The Growing Importance of Events for Marketing

Skift Take

Events have increased in popularity as a marketing channel to help businesses engage with their target audiences, create brand awareness, build customer loyalty, and generate leads, according to a recent Bizzabo report. 

A reported 80.4% of meeting professionals say in-person events are their organization’s most impactful marketing channel, according to a report by event technology company Bizzabo. The company surveyed more than 4,000 event organizers and attendees to understand the state of in-person gatherings to publish its The State of In-person B2B Conferences report.

“In-person conferences are the cornerstones of comprehensive marketing strategies, architected to drive brand affinity, customer engagement, and revenue growth. From tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Hubspot to global publishers like Financial Times, Bloomberg, and TechCrunch — they all use live events to drive forward their most impactful product announcements and community moments. This is why events are still the marketing budget’s single largest line item,” said Alon Alroy, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Bizzabo. 

This aligns with what attendees expect. According to the same report, 69.7% of attendees say in-person B2B conferences offer the best opportunity to learn about new products or services, and 78% say they offer the best chance to network.

Conferences Crucial to Success

Most organizers, 76.6%, consider in-person conferences critical to their organization’s overall success. Furthermore, 80.4% of organizers identify in-person events as their organization’s most impactful marketing channel. These numbers have increased from Bizzabo’s 2022 in-person sentiment survey, in which 72% of organizers said in-person events were crucial to their overall marketing strategy.

The report suggests companies are staffing up to deliver events. Almost half of event organizers (47.2%) have grown their events teams in the past year. In total, 30.6% of organizers now have event teams of more than ten people. This number was only 10.2% in 2020.

Despite the challenges around hybrid events, attendees said it is their favorite event format. Bizzabo confirms the number of hybrid events on the platform has grown steadily month-over-month this year. “It will be interesting to see how organizers build their strategies heading into 2024 and beyond,” said Alroy. 

The report also revealed: 

  • 75.9% of organizers believe in-person conferences will become increasingly critical to their organization’s success in the coming years. 
  • 70.5% of organizers say their B2B in-person conference attendance grew or stayed the same in the past year.
  • 86.4% of organizers plan to hold more or about the same number of in-person B2B events in 2024.

Photo credit: Midjourney / Prompt: event marketing