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The 5 most important event marketing trends in 2020

Make sure your company’s event strategy for 2020 is aligned with how the event industry is changing and evolving.

With CES and a handful of other conferences already in the books for this year, new trends are emerging within the event industry that marketers need to know.  We’ve identified 5 key trends that marketers can adapt to ensure they are ahead of the curve and competitive at conferences and trade shows this year.

1) Conferences will be come more experiential

While most conferences have typically relied on speaker tracks and keynotes, attendees will see a shift this year involving more small group, hands-on breakout sessions. In 2019, 73% of conferences and 50% of trade shows offer some level of workshop as a component of their event.  This will enable attendees to take an active part in the event, transforming them from passive listeners to vital contributors. Whether you’re participating or hosting the workshop, event marketers can use this opportunity to engage and interact with customers and prospects at a higher success rate than panels and keynotes. 

2) The use of event tech will increase exponentially

While the attendee’s experience will always continue to be transformed through technology, the shift we’re seeing is the sophistication of event organizers and their use of technology in the planning and execution of the event itself.  74% of event professionals agree that data drives their decision making and they will use that data to plan events. 

3) Investment in event marketing will continue to increase

Event marketing is here to stay. They are the perfect place to launch a new product, let your customers connect and share their experiences with prospects and even engage leads in a way that digital campaigns fall short. 80% of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success and 65% of event marketers plan on investing more into events -- increasing the event marketing budget for events, purchasing event technology, and increasing the quantity of events. 

4) Proving event ROI is a necessity

Depending on the sophistication of your tech stack, it can be difficult to track leads and attribute sales to events. In fact, 54% of corporate event planners rate Return on Investment, or ROI as their biggest concern. However, as marketing budgets become more scrutinized, it is imperative that marketing teams have the ability to calculate a true ROI for each event as well as their event marketing channel as a whole. 

5) Privacy Laws will impact your event strategy

With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union in 2018 and the California Consumer Privacy Act’s enforcement period looming in July 2020, event organizers have started to shy away from providing sponsors full attendee lists as a part of their sponsorship package. Since the attendees didn’t opt to share their data with the sponsor, this can cause legal problems for organizers who are freely sharing the lists with partners. Therefore, it can be challenging for exhibitors to access full attendee lists like they once could. In this new world order, exhibitors -- now more than ever -- must have engaging ways to capture the information directly from their target prospects while they are on-site at the event.