Marketing Automation Buyer's Guide

The Top Marketing Trends in Event Management

Top Marketing Trends in Event Management

Top Marketing Trends in Event Management

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Michele Dobnikar, the President of GlobalMeet, identifies some of the most relevant marketing trends to know about in the event management market.

The virtual meeting space has seen more changes in the past five years than in the past twenty, and evolving demands from marketers and industry leaders are pushing event software and production companies to innovate. Renewed focuses on in-person events, digital integrations, and data analysis are all top concerns for major companies as they plan new events for 2024, and the event industry is quickly trying to meet the demand.

Marketing Data

In an increasingly recorded world, data is the new currency. When selecting a digital event host or hybrid event coordinator, companies want the ability to see their analytics in real-time and integrate them within their own respective CRM platforms. Real-time data can provide quick and actionable feedback to tweak an event to fit the audience’s immediate needs. 

Companies want to collect top data points related to streaming events, including repeat registrations, number of live viewers, on-demand viewers, attendance by time and drop-off points, and attendee interactions throughout an event, including survey data, question box responses, and more. Newer marketing focus areas include tracking attendee participation across multiple webcast sessions, self-benchmarking capabilities for event ROI, attendance and lead generation metrics, and engagement scores with multi-variable scores to mark important audience cross-sections.  

AI Integrations

As events become more complex and digitally demanding, the demand for AI integrations will continue to rise. However, the usage of artificial intelligence within the virtual events space is still largely in its nascent phase. Artificial intelligence has been the buzzword of 2023, but many companies often confuse “AI” integrations with “automated” ones. By definition, anything deemed artificial intelligence should incorporate machine learning over time. Automated processes, like automatic captions, should not be included in this category.  

True AI tools can help elevate a virtual event experience. AI-assisted processes allow meeting planners to streamline their pre-production, production, and post-production processes, freeing up their time to focus on more physical or strategic elements. As more marketers, event leaders, and C-suite executives adopt time-saving tools, the better they can focus on the aspects that matter most to them. 

Before any event, an AI-assisted content creation algorithm can draft the many pieces of content required for an event, including descriptions for registration pages, in-event speaker bios, and email invitation text. AI can also help create behind-the-scenes documentation such as run-of-show templates, speaker preparation briefings, and schedules—all using data from pre-event email surveys. Curated schedule suggestions can help attendees figure out which sessions could be the best fit within a busy conference schedule. With these tools, a virtual conference can become as easy to navigate as a Netflix algorithm. By prompting viewers with taglines like “If you enjoyed this webinar, check out this one,” event programmers can easily offer a list of curated recordings and calendar invitations. 

During production, automated text transcriptions can be incredibly helpful in producing informational summaries and pulling together the most common words into a word cloud, allowing quick indexing for search queries. Although professional translations to foreign languages performed by an actual person may be preferable for events with a high amount of jargon, AI-powered translation can often add natural-sounding audio at a fraction of the cost. 

After the event, event marketers can ask unstructured natural language questions about their events to generative AI modules rather than having to pour through detailed analytics reports. With a click of a few buttons, event programmers can figure out how many people attended five or more of the events, when, and how engaged they were in each session. AI can propagate data on which event had the highest attendance or see which speaker garnered the most attention through polls and surveys and when.

Companies Wary of AI Security Risks 

Despite the allure of AI-compatible software, many companies, especially those in financial services, have privacy concerns surrounding AI learning. Fortune 500 companies, hospital networks, and other sensitive private companies worry that crucial company secrets or telehealth meeting data could be read, used, and stored for potentially generated content.

After Zoom announced new changes to its TOS earlier this summer, many companies and leaders within the space expressed concern with their video security. As event hosting platforms continue to weave these tools into their software, they will need to be increasingly transparent about their data usage and hypervigilant against potential security risks to retain customers. 

Enhanced Customer Experience 

As prices for travel, food, and events continue to rise, viewers will expect more from their in-person or hybrid event hosts. Attendees want a streamlined user experience with an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use interface that helps bridge the gap between the in-person and virtual experience. Integrated apps need to offer helpful algorithms that suggest the best lineup to attendees based on their interests and offer easy opportunities for on-demand viewings of missed sessions.  

Live events will continue to increase over the coming year as companies finally feel comfortable sending their employees back to the office and across the country for in-person events. A MarTech survey reports that over 40 percent of survey respondents were “extremely likely” to attend an in-person event in 2023, as opposed to 31 percent in 2022. Event attendees will be looking for networking capabilities such as simple scannable codes that lead to easy digital experiences. Event marketers will want to capitalize on this opportunity with an elevated in-person plus virtual attendee experience. Event hosts will continue to explore capabilities to provide value during precious in-person events while offering digital experiences to augment the experience.

Next Generation Events  

In 2024 and beyond, event producers will continue to test and push the boundaries of what is possible through their digital integrations. Marketers will continue to explore maximizing their events with AI-powered data analysis and tools to create the ultimate event experience. As in-person events continue to rebound, companies will set new standards for the best hybrid integrations. 

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