On the heels of its crippled state during the pandemic, experiential marketing made quite a comeback in 2022—70 percent of B2C marketers and a whopping 90 percent of B2B marketers have executed a live, in-person event in the last six months. New research from brand experience firm Agency EA explores the anticipated impact and trends of 2023, including budgeting, ROI, and how brands are evolving their portfolios in the new year.
Of course, not all event attendees actually showed up in-person—nor do they need to, as the trend of virtual/hybrid event hosting, which became a part of event life during COVID, has solidified into what looks like a permanent part of event marketing moving forward: The firm’s sixth annual research study on the state of experiential marketing found that B2B hybrid events in 2022 saw a 60/40 split with in-person vs. virtual attendees, with a 50/50 split for B2C audiences. COVID safety, time investment, and the ability to socialize were the top audience concerns about returning to live events, according to the report.
Other notable study findings include:
- 64 percent of B2B marketers and 40 percent of B2C marketers anticipate their budget will increase within the next year. Both B2B and B2C marketers expect that increase to be 5-10 percent
- 82 percent of B2B marketers and 90 percent of B2C marketers saw an increase in hard costs
ROI + data
- 61 percent of B2B marketers and 70 percent of B2C marketers agreed or strongly agreed that they struggle to prove the value of experiential programming to their C-suite
- 89 percent of B2B marketers said that capturing and leveraging event data has made a positive impact on their marketing strategy, with their top three metrics being number of leads generated, satisfied decision makers, and new/increased sponsorships
- 74 percent of B2B marketers and 70 percent of B2C marketers plan to include a virtual component for their next live experience
- DEI initiatives, charitable activations, and sustainability practices were the top three initiatives that both B2B and B2C marketers plan to incorporate into their programs next year
- AI Chatbots, gamification, event apps and live streaming are the top technologies B2B and B2C marketers plan to utilize for their 2023 events
“For many brands, 2022 has been a year of rebuilding their experiential presence,” said Rick Cosgrove, president of Agency EA, in a news release. “Our annual research study shows that brands are reevaluating their experiential efforts in an exciting way, and we expect 2023 to be a year of continued innovation, reinvention, and growth throughout the industry.”