Presented by Cvent
In 2022, event marketers will be dealing with an entirely new landscape of questions, concerns, and opportunities. are you ready? Join this VB Live event to get in-depth insights, analysis and the best predictions for the coming year from our events and marketing experts.
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The event industry has gone through some really seismic changes in the past couple of years, with global adjustments completely reshaping the landscape. This disruption has created some major challenges and obstacles, but it has also opened up massive innovations and entirely new opportunities.
said Mike Dietrich, Vice President of Product Marketing at Cvent. “It’s an exciting time to lead a team of professionals in the industry, and to start redefining what meetings and events will look like when we get out of this.”
Dietrich says that the unexpected emergence of the virus recently requires another pivot, which means that in the short term, or in the next three to six months, the industry and the market will be determined by continued high uncertainty, Dietrich says.
“These teams now need to do contingency planning and scenario planning, consider the need to continue to provide in-person experiences, virtual experiences, mixed experiences, maybe a combination of all three, and do that in a very short time,” he says. “This profession has been heroic in my opinion.”
Planning and marketing professionals essentially need to jump into the hack and learn new skill sets, work in new teams and adopt new technologies – and be more flexible and better prepared as a result.
“If there is a positive note to all this disruption, it is that this whole community has built muscles we didn’t even know existed, technology has improved to meet needs better and skill sets have improved and matured,” he says. “There is evidence now, and unlike in 2020, we are entering into this uncertainty with a little more experience behind us about what works and what doesn’t.”
Here’s a look at what event planners can expect, most importantly to consider as the transition from virtual to hybrid begins to occur, and more.
Create safe experiences
First and foremost on everyone’s mind is the necessity of providing a safe personal experience for attendees, event staff and employees alike. This includes choosing the right venue, allocating space, facilitating secure attendee interactions, and more. Dietrich says that given the health, brand, and financial implications for the rest of 2022, in-person event design and implementation is likely to be a C-level problem.
Event marketers will also have to come to terms with the fact that the exchange of value delivered through in-person meetings and events in 2022 will be higher. People will make very personal calculations based on the individual ROI and comfort level of attendance. This has profound implications for every part of the event journey, from the value proposition of the event to the content being delivered to the extent to which attendees after the event can continue to derive value from the event.
To go hybrid or not to go hybrid
However, the decision to host a mixed event should be based on your goals and what you are trying to achieve. In other words, user conference, where a great deal of value can be networking, content and information sharing, as well as building the pipeline and increasing revenue, might be a good fit for the mix.
But if the goal of your event is to get together in a small, intimate gathering of VIPs to close a big deal, or to adopt a product by hands-on, that goal may not be beneficial for a mixed event.
Marketers should avoid a “one-size-fits-all” approach – there are many ways to implement a hybrid event, from low-cost formats to events with the highest production and live broadcasts. Assuming all hybrid events are off-budget factors — approaching them with a cost mindset first — can lead organizations to lose potential value from additional access. Dietrich says: Run the numbers. A hybrid might make a lot of sense.
“We challenge our clients to consider the overall value of being able to reach and engage a larger audience, and the increased costs incurred by adding a virtual component to the event,” he says. “We often find that the additional expense of transitioning to a hybrid makes sense.”
It is also essential to be able and willing to treat a hybrid event as a single event with two experiences. Virtual attendees cannot be mere embezzlement of personal experience – it is neither enjoyable nor particularly valuable to them. If you’re a mixed-up, think deeply about the default content and how to deliver a complete event experience.
Finally, don’t undermine the production experience. The value of producing your own content, especially distributed to a virtual audience, is hugely important in how your audience engages, stays engaged, and how it reflects on your brand.
Opportunity to expand participation
Driven by the increasing sophistication of content and the digital tools that comprise it, marketers and planners have the opportunity to push the boundaries of typical start and stop dates for an event by unlocking digital components, providing content and networking opportunities before the event, engaging users before the event ever begins.
“We’re bringing engagement that was previously happening at check-in and pulling that at least four to six weeks ahead, to start getting excited and engaging with our audience long before the event,” he explains.
Once the event is closed, the digital environment remains active, giving more people the opportunity to interact with and share content and continue to make connections with the network they have built.
Technology choice explosion
In response to new challenges in the industry, the number of tools and platforms designed to help event marketers thrive has proliferated. But the wealth of choice also leads to decision fatigue, as users struggle to figure out what tools they need, how to combine them all, and how to use them not just to deliver a great experience, but to execute more efficiently.
Dietrich anticipates a growing move toward integrating the technology group that drives meetings and events. He urges professionals to consider their tool selection as they build their own set of techniques, making sure they add agility, not slow it down.
The trend before the pandemic was the breakdown of planning and marketing within organizations, and that trend has accelerated since then. Many companies are reorganizing to bring the marketing and planning teams together, especially as the event channel and event programs are becoming digital in nature.
“We see the awesome power of great event professionals and event design at odds with the skill set of digital marketing,” Dietrich says. “We are seeing amazing advances not only in what that means from a user experience perspective, but also in what it means for an organization’s ability to understand user behavior and intent to mine and activity data within their events, and to be able to use it to more effectively personalize and engage with the audience.”
For more ideas on the upcoming year in event planning and marketing, and how professionals can set themselves up for success, don’t miss this VB Live event!
Register here for free.
You will know:
- How marketers can prepare for the return of live events
- How to make hybrid events work better than ever
- Why webinars are an essential part of the marketing mix
- What are the trends and strategies that will bring success in 2022
- Natalia Rebecca, Senior Manager, Events Marketing, Attention
- Mike DietrichVice President, Product Marketing, Cvent
- Hailey Hagarty, General Manager Events, VentureBeat (Broker)