The last few years have seen huge shifts in the financial services industry. As the world becomes increasingly digital, financial services firms have had to fundamentally change how they conduct business to adapt.
Meanwhile, geopolitical and economic challenges – from the war in Ukraine to the possibility of a recession and the ongoing climate crisis – continue to affect the finance industry, and organizations will need to stay flexible in the face of an ever-changing macroeconomic landscape.
But what does this mean for events within the financial services industry?
While the ongoing uncertainty continues to impact events, technological advancements and digital transformation hold exciting opportunities for planners to strengthen their event programs.
To help you boost your event strategy, here are five top trends shaping the future of financial services events in 2023.
1. A Clear Commitment to Sustainable Events
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors will continue to be high on the corporate agenda for financial services organizations in 2023.
Sustainability will be a particular area of focus. In PwC's Global Investor Survey 2022, sustainability ranked as one of the top priorities for investors, while consumers increasingly expect sustainable financial services.
With key stakeholders – investors, customers, and employees, just to name a few – demanding full transparency into companies' ESG strategies, prioritizing these as part of your event program will be non-negotiable.
When it comes to your events, building sustainability into your event design from the outset will be necessary.
At a minimum, attendees, sponsors, and speakers expect the events they attend to be tracking carbon emissions in some way. But if your organization is just starting on the path towards sustainable events, there are many other ways to get going – from using venues that have proven sustainability credentials to prioritizing more sustainable food and beverage choices.
Takeaway: Prioritizing sustainability in your events will be non-negotiable this year. Creating a sustainable event strategy starts with assessing where you are now and setting clear goals and milestones. Be sure to collaborate closely with your venue partners, vendors, and suppliers to put a plan in place to track and reduce your event’s carbon emissions.
2. In-Person Events Will Become More Digital
Digital transformation continues to disrupt the banking and finance industry, and events are no exception.
The last three years have seen events become an increasingly digital channel, a shift that was accelerated by the sudden, but necessary, move to virtual-only events during the pandemic.
This has had a profound impact on how in-person events are run. Digital touchpoints are now the rule, not the exception, and attendees have come to expect digital elements, such as mobile event apps and on-demand video content, as part of their event experience.
For event planners within the finance industry, this means embracing digital elements within your events.
You can use mobile event apps to provide personalized agendas and facilitate networking between attendees. An on-demand content hub can also become a valuable go-to resource for attendees to access and engage with exclusive content from your event.
At its annual flagship in-person conference, Fintech Week London used technology to manage their entire event experience, from registration and appointment scheduling to check-in and badge printing onsite. Additional virtual networking options and on-demand video content also provided opportunities to boost attendee engagement throughout the two-day event.
Takeaway: To avoid losing opportunities to more agile competitors, you’ll need to continue to innovate and digitize. Embracing digital elements within your events provides a myriad of benefits, allowing you to boost attendee engagement, capture valuable data and extend the shelf-life of your event beyond its traditional start and end dates.
3. Data privacy and security remain top priorities
While the digitization of events brings with it the opportunity to capture valuable data, it also comes with new data and security challenges for financial services organizations.
Since events generate a multitude of data and insights, keeping your attendee data secure will be top of mind for event planners within financial institutions. As attendees share their data, companies must ensure compliance with various data privacy regulations like GDPR, GLBA, and CCPA, among others, when necessary.
Using an event technology platform can assist in the process of ensuring the security of your attendees’ data. It’s important to find a platform that you can trust – one that is compliant with recognized industry security standards and provides key functionality like access control, compliance, encryption, and information risk management.
Equally, your event tech platform should provide secure integrations with the key business systems used within your organorganizationisation. This will not only ensure that the data you capture remains secure, but it also means that data can flow seamlessly between your systems, providing a complete view of your attendees’ engagement and interactions.
Takeaway: Data and security remain top priorities for event planners - so make sure to invest in an event tech platform that can process and store your event and attendee data securely.
4. Renewed focus on cost savings and event ROI
Banks and financial institutions are bracing themselves for tougher economic conditions.
High inflation and a potential recession will continue to impact events in 2023, with organizations looking to find cost savings and efficiencies across their meetings and events. As a result, event ROI, already a key metric for planners, will come under much greater scrutiny.
That said, forward-thinking firms will make the right investments to ensure that they will be in a strong position for the subsequent economic uplift.
For planners, becoming more efficient will mean centralizing your attendee and event data. Rather than trying to use separate systems to do this, having one centralized system will allow you to house all your data in one place and create a single source of truth.
In turn, this will give you better visibility across all of your meetings and events – allowing you to identify areas to reduce costs and work more efficiently. Additionally, you’ll be able to better track your event spend and report on the ROI of your events.
Takeaway: A centralized tech stack helps event teams work more efficiently and drive growth. When there is a single source of truth for event and attendee data across your total event program, you avoid the common pitfall of data silos, and your teams spend less time searching for, consolidating, and merging data — and more time using the technology to understand buyer interests and accelerate revenue.
5. Events will become more connected
In today's event landscape, attendees expect a seamless, personalized event experience.
For banks and financial institutions, delivering a consistent, perspersonalizedonalised event experience will improve brand reputation and help to build and maintain trust from consumers.
But to achieve this, it’s important to rethink old ways of delivering events. Traditionally, events have been seen as a siloed series of activities, with a hard start and end date.
However, a successful event strategy today means having a holistic and connected event program – one that integrates events into your wider set of marketing activities and channels.
While in-person will likely remain your flagship events, you can use virtual and hybrid events to continue the engagement between your in-person event dates. This will be particularly effective when combined with compelling content, particularly video.
Takeaway: Events provide a great opportunity continually engage with your attendees outside of your flagship in-person events. Consider how you can use different event formats to boost engagement and repurpose compelling event content through other digital channels.
Predicting the future of finance events
There’s no doubt that uncertainty will continue to be the dominant theme for financial institutions in the months ahead. The uncertain macroeconomic environment will mean tighter event budgets and a need to be even more diligent about event spend.
But after a turbulent few years, 2023 looks set to offer exciting opportunities for events in the finance industry. The digitization of events offers the ability to capture valuable data and insights to enhance the attendee experience, while the opportunity to leverage multiple event formats means greater flexibility to engage with attendees.
By investing in the right technology, you’ll also be able to better track your ESG efforts, gain more efficiencies and, ultimately, focus on delivering engaging events that drive brand awareness and revenue.
To learn more about what 2023 has in store for your meetings and events, watch this on-demand video, Learning from Your 2022 Events to Prepare for 2023.