Cvent believes the golden age of events has arrived. But it didn't come easily. This exciting new era arrived thanks to a confluence of game-changing events that rocked the marketing world forever, from the rise of digital technology to the global pandemic of 2020.
Perhaps no other marketing channel was more impacted by the pandemic than meetings and events. When in-person events suddenly stopped, organizations were forced to innovate to survive. It was survival of the fittest, with evolution taking place in real time. Not only did organizations adapt brilliantly, they arguably changed the face of event marketing forever.
Without in-person events, marketers and event planners were thrown together, and the lines between traditional webinars and virtual events became blurred. Marketers started to think about what was possible with meetings and events, and how to incorporate marketing methodologies into the overall events channel. Both sides saw the potential — massive audience expansion, multiple data points of capture, digital engagement, lead scoring, and more. Now there's no going back. This isn't a return to normal or even a "new normal." It's rethinking how marketers see, plan, produce, and even attend events. Now more than ever, marketers have an opportunity to create value and drive revenue by aligning their technology, teams, and strategy to scale the events channel and add a powerful new tool to their overall marketing mix.
PRE-PANDEMIC: SILOES & SEPARATION
Our pre-pandemic world was dominated by in-person events. Teams, roles, responsibilities, and technology were siloed. Tech existed in different places with different owners. Few teams were talking and even fewer organizations were taking a programmatic view of their events. According to a 2021 Forrester survey, 66% of event managers said they executed events independently of marketing campaigns. The result? Years, even decades, of missed opportunities.
PANDEMIC: DISRUPTION & CONVERGENCE
The pandemic disrupted the status quo. This led to the convergence of functions, the technologies used to support them, and the entire events channel. Event planners and marketers adapted quickly, discovering new opportunities along the way — and laid the foundation for a new, better way in the pos-pandemic world.
POST-PANDEMIC: INNOVATION & IMPACT
Cut to the present — and future. The digital revolution and global pandemic taught marketers that the status quo had to go. Roles and responsibilities have become more fluid and organizations have started to think differently across the board. And a tidal wave of new and innovative thinking is taking place that will not be stopped or reversed:
- 73% of organizations say demand marketing is responsible for setting event strategy. (Forrester, February 2021)
- 72% agree digital strategy technologies will remain the foundation of any experience post-pandemic. (Forrester, February 2021)
- In-person events will become more digitally connected, whether they're "hybrid" or exclusively in-person.
- Marketers and planners will work hand-in-hand to craft and deliver dynamic, engaging event experiences.
- Virtual events will become more experiential due to audience expectations. An engaging webinar of 2019 won't likely cut it in today's world — webinars should operate more like a virtual event experience.
Where does day-dreaming about what's possible end and actionable strategy begin? It starts by thinking bigger than just planning events one at a time, independent from the organization's overall marketing strategy. The future of event marketing is a multi-layered, programmatic approach. We call it: The New Event Marketing Opportunity.
Taking advantage of the New Event Marketing Opportunity demands marketers align strategy, technology, and teams to deliver the right event format (virtual, in-person, hybrid) for the right event type (events, conferences, meetings, seminars, training, etc.) for the right audience, at the right stage along the customer journey.
Events can no longer just be viewed as arbitrary dates circled on the organization's calendar; they must be viewed as a critical part of the overall marketing mix that can support each stage of the customer lifecycle.
The New Event Marketing Opportunity maximizes value and manages risk by mastering event types and formats using a cohesive, comprehensive, and collaborative approach that embraces virtual technology.
Now, how do you take advantage of the New Event Marketing Opportunity and maximize your event channel? Visit cvent.com/eventopportunity to find out how to take control.