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Recent Survey Reveals Event-Marketing Trends

A focus on current customers, smaller regional gatherings, and well-timed virtual events are among the most important findings from 670 event marketers.

Companies’ marketing events in 2023 will be more about deepening existing customer relationships rather than winning over prospective customers, according to the 2023 Events Outlook Report from Splash, a virtual-meeting platform provider. Further, that effort is often being conducted through multiple events across the year, both in-person and virtual, rather than by hosting one flagship event or having an outsized presence at a major trade show.

The recent survey of 670 event marketers from organizations in the U.S. and the EU found that two out of three meetings being planned this year are aimed at current customers, with the goal of either landing more business directly from that contact or being referred to other contacts in the client organization. The reason, according to the report: the possibility of recession in 2023 is pushing companies to make the most efficient use of their marketing budgets.

In that same vein, “the exorbitant costs of major events like trade shows, compounded by rapidly rising prices of travel and accommodations, make it difficult to justify committing large percentage of an annual budget to a single flagship event.”

As a result, 61 percent of respondents said that they would hold six or more repeating events in 2023, while the other 39 percent of respondents said they would hold between one and five recurring events.

Further, 43 percent said those repeating events will be both in person and virtual, and 30 percent said they will be exclusively in person. Eleven percent said these events will be hybrids, and six percent said they will be exclusively virtual. One important factor when it comes to the mix of events conducted across the year: 47 percent of respondents say that in-person events generate the highest return on investment.

However, event marketers’ two biggest frustrations with creating smaller, more frequent in-person and/or virtual meetings are the difficulty in coordinating across internal departments (32 percent said so) and in building new attendee lists (27 percent said so).

The full report can be found here.

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