How Permutive’s Events Are Driving Change

November 16, 2020 5 min read

  • Robbert van der Pluijm, Event Marketing Manager at Permutive

  • Most B2B event marketers say the top goals for event programs in 2020 are driving brand awareness, lead generation, sales acceleration and boosting customer engagement. Although we’d underwrite any one of those goals, the impact of events on your business and the industry you operate in goes well beyond that.

    This year, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement has spurred on the need for all businesses to take more meaningful and lasting action in their overall diversity and inclusion efforts. The realisation such commitment was overdue for events came to the fore in 2018, when #NoMoreManels became a trending topic for events in the media and technology industry. Great platforms to connect event organisers with women speakers, such as Innovation Women (founded in 2015) and WomenPresent (founded in 2017) gathered overdue momentum. Most recently, we’ve partnered with Practice Makes UnPerfect, an initiative which offers all female employees at Permutive an opportunity to boost confidence in presenting and thought-leadership.

    Much work is still to be done. Entering 2020, almost two-thirds of all event speakers are male. Looking at 150 events globally in 2019 and 2020, over a third of the events in tech and marketing didn’t have a single Black speaker. If this is to be fixed, fair representation of women and non-white communities needs to become front and center, and every professional responsible for sourcing speakers needs to set representation targets.

    This is why we’ve developed an event values charter. Within it, you’ll find that Permutive adheres and promotes Diversity & Inclusion at Conferences and Events (D.I.C.E.). We require our events program to include contributions by women (min. 50%) and non-white communities (min 30%). We also celebrate and back initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion across media in our Bitesize podcast. In each episode we discover how an inspiring guest makes change possible. Participants so far have shared the initiatives I Am History, Bloom, Coders of Colour, Stemettes, Outvertising, Hustle Crew and more.

    Besides Diversity & Inclusion, there are five other values that are part of our charter. It starts with Teamwork. Successful events rely on many contributors, and it’s key that we take the time to celebrate the time, effort and creativity that everyone puts into them. At Permutive this comes to fruition at our internal All-Hands meeting with weekly shout outs for those who have contributed to making our events successful. We also support charities chosen by speakers as a thank you for sharing their expertise and enthusiasm.

    When it comes to sourcing and selecting the speakers on our stage, we have a Commitment to our Customers. Our event brand Make Possible is focused on building a community in the advertising space, in which we have our publisher partners, agencies and brands who rally around working towards a better, fairer industry shine.

    To fulfil this commitment to our customers and other change makers in our industry we want to deliver outstanding event experiences, for the community to learn and their platform to grow. Aspiration means events can always be better. This starts from a concise event description, to a smooth registration and entry on the day, engaging speakers, great content, all the way to opportunities for the attendees to interact with the contributors and each other.

    These values or set of principles aren’t worth much if you’re not willing to put them to the test and say ‘no’. Integrity means saying no to contributing to an event where there’s no gender balance, saying no to sales pitches at our events for the sake of our guests, and saying no to partnerships which are solely driven by financial incentives.

    Sure, we do sponsor trade shows which include speaker slots. But for me, as an ‘in-house’ event professional at a SaaS business, I want the set-up for the events I host to be different. Permutive and Make Possible Events won’t offer paid-for speaking slots, as all contributions should be selected for their high level of inspiration, education and actionable insights for professionals in the ad ecosystem and beyond.

    Lastly, in 2020 no events charter goes without mentioning Covid-19. On Safety & Accessibility it’s important to note that Permutive won’t be the first mover in hosting in-person events again. We don’t expect colleagues to attend offline events organised by others either. And when offline conferences are back, our Summits will be ‘hybrid’ – so people can continue to experience them from their chosen location safely. All our events are free to attend to allow as many people to participate as possible. We’ve also started offering live subtitles for our events, which is a great resource for afterwards too.

    Important to note is that the Permutive values for events and experiences are not set in stone. We as a team, and me personally, take responsibility for continuous education as we strive to provide a balanced platform for all.

    If you’d like to respond to our event value charter, continue the conversation with me and/or make me aware of initiatives in B2B event marketing, please send me a message on, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

    Values of Permutive Events & Experiences


    We celebrate the time, effort and creativity that all speakers, co-organizers, suppliers and Permutive colleagues put into them.

    Commitment to Our Customers

    We use events to give our customers a platform to share their stories, and inspire their peers.

    Diversity and Inclusion

    At Permutive we set a good example by ensuring our events are more inclusive and diverse.


    As events can always be better, we seek out feedback from attendees, colleagues, peers and organizers.


    Our events are not driven by financial incentives, but exist to inspire, educate and offer actionable insights for professionals in the ad ecosystem and beyond.

    Safety and Accessibility

    When it’s safe for attendees, contributors and suppliers to start in-person events again, our Summits will go ‘hybrid’ so people can continue to experience them from their (home) office.