June 26, 2023
By Hope Salvatori

The events industry is ever-changing. For marketing and event leaders, this means keeping a watchful eye on key trends, taking a frequent pulse of what your attendees want, and using a scalable event platform to help you build great events that meet business goals.

To shed some light on what global event and marketing leaders are seeing in the industry and how your event platform can help you keep up, check out these findings from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cvent, “Level Up Your Event Platform Capabilities.”

Events Are Important in Achieving Business Goals

As events become more digital and allow for greater reach and impact, they play an increasingly critical role in driving business outcomes.

According to the study, the majority of respondents said events are important or critical in achieving their top business goals, including:

  • Increasing revenue (89% say events are important or critical),
  • Improving customer experience (75%),
  • Improving efficiencies (69%),
  • Improving business agility (78%), and
  • Accelerating digital transformation efforts (81%).

Because these are organization-wide objectives, events have the power to impact more internal stakeholders than ever as different teams strive to meet these goals. In fact, according to the study, 67% of respondents say more stakeholders rely on event technology compared to three years ago.

The stakeholders seeing the most change in their involvement with events include sales, with 62% saying sales teams are more involved than two years ago; customer success/customer experience at 59%; brand/corporate marketing at 55%; and demand generation marketing at 52%.

With so many stakeholders leveraging the power of events, how can you ensure your event program is set up to help meet individual teams’ goals and your overall business objectives?

Different Event Formats for Different Goals

Every event format offers different advantages and can help leaders achieve different goals. Before you begin drafting an event strategy, think first about your business priorities, then decide which event formats can best help you meet each objective.

Here are the top goals leaders say each event format can help them meet:

In-Person Events – Deepen Relationships and Accelerate Sales Cycles

According to the study, respondents said in-person events are most important to:

  • Increasing engagement with attendees (71%)
  • Improving lead generation (58%)
  • Deepening customer relationships (51%)
In-Person Engagement At Events

Virtual Events – Deepen Understanding of Customers and Employees

Respondents said virtual events are most important to:

  • Deepening customer relationships (54%)
  • Deepening understanding of customer needs (51%)
  • Deepening understanding of employee needs (51%)

Webinars – Drive Revenue and Adoption

Respondents said webinars are most important to:

  • Driving revenue (48%)
  • Increasing product adoption (48%)
  • Supporting partners and sponsors (47%)

Hybrid Events – Communicating with Large Audiences

Respondents said hybrid events are most important to:

  • Increasing brand awareness (48%)
  • Recruiting employees or potential business partners (47%)
  • Increasing product adoption (46%)
Hybrid Event Format

Because hybrid events allow for such a broad reach to both in-person and virtual audiences, many leaders find value in hosting hybrid events for large external events related to awareness/brand building (54%), executive briefings (46%), and user/customer conferences (44%).

Many leaders also prefer hybrid events for large internal events like annual sales trainings (56%), product launches (52%), and team/department on-sites (51%).

Event Tech Challenges Facing Organizations

Organizations are facing major challenges when it comes to their event technology. The good news? Most of these challenges boil down to the same issue: too many third-party tech and service partners.

According to the study, more than one-third of respondents say their organizations use six or more event technology or service partners to host their events, and 40% use between three and five solutions.

Why is this a problem? Data. The more tech solutions event professionals use to bring an event to life, the more spread out and unusable their event data becomes.

According to respondents, 59% struggle to capture the right attendee data, and most struggle to leverage what data they do have to support their stakeholders, including customers (57%), sales (53%), and marketing (47%).

When it comes to measuring and proving the value of events, organizations are struggling to get their needs met by their current event tech stacks. As a start, organizations should focus on consolidating their tech into a single event platform to ensure all their data is in one place.

4 Key Takeaways for a Successful Event Program

With these challenges and trends in mind, how should you implement these findings into your event strategy? Here are the key takeaways to help event leaders build a successful event program that helps achieve business goals.

1. Starting with KPIs is Critical

It’s clear that events play a significant role in helping organizations meet their goals – but event leaders must consider these objectives and related KPIs from the start when building an event program strategy.

2. Incorporate Digital Elements in Your Events

While “digital events” used to primarily apply to virtual, these days, all events have tons of digital components – even in-person events.

While this can benefit event leaders looking for deeper engagement and insights, it’s not just about your organization’s data – attendees expect more digital experiences, too.

According to 77% of study respondents, attendees have higher expectations for digital features than they did a few years ago, including on-site digital features like event apps and check-in capabilities and virtual attendee capabilities like on-demand viewing.

Cvent Attendee Hub - Digital Attendee Engagement

3. Track Data Across Your Entire Event Program

While 86% of respondents said it’s important or critical to track cost and performance across all events, only 42% are doing this today. Going forward, that’s going to change.

  • 76% said they expect to invest in a platform that serves all their needs across all event formats
  • 81% said investing in a platform that serves all event formats is crucial to enabling a holistic view of their event program performance

4. Consolidate Event Tech into a Single Event Platform

If your event tech is spread out across three, four, or even upwards of 10 tech solutions, you’re not alone – but you might be soon.

While 82% of respondents said they relied on point solutions while planning events in 2020 and 2021, moving forward, 42% are already making implementing a comprehensive suite of solutions a top priority.

Interested in reading the full study? For a deeper dive into these insights from event leaders, check out the study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cvent!

Hope Swedeen

Hope Salvatori

Hope is a Senior Content Marketing Associate who has been with Cvent for more than two years. She has 8 years of experience producing content for corporations, small businesses, associations, nonprofits, and universities. As a content professional, she has created content for a wide range of industries, including meetings and events, government and defense, education, health, and more.

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