With 2023 just a whisker away, we can safely say that everybody’s curiosity to know how events will pan out in the coming year is probably at its peak… thankfully this article should help you quench your thirst.
As per our recent industry report, 2022 saw the comeback of in-person events. It was a welcome change as people had reached a saturation point when it came to engaging with a digital screen. However, the virtual element didn’t go anywhere - we saw B2B marketers continue to run webinars, virtual and hybrid events alongside in-person experiences; something we’d never seen before!
Now with the events world seeing so many firsts over the last few years, it’s only natural to expect 2023 to throw surprises at us. While there are some things beyond our control as event marketers, such as economic uncertainty or a pandemic (COVID-19, please don’t come back), what can we do to stay prepared for what’s to come?
It starts with getting the right insights - backed by on-ground learnings. That’s exactly why Bharath Varma, our CEO & co-founder, and Ketan Pandit, our Head of Marketing, hosted a webinar to discuss key takeaways from our industry report, The Future of B2B Events in 2023. They also shared their seasoned perspective on these trends and so much more!
In case you missed the live webinar, here’s a link to the recording that you can watch on demand.
But if you’re more of a reader, we recommend that you stick around and continue reading to see highlights from their conversation!
Learnings from attending events in 2022
When Ketan asked Bharath about his experience with attending events in 2022, some interesting observations were shared.
“The year started off with a lot of virtual events and then ended with like probably the most number of in-person events that have happened over the last three years!” said Bharath. “A couple of interesting observations from from the large-scale events i went to, like Amazon Re-invent, Dreamforce, IMEX and SaaStr are that they have been able to get pretty good attendance turnout, while not at par with the 2019 levels, I'd say it was very close to those numbers.”
He also added, “However, with smaller events attracting 500-1500 attendees, marketers saw a considerable drop-off in numbers with just 50% of pre-pandemic numbers attending their events, so that is a really interesting trend right there.”
Why creating demand for an event has been challenging
Highlighting one of the key challenges shared by B2B marketers in our industry report - creating demand for an event, Ketan discussed how getting the right attendees, or attendees itself, to an event is getting harder than ever before.
To this, Bharath added. “It's just so much easier to get people who are dressed up and who are already in their office to go to an event than to get your work-from-home staff to move from their house. So you're essentially not just competing with other events, you're also competing with Netflix and even all the podcasts that are out there. Also, now there's also an added element of your competing with the time with one who gets to spend with their family. It's an interesting dynamic right - if you're going to step out of your house at like five o'clock in the evening for a networking dinner, it’s just a lot harder to do now especially if you your kids at home and your family at home. So yeah, it's just a lot harder to leave your house than to go from the office and that's a really interesting learning."
How B2B companies can approach choosing their event format
Later on, the duo dove into the topic of event formats. With 2022 seeing all event formats co-existing, is there a way marketers can figure out when to use virtual, hybrid or in-person formats? To this end, Bharath shared his perspective - “Companies will really get into using different formats of these events based on the goals. You can be doing events to create top of the funnel, you can be doing events to move prospects along your sales cycle in the funnel right, or you can also be doing events to retain customers like to provide more value to them. So yeah - the goals of the event, coupled with the way your customers prefer to engage, should determine what format works the best for you. ”
Key focus points when it comes to spending on event tech
As per our industry report, over 50% marketers use 4-5 tools to run an event. Now, with more tools comes more complexity. "Marketers today deal with data silos, which makes it hard for them to unify their analytics", shared Ketan. He then asked Bharath about how B2B marketers can plan their event tech keeping expenditure in mind.
“It depends on where you are as a company. For instance, if you’re a company out there using like four or five different tools - one for webinars one for user conferences, one for field events and so on and so forth, if you're able to consolidate those tools and buy one solution, the question of how much are you gonna save is beyond dollars." said Bharath.
"It’s also more in terms of how much time you're going to save that's going to allow you to just plan better even programs right like make it more personalized, understand your customers or your audience better and spend more time designing your agendas, more time curating your speakers, etc." he added.
He concluded by stating the spends are not just about the dollar spend on the tools but also this amount of time that you're spending on some important aspects to drive demand, because that’s beyond tech… so consolidating tools can give you that space for other things.
Now that we've given you a glimpse, we recommend that you check out our on-demand webinar for the full conversation.
You could also head over to our trends report for more super-useful insights.
Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.