Events were always coming back. From the wave of cancellations that defined 2020 to the uncertainty of 2021 and the rise of virtual and hybrid events, the benefits of assembling people for a common business purpose always outweighed the challenges.
Now that 2022 is well underway and the threat from the most recent coronavirus variant is (slowly) fading, the event renaissance is upon us. But what’s most surprising is that event professionals and marketers are not surprised. They’ve been preparing for a surge in event volume, and using the lessons learned from the digitally-dominated pandemic event era to create more impactful, more targeted, and more ROI-driven events.
How Data is Driving Change, For the Better
What’s driving this significant shift across the events landscape? In a word, data. Event marketers and planners are using data to create more meaningful events and generate more measurable results. Whereas event strategies of the past would focus on getting the most attendees together, it’s now about getting the right attendees together for the right kind of experience.
Using data to create specific, intentional, tailored events and curating those events based on attendee and target market intelligence is a big step forward. Splash’s recent survey, “An Outlook on Events in 2022,” found that 26 percent of event marketers’ top priority for measuring success this year was attracting the right attendees. Only 16 percent said they wanted to attract more attendees.
A more focused and data-driven approach allows marketers to drive conversions from events while delivering greater value to attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. More businesses recognize the positive impact events can have, as evidenced by their eagerness to conduct them: 46 percent of companies surveyed anticipate hosting more virtual events in 2022 than in 2021, and 50 percent plan to host more in-person events this year than last. This data also reveals an interesting trend: there’s no longer an either-or dynamic between more online or in-person events. The industry is simply readying itself for more events.
More Data, More Engagement, More ROI
To ensure events continue engaging attendees, 59 percent of companies surveyed plan to increase their investment in event technology in 2022. Event technology that integrates virtual platforms with on-site event execution and pre-and post-event communications allows all attendees, whether in-person or online, to engage fully with the content, presenters, sponsors, and other attendees. And that’s key for optimizing the event experience for all attendees, but also for generating the business outcomes stakeholders expect.
Thanks to the growing value of events within companies’ broader business and sales strategies, event marketers will likely have a larger presence in strategic planning than before. Event marketers have mastered many new digital tools and skills since the start of the pandemic, so they’re better equipped to deliver event ROI — and meet expectations.
The potential for events to drive more measurable ROI is fueling a boom in virtual, in-person, and hybrid events to begin the year. The vanity metrics of event success like how many people registered or how many attended have become less important with evolved strategies for tracking impact. Now, marketers have the right tools to measure true ROI, pipeline development, and conversion rates in ways unlike before.
Across the globe, event professionals anticipate a year of real recovery for the industry. They’re not surprised by the event resurgence they’ve been planning for it.
Still, those positioned for the greatest success have invested in event technology that creates cohesive digital and in-person experiences, connects event data to CRM programs, and enables more accurate ROI tracking. By building on the popularity and tech-enabled viability of virtual and hybrid event programs, event professionals can deliver real results for their companies and enjoy a productive 2022. Is your event strategy applying the lessons of the pandemic to generate more impactful events this year?