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2023 events outlook: New report reveals shifts in formats, budgets, and need for better tools

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Public Relations

Following nearly two years of rebuilding and refocusing, event marketers and planners will continue to face challenges in the year ahead, citing economic headwinds, changing B2B buying behaviors, and fewer resources as some of the most critical in 2023, reveals the latest Events Outlook Report from event marketing tech firm Splash.

The firm’s survey found that despite 85 percent of event marketers reporting an increase in their budgets for 2023, they continue to feel stymied by their lack of resources—both human and financial—and the need for technology that better supports their roles and helps them to improve efficiencies.

2023 events outlook: New report reveals shifts in formats, budgets, and need for better tools

Those constraints, coupled with an increasingly digital and complex buyer journey and the need to prove events’ impact on the bottom line, drive more event marketers to experiment with different event formats. The everyday event—an event designed to be replicated multiple times across regions, verticals, formats (virtual/hybrid/in-person), and stakeholders—is on the mind of at least one-third of marketers who are refocusing their strategies around these more frequent, scalable events over flagship events, such as conferences and tradeshows.

With a mind to optimizing budgets and doing more with less, event marketers are leveraging the everyday event format to cut through the noise of overcrowded and anonymous experiences and reach their audiences more frequently.

2023 events outlook: New report reveals shifts in formats, budgets, and need for better tools

“The last three years have shown that event professionals are a resilient group, remaining agile and experimenting with different opportunities to drive revenue through events,” said Kate Hammitt, chief marketing officer at Splash, in a news release. “Our latest research demonstrates that event marketers are, once again, adjusting their strategies to create more connection points with attendees and positively impacting ROI. And, we’re continuing to see evidence that everyday events—at scale—can drive significant financial impact to a company’s sales pipeline year-round.”

Events and experiential programs are vital components of a company’s marketing mix. Yet, the successful execution of events, especially at scale, can be demanding due to limited resources, manual processes, and convoluted technology solutions. Marketers need technology that makes it easier to create, manage, measure, and replicate events and ensure those events stay on-brand and engage their target audiences.

2023 events outlook: New report reveals shifts in formats, budgets, and need for better tools

The research shows that 81 percent of event practitioners would hold more events if they had the right tools. Other report findings show that:

Everyday events prove their worth

Nearly one-third (27 percent) of event marketers plan to host 11-20 of these event types.

Untapped revenue potential

With the majority of events (84 percent) targeting existing customers, there’s a significant opportunity to expand event programs to bring in new buyers. Substantially fewer than half (41 percent) of events are directed at the prospective buyer—showing an impressive potential for growth!

Virtual events are still a paradox

While just 6 percent of event marketers host only virtual events now, 38 percent say they are cost-effective.

Investment in event tech remained largely unchanged from 2021

Half (53 percent) of event marketers say their tech budgets stayed the same.

The event mix is changing

Large “flagship” events aren’t going away, but only 13 percent of marketers say they’re focusing on them in 2023. Instead, more marketers are looking at everyday events to reach their target audience at multiple touchpoints throughout the year

Metrics matter

And so does having the right attendees; 32 percent of marketers say this is their most important metric to measure success in 2023, up 6 percent from 2022.

2023 events outlook: New report reveals shifts in formats, budgets, and need for better tools

Event technology continues to be a central component of marketing strategies in 2023, with 81 percent of event marketers looking for resources that can help them maximize their events’ potential and drive revenues. Event professionals today are in an ideal position to experiment and learn with the availability of flexible tools that enable them to scale up or down according to ever-changing business goals. Testing different event formats helps uncover what resonates best with audiences, deepening their connection while driving new growth opportunities.

Download the full report here.

The survey of 670 event marketers and professionals in North America, Europe, and the UK, was conducted in late 2022.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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