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Bizzabo research | 10 March 2020

2020 Event Marketing Benchmarks and Trends

Bianca Galvez

Learn what almost 500 marketing leaders have to say about the events industry in this landmark report. Featuring insights on event marketing budgets, tactics, team sizes, technology and more.

Within the first months of 2020, the operations of thousands of event teams were brought to a pause. A novel strain of coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness resulted in many events being postponed while others were outright cancelled.

It was a moment that understandably caused many event professionals to reconsider the viability of their strategies and, in some cases, their jobs.

The thing is, over the past three years, we’ve surveyed mid-to senior-level marketers to create a comprehensive picture of event marketing. In each year the data has shown that business leaders and their teams believe that in-person marketing is an irreplaceable channel.

For instance, last year we saw that the most successful businesses are spending 1.7x the average marketing budget on live events.

And in this year we see that the majority (85%) of respondents in leadership roles have identified in-person events as critical for their company’s success

As you will soon see for yourself, the results of our 2020 Event Trends report re-affirm the status of event marketing as a powerful channel for engaging audiences and driving business objectives.

For this study, we asked mid-to senior-level event marketers from companies like Yext, Forbes, Cloudera, SAP, Gartner, and more about their perspectives on the events industry and where the next decade of events will take us.

Our findings illustrate that leaders across industries understand the value of in-person events and are increasing their event marketing budgets accordingly.

Below you can find the executive summary to the 2020 Event Marketing: Benchmarks and Trends Report.

2020 Event Marketing Report: Executive Summary

Leadership teams are increasingly seeing the value of events. While marketers express difficulty showing return on their investment, those who are able to show ROI invest more in event technology, have more executive buy-in, and continue to increase investments in their event programming.

  1. Leadership teams all the way to individual contributors are seeing the value of events. The majority (85%) of respondents in leadership roles have identified in-person events as critical for their company’s success—double the number of leaders from 2019. Most (61%) respondents from our survey believe that in-person events are the most critical marketing channel—a 20% increase from last year’s report.
  1. The majority of marketers are investing at least 21% of their marketing budget in live events (48%), with the majority (62%) expecting to see a marketing budget increase for in-person events in the coming year. The majority of marketers from businesses that are overperforming in relation to their business goals (70%) expect to increase their budgets for in-person events.
  1. Trends show that the biggest obstacles to achieving event success include attracting the right audience and demonstrating event ROI. More than half (54%) of respondents surveyed expressed difficulty in providing ROI.
  1. Despite this, the majority (90%) of marketers from companies that do not have trouble showing ROI believe technology can have a major impact on the success of their events. Of the marketers that are currently using event software, most (80%) do not have trouble showing ROI. Overperforming orgs are 1.2x more likely to use event software.
  1. Technology plays a role in increasing operational efficiency. Most respondents (89%) who use event software believe that they save time to plan events using technology. The majority (89%) of event technology users save roughly 200 hours per year. In addition, some (20%) respondents see 360 hours or more saved per year with event technology.
  1. The majority of marketers from businesses that are overperforming in relation to their business goals (95%) believe that providing their attendees with a personalized event experience is important to them. The majority (91%) of total respondents also agreed with this sentiment.

Discover perspectives from event marketing leaders and more in the full report. Download the 2020 Event Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Report now.

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