challenges the industry faces, facts and figures around public and equestrian perception, the burning issues, and how we can all work together to help improve trust in the industry, behave ethically, operate sustainably, educate and raise standards.

During the conference, the North East Business Resilience Centre was on site to give advice, and Steve Leach shared his tips and insight around cyber security and how it’s important for all businesses to be aware and take action, whatever size they are. He explained the threat landscape including phishing, ransomware, unauthorised access malware, brute force and denial of service, and provided a list of easy, free actions everyone should take.

The conference concluded with a talk from Mike Berry, an expert in artificial intelligence (AI). He explained how to unleash the power of AI in business with a focus on its use in marketing and how we should be looking at AI as a valuable tool to help enhance user experience and excel in our chosen area.

BETA’s next conference will be the BETA Feed and NOPS Conference on 18/19 June, 2024.