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Event marketing | 5 December 2016

5 Skills Marketers Will Need To Master In The Next 5 Years

Brandon Rafalson

Chatbots and virtual reality? If you mentioned either to a marketer 20 years ago they would have thought someone reads a little too much science fiction. Yet, here we are in 2016 and familiarity with chatbots and virtual reality seems to be inextricable from the future of marketing–and they aren’t the only new areas of interest on the rise.

In order to stay competitive with your marketing efforts, you need to stay abreast of the most recent trends in marketing. Here’s a look at five skills that will be essential for marketers to understand in the next 5 years.

Event Planning

In an era of digital information overload, live events remain a key way to make your product or service standout. A research report by the digital marketing agency Regalix reveals that:

  • 91% of marketers invest in Event Marketing
  • 76% of marketers incorporate at least one event per quarter into their marketing strategy
  • 57% of marketers believe that events are extremely significant for accelerating lead gen or growing the sales pipeline

Although physical events are believed to yield the greatest ROI, many organizations are also incorporating virtual events (webinars, virtual conferences, etc.) into their marketing plans. According to another study by Outsell, in-person events currently account for over $26 billion of B2B spending and this number is set to grow. How can you harness the power of in-person events for your next marketing initiative? Hint: It helps to have event management software on your side.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Platforms

Remember that insanely infectious, but relatively short-lived sensation called Pokémon Go? That’s just a taste of what Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) offer. Within days, numerous businesses found a way to incorporate marketing efforts into the game’s premise of encouraging players to explore the real world. Some brands would screenshot pictures of Pokémon being “caught” on their premises, while others would advertise their businesses proximity to Pokéstops (i.e. virtual locations with lots of Pokémon tethered to real-world sites).

 For marketers, Pokémon Go was more than just a game it was a valuable opportunity to engage consumers in a novel way. Yet, as brilliant of an opportunity as Pokémon Go was, it really only scratches the surface of AR and VR.

Presenting at a tradeshow? Imagine being able to present charts that appear in front of your audience’s very eyes with AR. Giving a keynote address? Try recording with 360º video footage to give those using VR at home the chance to be in the thick of things. Google did this for their dev conference this past year. Both AR and VR are projected to grow. It falls onto marketers to innovate with them.

Artificial Intelligence  

Marketers won’t need to know how to build their own life-like robots (thank goodness!), but knowing how to leverage artificial intelligence for chatbot and lead generation initiatives will be huge in the coming years. The past decade has seen the emergence of AI platforms like Google Assistant, Alexa from Amazon, Cortana from Microsoft, and thousands of chatbots on Facebook and other messaging platforms. We’ve seen some flops, like Microsoft’s Tay (you know, the TwitterBot developed to emulate a teenage girl which ended up emulating an internet troll), but on the whole we’re seeing the emergence of some great AI innovations:

  • Hubspot’s GrowthBot allows marketers to retrieve key stats and insights by posing a simple text-based questions and commands
  • With the help of Facebook, Kik, and WeChat, chatbots are taking over the eCommerce market in Southeast Asia
  • Chirpify provides brands with a number of ways to engage users on social platforms, like having them type in a special hashtag for a free pack of Oreos –yum!

Unlike us humans, chatbots never need to sleep and they can reveal valuable insights on consumer behaviors in real-time by tracking questions and commands. As amazing as chatbots are, they represent but one facet of the growing development of AI marketing.



Remote Working

Yes, working remotely is a skill and in the next 5 years it will become increasingly important for marketers. More and more companies–Basecamp, Buffer, Automatic–pride themselves on having a remote work culture. A remote workforce cuts down on company overhead and also empowers employees with an unprecedented level of autonomy. Plus, a surge in communication tools like Slack, Trello, GoogleDrive and Zoom have made it easier than ever before to work from your couch…or from the Bahamas.


But don’t let the tropical comfort of the Bahamas fool you: remote working can be tough, as we learned when we interviewed the CEO of a distributed event planning company. Time management, initiative, communication, and organization all take on a special meaning when it’s just you working outside of an office environment. Mastering these skills along with the technological toolbelt of aforementioned communication platforms will be essential for the future of marketers. Here’s a list of 50 management tools that we recommend for optimum remote productivity.

Data Analysis

According to the research organization SINTEF, more data has been created in the last two years than in the prior 5,500 years. As a marketer, it’s no longer just good enough to provide great content, you need to provide great content that is driven by data. That means getting comfortable with A/B testing, website analytics, various analytics features in social media platforms, and more. At Bizzabo, we’re huge proponents of leveraging data, especially when it comes to event data metrics.

Wondering how you can get the most of out data analytics? We’re currently offering a free eBook that looks at how event organizers can get the most out of their metrics. Even if you’re not involved with organizing events, we’re certain that you will learn a thing or two about leveraging data.  

Wrapping Up

It might sound strange that in the coming years marketers will need to be familiar with event planning, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, remote working, and data analysis. But as it turns out, truth is stranger than science fiction.

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